Savuti Camp: Our full report
Savuti Camp is about 30km due west of the Savuti Marsh, and the famous Savuti area of Chobe National Park.It stands in the private Linyanti Reserve, which covers 1,250km² and has within it three private camps. In the north, beside the Linyanti River, the environment is like the Chobe riverfront: open floodplains beside the water, an adjacent band of riverine forest, and then dense (mostly mopane) forests stretching away south.
The last time we updated this write-up, all of the talk regarding Savuti Camp was of “dry river beds" and a camp "situated away from any flowing rivers". These days this couldn't be further from the truth as the legendary Savuti Channel is now flowing once more. Where previously there was a waterhole in front of camp there is now a wide, flowing channel. This has altered the entire dynamic of the area as the animals are able to disperse out over a wider area with a more readily available supply of water to support them. As a result the Savuti, which has gained a name for large prides of lion in the past, is seeing an increase in numbers of other predators as the lion prides follow the game and their density decreases. As the competition for resources decreases populations of leopard, cheetah and hyena have now slowly started to increase.
Savuti Camp was totally rebuilt in 2007 (just before the channel filled again) and on our last visit, in August 2018 we were very impressed by the layout of the camp. The main lodge building is a large, open-sided, wooden structure crowned by a high thatched ceiling, and decorated with traditional Botswana basketwork and other local artefacts. A large lounge area features comfortable chairs and sofas, and a good library. The dining area, with a bar, has been turned around so that each guest has a view of the channel while they eat and a decked swimming pool, elevated above the water, offers great views.
A sizeable viewing deck overlooks a permanent waterhole (where breakfast is usually served), and where there's a small, shaded swimming pool and sunloungers. There is also a firepit where fires are lit in the morning and evening. Wildlife can often be seen coming down to the water to drink and elephants often cross from one bank to the next not far from the main area.
All seven tented chalets (including one family tent) face onto the Savuti Channel, and provide a very private setting from where to enjoy some great views. Each tent has a deck at the front allowing comfortable viewing of the goings-on along the water way.
Around the camp you can expect a fairly steady stream of elephant herds throughout the day and night as they move towards the water to drink.
Activities at Savuti Camp revolve around 4WD game drives up and down the Savuti Channel and then into the surrounding mopane woodlands (although generally this vegetation is less productive for game-viewing). Note that Savuti Camp is in a private reserve, and so it conducts night drives, its vehicles are allowed to drive off the road, and qualified guides are allowed to lead walking safaris with clients. Do not confuse this area with the area around Savuti Marsh, within Chobe National Park– which operates very differently. Fishing and boating is also available depending on water levels.
Guests spending three nights at either Savuti or its sister-camp, DumaTau, have the exciting option of pre-arranging a night sleeping out in one of the game-hides. These are elevated wooden structures overlooking a water-hole or part of the channel. Guests are driven to the hide where a bed, complete with mosquito net, is set up and dinner can be served. A guide sleeps nearby for added security.
Savuti Camp is a very appealing little camp; the wildlife is plentiful and varied, the natural history of the area fascinating, and great guiding ensures that all of it can be enjoyed through a variety of activities. All of which is complimented by great food, friendly staff and very comfortable rooms and communal areas on your return to camp.
- Kwando-Linyanti area, Botswana
- Ideal length of stay
- In the past we've recommended a stay of 2 nights at Savuti camp. With the water now flowing however there are more activities to partake in and the game is a little bit more spread out. Therefore we'd recommend a 3 night stay here to ensure you get the most out of your visit.
- Fly in to Savuti Airstrip, which its towards the north end of the Savuti Channel. It is then about a 30 minute road transfer, depending upon what you see on the way…
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Food quality
- On our last visit in September 2018, we found that the meals were of a very good standard.
Mealtimes follow the usual safari-camp format, with a light breakfast served at around 6am before your morning game drive, brunch served at around 11am on your return, tea at 4pm before your evening activity, and then a three-course meal at dinner time, usually at about 8pm.
Breakfast: you can pick and choose your breakfast – a selection of cereals, fruit, yoghurt, and muffins. On our last visit there was a station where you could choose between freshly made sweet or savory pancakes.
Brunch: Served buffet-style, with soup, various salads, cold meats, fresh bread and savory dishes such as quiche on offer. On our last visit we enjoyed a brunch of spicy chick-pea dhal, beetroot salad, springbok kebabs and salad all with the option of eggs, bacon and sausage too.
Tea: at tea time you will be tempted by delicious snacks such as shortbread and chicken wings. Iced tea or coffee and freshly made lemonade are also on offer, as well as hot drinks.
Dinner: a We arrived on a Monday which is also boma night in Savuti Camp. The boma is a traditional circular enclosure with no roof and often a fire in the middle. On this night we were treated to a variety of local dishes. Fish, chicken, beef all accompanied by a variety of vegetables prepared in a traditional way.
On a previous visit we were treated to mushroom soup for starters, a main course of roast chicken, vegetables, potato wedges, salad parcels (lettuce wrapped around sweet potato) and for dessert a very tasty crème brûlée.
The camp can cater to vegetarians and any other special dietary requirements if notice is given.
- Dining style
- Group Meals
- Dining locations
- Indoor and Outdoor Dining
- Drinks included
- Yes, drinks are included, except for champagne and premium brand spirits.
- Birding is outstanding here ranging from Okavango species to the drier mopane woodland species. The Savute Channel has a high concentration of eagles and raptors and this area is internationally recognised as an Important Bird Area.
- See ideas for Birdwatching
- Photography holidays
- Two guides at Savuti (Grant and Kani) are both highly talented photographers in their own right (they were featured in the December / January 2010/11 issue of National Geographic). For keen photographers, being guided by two experts will be a real draw to Savuti.
- See ideas for Photography holidays
- Attitude towards children
- Children who are 6 years old and above are welcome, although families bringing children who are between the ages of 6 and 12 must hire a private vehicle.
- No special equipment is provided.
- Generally recommended for children
- Yes, as Savuti is one of the few Botswana camps which has a family room. Parents must supervise children at all times however. This is a dangerous game area, there are no fences and there are high walkways around camp.
- Special meals can be prepared for children. Note that parents must keep all children under close and constant supervision – as this is a camp through which dangerous game can wander at any time.
Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Savuti Camp
Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Savuti Camp have kindly recorded their wildlife sightings and shared them with us. The results are below. Click an animal to see more, and here to see more on our methodology.
- Consider yourself out of contact here, although the main office can be contacted via radio in an emergency.
- TV & radio
Protecting the environment of Linyanti Reserve
Located in the Linyanti Reserve, Savuti Camp is hidden among prolific wildlife which provides spectacular sightseeing opportunities from a very large elephant population to the rarely-seen aardvark and aardwolf.
Committed to conserving the beauty of the wild landscapes that many nature lovers fantasize about, the camp has implemented measures to reduce its footprint and to protect endangered wild species.
The construction of the Ozone Water Purification System supplies guests with purified drinking water and reusable drinking water bottles to reduce the use of plastic water bottles. The system was designed to ensure the water contains no chemical additives or bacteria.
Consistent efforts towards the conservation of wildlife in the area are also carried out, including research on species on the IUCN Red List such as the African wild dog, elephant, lion and roan antelope. Arguably, a hot-topic in Botswana, Savuti Camp is no stranger to the human-elephant conflict around the country’s local communities. In an attempt to protect Botswana’s prime elephant population, the camp has facilitated and helped fund two MSc studies researching the challenges of this issue and the impact of elephants on vegetation, other animal species and local villages.
See more great sustainability projects in Botswana
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- Camp managers and guides are first-aid trained, and a comprehensive medical kit is kept on site. Guests can be flown out to the nearest doctor in Maun in the event of an emergency. Wilderness Safaris also have their own nurse based out in camps in the bush, who is on call to give advice if a guest falls ill. Please note that it is only possible to fly out of camp during daylight hours as the bush airstrips do not have any lighting at night.
- Dangerous animals
- High Risk
- Security measures
- Alarms are provided in the rooms for sounding in the event of an emergency.
Guests are also escorted to and from their rooms after dark.
- Fire safety
- Fire extinguishers are kept on the balconies of all rooms and in the main areas.
Guided walking safari
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- You can pay for any curios with Visa or MasterCard. There is no additional charge made for this.
All rooms are equipped with electronic safes.
- Accepted payment on location
- US$, GB£, Rand, Euros and Botswana Pula are all accepted on location.
Room types at Savuti Camp
Wooden poles support a thatch roof forming the outer shell from where a canvas sided tent hangs. This canvas walled section has large mesh windows and is entered through sliding doors. The whole construction is positioned on stilts above the banks leading down towards the water. The whole chalet has wooden flooring.
At the centre of the bedroom is a large double, four-poster bed covered with a mosquito net. At its foot is a tea and coffee station and a few reference books for use on your own private balcony. There are a couple of very comfortable arm-chairs situated to the side with a table and foot rest. The rooms are also very well lit for reading at night with plenty of bed side lamps and good quality main lighting provided.
There is a ceiling fan above the bed with a bedside control panel.
The mesh windowed tents also allow a cooling breeze to pass through; canvas flaps can be raised to halt this breeze on cooler evenings.
The bathroom is situated behind a central wicker and wood partition which separates the bathroom from the bedroom. The bathroom is open plan with a walk in shower, his and hers sinks and a separate toilet reached through a door leading off the side of the building.
Outside areas & views:
At the front of the tent is a good-sized veranda with a couple of comfortable chairs providing views over the water. This is raised a couple of meters off of the ground and not only offers great views of the river as it passes by but also of any animals which frequently move through camp on their way to the water's edge.
Other lodges in Kwando-Linyanti area
Alternative places to stay in this same area.