A world away from the riverfront in ambience, landscapes and game viewing experiences, the Savute area of the Chobe National Park is wild and authentic. Bordering the Linyanti Wetlands at the western edge of Chobe, the wildlife is outstanding, with a famous pride of lions that hunt elephants and a mini herbivore migration during April and May. Most of the habitat is woodland, with pockets of tumbling kopjes that support a significant leopard presence. The two major exceptions are the vast, open landscapes of the Savute Marsh, with its striking dead trees and isolated water holes, and the now flowing Savute Channel. Dry for decades between 1982 and 2009, the return of the water has brought back hippos, crocodiles and water birds after decades absent.
There are few camps in this remote wilderness, which only adds to the appeal, and although self-driving and mobile safaris are possible for those experienced in navigating Africa’s empty quarters, it is likely that you will fly in by light aircraft. Game drives get you close to the animals, while the permanent camps have artificial water holes that attract wildlife to be viewed from the comfort of the bar, particularly after dark. There is also a tangible sense of history, mainly because the Savute Channel has been a timeless water source. As a result, there are some fascinating Bushman rock art sites that can be visited with a guide to break up the more traditional safari activities, making three night stays in Savute ideal.