Savuti SKL Campsite

Still very dry in May, the Savuti is part of the Chobe National Park and its landscape features dramatic rocky hills, ancient baobab trees, mopane forest, scrub and savanna. How’s that for diverse? It was also wild like nothing we’d encountered on our trip yet. 

The Savuti is part sand, and part marsh, with the marshy areas harbouring the best game. However, it’s also the most treacherous for driving, with roads turning easily to mud and trails made of deep, deep sand. For visitors able to navigate these conditions, you’re rewarded with animal sightings all to yourself. With so many lion, leopard, giraffe and big bull elephant in the park, you’re in for a treat. The bird life is also spectacular and there are many amazing small species including honey badger.

The SKL campsite located beside Savuti Gate is pretty decent, with a central ablution block that is surrounded by a high concrete wall so it looks like a prison. Why? Because the Savuti elephants discovered that they could reach inside the windows and turn on the showers for water to drink. Windows just got smashed and it didn’t matter if someone was inside washing up. Also, the ellies were a bit inconsiderate and didn’t ever turn off the water so a wall was built.

Our site, CK07, was under a camel thorn tree and fairly secluded. It had its own firepit, a braai and tap. I searched all over for the faucet only to find it inside a concrete bunker, no doubt constructed to deter thirsty elephants. By sundown, we had a crackling fire and dinner on the stove, so all we had to do was sit and wait for the rice to cook.

When darkness fell, a camp staff member came round with a torch to tell us an elephant had been walking through the site. He flashed his light around to show us the tracks and the beam fell upon a large puff adder, the second most deadly African snake. We tried to hustle it back into the scrub but it seemed intent on travelling through our campsite. Eventually it retreated into the bush.

Content that the adder had left, we sat down contentedly to dinner. While we were tucking in beside the fire, I spotted the adder curled up right behind my partner's chair. Evidently, it was enjoying the heat of our campfire! Our torch revealed tracks in the soft sand showing that it had crossed right beneath our feet before either of us saw it and then come back again, to curl up behind us. As you can imagine, very soon after that, we packed everything up into our vehicle and went straight to bed. Neither of us wanted to take a trip to the bathroom that night!

Our opinion: A basic campsite with plenty of reminders that wildlife are everywhere around you - be aware of your surroundings at all times and bring everything you need with you.