Thanks to the elephants there was a pungent dung odor in our room when we arrived. By the evening it had dissipated and by the following day we were thrilled to have enjoyed the elephant bulls visit. The night before our departure a male lion walked by the waterhole; the staff showcased him with a spotlight, allowing us to watch him strut about. Elephants and lions were the animals Savute was famous for and we had excellent sightings of both from the comfort of our room. During the game drives, we also saw elephants and lions. We especially remember the giant eagle owl family our guide spotted. The infant got stuck on a tree branch and were riveted for a long while watching it trying to disentangle itself away. There were also baby and adult elephant carcasses (apparently from thirst) there and many vultures they attracted. It was amazing to see them so close to our vehicle.
Another memorable experience at Savute was what we fondly call “tea with the elephants.” During an afternoon drive, we stopped for sundowners near a tree seemingly in the middle of nowhere. While we were chatting and enjoying a cup of tea next to the vehicle, a herd of elephants began walking toward and around us. Fred, our experienced guide, had positioned the vehicle close to the tree so they had to walk around us. This excellent placement meant we were in the middle of the walking herd and able to watch them from as close as 10 feet. They paid no attention to our small group and we had a fleeting glimpse of the herd from a close and spontaneous vantage point.
We liked Savute’s advantages like our spacious, modern and comfortable room facing an active waterhole, the tasty meals and snacks prepared by three Batswana cooks, the melodious Botswana songs the Lodge staff sang for us before dinner one night and the wonderful opportunities our waterhole side room offered.
General Managers Lizette and Mark Carlsen
Handicapped Access No. Ground areas had uneven floors; there were steps to enter our suite and physical agility was required to board the game viewing vehicles and bush planes.
Length Of Stay Two nights
Location In the Savute Park in the southwest corner of the Chobe National Park of Botswana
Managed Desert & Delta Safaris a 100 percent subsidiary of Chobe Holdings Ltd, managed the Lodge and owned the leases. They operated six properties.
Owned The lease was owned by Chobe Holdings Limited. The current lease expires in 2012 with the option to renew through a tender process.
Size The Savute area covered five hectares, housing 12 twin bedded safari suites for guests and operated by 28 staff plus three managers.
Year Opened The Lodge was opened in 1999. Renovations, we were told, were ongoing.
Room The path to our spacious and comfortable 55 square meter sized room (No. 4) was steps from the dining area. A short walk down a gravel walkway led to stairs and a covered terrace facing a waterhole. Two sets of large sliding glass and screen doors on light wood frames led to the interior of the room, decorated in blue, pale yellow and khaki. One side had twin beds (pulled together to form a larger bed) facing the terrace and waterhole; set against a wood headboard and matching night tables. There was a checkered cloth stool the width of the beds on the end opposite the headboard. A small wood table and an armless chair stood near the bed, facing out toward the next room. On the opposite side of our room, there was a living area that also faced the waterhole. Blue cloth furniture, a love seat and two armchairs, a throw rug, wood, glass and metal lamp and a wood table populated one side while a matching wood vanity with a swivel mirror were on the back side. There was a double armoire with shelves, a lock box (a $10 deposit was required to obtain a key) and hanging space next to the vanity and right before the bathroom. A folding wood table held a coffee and tea service.
There were thick white duvets and sheets on the beds and a mosquito net hung high above them during the day. At night, the staff spread the mosquito net to cover the sleeping area. The roof was thickly thatched and the floor in the room and bathroom was of smooth teak; it was so clean we walked barefoot.
Facilities Lounge and bar, curio shop, dining room and plunge pool.
Pool A plunge pool was located next to the waterhole. There were two lounge chairs and umbrellas.
Other Just before our arrival at Savute Safari Lodge, a team from British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Discovery Channel and AfriScreen were at the Lodge to film the lions and elephants for an 11 part wildlife television series called “Planet Earth” scheduled to air August 2006. During their filming they used innovative infrared filming equipment, in particular a unique high definition camera capable of filming in low light conditions.
Environmental conservation seemed a priority for Delta & Dessert Safaris: Food waste was composted on site and combustible litter burnt in a controlled area; glass, plastic and cans were stored in animal proof containers and sent to a nearby city for disposal; batteries and waste oil were packaged separately. Wastewater flowed into a series of septic tanks and grey water into specially built soakaways. Septic tanks were emptied by a truck when necessary. A diesel generator was housed in a soundproofed room built with fire resistant materials. It was so quiet we only noticed the difference when our room lights went out in the evening and came on in the morning. Generator exhaust ran through an underground drum to reduce emissions. Gas was used for the kitchen stoves and to heat water. An ongoing training program for company guides focused on identification, interaction of flora and fauna and conservation was led by Botswana ornithologist, guide and photographer Richard Randall. The Lodge’s water supply source was a borehole 70 meters beneath the surface. Savute won the Desert Delta Safaris service excellence trophy for the last two years.
Cleanliness Very good
Date Of Last Visit November 2005
Reviewers Article by Elena del Valle
Photographs by Gary Cox
Service Dining room staff were efficient and polite. Although there was twice daily service, cleaning in the morning and turn down service in the afternoon, we never saw the staff since the room was serviced while we were on the game drives. We left several items to be laundered when we left for our morning drive. By the time we returned, it was ready. Theirs was the fastest laundry service we encountered in any of the camps and lodges.
Would You Stay Again? Yes
- Desert & Delta Safaris
- Private Bag 310 Maun
- +267 686 1243
- +267 686 1791
- Desert & Delta Safari Lodges
- Reservations and marketing
- P.O. Box 13055
- Bryanston, 2074
- +27 11 706 0861/2
- 463 2996
- +27 11 706 0863
- 086 654 5155