Climate and Landscape
Winter has finally arrived at Savuti! The average maximum temperature for June was 26° C and the average minimum 8°. Having said this, the lowest we recorded at Savuti was 0° Celsius. And boy was it cold! One morning a water monitor literally froze and fell from a tree into the channel… the poor thing was so cold it sat there for a good two hours before it warmed up enough to get out of the water!
You can witness the effect of the season everywhere, with the leaves turning brown so quickly that you can actually see them withering. The way of Mother Nature is a beautiful thing.
The water level in the Savute Channel has been dropping quickly (awaiting the seasonal waters’ arrival) and our boat, the ‘Pangolin Express,’ may be grounded soon. That said, the fishing has been phenomenal and guests have had a great time catching numerous tilapia, catfish as well as the mean-toothed African pike.
With the change in the weather and landscape, animal sightings have been spectacular. The game has come back in great numbers from their summer vacation in the pans and it also helps that the leafless trees increase visibility considerably. The return of prey in the area has in turn led to the return of predators and we’ve experienced some brilliant sightings in and around Savuti Camp. The coalition of three male lions – call sign ‘Chobe Boys’ – was seen feeding on a baby elephant in front of camp and the LTC pack of 18 wild dogs made not one but two kills in camp at the same time!
Some guests have been extremely lucky with their sightings, having seen a leopard on almost every drive, as well as lions mating and a sable and a roan spotted within an hour! And some guests were luckier still to have spotted and spent time with a pangolin – in broad daylight no less!
We’ve had some new lion come into the concession, which the guides reckon are from Namibia. These lion are not yet used to vehicles and are very skittish, but a few guests managed to capture a beautiful video of a lion trying to chase away the vehicles!
All the wild dog packs in the Linyanti are denning at the moment with the alpha females birthing – in face, in some of the packs the beta female has also denned. Hopefully soon we will have many little painted puppies playing around.
We were extremely lucky this month to have spotted two cheetah in the area; it’s been a while since we’ve seen any in the area and it might be the start of something new and awesome.
We also saw a lot of scavenging this month, not only from hyaena, but also leopard and lion. It has actually been a bit like a soap opera with lion fighting hyaena to steal the cheetahs’ kill. And the Forest Female leopard fighting hyaena over the remains of an impala killed by wild dog.
With the dogs and the lions in the area we weren’t altogether surprised to see a mother leopard relocating her two cubs – the thrill was that they were just five minutes’ drive from camp.
Some other rare wildlife was also seen this month including honey badgers, servals, genets, African wild cats, porcupines and, believe it or not, a brown hyaena.
And of course the elephant herds are everywhere – and what a beautiful sight they are!
Birds and Birding
The birding at Savuti Camp this month has been extraordinary. A couple of fish eagles have taken over the area around camp. And we get to hear their call (the most beautiful sound in the bush) very often.
The lilac-breasted rollers and the fork-tailed drongos are nesting in trees around camp, becoming aggressive and loud when they see a bird of prey heading their way.
We have also spotted a few juvenile bateleurs and martial eagles in the area, which is great news as they are highly endangered.
Other rare species that we’ve seen around Savuti are wattled crane and the southern ground hornbill. Both species look particularly beautiful when flying.
But the birding highlight of the month was the openbill storks roosting in the tree in between the Main Area and Tent 2. We had a record-breaking 31 storks roosting there the one night (our own record). Starting at half-past five they start moving in, providing incredible photo opportunities: the closest you can get to the fabled ‘perfect shot’!