Savuti, the ups and downs
Savuti is a special place and one I need to go back to. The first reason is because of the different types of habitat that you find and the second that I messed up most of the photos I took there.
What puzzles me is that I have no idea why I switched mode in the camera, from manual to aperture priority. And I can´t fault anyone but myself. I can´t tell you how stupid and angry I felt when I discovered this, first night at Chobe river front. I can assure you that this won’t happen next time.
We had been out on safari for five days when we arrived in Savuti. The drive from Khwai Community Area was spectacular in its own way. We traversed the Mababe depression that is lush during the rainy season. In October it is desolate and just a great brown void. You could hear birds, but seldom saw any. The only mammal we saw was an Elephant herd. You will find a video of this encounter in my last Khwai blog post, click here.
The temperature was rising drastically during the road trip. When we arrived in Savuti the temperatures where soaring above 40 degrees. A little too hot for us cool northerners, but we got some good advice from our guide that made the temperature bearable.
Savuti channel was flowing again
Savuti is a place famous for its predators both mammals and birds. It is one of Botswana’s twelve Important Bird Areas, IBA. You will find all of the big predators here, but the cheetah is less likely to find. The most famous of them all have been a pride of Lions that specialized in hunting Elephants. I have seen figures that they actually managed to bring down almost 40 Elephants over a year. I haven´t heard of any other place where Lions actively hunt Elephants. This behavior seems to have come to an end as the huge pride has split into smaller groups.
When we booked the trip in 2010 the water had begun to flow through the Savuti channel. A channel that had been dry for almost 20 years. That meant the marshes had flooded again attracting animals back to Savuti. A huge buffalo herd had made it their home, but what surprised me was the amount of Elephants we found. They seemed to be more wary to the vehicle, even if the big Bulls still was easy to come close.
Video: Elephant eating in the dark
This Elephant Bull is just a couple of meter from the vehicle when I made the video.
I would say that the accessibility to the wildlife is what makes Botswana special. You come close to wildlife without having 10 other vehicles nearby. This give you time to work with your photography and hopefully get what you want. In my eyes Botswana is a true safari gem. I would say that the impact of tourism is kept to a minimum which is good. Both for the visitors, but most importantly for the animals.
As I said before, I’m not 100% satisfied with the result of my photos from Savuti.
Still I got some pretty decent. It will always the nice to be able to have a coffee break together with a Leopard. We stumbled upon two in Savuti and had the pleasure to witness one of them having a late dinner. The picture isn´t sharp, due to lack of light, but hopefully you´ll get the feeling we had when we were there. It was a special moment with the sweet smell of death combined with the sound of cracking bones.
If you want to see the pictures from Savuti then visit my Savuti 2011 Photo album, click here. It is worth a visit even if I´m not completely satisfied with all of the pictures. I like the Leopard pictures, I’m a huge admirer of this stealthy cat. The pictures that I’m most satisfied with is the one of the Praying Mantis and other is a close up of Helmeted Guineafowl. Don´t forget to check them out.