Feedback on this itinerary for May 2005

Sep 6th, 2004, 08:38 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2003
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Feedback on this itinerary for May 2005

Hello All,
Seems like I have been online for hours and hours researching this trip.
All your trip reports and posts have been an enoromus help in to deciding which camps to here goes.
We are planning to travel mid may to early june and would really like any feed back from travelers who have been to any of these camps during that time, especially Savuti Camp. Can't seem to find as much info here on that camp.

4 nts CT
2 nts winelands
3 nts Chitabe ( main camp, with two of these nights out in the hides)
3 nts Kwetsani
3 nts Savuti

wallybrenda is offline  
Sep 8th, 2004, 07:03 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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The Savuti (Savute) could refer to two different camps -- we stayed at one, this past May. They are both located just off the National parklands, where you will do your games drives, and you'll be limited to staying on the roads (well, they'll pull off occasionally to get closer to a pride of Lion, but there's pretty strict rules everyone follow) and the camps have water holes strategically situated so you have 24-7 "Bush TV." The accomodations were in beautiful A-frame chalets, furnished rather Ikea-goes-to-Africa-like, but very comfortable with large white tile baths. If you want to see pictures I've got some on Virtual Tourist There's some under the "Hotels" for Savute Safari Lodge, and a "travelogue" with more pictures and details. I sure wish we could put pictures on Fodors...
uhoh_busted is offline  
Sep 8th, 2004, 07:42 AM
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There's also Savuti Camp, the Wilderness Safaris camp, in the Linyanti region, and I stayed there in August 2001. Excellent game viewing -- plenty of elephant at the waterhole and lots of cats (lion, serval, genet, caracal), plus wild dog and aardwolf. The camp was only 5 rooms at the time and very comfortable.

thit_cho is offline  
Sep 8th, 2004, 08:42 AM
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The Savuti Camp we have decided on is the one managed by WS in the Linyanti region.
wallybrenda is offline  
Sep 8th, 2004, 04:41 PM
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Hi wallybrenda,

Your itinerary is a great one. Kwetsani for water (lovely location in the Jao concession - one of my faves), Chitabe is a superb land-based camp, and Savuti will give you the Linyanti experience. Linyanti has loads of Elie's and Savuti has an incredible "woodpile" hide right in front of camp for up-close Elie viewing.

I've also seen some of my best Wild Dog and Cheetah sightings in the Savuti channel while staying at Savuti or DumaTau.

Be sure to do mokoros and boat rides at Kwetsani and don't pass on at least one walking activity!

Also, bring warm clothes for the morning drives (gloves, a warm hat, etc) and wear layers you can take off as the day warms. You will LOVE these 3 camps... excellent choices!

Sep 8th, 2004, 09:30 PM
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Hi James...
But is Savuti reliably good in May/Early June...JackieSun's experience (see her comments under the Chitabe thread) says experience at Duma Tau in early June says no. When we were there, the mantra at Duma Tau was, "it's hit or miss now, but great when it gets dry".

What is your opinion of WallyBrenda swapping the time in Savuti for Chief's Camp? Although it is not far from Chitabe, this time of year (mid May to early June) is so good on Chief's Island ...and 2 of there Chitabe days will be walking and in the hide....Your opinion??

Nice to see other people appreciate Kwetsani...loved this camp, but it doesn't get much publicity or attention.
tashak is offline  
Sep 9th, 2004, 05:57 AM
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Hi tashak...
It's true that the Linyanti region is really best in the driest months ('dry' meaning the pools of rainwater have dried up, not really lack of flood waters). Rains are the determining factor in the Linyanti for elephant viewing and the rains generally fall between late November and early April.

Just as background for those not familiar with the region and 'the flood' ...Originating in the Angolan central highlands, the bulk of the flood waters arrive at the top of the Okavango panhandle during February each year and the Delta itself is at it's fullest during the months of July or August. This is at the time when the Delta is at its driest. Being north of the Delta, the Linyanti receives it's waters earlier.

The areas along the Linyanti river and inland down the Savuti channel are famous for the numerous herds of elephant that inhabit this region.

After the rains begin, the elies no longer need to trek to the river twice a day to drink; rather, they simply travel around in the mopane forests and drink/bathe in the many pans filled with rain water.

Although June can see the very heavy flood waters in this northern area, these waters typically only raise the level of the Linyanti river. The inland pans, which only receive water from the rains, are beginning to dry up (or totally dried up).

There are several pans with artificial (ie, pumps) water supplies situated along the channel between Savuti Camp and the Zibadianja lagoon which is where the channel begins and 'flows' off from the main Linyanti river. One such pan is right in front of Savuti Camp and there's a woodpile hide there for close-up elie viewing - spectacular before 9am!! Other pans include Pump Pan and Rock Pan.

After the rainwaters are used up, these 'borehole' pans receive an almost continual parade of animals (elies, zebras, impalas, wildebeests, buffalos, warthogs, kudu, etc).

For some examples of what you can see, have a look at some of my images taken in June 2002 from Rock Pan (10 minutes from Savuti Camp) - virtually non-stop animals for about 5 hours! Go here:

Even Mombo can be 'hit or miss'... this is another reason why I feel it's important to spend at least 3 nights at a camp if you have the time and budget.

As for Chief's... I have spent a lot of time in this area over the years. The only problem with the area around Chief's Camp can be the thicker bush - Mombo's terrain has more molapos (floodplains) which offer better game viewing generally. That said, the whole northern Chief's Island area is pumping with wildlife year-round. As you probably know, you pay a premium to stay at Mombo/Chief's.

Hope this was helpful and not too long-winded
Sep 9th, 2004, 07:27 AM
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Great explanation, and not long-winded at all James. It's always great to get the full story when you are trying to plan a great trip. Your description makes me want to visit Savuti when things are dry.

And until your explanation, no one could really compare Mombo and Chief's, so thanks for that as well. I guess now we know a bit more about how Mombo can command those rates...
tashak is offline  
Sep 9th, 2004, 10:52 AM
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WOW...great info, thanks James. Still I am on the fence about Savuti but it would really be nice to see that area.
Not sure our friends and I are going to be able to stretch our budget to include Chiefs Camp.
So James...if money were no object (wishful thinking) would you do Savuti or Chief's Camp in late May.
Guess I have got to just make a decision and live with I can go to sleep at night.
Thanks all,
Brenda, Sleepless in Portland
wallybrenda is offline  
Sep 9th, 2004, 12:09 PM
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OK Sleepless Wallybrenda....I won't bother you any more about this AFTER I pass on my FINAL idea: Since you are going to Chitabe, but spending 2 days/nights walking, add 1 extra day there...then you will have 2 full days to experience the drives, which are excellent. Then spend 2 nights at Vumbura/Little Vumbura. Both of these areas have about the best diversity of wildlife in Botswana. At Vum you can concentrate on drives, if you feel you'll get enough water at Kwetsani, because the there are lots of lion there, cheetah...we saw big herds of sable and zebra (though that was later in the year). This year in early June, I met a couple that saw caracal cubs-- twice!!-- at Vum. (And caracal are almost impossible to see, anywhere in Africa.) Or do a mekoro or a boat trip here, because Vum also has some of the most beautiful waterways in the delta because the narrow channels there are beautifully lined with papyrus and other reeds. (My prediction: Vum is going to be the next Mombo. People there this year in early June had great sightings, and more diverse than Mombo. )

This would be a very relaxing itinerary too, because the 4 nights in the Chitabe area will make the trip a bit more relaxing.

OK-- basta~! Time to let you think about it without throwing out more alternatives! Whatever you do, I think you will have a superb trip!
tashak is offline  
Sep 9th, 2004, 12:23 PM
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Hi Brenda,

One more thing to consider (and I assume this is your first visit to Bots?) is that you have a fair chance of seeing Rhinos in the Chief's/Mombo area. As you probably know, WS and the Botswana government have jointly released many rhinos from a boma at Mombo camp over the past 2 years.

Read more here and in the other monthly news updates on the same site.

I guess I'd opt for Chief's if you take money out of the equation.

Sep 9th, 2004, 04:57 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
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Hi Brenda, I agree with tashak about 3 nights at Chitabe, and (I think I said this on another thread) remember that even on the two nights sleeping in the hide, you get a game drive each of those nights. So if you stay 3 nights you will get a game drive the first night, walk the 2nd morning, game drive 2nd night, walk 3rd morning, game drive 3rd night. 4 games drives @ Chitabe - heaven! I need to go back there.
Lin is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2004, 01:26 PM
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Well I am sleepless no more...meaning we have finally made a decision about our May 2005 itinerary. Thanks to all the feedback, trip reports and hours of reading here is the final itinerary.

4 nights Cape Town
3 nights Savuti Camp with an overnight in one of the hides
3 nights Kwetsani
3 nights Chief's Camp
MAYBE ( if I can convince my non-riding husband)..
2-3 nights at Macatoo Camp

Surprisingly, Chief's Camp was only $180 US pp more than Chitabe.
So there it is, now I can hardly wait for the trip to commence.
I have been reading everything I can find on Africa and it's history so if any of you have any suggested reading material, please post it.
Again, Thanks to everyone !
wallybrenda is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2004, 05:16 PM
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Hello Wallybrenda,

Wife and I just came back from Savuti in May. Some pics here of the camp. Had a blast! Saw everything we wanted to in the first day. Dogs, elephants, lions. Small place but very family oriented. Most pics from the link are from Savuti. Other place we stayed was Tubu tree. Have a blast and post when you get back (any room in your luggage for two?).
Wulfstan is offline  
Oct 4th, 2004, 11:40 AM
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Savuti was great two weeks ago, lots of elephants.

Not a lot of water so the hides were not in use.

Camp has been expanded to seven tents.

Savuti offers a great range of animals, but you will not see many wild dogs or leopards there, and there are no cheetah at this time.
Oct 4th, 2004, 04:50 PM
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Thanks for posting your recent sightings.
Wuldstan...we will be there in late May so it was great to hear about your experience during that season. I was on the fence about the Sauvti in May but the more I hear from other travlers, it should be great. I love Ellies...hope there are bunches.
Lions & Ellies and Dogs..oh my.
wallybrenda is offline  

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