All wilderness areas of Africa have a unique soul, a sense of place that differentiates them from others and even the most commercially marketed resort areas have an echo of this sense of place - but then, there are those places that exude an aura unlike anywhere else. And Savute is such a place.
© Hippo hogging the only waterhole
Introduction to Savute
Change is a constant in the African wilderness. From dry season to wet season, through drought and floods and in the ever-constant fight for dominance the landscape is seldom in limbo. Change is the norm, in some areas more dramatic than others - but there is a place in Africa where the changes are exacerbated by forces beyond the changes of the seasons.
Savute plays to the same seasons as other wilderness areas through the years, however, there are times when the physical attributes of the place are so drastically changed that the behaviour of the wildlife has to readapt in almost evolutionary-like steps.
The wonders of the wilderness and the appreciation of its soul-restoring power come from the ability to look beyond the scars and preconceived ideals. I have been privileged to have experienced a wide range of places, from remote islands to uninhabited wilderness areas, and each place has an attraction to the soul, but few places have had the ancient rhythm as Savute.
Watch the elephants from your private deck at Savute Elephant Camp
The Savuti of the past was a largely misunderstood place. Many detractors, detractors for selfish reasons, point to the three man-made waterholes located in the marsh area in an attempt to discredit the experience while at the same time pointing out the untouched nature of the private concessions. Coming from personal experience it is the private concessions where the rules of nature are broken more often than not - where man puts himself in control for the 'betterment' of humanity.
Styling in the bush at Camp Savute
An internet travel company that prides itself on its experienced African staff described Savuti on their website as a second-rate safari area. My initial reaction was one of anger at seeing this description but the anger was replaced by a deep sadness at the lack of understanding of these experts.
It may have been their guide that had passed this impression on or even a succumbing to the glossy promises of private concession operators. The sadness was that because of their ignorance people inquiring about Savute missed out on one of Africa's most unique experiences, an experience that has now vanished forever - and will never be again.
Game drive from Camp Savute