Along the western side of the Greater Chobe National Park lie the Savuti and the Linyanti areas. These are not separate reserves. Both lie within the borders of the Chobe. But both are distinct enough to merit special mention.
The Linyanti concession is 125 000 hectares in size, and is dominated by 3 main ecological features – the Linyanti River, the woodlands of the interior, and the Linyanti river channel. Floodplains, grasslands, exotic palm islands and scrub vegetation occur in abundance, and provide a magnet for the highest density of elephant in the country. Thousands of these giants gather here in the winter months.
Channels and lagoons in the bends of the Linyanti River are fringed with lush reed beds, and provide permanent water to the region. Here colossal leadwood trees stand tall and indestructible amongst the leafy ebony and spectacular sausage trees. Lion, leopard, wild dog, hippo, red lechwe, roan and sable gather here in fantastic numbers, complemented perfectly by an incredible variety of bird life. The wet marshy conditions are irresistable for birds like wattled cranes and African skimmers, whereas racket-tailed rollers and Bradfield’s hornbills thrive in the dry woodland areas.
Between the Linyanti and the Savuti marsh lies the hot and dry hinterland, an area dominated by grassland and mopane woodland, an excellent place to see enormous herds of eland.
Bisecting the Linyanti concession is the Savute channel, a mysterious river that seemed to fill and empty without rhyme or reason. As a result of its erratic flow, hauntingly beautiful dead trees line the banks of the Savute channel. It is currently flowing again, and in January 2010, the waters of the Savuti River reached the Savuti Marsh for the first time since 1982. This 10 880 km2 marsh is also a relic of a large inland lake whose water supply was interrupted a long time ago by tectonic movements.
The Savute is generously covered with pockets of savannah and rolling grasslands, which makes wildlife particularly exciting. It has long been synonymous with some of the best predator viewing in the country, and spine chilling stories of elephant-hunting lions and warring hyena clans have been told far and wide, around camp fires and dinner tables around the world.
A trip to Botswana would not be complete without a visit to the famous Chobe National Park, and the Linyanti and Savuti areas are an absolute must within the park. Here you are able to get far away from the madding crowds, and experience the diversity that the reserve has to offer.