Summer In Botswana: When Savute’s Zebras Really Dazzle!

Summer is a special time, especially for wildlife enthusiasts visiting the Botswana region of Africa, especially when you choose to visit the Savute region of the Chobe National Park.

Savute boasts the second-largest summer Zebra migration in Africa; its timing is determined by the rains, but usually occurs between November and December and again between February and April, when huge numbers of zebra move from the rivers in the north in search of the rain-ripe grasslands and full waterholes in the southwest of the park. The migration is always followed by large numbers of predators, including lion and hyaena.

This is why the Zebra migration is a must-see for visitors.

The Savute Region

The Savute is an area in Chobe National Park which borders the Okavango Delta to the west and Chobe National Park to the east and is one of Africa’s best known big game areas. Savute is a beautiful part of the spectacular Chobe National Park in Botswana and it stretches all along the northern boundaries of the park to the Linyanti River.

Stretching from the Linyanti River all the way to Savute Marsh, the winding waterways of the Savute Channel have pumped life into the western section of Chobe National Park for many thousands of generations. However, this fickle and unpredictable channel, which has a fascinating history of flooding and drying up, independently of good rainy seasons and flood levels elsewhere, has mystified local inhabitants, geologists and others for many years.

When David Livingstone, the first European to visit the area, saw the Savute Channel in 1851 it was flowing. Thirty years later it had disappeared, and the Savute Marsh had dried out, remaining this way for almost 80 years. It flowed again from the late 1950s to the early 1980s, when it again receded, hence its reputation as ‘the river that flows in both directions’.

In 2009, after another extended hiatus, the channel began flowing again and by January 2010 had spilled into the Savute Marsh for the first time in three decades, but for how long – no one knows …

Currently, Savute’s waters are running again and it offers an excellent base for Botswana safari tours. With its lush vegetation and marshlands, an abundance of wildlife roam freely and apart from the famous Zebra migration, there is a myriad of birds and incredible wildlife including Lion, Hyaena, Buffalo, and Elephant.

Savuti is famous for its predators, especially its resident lion and spotted hyena populations. The game-viewing can be exceptional, and the wide variety of activities on offer make this an area not be missed. Many day trips will incorporate a visit to the Savute Marsh to give you a chance to see the historic presence of the Savute Channel at the marsh against a backdrop of teeming wildlife. Guests can also enjoy a visit to the ancient San rock paintings at Gubatsa Hills – a small hilly outcrop which forms a prominent landmark in the otherwise flat landscape.

The African Zebra

There are three species of Zebra in Africa: Burchell’s or plains Zebra, the Grevy’s Zebra of east Africa and the Mountain Zebras, Cape and Hartmann’s, of South Africa and Namibia. Only the Burchell’s Zebra are seen in the Savute area.

The Zebra, with its black and white striped coat, is generally an inhabitant of the African savannahs. What is not so well known is that the Zebras of the southern wilderness areas also have a shadow brown stripe in-between the white and black striped pattern. This distinguishes them from the Zebra of East Africa.
An interesting fact is that no two coat patterns of any Zebra are the same! Similar to fingerprinting in humans, every individual’s coat pattern is unique. This is why when a Zebra is born the mother keeps it hidden from other Zebras until her patterns have been imprinted on the foal’s memory.

Did You Know?

The collective noun for a group of Zebra is a ‘dazzle,’ so named because animals are colour blind and they find zebra very difficult to spot, especially when running in a herd – so this is their self defence mechanism.

Some Incredible Botswana Tours

Apart from a summer tour to Savute, there are many other incredible sightings and exciting places to see, when on tour with internationally renowned tour operators Jewel of Africa. We have a comprehensive range of tours to this and other equally impressive destinations. 5, 7, 9 and 10 day tour packages are available to various parts of Botswana and can be combined with tours to the Victoria Falls and the Okavango delta. Check them out on our website or contact us to arrange your own personalised, tailor made tour to suit your pocket and preferences.


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