Savuti, Botswana

Savuti's Elephant-Eating Lions


a convenient caravan
Herd of impalas cross the yellowish landscape of the Savuti savannah, in permanent danger of life.
Shelter and camouflage
Gazela protects herself from various threats among the tallest grass of the savannah
elephant on the road
Elephant walks along a dirt road on a hot Savuti afternoon.
Avis struthius (large sparrow)
Large ostrich prepares to speed up on the run.
the great Kalahari
A road cuts through the semi-dry wilderness of the Kalahari Desert, one of the largest deserts in southern Africa.
Motorized Safari
Visitors roam the Savuti savanna in game drive mode.
in search of water
A small herd of wildebeest crosses the savanna in oppressive African heat.
Fred the brave ranger
Fred, a Savuti ranger scans the Savuti savannah for its most powerful predators.
king of scavengers
Hyena watches the landscape, looking for signs of vulnerable or dead animals.
Burger species II
Savuti rangers use and abuse the information that impalas, fast but fragile and plentiful, are the hamburgers of the savannah.
panthera leo
Leão advances portentously through the savanna, in hours of the afternoon not suitable for hunting.
End of the day
Sun sets west of the great Kalahari Desert.
Savannah Secretariat
Secretaries probe the ground for snakes and other small reptiles.
bad camouflage
A listing of a zebra, bad as a camouflage among the tall grass and against the green vegetation.
herd in conviviality
A flock of elephants gathered in a pool that has almost completely evaporated.
impala line
Impalas dispersed in the savanna, always attentive to the movements of predators in the vicinity
A patch of the Kalahari Desert dries up or is irrigated depending on the region's tectonic whims. In Savuti, lions have become used to depending on themselves and prey on the largest animals in the savannah.

We moved from the Namibian strip of Caprivi to the southwest of PN Chobe.

New day, new lodge, with the variant of taking the first Cessna journey over the Kalahari desert.

Savuti Safari Lodge awaits us, located 45 minutes away by flight, on the southwestern edge of the Chobe NP.

The choppy perspective of Africa allows us to glimpse, on a large scale, the semi-aridity of the Kalahari. Its tone changes and the patterns of land and vegetation, depending on the amount of water in the subsoil which increases drastically, to the south, with the spread out from the Okavango River in its vast delta.

The widespread devastation of low trees and bushes caused by the passage of elephant herds.

And the endless sandy roads, as precarious and straight as the African borders drawn at the Berlin Conference.

A road cuts through the semi-dry wilderness of the Kalahari Desert, one of the largest deserts in southern Africa.

Landing on a Lost Line in the Vast Kalahari Desert

We land on a small dirt runway lost in the vastness of Botswana. From there, they drive us in jeeps to the Savuti Safari Lodge.

We received a new briefing. And another warning that animals entered the lodge and that from sunset onwards, we could only move between buildings, accompanied by employees.

We collect to the rooms.

What is the surprise when I realize that we are lodged a few meters from a group of puddles occupied by elephants.

A flock of elephants gathered in a pool that has almost completely evaporated.

I find out that, in those same puddles, several scenes of Episode 2 of the series had been filmed. "Planet Earth", from the BBC, the documentary that made Savuti's elephant killer lions known to the world.

savuti, botswana, elephant-eating lions, sunset

Sun sets west of the great Kalahari Desert.

Night falls. Good art for guests is on duty on a terrace built so that they can follow the action with a drink.

We are not lucky. Elephants strictly fulfill the role of prey. Predators, those, miss the call.

The fatigue caused by the journey and the successive early risers take their toll.

Even if the lions had attacked later, we would no longer be there to follow.

Morning Safari in Savuti's Wild Africa

The next morning, we left in mode game drive.

In addition to countless savanna hamburgers - the impalas -, of zebras, wildebeest and giraffes, we find virtually all of the Savuti's most elusive species and even idle clans of lions with offspring.

Hunts, not even see them.

Fred, a Savuti ranger scans the Savuti savannah for its most powerful predators.

Perhaps to compensate, Fred, the driver and local guide who drives us, decides to approach three hyenas that cross our path. Stop the Land Rover. Go down. Kitty in your direction.

Arouses their curiosity with strange sounds. We, stayed in the jeep, incredulous.

At some point, he asks me if I want to go down too. All of a sudden, I find myself crawling behind him and taking pictures.

The situation has something funny but, at the same time, worrying. At each of Fred's advances, the hyenas move a few steps away. As soon as the guide stops, they threaten to invest but stop.

Hyena watches the landscape, looking for signs of vulnerable or dead animals.

The confrontation repeats itself, aggravated by Fred's grunts.

More curious than hyenas to know what kind of animal he was imitating, after all, I ask him. Fred explains to me eloquently and with the utmost tranquility: “It's just any kind of dying animal. As you know, hyenas are scavengers, they're turned by all dying creatures".

Savuti rangers use and abuse the information that impalas, fast but fragile and plentiful, are the hamburgers of the savannah.

That's all I needed to hear. Before the next onslaught, I notify the guide that I am resigning. Return to Land Rover safety.

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