Water in the Savuti Channel reaches Savuti Elephant Camp (Photo courteousy Orient Express Safaris)
The high flood levels in northern Botswana during mid- and late-2009 caused great excitement and speculation, with the Boteti River in particular being the focus of attention for many people. However, the highest water levels in decades in the Kwando led to the hope and belief that the Savuti Channel would at last flow again. Indeed, the water soon reached Wilderness Safaris ‘Savuti Camp’ in the Linyanti concession, but as it approached the western boundary of the Chobe National Park it slowed down and lost momentum (most of the water having bypassed the mouth of the Savuti at Zibadianja, and flowed down the Linyanti and into the Chobe River). Eventually the water stopped several kilometres from the Savuti Marsh.
Much to the surprise of many people, the channel started flowing again in earnest in December, possibly due to heavy unseasonal rains that fell in mid-2009, as well as good local summer rains. By mid-January, the water had flowed past the safari lodges at Savuti and was close to the top end of the marsh.
The 2010 floods promise to be above average, with water levels in the Zambezi and Chobe systems having already risen considerably. With plenty of water remaining from 2009, there is a high probability of the Savuti Marsh being seriously inundated later this year. It is entirely possible that Savuti will once again become one of Africa’s most spectacular wildlife areas. Watch this space!