Tuesday 17 December 2013
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Let it Rain!

So, myself and Richard have just spent a week in Savuti in the Chobe National Park. Richard is a cameraman for the Maun based film company; Natural History Film Unit Botswana. Check them out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NaturalHistoryFilmUnit and they have been filming the predators in and around the Savuti marsh for the last 2 years. From time to time I am lucky enough to assist Richard in the bush and this last trip into Savuti was one that really reflected the incredible transformation that Botswana experiences as the rains come.

The Savuti marsh has quickly become a favourite destination of mine in Botswana.  The usual landscape of the Chobe National Park is usually one that is dry, arid, and bloody hot!  But the fact that the Savuti channel is flowing and over-spilling into a marsh has created the most magnificent Eden.  However, throughout the course of a year, this Eden is undoubtedly the most deceptive I’ve ever witnessed.  Yes, there is water there and yes, many animals are made very happy with it’s existence BUT the trek that most of these animals undergo to get to the oasis is often what brings them to their end. Not to mention that fact that the channel very nearly dried up this year – thus begins the deception of the Eden that is Savuti.

Pic of Rich filming female leopard.

Now the rainy season has arrived in Savuti!  And those of you who know Botswana will know that Botswana is not a country that receives thousands of litres of rainfall a year so the rain is always much anticipated and the transformation that the country undergoes is one worth witnessing.

On our last trip into Savuti a few weeks ago, it rained 5 of the 7 nights that we stayed out there – as well as the odd rainstorm during the day.  But it is rain that I would happily welcome anytime.  The rain soaks the earth and luckily because you are in a desert, your things dry pretty quickly!  There is absolutely no discomfort camping in this weather and if for some reason you do experience some discomfort, the sheer beauty of the place after a good rain is totally worth it!  Or even the exquisite lighting storm on the horizon as the sunsets with an ice-cold beer in your hand.  Two words:  Simply Magical.

Female leopard coming down from tree

The chances of seeing big game after rains like Savuti had recently are slim – because there is more water everywhere the game don’t have to congregate around the marsh that gives them that life giving water supply. But, there are so many remarkable things to notice besides from your typical “you better tick these animals off your list if you’re going to Africa” animals.

Every single plant seems to be singing opera as their leaves change from green to GREEEEEEN.  And the flowers?! There is something quite special about seeing wild flowers growing however and wherever they want to…I suppose that’s what makes them wild.

Terrapins swimming in puddles next to the road, tortoises making there slow journey across the quickly changing plain.  Carmine Bee-eaters and Steppe Eagles arrive in Botswana for the summer.  The weirdest and most wonderful insects come out of hiding.

All in all a truly wonderful jewel of Africa in it’s happiest and strongly recommended from these happy and refreshed travelers.

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