August 25, 2017

A Short battle for dominance of a dwindling water hole

Filed under: Savute Safari Lodge — Tags: , , , — Desert & Delta Safaris @ 1:51 pm

The below article is from Andrew Flatt, our Desert & Delta Safaris Marketing Executive, from his recent visit to Savute Safari Lodge. 

I recently spent some time at the beautiful Savute Safari Lodge in the Southern region of the Chobe National Park, as explained by my cool-guy African safari guide Baba, and enjoyed one of my best elephant interactions to date.

On my first game drive on the afternoon I arrived, Baba took us to one of the watering holes to see what would come down for a drink. He explained how during this time of year the water was drying up and watering holes became less and smaller by the day. This meant the remaining ones had to be shared, much to all the animals’ disapproval.

Elephants in the Savute region of Botswana

Two lone bull elephants at the waterhole in Savute

As we sat watching what Baba explained was a bunch of Lone bull elephant’s that had all come down separately to drink, something interesting happened. One bull, an old elephant, did not like the idea of sharing with another approaching, thirsty lone bull. They met at the water’s edge, standing a few metres apart, clearly sizing each other up. The new male slowly advanced and the old boy retreated slightly until they were both standing in the water. After a minute or two of staring each other down, in an instant, they both lunged forward at each other and a colossal, but short lived battle ensued. They clattered and banged, trumpeting and splashing water everywhere! And after 20 or so seconds, they stopped, paused for a second and slowly backed away from each other. Interestingly, they then shared the water hole giving each other enough space to drink.

Elephant bulls fighting in the Savuti region of the Chobe National Park in Botswana

The two bulls sizing each other up

Elephants fighting for dominance Botswana's Savuti Region

Lunging forward in an instant just before making contact

Bull elephant in the Savute region of the Chobe National Park with Savute Safari Lodge

Heads and tusks clashing as they make impact

Fighting elephants in the Savute region in Botswana

Hard clash as the two bulls make contact with each other

It all happened so fast and was such an interesting experience! But I couldn’t quite understand it? So I posed the question to Baba, “What was that?!?” He gave a hearty laugh before explaining;

“In the dry season, the water scarcity causes a lot of movement for the wildlife. The elephant’s are forced to start congregating around the water that is still available. Ordinarily, these animals would choose to avoid this as safety is priority one for most of them.

While elephant’s are very social animals, the older bulls that have been kicked out of the breeding herds tend to wander alone. This obviously leaves them slightly vulnerable and thus they are normally a bit on edge and alert.”

Baba really has a way with understanding and making guests understand.

It turns out, this meeting of two giants was not an act of hatred or anything of the sort. It was a battle of dominance over a scarce resource. We as humans sure know about that! The reason they backed off and happily shared the water, Baba explained, was because there had been a winner, maybe not an out and out winner, but one of the bulls had decided, this isn’t worth getting hurt for, and had backed down to just enjoy the water that would quench his mighty thirst.

This was not the only battle of bulls we saw, but it was definitely the most dramatic! A very interesting afternoon spent by the watering hole!

For more information on the incredible experiences on offer in the Savute Region of the Chobe National Park visit the SAVUTE REGION on our website. You can also read more on SAVUTE SAFARI LODGE as the perfect stay for your Savute safari.

Article and photos by Andrew Flatt

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February 4, 2016

The Elephants of Savute

Filed under: Savute Safari Lodge — Tags: , , , — Stuart Parker @ 9:14 am

Elephants are one of my favourite animals to photograph, especially when they are in a large herd and interacting around a waterhole. I can sit for hours observing how they interact with one another. They are gracious creatures and their family structures are complex, often beyond our understanding.

The Savute Safari Lodge deck is one of my best spots for photographing elephants. With the waterhole and Savute Channel in front of the lodge, the area is a hive of elephant activity, especially in the dry season. I can sit for hours on that deck taking pictures as they make their way down to the waters edge to drink.

I am fortunate to have been to Savute Safari Lodge several times. Below are some of my favourite elephant photos taken from the lodges deck overlooking the Savute Channel.

Bull elephant in Savute in Botswana from Savute Safari Lodge

Old bull elephant making his way down for a drink

Young elephant rushing down to the water

Young elephant rushing down to the water

Elephant in the Chobe National Park in Savute

Walking down the dry Savute channel

With the deck facing the setting sun, the opportunities to capture intense sunsets and silhouettes are endless. On one of my visits we spent the afternoon at the lodge instead of going out on a game drive to photograph the sunset from the deck. The elephants continued to come down to the waterhole as the sun disappeared behind the horizon. With the deep red sky and dust in the air from all the movement, the silhouettes were spectacular.

Elephant at sunset in Savute, Botswana

A young elephant in the late afternoon kicking up dust

Sunset from Savute Safari Lodge with the elephants

Calming walking in front of the setting sun

Elephant sunset in Savute with Savute Safari Lodge

Young boisterous elephant kicking up dust

Elephant silhouette from Savute Safari Lodge

Elephant silhouette in the late afternoon

The below image is perhaps one of my favourites. I took this with the camera on a tripod as the sun had gone below the horizon and there wasn’t much light. Standing on the deck we could hear the elephants rumbling as they hung around at the waterhole.

Elephant herd in front of Savute Safari Lodge in Botswana

Elephants at the waterhole in the late afternoon

For more information visit Savute Safari Lodge on our website. You can also follow the link to read more about the Savute region. 

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