Savanna landscapes are in a state of continuous change. Some of the determining factors shaping the view at any given locality are relatively short-lived. Fires, storms, seasonal variations, and some wildlife disturbances or human activities last for days, weeks, or a few months. Other factors influence the landscape over much longer stretches of time, such as the development of the underlying soil profile and more gradual processes of climatic change. ‘Shaping the savannas’ considers the drivers of this continuous change: climate; the role of vegetation; the impact of fire and burning–regrowth cycles; the influence of soils; animals and microbes; and humans, the principal determinants of the savanna landscape.