Botswana : Linyanti, Kwando and Selinda
The Linyanti, Kwando and Selinda Reserves are large, unfenced private reserves on Chobe's Western boundary. In the dry months of June to October, this is where much of Chobe's wildlife is found, including huge concentrations of migratory species such as zebra and elephant, drawn to the permanent water of the Kwando-Linyanti river system. Being outside the national parks, walking and night drives are both permitted, as well as off-road driving which gives you the extra opportunity to find game. The reserve is shared between a very small number of private camps, offering a more remote, private safari than in the busier national parks.
The Savute Channel is a fantastic area for game, best known for its large number of predators and very good elephant viewing. The channel stopped flowing in 1980 and what was a hippo-filled river became a wide open grassland, the perfect hunting ground for predators. In 2008, the Savute Channel once more became a deep, clear waterway and home once again to hippo and other aquatic life and water birds. The wildlife, from plains game to predators, has had to adapt to this new source of water, as well as the opportunities and menaces it brings with it, and here is a wonderful place to enjoy all the high drama of life in the wild as it unfolds.
Duma Tau is a luxury 10-tent camp in the private 125,000 hectare Linyanti Wildlife Reserve which borders the western boundary of Chobe National Park in northern Botswana. Overlooking a large hippo-filled lagoon on the Linyanti waterways, the camp is built on raised decks under a shady grove of mangosteen trees, and each of the rooms have en-suite bathrooms with an outdoor shower and a balcony. Dinner and drinks are served in the main dining room and bar, and there is a swimming pool. Activities include day and night game drives, wildlife viewing from hides and boating. The area is famous for its elephant concentrations in the winter months and for the great game.
Savuti Camp is built along the Savuti Channel in the southern part of the Linyanti Wildlife Reserve. It has seven large, raised tents with en-suite bathrooms. A lovely, intimate camp, it is in an isolated area, far from any crowds and if you are looking for a true bush experience, Savuti Camp should not be missed. There is a separate dining room and bar under reed and thatch, as well as a plunge pool (which elephants often drink out of during the dry season!). Activities include game drives, night drives and walks with an armed guide. There are also a number of elevated hides where guests can view animals quietly and safely away from vehicles.
Kwando is a private concession area situated in Northern Botswana in the heart of big game country. It encompasses a huge diversity of ecosystems including over 80 km of the Kwando River and supports a large variety and quantity of animals and birds. There are just two camps in this part of the concession with skilled professional staff, wholesome food, fine wines and traditional warm hospitality. Activities at both camps include morning and evening game drives in open 4-wheel drive vehicles, walking and fishing.
Kwando Lagoon Camp lies on the banks of the Kwando River shaded by tall and ancient African ebony and marula trees. There are eight luxury tents overlooking the river tastefully furnished with handmade teak furniture, and all with en-suite bathrooms with 24 hour hot water. Activities include sundowner boat cruises and fly fishing as well as day and night game drives.
Lebala Camp is situated 40km away from Lagoon Camp and looks onto the Linyanti wetlands and across wide-open grasslands dotted with Illala palms. There are eight luxury tents built on raised teak decks, with Victorian claw foot baths and open air showers. Each tent is secluded and has its own sun deck. Activities include day and night drives and guided walks.
The Selinda Reserve is a private wildlife concession that links the Okavango Delta to the Linyanti Swamps along the Selinda Spillway. The area is well known for its hippo-killing lions, cheetah, wild dog, and leopard, as well as excellent sightings of plains game such as giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, impala, lechwe and elephant. There are two simple but exclusive camps at which to stay.
Situated on the banks of the Selinda Spillway overlooking open floodplains and palm islands, Selinda Camp is a small, personal luxury camp with just nine tents. Each of the spacious tents is raised and under thatch, and has en-suite facilities with full sized stone baths and antique showers. There is a thatched central dining area and lounge with excellent views of passing game. Activities are conducted in 4x4 vehicles at dawn and in the late afternoon with qualified professional guides, and there are very good birding guides here. Afternoon siestas in the hides and bush walks are also available.
The Selinda Canoe Trail is a brand new canoeing and walking adventure safari.
Zibalianja Camp re-opened in June 2008 with a beautiful new design and spectacular new location to rave reviews and critical acclaim. It has also adopted the simpler-to-pronounce name Zafara. The small, intimate camp has four very luxuriously-appointed marquis style tents with amazing views - game viewing often starts from your bed! There is an adjoining, comfortable lounge and a private plunge pool. Each tent has an en-suite bathroom with copper bath and shower as well as an additional outdoor shower. The guiding is very professional and as well as game drives and bush walks you can shelter in the shade of a hide during the midday heat and watch the animals at leisure.