The Linyanti Wildlife Reserve is one of Botswana’s most unexplored wilderness areas set along the Linyanti River and Savute Channel. The private concessions – each one a true hidden gem – are tucked away in the north-western corner of Chobe National Park, on the border of Botswana and Namibia, and its biggest drawcards are the absence of crowds as well as the high concentration of wildlife.
Everything you need to know about Linyanti
Linyanti is renowned as one of Botswana’s best game viewing areas, hugely due to the area’s ability to retain water during the harsh conditions of the dry season, making it an excellent location for guests regardless of the time of their visit. The region, with its small number of camps – each only with a few tents – gives visitors the opportunity to have a private and exclusive experience, away from the crowds and far off the beaten tourist path.Immerse yourself in all that Linyanti has got to offer and find out what to expect when to go and where to stay.
The Region of Linyanti
Wedged between the Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park, and the Caprivi Strip of Namibia, the unique location of the three private wildlife reserves – Linyanti, Selinda and Kwando – offers unforgettable safari experiences. Bar none. It is remote, rugged and a real glimpse into an undiscovered section of Africa where each new day delivers authentic experiences against the vocal backdrop of grunting hippos and whooping hyenas.The private concession of Linyanti is set in a scenery of untouched grasslands, floodplains, riverine forest and meandering lagoons and waterways. And needless to say, the abundance of water habitats attracts a myriad of wildlife and birds. It is a congregation of Africa’s finest; a sensory explosion of sights and sounds. Other than the vast herds of roaming elephants, zebra and buffalo, the area is also frequented by lion, leopard, wild dogs and cheetah. And the bird life does not disappoint with over 400 recorded species, including African jacanas, saddle bill storks, the near-threatened African skimmers, nesting colorful Carmine bee-eaters and fish-eagles, fully indulging and preying on the rich waters, putting on feathered performances in the wild.The region is known for its marshes which are formed by the Kwando River flowing from the Angolan highlands and through the Caprivi before it erupts into an unfettered swampland of diversity, similar yet smaller to the Okavango Delta with papyrus-lined waterways and extensive reed banks. The scenic variety of the Linyanti River and its shady mopane forests, wetlands and open savannas are home to a high density of elephants, while the Savute Channel hosts the annual zebra migration during January and February.The Chobe Linyanti area is not only the most diverse park in Botswana, but also one of the most distinct ecosystems in Africa with rare and unusual antelope species such as the roan, sable, Tsessebe, the Chobe bushbuck as well as the sitatunga and red lechwe. It is regarded as one of the world's last true remaining wilderness areas and over the years it has stayed a pristine environment with low environmental impact and minimal developments for tourist activities. Linyanti plays an important role in sustaining wildlife and contributes hugely to the conservation of Botswana’s natural heritage.
The remote location of the Linyanti Wildlife Reserve boasts an exclusive safari experience, and unlike Chobe National Park, low visitor numbers are guaranteed.
You would have to search far and wide to get closer to, and more in touch with nature, than what the activities at Linyanti brings to the safari table. Morning and evening game drives are led by expert guides and given the fact that the area is a private concession, off-road driving is permitted to bring you closer to the animal sightings. At night, after the sun has said its final goodbyes in different tones of crimson, night drives open up a whole new sensation in the dark as you search for the glinting eyes in the wild of bush babies, porcupines and even predators – with growling stomachs – on the hunt. Depending on the water level, river safaris and mokoro trips are on offer and it is a truly magical once-in-a-lifetime meander through the game-rich wonderland of marshes, lagoons, and bird-filled reed beds. There are even opportunities to drop a line overboard and reel in an infamous tiger fish on a catch-and-release fishing expedition. Set out on foot and discover more about the plant species and how it is traditionally used in food and medicine, search for different animal tracks, get closer to the smaller creatures, and if the weather is playing in your favour your experienced guide will know when it is safe to get closer to bigger animals as well. Scenic helicopter flights give visitors not only the opportunity to get a bird’s eye view as the flight path runs along the Great African Rift Valley, Linyanti wetlands and the snaking curves of the Savute Channel, but guests can also contribute to conservation by adding their eyes to the monitoring of the area’s biodiversity from the air and ensuring pathways and corridors are open for the free movement of wildlife.The variety of small, secluded camps in the Linyanti region is an experience on its own, here luxury meets eco-travel and it is all whole-heartedly imbued with the spirit of Africa. By just staying at camp, relaxing on your private deck, cooling off in a plunge pool and just breathing in the fresh air of the wild, you can immerse yourself in nature as wildlife passes through frequently. And you definitely want to keep the binoculars next to you to admire all the birds. Dining is superb – a journey on its own – and from breakfast and high tea, to colorful dinner courses, the wholesome taste of meticulously prepared meals will linger on your taste buds and talk in flours of poetry to your soul. You can also adapt to the pace of nature and its indescribable sensations through a variety of spa treatments that will engage all your senses in a relaxing, serene environment.
Where to stay in Linyanti
If a remote getaway, in the middle of the bush, is what you have envisioned for your safari, the variety of tented accommodation options will not disappoint. And just because the camps are far away from formal civilization does not mean that luxury, world-class friendly services, incredible cuisine and award-winning wines, have been spared. The camps all pack a sumptuous punch with conservation and deep-found respect for nature at the heart of it all.
The charming Camp Linyanti is situated on the Linyanti lagoon and is surrounded by the wildlife-rich marshlands with wide-spanning views. There are only five Meru-style tents, with one tent perfect for honeymooners, and it exists in a wilderness paradise with harmony between comfort, privacy, and a real safari experience.
Linyanti Bush Camp
With just six luxury tents, Linyanti Bush Camp is the ideal setting for an authentic and traditional African safari experience. Decor notes of local artifacts exude the spirit of the area and evoke the feeling of early explorer camps, while the exclusive activities and impeccable hospitality create ever-lasting memories.
Linyanti Ebony Camp
On the edge of the Linyanti Marshes, the small Linyanti Ebony Camp is set within the private Chobe Enclave boasting unparalleled views of the Linyanti River. Often described as Botswana’s rarest gem, there are only four tents at Linyanti Ebony, one being ideal for families, and each tent has its own deck, lounge area, and open-air en-suite bathroom.
Linyanti Tented Camp
The rustic yet elegant Linyanti Tented Camp, with its 4 tents and unique log-pile hide for game viewing, overlooks the floodplains while the marshlands are lapping at your feet and the undisturbed natural beauty captivates your soul.
Dumu Tau Camp
The eco-friendly and intimate Dumu Tau Camp is nestled next to the Osprey Lagoon and runs completely on solar energy. There are only 10 tents, two of which are family-friendly, and the views and proximity to the source of the Savute Channel, make for an unforgettable safari experience.Not sure which Linyanti camp to choose? We can help you plan your getaway to this remote part of Botswana.
Best time to visit Linyanti
Linyanti Wildlife Reserve rewards travelers with excellent sightings throughout the year. During the dry season – between May and October – the marshes of Linyanti become the only source of water over the vast landscape and it draws numerous wildlife closer, making it the ideal time for a safari. During November and April, when the summer rains bless the soil of Africa, the area is still teeming with wildlife and it is a haven for bird watchers and photographers as the abundance of more than 400 recorded bird species and the seasonal changes, captivate the soul.