Linyati and Selinda Overview
The Linyanti Wildlife Reserve, bordering on the western boundary of Chobe National Park consists of 125,000 hectares of unspoiled wilderness. Open grassland, riverine forest, mixed terminalia woodland and the dry Savuti Channel characterize most of the area. The area is most noted for its very large elephant populations, which can reach enormous densities in the winter months. Impala, lechwe, kudu, zebra, giraffe, sitatunga, sable, roan, waterbuck, buffalo, bushbuck and the smaller antelope are all found here.
The major predators, such as lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog and hyena, are resident and regularly sighted. The reed and papyrus swamps are ideal for numerous and diverse species of birds, ranging from the fish eagle to waterfowl, cranes, storks, plovers and herons. Selinda Wildlife Reserve is a private wildlife area located to the northwest of Savuti. This area covers some 800 square miles along the Selinda Spillway, which links the Okavango Delta to the Linyanti Swamps. These papyrus marshes are home to crocodile, hippo, sitatunga and lechwe. The birdlife is prolific and varied, especially in the riverine areas. Game viewing is exceptional with sightings of lion, cheetah, wild dog, leopard, elephant and buffalo, to name a few.
By Air: The only way to visit the Linyanti Concession is by charter plane. You can fly from either Maun or Kasane (or other camps in Botswana). Maun Airport (MUB) or Kasane Airport (BBK) are the entry points into the country for most visitors on their way to Linyanti, although this is dependent on each client's itinerary.
The vast majority of visitors fly into the Selinda Reserve. It's certainly the easiest and quickest way, taking only about an hour from Maun or Kasane, and very easily organised when doing a tour or Safari. There's an airstrip situated halfway between the Selinda and Zibalianja camps, less than 5km from either of them.
Driving is the last option you may want to think about! Unless you are highly self-sufficient and bush-wise you would be much, much wiser to fly. With little or zero passing traffic, you would face a major problem in the event of a breakdown, or an argument with an aggressive elephant.
By Road: So incase you would liek to drive, from northern Chobe, the Selinda Reserve is easiest to approach coming from the Linyanti Campsite, driving through the south side of the Linyanti Reserve on what's known as the 'transit route'. However you intend to arrive, you must book in advance, and make sure that the Selinda team know exactly when you're arriving, and by which route you intend to approach. This transit route is designed to allow vehicles to cross this private concession whilst causing the minimum of disturbance to the guests. Note that if you drive off the transit route, you'll be an unwelcome intruder on a private concession!
The Linyanti River and the Savute Channel attract big herds of animals in the Dry season. Elephant are particularly prolific, but so are other herbivores, such as red lechwe, Burchell's zebra, blue wildebeest, impala, waterbuck and buffalo. Lion, wild dog and cheetah are regularly seen. Night drives give an opportunity to spot bushbaby, genet and other nocturnal species.
Birding is outstanding in Linyanti, offering both Okavango specials, such as slaty egret, and the drier mopane woodland species, such as Arnot’s chat. The Savute Channel, which lies partially within the concession, is famous for its high concentration of birds of prey, and this area is internationally recognized as an IBA (Important Bird Area). Night drives offer an opportunity to spot nocturnal species like owls, coursers and nightjars.
Best Time to Visit
Linyanti Concession can be visited any time of the year, but the best time for general wildlife viewing – elephant specifically – is in the dry months, from May to October. However, the Wet season is the time to see the zebra migration. In November, the zebras foal in Savuti and congregate around Linyanti, between February and April.
The Linyanti Concession, like other areas in the Okavango, is generally warm but sees a dramatic drop in temperature in the middle of the Dry season (April to October). Wrap yourself up in warm clothing if you’re going on early-morning game drives or scenic boat trips. The temperature peaks in October, just before the Wet season (November to March) delivers some refreshing rain.