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Northern Botswana Trip Report


Guest sniktawk

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Guest sniktawk

Let’s begin by stating that the entire area had received torrential rains for many months. This had the inevitable result of reducing game viewing, and in some places access. That said it was still a remarkably good trip. Not least because we discovered a new camp which given better weather should provide another very good alternative.

 

Unbelievably the Air Botswana flight left and arrived on time, in accordance with there usual practice we were well fed on nuts and biltong. (Is this the worst flight in the world)?

 

On arrival at Maun we joined our plane to begin our flight to Linyanti Bush Camp, at this stage we were not made aware that the airstrip was closed. We landed at Chobe airstrip (the one used by WS in their Linyanti concession); we then had a roughly 3 hour journey through the NG15 concession on the transit route. After about 2 hours we entered Chobe National Park, no gates, and continued onwards. We had arranged to meet with another vehicle containing our traveling companion (Wendy Langley) and Beks the owner. We stopped at the park campsite for early sundowners (which for those wishing to rough it is in a magnificent setting). Onwards to camp, as most of you are not aware of too much detail of this camp I will be a bit more expansive than normal.

It is in a private concession north of Chobe NP in an area that was known as the Chobe Enclave. (I cannot find a map that pinpoints its exact location).

The camp sit overlooks the Linyanti Marsh plains which stretch as far as the eye can see towards Namibia. The camp consists of 6 large tents each with a lot of space, flush toilets, gas powered shower and sufficient area for storage and sleeping. The tents all have windows (shade netting) overlooking the Linyanti Marshes. The main area is similar in style to Somalisa and is furnished very simply with comfy sofas and interesting old furniture.

 

Food ( important to some) is of the very highest standard and is as well thought out and presented as at Somalisa i.e. about the best you can get without being pretentious.

 

The staff are amongst the best fun and most knowledgeable we have ever met (Beks comes up trumps again).

 

As explained above the water levels were very high it was the first time in 20 years that the river had flowed between the Kwando to Linyanti and on to the Chobe. This made the marsh area virtually inaccessible; we tried once and got stuck.

 

Having seen pictures of the marsh plains in the dry season (teeming with game) this was a little disappointing. Given these limitations we spent a lot of drives inland in the Chobe National Park; this area is clearly not regularly on the tourist trail. In terms of animals we saw Elephant mostly lone bulls, Kudu, Impala, and most impressively a short glimpse of a Common Duiker (only our second ever sighting). We also took a day trip to the Savute Marsh where we added Zebra, Giraffe, and Wildebeest etc to our game count. On this trip we bumped into a couple who we met on the light aircraft transfer, they were staying at the Orient Express Camp (there are no concessions in the Savute area) it is open to everybody. They said they had been having a quiet day, having only seen Wild Dog on a kill and Caracal in daylight; they were most disappointed that they had not seen Lions!

We were not so fortunate, but nevertheless had a great if not long day.

 

BIRDING WAS ANOTHER THING ALLTOGETHER.

 

We had at least two memorable firsts a Racquet Tailed Roller and a Long Crested Eagle, together with many types of Beeater, Owls and Raptors, and a Carmine Beeater accompanied drive. But best of all a flock of Cattle Egret of at least 5,000.

 

In summary a very different place, probably best visited in the dry season, unless you are a keen birder. The most appealing factor is the camp and the enthusiasm and knowledge of the staff, this will become like Somalisa a great addition to wildlife viewing and having a great time.

 

We were forced into using Savute airstrip for our flight to Lebala as Wilderness had banned the use of Chobe airstrip for non-Wilderness customers (how ecological).

We did not mind as this gave us the chance to have a quick look around, Savute an area we will surely return too.

 

We intend to be a lot briefer about Kwando.

 

Unfortunately the Lebala airstrip was flooded so we had to land at Lagoon; this meant a nice long game drive down to Lebala. Our assigned guide was Spencer, which for those who know him meant we were in for a jolly good time. We arrived to a warm welcome at Lebala some 3 hours later; Alwyn is still there happy and smiling. The camp will be refurbished by the end of April early May. We looked at the plans for the new tents and heartily approve let’s hope the prices do not go up too much. Good news for those with batteries, charging facilities will be contained in each tent.

 

There followed 4 days of marvellous game viewing and birding.

 

Now on to Lagoon where Charles was to be our guide (they do treat us very well!).

 

The thing we noticed at Lagoon was the far more friendly atmosphere than during our previous visits; this is down to some excellent new management.

 

OK only 4 game drives here so we saw very little other than the new 3 male Cheetah coalition, and the Wild Dogs (3 out of 4 drives). There is nothing left to add, bloody marvellous.

 

STILL AWAITING AN AARDVARK.

 

WE WILL RETURN AT CHRISTMAS

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OK only 4 game drives here so we saw very little other than the new 3 male Cheetah coalition, and the Wild Dogs (3 out of 4 drives). There is nothing left to add, bloody marvellous.

 

STILL AWAITING AN AARDVARK.

 

Sounds to have been a fantastic trip, and what luck to see the wild dogs several times. Great photos too.

 

I've seen an aardvark once - for about 5-10 seconds as it shot out of a hole right next to the vehicle and dashed off into the bushes. It was so fast nobody got a photo and half the people on the vehicle didnt see it at all.

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Atravelynn

I'm glad you have a report going along with the photo link.

 

Linyanti Bush Camp appears to be a winner. That poor couple who saw only wild dogs on a kill and a caracal! Great luck and skill of the guide to find the 3 cheetahs at Lebala.

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Thanks for the report, Sniktawk. Dogs are nice, but was there anything topi-like?

I still have to see an aardvark and a caracal, and I’d say Nyama is a bit too clever.

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Guest nyama
I would agree roughly with the position of LBC on your map, the airstrip sems a long way from camp but the when we visited to look at flood levels it took a long time. Is Linyanti Discover Camp a rename of Linyanti Tented Camp?

The location of LBC is correct; it's based on two independent GPS readings, one by Beks himself. The location of Saile Airstrip (usually used for LBC) is also correct. Linyanti Discoverer Camp is the former Linyanti Tented Camp now exclusively used for WS Explorations.

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Atravelynn

Thanks, Nyama. Now I'll know how to get there. Seriously, it seems like it could be a good option. Sniktawk, can you tell us approximately how LBC pricing compares to Duma Tau or Savuti Camp?

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Guest nyama

Rack rates for LBC are US$725pppns in high season (June-October) and US$450pppns in green season. Single supplement is US$150.

DumaTau and Savuti are about US$820pppns in high season (June-November) and US$550pppns in low season, single supplement about US$180.

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Guest John Milbank
Rack rates for LBC are US$725pppns in high season (June-October) and US$450pppns in green season. Single supplement is US$150.

DumaTau and Savuti are about US$820pppns in high season (June-November) and US$550pppns in low season, single supplement about US$180.

 

I'm glad I've managed to see something of the delta and the Linyanti and Chobe regions in the past 12 years. Most of my safaris have been there, but I doubt that I can afford to return, even with the AUD approaching parity with the USD.

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Atravelynn

Thanks for the costing. I agree, soon it will be out of reach.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Geoff
For those of you who are interested in wildlife pictures taken in Northern Botswana, feel free to browse our site http://okavango.ifp3.com

 

Yes, I had a quick look at your images the other day and have bookmarked it for a return visit. Some excellent shots.

 

Just a minor point..... Zib & Savuti camps are in the Lyinyanti region not the Okavango.

 

Geoff.

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Alex The Lion

Geoff,

 

Whilst that is true, I have noticed that many photographers will classify the area as the greater Okavango. So when they publish their work, it is normally labelled under the more well known region................

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Hi Geoff,

 

Russell responded already the same way I would have. The other "inconvenience" with the naming of the Linyanti area is that many people mention the specific "sub-areas" when referring to that general area, so people will mention the Savuti area, the Selinda area, or the Kwando area, instead of (or even in addition to) the Linyanti area. It's not as straightforward as the Okavango name for the Delta region itself.

Also, the pictures on our site that were taken in DumaTau, were taken in the Linyanti region as well.

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Guest nyama

I call it the Kwando-Linyanti area - not because of the concession names but because of the names of the river.

 

The Okavango area also got its name because of a river, and the Chobe area too.

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madaboutcheetah

How does "Greater Linyanti" sound? Would cover our favourites -NG 14/16/15

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Guest John Milbank

I prefer to call it the Kwando/Linyanti or just the Linyanti region (as I do on my website) because it is geographically accurate. Sorry, but as an office supervisor :) , I was infuriated by the time and effort wasted when people got lost in country or city because they followed sloppy geographical directions and were incapable of reading maps intelligently.

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Geoff
This area doesn't end at the Namibian border, and in Namibia you hardly hear the name Linyanti.

 

Yes. Does the Kwando river has the same name in Namibia?

 

I'm positive it is called something different in Angola.

 

Geoff.

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Guest nyama
Does the Kwando river has the same name in Namibia?

Yes, it has.

 

In the North, BwaBwata National Park, Kwandu Conservancy, Mayuni Conservancy (with Susuwe Lodge) and Mashi Conservancy are all bordering on Kwando River. You have Mudumu National Park (with Lianshulu Lodge) opposite to Kwando Concession. It's one of the most important tourism areas in the Caprivi Strip.

 

Compared to the Kwando and Chobe areas Linyanti is a rather small area. Maybe the name is so popular because of the excellent marketing department of WS.

 

John is right. Describing this area as being in "Greater Okavango" is really only for people who can't remember more than two, three names. Next we have Jack's in "Greater Central Kalahari" or "Greater Chobe" because people can't remember the spelling of Makgadikgadi...

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Sniktawk - your photos are fantastic - really enjoyed the slideshows. Thnaks for sharing, are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

:)

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madaboutcheetah

Hi Jude,

 

Your trip is now not too far away, right? I'm sure there's excieting times up ahead on safari!!!

 

Cheers

Hari

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Guest John Milbank

Ken,

 

Cuando and Kwando essentially are the same name...just a different language (the pronunciation is similar if not the same). As I see it, the name changes within the Linyanti swamp when the main river flow changes direction quite sharply from south-east to north-east, and-- you're right-- it's the Linyanti River as far as Lake Liambesi, then becomes the Chobe until it joins the Zambezi.

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Impressive amount of knowledge this site has.

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Alex The Lion
Ken,

 

Cuando and Kwando essentially are the same name...just a different language (the pronunciation is similar if not the same). As I see it, the name changes within the Linyanti swamp when the main river flow changes direction quite sharply from south-east to north-east, and-- you're right-- it's the Linyanti River as far as Lake Liambesi, then becomes the Chobe until it joins the Zambezi.

 

From my experience, I believe that John is correct. Though if the spillway were to flow, that would only add to the confusion. I can never remember which way it actually flows...................

 

The majority of the Linyanti is actaully past the WS concession, around the area of the Chobe enclave. Last year, was the first tiem I had seen certain areas flooded, including Lake Liambezi

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