The Linyanti Wildlife Reserve covers and area of 125,000 hectares of pristine wildlife area and is bordered by Linyanti River in the north and the Chobe National Park in the east. Across the Linyanti River northwards lies Namibia’s Caprivi Strip. This area is very different from the Okavango Delta and should be included in every Botswana safari itinerary so that travellers have a more complete and varied experience of the country’s different wildlife areas.
This private reserve is enormous and is one of the least visited and most pristine corners of Botswana and the private owners intend to keep it this way. The Linyanti region is shared between a very small number of private camps, ensuring that guests are able to view the abundant wildlife privately and exclusively.
Much of Chobe National Park’s wildlife spends the winter season in this area and huge concentrations of migratory species such as zebra and elephant can be seen. The Linyanti area is also renowned for its predators, particularly lions and hyenas. It has a wonderful diversity of habitat – open grasslands and waterholes, spectacular mature woodlands, Savuti channel, towering mopane and Leadwood forests.
The Linyanti river meanders as it makes its way eastward towards Chobe river and along its way forms a myriad of pools and lagoons that attract hippos, crocodiles and incredible bird life. These pools also attract game from the dry lands to the east, for out of the rainy season they hold the first permanent waters to be found. In the early evening, with youngsters in tow, several breeding herds of elephant will gather to the pools along the Linyanti to enjoy a drink and to wallow and play in the mud holes.
There are large concentrations of buffalo and antelopes such as Red Lechwe, Tsessebe, Impala and Kudu. More elusive species such as Sable and Roan Antelope are also regularly encountered in this area. The Linyanti has high concentrations of giraffe, which love to feed on the abundant acacia trees along the floodplains, while cheetahs find the open areas of
the Savute channel perfect for running down their prey. The water loving Sitatunga and red Lechwe antelopes are endemics of Linyanti swamps
The Savuti channel is a now dry “waterway” that connects the Linyanti River with the interior of the Chobe National Park, ending at the Savute marsh. The Savute has only ever flowed intermittently and today the channel is open grassland and is home to numerous animals including large herds of zebra,giraffes, buffalos, impala and wildebeests, as well as abundant predators such as lion, serval, bat eared fox, cheetah and African wild dog.
Enjoy the wide variety of birds that flock the river banks and flood plains during the rainy season. There are thousands of swamp endemic species chirping about during the day in harmony with grunting hippos and trumpeting elephants such as the rare Narina Trogon, pelicans and Okavango endemics like slaty egret, white rumbed babbler, wattle crane and others
When to visit
The rains come around November to March with slightly high temperatures and creating thus breeding grounds for Mosquitoes. Road access is thus rough and requires 4X4 vehicles. The dry season is May to October is the best time to visit Linyanti swamps and wildlife reserve with scanty water pools and holes attracting thousands of animals looking for water. The Savuti channel defines the famous zebra migration in Chobe park around November as herds of zebras migrate southwards of Linyati into Savuti area for fresh pastures that come along with summer rains.
Find Linyanti accommodation and overnight from some nearby safari lodges, tented camps, bush camps and other private options like homestays. Linyanti Duma Tau Camp offers luxury safari camping in addition to Kings Pool camp that has iconic views of Linyanti river and Kings pool. Other camping options include Savuti camp located within Linyanti reserve and near Savuti channel, Linyanti bush camp, Lebala camp and other budget options.