Located in North of Savuti near the Chobe National Park, Linyanti is a privately owned reserve which is a home to wild life and a top destination for all those that visit Botswana. It is a private reserve which offers tourists a unique experience which cannot be found in the other reserves. The Linyanti reserve receives less tourists as because you need to have booked before and exploring it is determined by which camps you have used while on your tour and therefore for all those who hate crowds Linyati is your destination.
The Linyanti reserve can be visited all year round although the activities that you have on your bucket list determine the exact time that you should visit the reserve. The dry winter is experienced in the months of May to October and this is the best time for all tourists who would love to go for game viewing. Between the months of May to October, most of the waterhole dry up which forces animals to keep on moving to areas within the reserve that still have water sources. You will need to however brace yourself for the heat which sometimes becomes unbearable especially towards the end of October.
The rainy season also known as the green season in Linyanti starts in November and ends in March. During this time birds of different species can be seen flying into Linyanti to settle at the different water bodies within making it an ideal time for birding. There are several ways that you can carry out birding in the Linyanti reserve and these are you can go birding on a Mokoro, walking through the reserve or by driving through the reserve. The rainy season is also the best time for tourists who want to see young animals as this is the time when most of the wild animals breed. Some of the baby animals that you will see include baby kudus, elephants, antelopes and baboons but you should be aware of the mosquitoes in the reserve during the rainy season and other insects that breed during this season.
Enjoy elephant trekking through Linyanti. The Linyanti has an extremely large number of elephants and trekking exercises are carried out for as long as you have an armed tour guide with you. The best time for all those who love elephant trekking is from the month of May to December and these can be seen along the River Linyanti before moving on to the nearby Savuti reserve.
Explore the Linyati River which is starts from the Okavango Delta and keeps on flowing through the Rift valley. It is characterized with papyrus plants and due to the change of course of the River, it brought about the formation of the Linyanti swamp. These can be explored when you go for a boat cruise and some of the activities that are carried out on the Linyanti River include fishing, birding and viewing of some aqua animals like crocodiles and hippos.
Birding in Linyanti is mostly done during the wet season because this is when the migratory birds fly into the Linyanti reserve. Some of the birds that are found within the Linyanti include the racket tailed roller, the wattled crane, red billed hornbill and red billed oxpecker, African fish skimmer, the African darter, squacco heron, the long toed lapwing, the African finfoot, the white backed night heron, the pennant winged nightjar
Enjoy a Mokoro ride along the swamps and Rivers that are found in Linyanti. These are mainly offered by the camps that are located within the Linyanti reserve and a Mokoro ride is known to be one of the safest and easiest ways to enjoy nature without the disturbance of engine noise. It carries only two people and it is pushed forward across the water with a large pole, offers a great closer view of the birds and is normally carried out during the rainy season when the water levels are a bit high.
Enjoy a helicopter ride over the Linyati where you get to view the reserve from a different point of view. The helicopter ride over Linyanti takes about thirty minutes and it is the best way to track the animals that habitate within the reserve like the elephants. Note that the helicopter ride takes only three passengers and since the doors are removed, tourists get a clear view of the animals below and it is extremely good for photo safaris.
Game drives through Linyanti is the first activity that you should carry out when you get to Linyanti and this is because of the different animal species that habitate within the Linyanti reserve. It is commonly known for the high concentration of elephants that can be seen in moving around the banks of the River Linyanti. Other animals that habitate here minus the elephants include the sable antelopes, African wild dogs, hippos, the roan antelopes, waterbucks, sitatunga, zebras, impalas, crocodiles, kudus, buffalos, lions, leopards and the red Lechwe. The best time for you to go for the game drives through Linyanti is during the dry winter when the vegetation is scanty which allows you to easily see the animals and some can be seen moving towards the Linyati River in search of water and you will need to get yourself a 4×4 car in order to easily drive through the Linyanti reserve.
Enjoy fishing on the River Linyanti and the Linyanti swamp. Many of the camps and lodges that are found within the Linyanti reserve have fishing equipment that you can borrow and head out to enjoy some of fishing. The most commonly caught fish here is the tiger fish although you will also be able to get other fish species.
Night drives through Linyanti have become a favorite for many tourists and since it is a privately owned reserve, it is easily accessible at night but only if you have pre-booked for the night drive. The night drives are always carried out with the help of a tour guide and some of the animals that you will see when on night drives through Linyanti include spring hares, the wild cats that hunt at night, bush baby and night jars
Go for a field study of the vegetation found within the Linyanti reserve. It consists of riverine woodlands and open savannah grasslands which can be seen scattered all over the reserve. These act as habitats for both animals and birds within the Linyanti and with the help of a tour guide you will be able to get a close look at the vegetation and also get to know all that is medicinal while spotting all the wild life that habitates within the vast vegetation in Linyanti and it is best seen after the rainy season has come to an end.
Canoeing through Linyanti is also one of the activities that tourists carry out while on a trip to Linyanti. The area is filled with swamps and lagoons and the largest swamp is known as the Linyanti swamp which can be explored while on a canoe ride through Linyanti. The canoe rides are majorly carried out during the wet season or green season when the water levels are high and while canoeing you will be able to do birding as there are many bird species in around the swamps, do some fishing and take photos of the reserve while on water.
Nature walks through Linyanti are done during the dry season because this is when the nature trek routes are easily accessible. The nature walks are carried out in the presence of an experienced armed tour guide and they start in the morning and push towards the afternoon. Going on foot around the Linyanti reserve is an experience that everyone should get as you will get the real feeling of the wild, track down a few animals and get a close look at the animals while learning more about the bird, animals and plant life in the reserve.
Photo safaris in Linyanti are carried out by many tourists who visit the reserve and this is due to the fact that the landscape and all the wildlife that habitats within the reserve are better seen and remembered when you are behind the lens. There are hides that are found within Linyanti and these are used to easily get a close view of the animals and take photos from the different angles without the animals noticing that they are being watched.
How to get to Linyanti
Since it is a privately owned reserve, access to Linyati is not quite as easy as it is with other reserves and National parks. Tourists need a 4×4 car to drive through the sandy roads and access to the reserve is only open to tourists who are staying at the camps and lodges and have booked before the tourists get to Linyati. The best way to get to Linyanti is by using a light air craft since the roads are unbearably hard to drive on.
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.