The Linyanti Wildlife Reserve is a private reserve bordering Chobe National Park’s western boundary. It is an enormous reserve, teeming in wildlife, covering an area of 308,000 acres. There is a very limited number of private lodges and camps which ultimately creates an unrivaled atmosphere of remoteness and seemingly unlimited expanse for a Botswana safari.
Although the concession lies adjacent to the greater Chobe National Park, it has a distinctly different eco-system. The swamp has formed in the corner where the permanently- flowing Linyanti River takes a 90° turn, forming channels, lagoons and a lush area of reed beds, providing permanent water to the region. The lush and attractive vegetation at Linyanti includes jackal berry, leadwood, sausage trees and other hardwoods.
This natural creation in turn has become home to aquatic species such as sitatunga and red lechwe, and handsome roan and sable antelope can be seen all year round. During the dry winter months, The swamp lures vast herds of thirsty elephant, zebra and wildebeest. Other plains game includes Cape buffalo, eland, southern giraffe, hippo, impala, warthog, common waterbuck and Burchell’s zebra. Chacma baboon and vervet monkey are also resident.
With such a wide variety of mammals, predators are sure to follow, including lion, cheetah, hyena, leopard and other carnivores. Linyanti also provides a stronghold for the endangered African wild dog. Nocturnal species of animal include aardwolf, lesser bushbaby, serval, spring hare, (large spotted) genet and occasionally the elusive pangolin!
There are three main features of a Linyanti safari. The Linyanti River weaves through the area, leaving a myriad of pools and lagoons along its shore where hippo, crocodile and an abundance of bird species, and can be observed whilst on safari. Toward the interior of Linyanti are the spectacular mature woodlands. During the dry winter season massive herds of elephants roam amongst the towering mopane and leadwood forest. Two thirds of the Savute channel, famous for its sporadic water flow and amazing variety of wildlife and bird species along its banks, is located in Linyanti Reserve.
Other aspects of the concession include floodplains, grasslands, exotic palm islands and scrub vegetation. The entire region harbors one of the densest, dry season concentrations of elephant in Botswana. It has been estimated that Linyanti must have several thousand elephants roaming around at any one time, and it is not hard to understand in this day and age of conservation, this phenomenon has become one of the main attractions for a northern Botswana safari experience.
Linyanti is an outstanding all-year African birding safari destination, with species ranging from the Okavango specials, such as Hartlaub’s babbler, wattled crane, slaty egret, African skimmer, Allen’s gallinule, to the drier mopane woodland species like racket-tailed roller, Bradfield’s hornbill, white-breasted cuckoo-shrike, Bennett’s woodpecker, swallow-tailed bee-eater and Arnott’s chat. This reserve is also excellent for kori bustard, ostrich and various owl species, such as Verreaux’s giant eagle-owl and the African scops-owl.
A Botswana safari to the Linyati Reserve area and its many varied habitats of dry woodlands and grasslands, marshes, riverine forests and waterways, together with the prolific and diverse wildlife and spectacular scenery, forms a wonderful contrast to the Okavango Delta.
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