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A week in the Linyanti and Okavango Delta

We kicked off this year with another Botswana adventure to the infamous and incredibly beautiful Linyanti and Okavango regions. Crystal clear swamps, rolling floodplains and shaded woodlands were just some of the amazing terrain we explored. Expecting everything to be rather dull and dry as a result of the severe drought Southern Africa has endured; we were rather blown away by how much water the region has had in recent weeks. The bush is transformed into a green jewel, flourishing and blossoming with all the new summer’s growth. 

Water everywhere… This was most definitely the theme of the trip! We had not seen so much rainwater in Botswana for as long as we can remember. The transformation was not a hindrance or something that put a “dampener” on our spirits. The Linyanti and in fact the whole of Botswana, much like South Africa, has experienced one of its worst droughts in recent history. The areas we visited have perennial river water via the Okavango Delta and the Chobe River systems (which have been pushed to their limits now), but the surrounding habitats and grasslands were like the Sahara Desert just a month ago. If we could show you a picture of the difference a month and 300mm of rain does, it could make anyone believe in miracles!

The first 2 nights we stayed at Wilderness Safaris’ Kings Pool Camp. Whilst in the Linyanti Concession we popped into see Duma Tau and Linyanti Tented Camp.  From there we moved into the Okavango Delta, staying two nights at Wilderness Safaris’ Jao Camp and Sanctuary Retreats Chiefs Camp. Linyanti Tented Camp (LTC) is in a very remote corner of the concession. The camp itself has two separate main areas, servicing 4 rooms each. Two different groups could easily take over a side each and not interact with each other at all. It’s a great private option in an incredible location that’s very comfortable too.

The Kings Pool deck over looking the Linyanti swamps and floodplain. Image courtesy Wilderness Safaris.

The dining room area and bar at Kings Pool Camp. Image courtesy of Wilderness safaris.

The view from the main deck at Kings Pool Camp.

The suites’ bathrooms at Kings Pool.

Hippos have been one of the species affected by the lack of water and standing pools. This young bull was revelling in the new watering holes.

The wild dog packs of the Linyanti are flourishing! There are at least 4 packs that frequent the area, and here one of the members of the LTC pack takes a break from a tough morning hunting.

The pack of 14 then decided to get up and try hunt again.. we followed in the hope …

One of the strongest eagles on the planet, the Martial eagle.

Linyanti tented camp(LTC) is located in a very remote corner of the concession. The camp itself has two separate main areas, servicing 4 rooms each.Two different groups could easily a side each, and not interact with each other at all. A great private option, that is in an incredible location and is very comfortable.

One of two Linyanti tented camp (LTC) main areas. There are two servicing both sides of this very comfortable camp in a remote section of the Linyanti region.

The main suite of the tents. Not seen is the en-suite bathroom and deck.

Lemme (2nd from left), our enigmatic guide with the staff at LTC.

During our quick visit to Duma Tau Camp, we met up with Mama Bee and her team and explored their region. Located on a large body of  water, their floating deck in front of the camp is is a place that one can spend a whole afternoon or evening, soaking up the sounds of Africa, letting the slow ebb and pull of the water rock you off to sleep.

The famous floating deck at Duma Tau.

Looking up to the main deck at Duma Tau camp.

After a short 30-minute flight skirting storms and wet weather, we landed in the middle of the Okavango Delta at Jao camp. Although it was rainy season, the floodplains were exposed as the seasonal flood from Angola had not yet arrived. This allowed us to traverse the Jao flats and , marvel at the incredible diversity of water life watching all the larger creatures enjoying the greener surroundings. The lodge itself is fashioned on a treehouse model, looking out over the Okavango.  You can almost imagine what it would be like to be Simba in the Lion King… everything the light touched belonging to his kingdom.

Crossing the main waterway informant of Jao camp. The rooms can be seen peering out form the tree line on the right.

The Jao camp main area, looking up from the fire area down below.

Cruising the Jao flats, sundowner in hand and watching an epic day come to an end.

A lioness and three sub adult cubs stretch it out, limbering up before the sun goes down.

We were astonished at the sheer diversity and number of birds in the floodplains. I think we must have counted at least 40 pairs of wattled cranes in one area. Amazing!

A rather rare and uncommon rosy-throated longclaw.

Our last stop was Chiefs Island. Not only a very, very special place within the Okavango Delta but also within  the Moremi National Park. Chiefs Island is steeped in history and has, arguably, some of the best wildlife viewing on the planet. It’s a true Paradise for all wildlife. We stayed at Sanctuary Retreats’, Chiefs Camp. Located in the Northern reaches of the island, guests are ideally placed to bear witness to all the splendors around. Oh, and the beautifully designed lodge is in immaculate condition post their recent re-build!

Chiefs camp main area.

Chiefs island is literally a place where animals would go, to live the rest of their days in peace, luxury and contentment. It really is a place that is alive with a plethora of animals and creatures.

A juvenile bateleur eagle takes some time out from searching for carcasses and prey.

This image makes my heart sing! After years and years of conservation efforts, rhinos roam free on Chiefs island and are multiplying. I wish the South African government and the rest of Africa could follow Botswana’s footprints and make such a difference.

A sunset stop after seeing our first ever black rhinoceros in Botswana. Such an privilege.

A herd of buffalo emerges out into a floodplain with rainbow in the background.

A rather comfortable place to rest ones head…

Another angle of the camps main area.

The camps boma, overlooking the floodplain.

One of two brothers that control the area. A little damp and wet from the previous nights foray.

After a fantastic week spent in these magnificent places that appear refreshed and vibrant since receiving a deluge of rain, we came back revitalized and ready to begin the 2017 safari season. Just like the parched earth, we soaked up all the incredible goodness that a week in the Linyanti and Okavango exudes. We cannot wait to feel that immersive feeling again.

Perhaps next time you’ll be with us?