The Linyanti Reserve is owned by Wilderness Safaris, southern Africa's most luxurious safari operator. Located just to the west of the famous Savute marsh area of the Chobe National Park, the reserve is one of the best examples of Botswana's high-end private reserves. The game viewing on offer here is simply superb: all the predators are brilliantly visible and there are high concentrations of elephant and buffalo. When you add in the fact that Linyanti is home to some of the most exclusive lodges in Africa, you have one of the continent's finest safari regions.
What differentiates the Linyanti Reserve from the neighbouring Chobe National Park is the fact that the reserve is private, open only to guests staying in one of the three camps available. The habitat is virtually identical to the majority of the Chobe National Park (the river section excluded), yet exclusivity is guaranteed.
Because the reserve is private, unlike in the national parks there are no limitations on the activities on offer. Night drives, walking safaris, fishing, sleep outs in the reserve's various hides, fly camping and boating (at Kings Pool and Duma Tau only) are all on offer for those so inclined.
The two other private Linyanti reserves, Selinda and Kwando also have similar habitats yet the Wilderness camps here are more luxurious than their neighbours (Selinda’s Zarafa excluded!). It is the luxury of this reserve, as well as the quality of the game, for which it is so famous.
Linyanti: where to stay
The flagship property of the Linyanti reserve has historically been Kings Pool
, a very famous camp which has always in the past come with private plunge pools and a la carte dinners. However, Wilderness are taking out the private plunge pools and making this one of their “classic” camps. It will still be luxurious, but the private plunge pools and extra mod cons are instead going to be in Duma Tau
(which has always been a classic camp, and will now be a premier one). These changes are happening at the end of the 2019 season. Duma Tau will cost $3,176 per person per night in high season, and Kings Pool will be $2,888 per person. So the step up does definitely come with a price tag!
on the other hand is better priced (at approximately $1,600 pppn in high season), and is a small, six-roomed authentic camp that takes a more relaxed approach to safari and has consequently gained the acceptance and recognition of serious safari fans. In our view Savuti is the best value camp in the reserve.
Linyanti: when to go
As with the majority of Botswana’s big game areas, the Linyanti comes into its peak game viewing season from the 1st
June with the very best months being late July, August, September, October and the beginning of November. The rains affect the game here hugely and the herds move out to better grazing when the first rains settle in. So while the early months of the year are superb for birds, the grass is high and makes game viewing difficult. It is not a good region for big game viewing outside peak season.
All camps offer day and night drives and walking safaris; boating trips are possible from Duma Tau and Kings Pool, water levels depending. At Savuti you can also enjoy boating, but this is all done in the Duma Tau region, so if this is a priority for you then you would be better basing yourself on the river at either Kings Pool or Duma Tau. There are also a number of hides in the Linyanti which can be booked for an overnight sleep out in the bush. The newly refurbished sleep out is from Duma Tau, which is set on a seriously beautiful stretch of the Linyanti River.