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Wildlife Paradise: on Safari in Botswana’s Linyanti Concession

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The Linyanti region lies north of the Okavango Delta. Its extensive rolling grasslands or savannas are what makes this another distinctive part of Botswana’s geography. Let’s get out of the plane and on the ground!

Aerial view of Linyanti

Aerial photo of the Linyanti region

Rich in wildlife, the Linyanti concession is home to a variety of animals. Depending on the weather and temperatures, here you can expect to encounter warthogs, impalas, zebras, wildebeest and elephants, all competing for the rare grassy expanses. In turn, they make fine hunting grounds for predators, like lions and leopards.

The Linyanti River is a special attraction for all kinds of birds. In summer its banks serve as a veritable incubator. As we’ve noted elsewhere already, we are not “birders”…but even we can’t just pass by this owl without returning the stare ;-)

Owl on the tree

Photo safari: Stalking wildlife with Bobby and AB

With our Kings Pool Camp (see our report here)  guide Bobby and his apprentice AB (once again shorthand for a name that is a tongue twister for Europeans) we went on the hunt with our cameras. AB is unbelievable, possessed of eagle eyes that don’t miss a single animal!  Not even the highly poisonous puff adder, extremely well-camouflaged with its predominantly brown markings. But just as quickly as AB spotted it, it disappeared (luckily!). There wasn’t even time to “shoot” it. Just for that, we photographed some other cuddly critters:

Young leopard

Young leopard…

Leopard

…and his mama

Buffalo

Buffalo!

And, once more, here we have a fine warthog specimen representing the Club of the Ugly Five (find our report here). We were surprised to learn there was a counterpart of the famous “Big Five”…

Warthog

We continue to be overwhelmed by the wealth of wildlife on display: buffalos, leopards, and elephants are just some of the more visible Big Five creatures. As always, the elephants are a special treat as herds of them surge across the Linyanti River — it forms the border between Namibia and Botswana — not bothering with customs formalities at all.

Elephant herd

Elephant herd by the Linyanti between Namibia and Botswana

 

Ah, and here also we find uncounted numbers of impalas. It took us just a few safari days to start taking them almost for granted, so prevalent are they here. For all that, we still admire them; they are lovely animals. The local people, however, have taken to calling them “McDonalds.” That’s because  impalas on their furry butts sport a white “M” that, for all the world, looks like the logo of the ubiquitous American burger flipper.

Impalas

Grazing impalas

When we spring a leak in the gas line after driving over a particularly resistant bush and have to stop in the middle of the savanna, it just feels like part of the adventure. Before AB can call for help over the radio, Bobby matter-of-factly had already fixed it. Self do self have…!

Still, it takes the guys a bit longer when we get stuck in drift sand under the star-studded evening sky. With a lot of shoveling and Walter (totally at his ease in the jeep…) pointing out how he would dig us out of a snowdrift, we still make it back more or less punctually to the campfire for dinner…

Linyanti – nature spectacle without end

What we liked especially about the Linyanti region besides the varied wildlife was the contrast-rich landscape: open savanna that gives way to dense riparian forests, interspersed with mixed bush country, and the bone-dry Savuti Canal. I also especially like the impressive leadwood trees that grow up to 20 meters tall with their umbrella-like crowns. Even when they stand there dead and dry, they are still an object of fascination.

Dead Leadwood tree

Dead leadwood tree

Tree in the sun in Linyanti

Tree in the sunrise

The Sundowner

Any safari veteran will know that when you are about to return to camp from an afternoon stalk, shortly before the sun sets, you will be treated to the legendary “sundowner.” The pity of it is that, with all the picture taking, you hardly have time to sip your drink. That is how really marvelous is the show that nature puts on nightly without fail.

Walter taking pictures of the sunset

Walter taking uncounted pictures of the setting sun

Sunset in Linyanti

Many thanks to…

… Bobby, our intrepid guide, for all the new facets of Botswana that he showed us. And to AB, still in the Kings Pool training program, but we already know: you have the right stuff :-)

Guide Bobby of Kings Pool

Kings Pool guide Bobby sporting Wilderness Safaris’ claim
“Our Journeys Change Lives”

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Katja is travelmemo.com’s destination research and booking expert. She always has the upper hand on itineraries and travel details.

When not on the road Katja is a corporate communications and events manager.

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