Linyanti Bush Camp is a simple, stylish camp.
Linyanti Bush Camp and Linyanti Ebony : Our full report
Linyanti Bush Camp and its newer counterpart, Linyanti Ebony, stand side by side on the edge of the Linyanti Marshes in a private reserve known as the 'Chobe Enclave' – bordering the western boundary of Chobe National Park. They’re alike; offering comfortable tented accommodation in the traditional style of early explorer camps. Usually operated separately, Bush Camp’s six tented rooms and Ebony’s four can combine for larger groups. The area’s mix of wet and dry terrain attracts a variety of wildlife, including big-game species and large herds of elephant and buffalo from May to October. Since the Linyanti River refilled the marshes in 2008, activities include mokoro and boat trips as well as game-drives and walks.
The Linyanti Marshes were largely dry when Linyanti Bush Camp, the first of the two camps, was built. Then in 2008, heavy rains in the Kwando and Linyanti river catchments, combined with the suspected shifting of fault lines, caused the Linyanti River to flood onto the marshes. The reed and grass filled swamps stretch out in front of the camps, creating an open, though not particularly idyllic, outlook. There’s a variety of other environments here: watery lagoons and permanent river channels popular with hippos and colourful birdlife; open grassy floodplains that attract grazing herds; riparian woodland and thickets ideal for lions to lay ambush; cathedral mopane forest concealing shyer animals like leopard; and dry scrubland interior for browsers such as kudu, sable and roan.
The camp’s owners, Beks and Sophia, have worked in Zimbabwe and Botswana tourism for many years. Beks holds a Zimbabwean 'Professional Guides License' and ample experience, making him one of the best safari guides in the business. Their passion and knowledge filters through to their predominantly Botswanan camp staff, hence you’ll usually find knowledgeable and enthusiastic managers and guides here.
Linyanti Bush Camp and Linyanti Ebony are very similar - both have an intimate tented main area that serves as a dining room, lounge, bar and meeting point; a small swimming pool; and en-suite tented rooms. The main areas are large custom-made tents, secured by a wooden framework and raised on wooden floors. These are simply furnished with comfy seating, bookcases, a dining table and a help-yourself drinks fridge behind the bar. A few local artifacts, old-fashioned pieces and worn travel chests add to the early settler feel. A wooden deck to the front provides a sunny spot to sit and steps take you down to a sandy clearing with an open firepit encircled by chairs. Sandy paths from the main area lead to the tented rooms. As the camps are not fenced, and animals such as hippo and elephant often move through, guests are escorted to their rooms after dark.
The tented rooms at Linyanti Bush Camp and Linyanti Ebony may appear simple from the outside, but they offer understated comfort on the inside. Each large traditional Meru-style tent is supported by a wooden frame and entered through a zip door. The key differences are the Bush Camp’s rooms have concrete bases with a sandy porch whereas Ebony’s have wooden platforms with a wooden porch, and there’s twin hand basins in Ebony’s rooms opposed to a single hand basin in the Bush Camp rooms.
All the rooms are tastefully decorated in pale neutrals, with sisal-mat flooring, and polished wooden furniture. There’s a writing desk, comfortable sofa with footstool, and a sleigh-style bed decked with pillows, duvets, crisp white linen and an overhead mosquito net. Bedside tables and lamps, a wooden chest come luggage rack, a chest of drawers and a free-standing wardrobe with hanging space complete the set up. You are provided with mosquito coils, insect spray and repellant, wildlife magazines, bathrobes, drinking water, and a tea/coffee station. Note that there are no facilities in the guest rooms for using hair dryers or charging electronic equipment (items can be charged in the main area), nor is there a fan or cooling system.
Mesh windows help keep bugs out and the canvas flaps can be rolled up to let a cooling breeze through as the tents can get warm during the heat of the day, particularly those less shaded by trees. At the front of each room is a small porch with two outdoor chairs overlooking the Linyanti Marshes.
The en-suite bathrooms form part of the main tents, screened by the wardrobe and a canvas partition (although they are still quite open!). The wooden washstand and washbasin with overhanging mirror are largely open to the room. Behind the partition is the shower, enclosed in a curtained canvas cubicle with a large rain shower-head, and a flush toilet. Copper piping provides hot and cold water on tap. There’s also a laundry basket, fluffy towels and toiletries including body lotion, shampoo and soap.
There are a variety of activities offered at Linyanti Bush Camp and Linyanti Ebony – in our experience led by excellent guides. The 4WD game drives (day and night) and guided walks now combine with water activities within the replenished marshes, by boat and mokoro (a traditional dug-out canoe – nowadays often made of fiberglass). We enjoyed the mokoro trip on our last visit in November 2011 - though the setting is not as idyllic as many inner Delta waterways, it was peaceful and great for birdwatching. River cruises and fishing trips take you further along the waterways by pontoon or speedboat. The 4WD excursions reveal a range of habitats within the Chobe Enclave and day trips to the Savuti Marsh are also available on request for guests staying three or more nights. The walks offer a closer look at flora and fauna and the thrill of seeing wildlife on foot, under the watchful eye of an armed guide.
Starting from either camp, bush enthusiasts should consider adventurous nights at the semi-permanent Saile Tented Camp or a two - three-night Footsteps Across the Linyanti walking safari (both available from May to October). These are also led by top guides within the private Chobe Enclave, for a minimum of two guests and a maximum of 12 at Saile Tented Camp or six for the walking safari. The intimate mobile camps consist of walk-in Meru-style tents with twin camp beds and linen, plus a private bathroom with bucket shower and bush loo.
Our viewLinyanti Bush Camp and Linyanti Ebony will suit safari enthusiasts looking for an authentic tented camp offering understated comfort and an emphasis on adventure. Both are intimate and relaxed with warm, homely service. Activities are varied and the guiding usually first rate. There’s wildlife here year round but densities increase greatly in the dry season (May to October) when transient game congregates around the permanent waters of the Linyanti River.
Ideal length of stay: We recommend a 3-night stay at Linyanti Bush Camp or Linyanti Ebony to experience the mixture of activities and the varied terrain.
Directions: Linyanti Bush Camp and Linyanti Ebony are reached by light aircraft into Saile Airstrip (1 hour from Maun and 35 minutes from Kasane). It’s then roughly an hour’s drive to camp, depending on time spent game viewing on the way.
Owner: African Bush Camps
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: We found the food at Linyanti Bush Camp and Linyanti Ebony to be simple, wholesome and tasty. Meals are served as a buffet or set menu and guests generally dine together.
On our last visit in November 2011 we arrived in time for lunch – a light but satisfying mix of yummy home-made butternut and seed bread, cold meats, cheeses, salad and sliced fresh fruit (eyed up by cheeky ground squirrels).
Before the afternoon activity a selection of sweet muffins and savoury snacks were provided, along with a choice of hot or iced tea and coffee.
For dinner we enjoyed grilled aubergine and mozzarella for starters; and beef fillet with rice, cauliflower and gem squash stuffed with sweetcorn for our main course. Desert was equally tasty – a light chocolate mousse.
Breakfast was a range of continental options from the buffet plus a hearty plate of full English breakfast to order.
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: A good selection of drinks is included in the cost. Exotic or premium brands and champagne must be arranged in advance, and will be charged extra.
Birdwatching: With highly knowledgeable guides and a mix of wet and dry environments, Linyanti Bush Camp or Linyanti Ebony is an excellent spot for keen birdwatchers. When we last visited we noted a particularly wide variety of raptors and owls, as well as more usual avian fare.See more ideas for Birdwatching in Botswana
Wildlife safaris: Linyanti Bush Camp and Linyanti Ebony stand west of Chobe National Park, in a private reserve where walking, off-road driving and night drives are allowed. The emphasis is on thoughtful guiding and the wildlife experience. Game viewing builds to a crescendo during the dry season (May to October) with huge elephant and buffalo herds.See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in Botswana
Attitude towards children: Linyanti Ebony is the most child friendly as they have no age restriction and an en-suite family tent (which sleeps four in a double and twin room). Linyanti Bush Camp welcomes children from the age of 7 years. Note the following restrictions which apply for both camps.
Equipment: No equipment for children is provided.
Generally recommended for children: We would recommend Linyanti Ebony for children of any age and Linyanti Bush Camp for children aged 7 and over, with a genuine interest in wildlife.
Notes: The camps are unfenced and wildlife does occasionally pass through; hence children must be under the constant supervision of their parents.
Power supply: Generator
Communications: For all intents and purposes you should consider yourself out of contact here. There is no telephone or internet, though those with roaming may pick up a weak cellphone network from across the Namibia border. In an emergency, radio contact can be made with the head office.
Health & safety
Malarial area: Yes
Medical care: Managers and guides are first-aid trained, and a comprehensive first-aid kit is kept in camp. In an emergency, the camps can arrange a medivac to Maun.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: Due to the presence of potentially dangerous wildlife, guests are escorted to their rooms after dark. Whistles are provided in the rooms in case of an emergency.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in the common areas and outside each room. There’s also a firebreak around camp as a precaution against bush fires.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: A full laundry service is included.
Money: The camp does not offer any money exchanging facilities and there are no safes in the rooms. Valuable items can be kept secure in the office safe if required.