Linyanti Bush Camp

Linyanti Bush Camp : Our full report

Rooms
6 Meru-style tents
Traveller's rating
Good (90%) From 31 reviews
Children
Best for 12+
Open
All year

On the edge of the Linyanti Marshes, Linyanti Bush Camp stands in a private reserve known as the Chobe Enclave, bordering the western boundary of Chobe National Park. Like its adjacent sister camp, Linyanti Ebony, it offers comfortable tented accommodation in the traditional style of early explorer camps. The two are usually operated separately, but with their adjacent locations they can be combined for larger groups.

The Linyanti Marshes were largely dry when Linyanti Bush Camp 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. As a result, the Chobe Enclave is now a mix of wet and dry terrain. Reed- and grass-filled swamps stretch out in front of Linyanti Bush Camp, creating an open, though not particularly idyllic, outlook.

Watery lagoons and permanent river channels are popular with hippos and colourful birdlife; open grassy floodplains attract grazing herds; riparian woodland and thickets are ideal for lions to lay ambush; cathedral mopane forest conceal shyer animals like leopard; and dry scrubland interior suits browsers such as kudu, sable and roan. Then, between May and October, the area is frequented by large herds of elephant and buffalo.

Linyanti Bush Camp’s owners, Beks and Sophia, have worked in tourism in Zimbabwe and Botswana for many years. Beks holds a Zimbabwean Professional Guides Licence which, combined with ample experience, makes him one of the best safari guides in the business. Their passion and knowledge filters through to their predominantly Botswanan camp staff, so you’ll usually find knowledgeable and enthusiastic managers and guides here.

Linyanti Bush Camp’s intimate tented main area comprises a large, custom-made tent secured by wooden framework and raised on wooden flooring. Incorporating a dining room, lounge, bar and meeting point, it’s simply furnished with comfy seating, bookcases, a dining table and a help-yourself drinks fridge behind the bar. A few local artefacts, old-fashioned pieces and worn travel chests add to the early settler feel. To the front, a wooden deck provides a sunny spot to sit, and steps take you down to a sandy clearing with an open firepit encircled by chairs. There’s also a small swimming pool.

Sandy paths from the main area lead to Linyanti Bush Camp’s six Meru-style tents, supported by wooden frames on concrete bases, with a sandy porch at the front where two chairs overlook the Linyanti Marshes. Entered through zipped doors, each large tent offers understated comfort, with tasteful décor in pale neutrals, 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-cum-luggage rack, a chest of drawers and a free-standing wardrobe with hanging space complete the set up. Guests are provided with mosquito coils, insect spray and repellent, wildlife magazines, bathrobes, drinking water, and a tea/coffee station. Note, however, that there are no facilities in the guest rooms for using hairdryers or charging electronic equipment (items can be charged in the main area).

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. There is no electric fan or cooling system.

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, while the partition conceals a flush toilet and a curtained canvas cubicle with a large rain-head shower with plenty of hot and cold water. There’s also a laundry basket, fluffy towels and toiletries, including shampoo, soap and body lotion.

There are a variety of activities offered at both Linyanti Bush Camp and Linyanti Ebony – in our experience led by excellent guides. 4WD game drives (day and night) and guided walks now combine with trips within the replenished marshes by motorboat and mokoro (a traditional dug-out canoe – nowadays often made of fibreglass). We enjoyed the mokoro trip on our last visit; though the setting was not as idyllic as on 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.

Between May and October, bush enthusiasts visiting Linyanti Bush Camp or Linyanti Ebony should consider adding a couple of adventurous nights at the semi-permanent Saile Tented Camp or a two–three-night Footsteps Across the Linyanti walking safari. Also led by top guides within the private Chobe Enclave, these are for between two and 12 guests at Saile Tented Camp, or – for the walking safari – six guests.

Our view

Linyanti Bush Camp will suit safari enthusiasts looking for an authentic tented camp offering understated comfort and an emphasis on adventure. Intimate and relaxed, it offers warm, homely service with varied activities and usually first-rate guiding. 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.

Geographics

Location: Kwando-Linyanti area, Botswana

Ideal length of stay: We recommend a three-night stay at Linyanti Bush Camp to experience the mixture of activities and the varied terrain.

Directions: Linyanti Bush Camp is 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.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: African Bush Camps

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: We found the food at Linyanti Bush Camp to be simple, wholesome and tasty. Meals are served as a buffet or set menu and guests generally dine together.

On our last visit 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. Dessert 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.

Special interests

Birdwatching: Highly knowledgeable guides and a mix of wet and dry environments makes Linyanti Bush Camp an excellent addition to a birdwatching holiday. We noted a particularly wide variety of raptors and owls, in addition to bee-eaters and kingfishers.

See more ideas for Birdwatching in Botswana

Children

Attitude towards children: Linyanti Bush Camp welcomes children from the age of 7 years. However, children under 16 years are not permitted on mokoro trips or walking safaris (though they can join nature walks around camp). Families with children under 12 years must usually book a private vehicle – at extra cost, except for families of five or more, who are automatically allocated a private vehicle free of charge Families with younger children could consider Linyanti Ebony, which is adjacent and has a family tent.

Special activities & services: No special activities or services are provided for children.

Equipment: No equipment for children is provided.

Notes: The camp is unfenced and wildlife does occasionally pass through; hence children must be under the constant supervision of their parents.

Infrastructure

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 Namibian border. In an emergency, radio contact can be made with the head office.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: Managers and guides are first-aid trained, and a comprehensive first-aid kit is kept in camp. In an emergency, the camp can arrange medical evacuation 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 to raise the alarm 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.

Extras

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. Everything is pre-paid and included; no payments are required at the camps and there are no credit-card facilities.