Reviews of Linyanti Bush Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
a wonderful stay at Linyanti
We enjoyed a wonderful three-night stay at Linyanti Bush Camp. From the moment we were collected at the air strip to the moment we were seen on our way with a song and a dance, we were looked after amazingly by friendly and competent staff. Led by Isaac and Tati, everybody went out of their way to make us feel welcome and cater for our every need. Our tent was just fantastic - far more luxurious than we had expected - as was the quality of the food.
The daily game drives with Tati were a treat and the time just flew by. The general thick vegetation in the Linyanti area means that spotting game is maybe not as easy as in other areas, but Tati did everything humanly possible to enable us to see a whole range of animals and birds. He was friendly, courteous and extremely informative at all times. The sundowners were a real treat, and the warm ponchos were a blessing in the early morning and after sundown.
Although we knew in theory, we were still suprised at how cool it was from sundown until late morning. Warm clothing is a must in July - the hot-water bottles in our bed were lovely though.
The only slightly negative thing to say about the stay was the form we were asked to sign in which we agree to exonerate African Bush Camps for any blame even in the case of gross negligence. Something should be done about the wording here.
An odd time at Linyanti
We couldn't decide whether to tick Average or Poor above as it was a mixture of things that we weren't comfortable with.
Firstly we were delighted to be met by all the staff singing - in fact the service from the staff was excellent throughout. We were met by our host, Martin, and hostess, Bella - over a fruit juice David was asked to sign an indemnity form which he felt went too far as it absolved the camp from all responsibility even if they were negligent. We were then taken to our room (honeymoon suite as it was the only tent with a double bed) but had the worst view. After an hour or so we met for iced tea and cake and set out on our first game drive.
Our guide was Tati who, whilst knew the answer to every question, regularly saw game two or three seconds after we had spotted it and appeared deaf as a post and you had to repeat yourself three times! Game was very skittish and very sparse (although we accept that the unusual June rains contributed to this).
Over dinner the first evening, the five of us sat down - David, myself, Martin, Bella and Tati. We had a strong feeling that we were there to entertain them rather than the other way round and this feeling persisted. At no time did Martin initiate conversation and Tati only spoke when spoken to (which, I think was twice during the whole meal). Bella was chatty.
The game continued to be sparce and so Martin decided to come with us on a game drive with his camera. I counted 41 minutes before we saw a mammal. He spotted more than Tati, pointed out a couple of raptors and spotted a large group of water buck the other side of the river. On two drives, Tati took us into Chobe NP which had no more game and you couldn't go off-road. The NP also had many tourists on self drive holidays which made a mockery of the "exclusivity" of our Botswana holiday.
One morning he drove along the wide road to Kasane and stopped in the middle of the road for coffee (great views - with traffic!!), another day he drove on the Savuti road for about 50 minutes without seeing anything on four legs before David got fed up and Tati turned round for another 50 minutes. We then parked by the river and watched an elephant swim across the river, climb the bank, eat a few leaves before disappearing so the drive ended on a high.
Our final afternoon drive lifted the whole experience. I saw a group of vultures in the air and realised that they were circling quite low and dropping out of the sky. Tati wanted to see what was going on but was hesitant because of the density of the bush. David said he would stand and guide him through and with added confidence Tati became a bull elephant and what he couldn't run over, chopped down. Eventually we saw a relatively young elephant had been killed and there were eight lions having supper. A fantastic experience.
The following morning Martin and Bella decided to come and have a look too. Martin said virtually nothing during the whole trip but did take a few photos. I afterwards asked him whether he was cross that Tati had pushed so far into the bush as he'd said nothing the whole morning, but he confirmed to me that he wasn't cross since he doesn't interfere with the guide's job. We felt as if he and Bella were being tourists and that we were paying for their little jaunt.
We asked for dinner on our own for the last night and they excelled themselves giving us dinner in the boma. We had a lovely evening and, as usual, the staff were great and had gone to a lot of effort.
In summary the accommodation and staff service were exactly what we would hope for. However, neither the host nor the guide enabled us to feel fully comfortable during our time there. We do not feel we got value for money at Linyanti.
Expert Africa comments
We’re very pleased that these travellers had some fairly good game-viewing, including the lion on the elephant kill, although clearly some drives were quiet and thus disappointing.
We relayed their comments to Beks Ndlovu, the owner of Linyanti Bush Camp. He was concerned to hear these comments about the guiding and the general management – as we know that he works hard to maintain high standards at his camps.
He has discussed this at length with the manager at LBC, and with the hostess, to address these issues and ensure that they don’t crop up again.
He also conveyed his personal apologies for a disappointing stay, and has made a very kind gesture to these regular Africa travellers – to help them enjoy their next trip even more.
Linyanti Bush Camp review
local airstrip unavailable so transfer much longer on uncovered truck. good accomodation and food and guiding. Lovely dinner in the boma on the first evening, all staff very helpful.
Ponchos a very useful idea for the chilly start and finish of the day
closer to nature than muchenje with game close to the camp at night. Less game here than elsewhere
after day 1 we were the only guests - good for staff attention but less opportunity to chat around the fire in the evning
Linyanti Bush Camp review
What can you say, when you are the only guest in camp, and everyone gives you their undivided attention?
I found all the staff to be very friendly and helpful.
Pilot and Tati, the above not with standing, are two excellent, informative guides, for whom nothing was to much trouble.
Linyanti bush camp
The only none excellent score is due to the game drives, the animals where not as easy to find due to the marsh being flooded. A strange comment to make as you would expect a marsh to be flooded but it restricted where we could go. The guides did do an excellent job in finding what was available and the animals are of course wild and cannot be expected to apper on command.
We did however have 3 lions walking through the camp whilst we were having drinks in the loung/dinning area so they did try and keep our attention. Well spotted in the dark by "Tiny".
Overall still an excellent visit.
Fantastic setting, flexible
The setting for Linyanti has to be seen to be believed.
The guides were great, very keen to respond to our specific requests. 3 nights would be ideal.
Meeting the Linyanti lion pride at night and following them back though the camp was a highlight. Watching 2 big male baboons chase a leopard whilst waiting at the airstrip made for the world's best airport lounge.
Linyanti Bush Camp review
A very different environment to our previous lodge. For more than 20 years the Linyanti area has been dry but this year it is full of water. Photographically the area is stunning.
The camp is smaller and more intimate than some and very well organised by Noreen and her team. Our guide, Tati, was a lovelly man. He was a real gentleman and tried to give us the best views of the game that he safely could. He was informative and for my money deserved a medal for patience with one tourist who would have tried the patience of a saint. One guest had a birthday whilist we were there and celebrations duly took place including singing by the staff and the cutting of a cake.
The wildlife highlight was the hunting by lions of a herd of buffalo. Whilst we did not see a kill we did track the lions for some time and got many photos and lots of video. For those that like it, the birdlife is superb. After dark a spotlight is used so that the action continues well after sundown. All the water this year meant that there are plenty of mosquitos but nets and repellant are provided to keep the worst at bay.
This is a place where you quickly feel as if you have been a resident for much longer than you actually have. That is a real compliment to the staff. At the time of our visit there was no qualified guide for walking safaris but that will be rectified soon.
Rising waters are changing Linyanti
The Linyanti River below now has water for the first time since 1980 I believe. This has transformed the plain below to a mixture of river and marsh, with lots of reeds. Hippos are much in evidence, we saw a croc too, and it is now great for birdlife of all types.
But whereas before I guess one of the main attractions was sitting on your terrace above the plain viewing the animals, this no longer applies. And because water is everywhere now, the animals can drink anywhere and are no longer concentrated in a few spots even on the river bank.
In the bush and trees back from the river there is still good game viewing though.
The camp, in terms of staff, service and comfort, is very good (except the thermostat on the shower was particularly sensitive!). In recognition of the situation described above, our guide (Anthony - excellent) took us on a full day game drive down to Savuti, which was great and much appreciated as above and beyond his call of duty - almost our last sighting was a leopard! This was a long day though and may not suit everyone.
As the river situation is changing at the moment I'd recommend checking the latest situation with Expert Africa.
Birding in LInyanti
Noreen is an excellent hostess and ensured that the guests interacted - for example by asking everyone for their sighting of the day around the camp fire. The atmosphere is relaxed and easy going and, as in Little Kwara, there is a 'family' feeling.
The tent is well furnished although again the shower was frustrating.
Our guide Tati took to heart our statement that we were interested in birds. Given that we had seen so much wildlife and big game at the other three camps he focused on driving us very slowly through the areas where he pointed out everything, including birds so small we didn't know they were there. He seemed to memorise Anne's sightings list and made a big effort to fill in the gaps. It was, for us, the perfect way to end the series of camps.
The mopane woodland is a different environment and we saw few big animals - but that was because of what we did and the other guests had a number of good sightings.
The walk was interesting - there were five guests and Tati led with Pilot as backup . Pilot discovered that there were lions nearby but they went away before we could see them. Anything can happen on a walk.
There were various routes here which could not be accessed because of the high water levels.
Linyanti Bush Camp review
Excellent guiding from Tati, very keen on birds as well as game, knowledgeable and took the time to impart it.
Great variety of bird life, big game more difficult to view due to Mopane woodland and not being as concentrated as normal because of higher than normal water level, but often felt more rewarding when seen in bush rather than savannah grassland
Very comfortable tents, excellent food
Welcoming and helpful attitude from manager and staff, flexible re meals if guests occupied in guiding.
Just six tents made it feel more personal and allowed us to have the benefit of our own guide and landcruiser for our family of four, which was brilliant
Generally felt less corporate and more welcoming than Ker and Downey at Shinde