Linyanti Ebony

Linyanti Ebony : Our full report

Rooms
4 Meru-style tents
Traveller's rating
Excellent (100%) From 2 reviews
Children
Best for 12+
Open
All year

Set within the private Chobe Enclave on the edge of the Linyanti Marshes, Linyanti Ebony is a small, intimate camp with comfortable but traditional tented accommodation. Although operated independently, it sits side by side with its slightly larger sibling, Linyanti Bush Camp, and the two can be combined to accommodate larger groups. Both camps benefit from the area’s mix of wet and dry terrain, which attracts a variety of wildlife.

Both camps are owned by African Bush Camps, which is run by Beks and Sophia; passionate and knowledgeable professionals who have considerable experience of tourism in Zimbabwe and Botswana. In addition, Beks is one of the best safari guides in the industry, his Zimbabwean Professional Guides Licence linked to a wealth of experience. Their enthusiasm and knowledge is infectious, and you can expect to find it mirrored among the predominantly Botswanan staff at Linyanti Ebony.

Linyanti Ebony’s tented main area, which serves as a dining room, lounge, bar and meeting point, is very similar to that of Linyanti Bush Camp, with simple but comfortable furnishings designed to lend a traditional feel. Steps lead from a sunny wooden deck to a firepit surrounded by chairs, and a small swimming pool offers respite in the heat of the day.

While the four Meru-style tents at Linyanti Ebony are also very similar to those at Linyanti Bush Camp, Ebony’s tents are set up on wooden platforms and have a wooden porch, kitted out with a couple of chairs overlooking the marshes. Mesh windows serve to keep out insects while allowing a through breeze, while canvas flaps can be rolled down for protection against the elements should the need arise.

Inside each tent, neutral colours and sisal-mat flooring are offset by polished wooden furniture, including a sleigh-style bed flanked by bedside tables, a writing desk and a comfortable sofa. Thoughtful extras include mosquito coils, insect spray and repellent, wildlife magazines, bathrobes, drinking water, and a tea/coffee station. Note there are no cooling fans or plug points in the tents (batteries can be charged in the main area). For families, Linyanti Ebony offers a family tent with a second, twin bedroom.

At the back of each tent, a wardrobe and a canvas partition help to screen the en-suite bathroom from the bedroom. Twin washbasins with overhanging mirror are largely open to the room, while behind the partition are a canvas rain-shower cubicle and a flush toilet. A laundry basket, fluffy towels and toiletries complete the picture.

Following heavy rains in 2008, the Linyanti River flooded onto the surrounding marshes, creating the reed- and grass-filled swamps that stretch out in front of the camp. It’s an open outlook, and while it’s not intrinsically beautiful, it’s just one among a variety of habitats here, attracting everything from colourful birds and hippos to lions and leopards and browsers such as sable, roan and kudu antelope.

Activities at Linyanti Ebony, as at Linyanti Bush Camp, make the most of this variety, and benefit from a similarly high level of guiding. The camp’s location in a private reserve means that they can offer both night drives and guided walks, which are not be permitted within the adjacent Chobe National Park (or any of Botswana’s national parks). There are also river cruises and fishing trips along the waterways by speedboat, or gentle excursions in a mokoro (a traditional dug-out canoe).

Guests staying three or more nights have the option of a day trip to the Savuti Marsh. And the adventurous might consider an add-on trip within the Chobe Enclave to the semi-permanent Saile Tented Camp or on a Footsteps Across the Linyanti walking safari (both available from May to October).

Our view

Linyanti Ebony will suit those looking for a small, traditional tented camp combining comfort with adventure. The atmosphere is relaxed, the service warm, the activities varied and the guiding usually excellent. Note that while there’s wildlife here throughout the year, densities increase considerably between May and October (Botswana’s dry season), when game is attracted to the permanent waters of the Linyanti River.

Geographics

Location: Kwando-Linyanti area, Botswana

Ideal length of stay: We recommend that guests spend three nights at Linyanti Ebony so that they can experience the range of activities.

Directions: Linyanti Ebony is reached by light aircraft into Saile airstrip (1 hour from Maun and 35 minutes from Kasane). From there, it about an hour’s drive to camp, depending on time spent game viewing on the way.

Key personnel

Owner: African Bush Camps

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: As at the larger Linyanti Bush Camp, meals at Linyanti Ebony are served as a buffet or set menu, with simple, wholesome and tasty food.

For breakfast you can expect a continental buffet augmented by the option of a full English breakfast to order.

Lunch usually comprises home-made bread, cold meats, cheeses and salad, followed by fresh fruit. Then there’s afternoon tea before the day’s second activity, featuring a selection of sweet and savoury snacks alongside hot or iced tea and coffee.

The day is rounded off by a three-course dinner, with guests coming together around a large table.

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

Family holidays: Linyanti Ebony’s spacious family room is a good accommodation for Botswana family safari holidays, particularly with slightly older children. The camp can be combined with the ‘Young Explorers’ programme to have a specialist family guide travel with you.

See more ideas for Family holidays in Botswana

Birdwatching: Noteworthy for species of raptors and owls, plenty of water birds and a range of land birds such as ground hornbill and colourful Acacia pied barbets. Also has great guides and a mix of wet and dry environments for birding in Botswana.

See more ideas for Birdwatching in Botswana

Children

Attitude towards children: Like many of the Ker & Downey properties Linyanti Ebony welcomes families. Note, however, that children under 16 years are not permitted on mokoro trips or walking safaris (though they can join nature walks around camp).

Property’s age restrictions: Minimum age 7 years.

Special activities & services: There is a private deck attached to the well-appointed family room and the camp will happily arrange private dinner for families there. An added bonus is that the camp does not require families to book a private vehicle.

If arranged in advance, Ker & Downey will combine their ‘Young Explorers’ programme, which is generally run out of Footsteps Across the Delta or Footsteps Across the Linyanti, with a stay at Linyanti Ebony. This is a great opportunity to enjoy an extended family safari with dedicated guides, either Paul or Omphile, who have a lot of experience guiding the specially designed family safaris.

Equipment: No equipment for children is provided.

Notes: The camp is unfenced and wildlife does occasionally pass through, so all children must be under constant parental supervision.

Infrastructure

Communications: There is no telephone or internet, though those with roaming may pick up a weak cellphone network from Namibia. In an emergency, radio contact can be made with the head office.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: A comprehensive first-aid kit is kept in camp, and both managers and guides are first-aid trained. In an emergency, guests can be airlifted to Maun.

Dangerous animals: High Risk

Security measures: Guests are escorted to their rooms after dark due to the presence of potentially dangerous wildlife. Whistles are provided in the rooms for use in the event of 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: Full Laundry Service - Included

Money: The camp does not offer any money-exchanging facilities and there are no safes in the rooms. Valuable items can be secured in the office safe. Everything is pre-paid and included so no payments are required at the camps and there are no credit card facilities.