Motswiri Camp is situated on the Selinda Spillway and now offers game drives, riding and walking.
Motswiri Camp: Our full report
Motswiri Camp is situated on the banks of the Selinda Spillway in the far western corner of the Selinda Reserve, yet with a landscape that varies from woodland to open floodplains, it feels part of the Okavango Delta system. The camp was taken over in 2010 by a small team who have enormous experience in Botswana’s safari industry, and switched its focus from hunting (which stopped here some years previously) to walking, horseriding and water-based activities.
The Selinda Spillway (sometimes known as the Magwegqana Spillway) is an ancient watercourse linking the Okavango Delta to the Kwando-Linyanti River drainage system. For many decades the Spillway seldom flowed, but after a particularly good rainy season in 2006, water entered the Spillway from both ends, and it has filled annually since..
Motswiri was extensively refurbished in 2010 and is now looking fantastic. Its five large tents are built up on raised decking with timber frames and canvas walls, and views out on to the Spillway. Each is entered from a wooden veranda at the front via wooden sliding doors. Mesh window and door panes keep insects out but allow a breeze to flow through. The tents are simply decorated but have everything you could need while on safari, including a writing table, luggage rack and wardrobe that contains insect spray, a torch and an electronic safe. When we stayed in October 2012, our double bed was the most comfortable we had ever slept in – exactly what was needed after a long day’s walking.
There is enough light to read by at night, and to navigate around your tent, but Motswiri’s solar power doesn’t run to anything more sophisticated; you truly are detached from the modern world here.
A large floor-to-ceiling headboard screens his and hers washbasins and a couple of mirrors from the bedroom area. Although the water is fine to drink from the tap, many people prefer to stick to the filtered water that’s kept topped up in a jug next to the basins.
The en-suite toilet and shower, both built separately from one another, lead off from the bedroom area, then a further door opens to a secluded outdoor shower with great views across the Spillway.
Sandy paths, which are lit at night by paraffin lanterns, link Motswiri’s tents to the main area, an open-plan construction with some very comfortable couches, a small bookcase of reference and fiction, and the dining area. There’s no bar as such but guests are welcome to help themselves to cold drinks as well as spirits and liqueurs from a large fridge or the drinks cabinet. A small plunge pool with a few sunloungers is a short way away from the main area.
Although there is a 4WD game vehicle for day and night drives, Motswiri focuses on activities that don’t use engines. For us at Expert Africa, and for most of our travellers, the camp’s biggest draw card is the opportunity to get out on foot and do some fantastic walking – led by Grant Truthe, a renowned walking guide who has been leading and operating safaris in the Okavango for over 20 years.
Motswiri also has a full stable of horses, although for safety reasons in this big-game area, riding is an option only for skilled and experienced riders. Day rides are possible, but the camp also runs longer excursions staying overnight in simple fly camps.
With the Selinda Spillway now flowing again the chance to get out on the water is one that Motswiri has grabbed with both hands.
The water in front of camp is not yet deep enough for crocodiles and hippos but the diversity of landscape is home to myriad bird species and the opportunity to get out on the water by boat or canoe is magical. We enjoyed a great afternoon’s fishing here in October against a landscape lit by the setting sun with a thunderstorm rolling in far off on the horizon.
Those wanting a more extensive and slightly more adventurous outing than the usual can arrange to walk or canoe to Motswiri’s fly camp, Kala Bushcamp, where you can spend the night. This usually takes about four or five hours on foot, or 3 hours by canoe, and is a great option for guests staying three nights or more.
When we first visited Motswiri around 2007, the densities of game around the camp were low and certainly not as good as in many other areas in the same Okavango/Linyanti region. Many of the animals would move quickly away when they smelt or heard humans, and for the first couple of years in its current guise Motswiri was a limited option for big-game sightings. By October 2012, however, the situation was much improved, and the animals seemed to be getting habituated to walkers and riders. We saw good populations of the more common game such as impala and giraffe, as well as lion and buffalo, the latter while on foot. This is really encouraging and we’re looking forward to hearing from future travellers as well as seeing for ourselves if this trend continues.
Our viewMotswiri is a remote and secluded little camp, surrounded by a fascinating diversity of terrains. Come to this lovely corner of Botswana for informative hosts, great guiding, exclusivity and a multitude of ways to explore this diverse area with constantly improving game-viewing opportunities.
Ideal length of stay: We recommend a stay of at least three-nights at Motswiri Camp to enjoy all of the activities on offer here – and more if you’re likely to do some riding or fly-camping.
Directions: The camp is reached by a 40-minute flight from Maun (or 45 minutes from Kasane) followed by a short drive.
Owner: Ride And Walk Botswana
Staff: Camp Manager: Sam Shepherd-Baron Head Guide: Grant Truthe
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: On our last visit to Motswiri the food was excellent.
On arrival at the fireplace before the morning activity (at around 6.00am) we were met with a light breakfast of muesli, cereals, yoghurts, muffins and tea and coffee.
After the morning activity, we returned to a lunch of vegetable bake accompanied by a selection of cold meats, a four-bean salad, a green salad and freshly baked bread.
Dinner started with a green pea soup and fresh bread rolls. A main course of beef stroganoff, spaghetti and salad was followed by a fruit medley dessert.
Both lunch and dinner were accompanied by an exceptional homemade chilli-brandy dressing, made by infusing chillies and garlic in bottles of brandy.
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Soft drinks, bottled water, spirits, local beers and a selection of South African wines are included. Imported wines and spirits and champagne cost extra – and may even need to be requested in advance.
Birdwatching: Motswiri Camp overlooks a shallow waterway fringed with reeds, from where (especially when you are canoeing) you can spot a good variety of water birds. The riverine woodland around the camp also attracts a good diversity of species, many of which can be watched from your private veranda.See more ideas for Birdwatching in Botswana
Riding holidays: Motswiri Camp has its own stables and offers horseriding year-round. The local habitat is diverse with big game often in evidence. Rides can last from a few hours to several nights, sleeping in simple fly camps along the way. This is an option for experienced riders only.See more ideas for Riding holidays in Botswana
Walking safaris: Motswiri is home to some of the best walking safaris in Botswana, which are lead by extremely experienced guides. The emphasis here is firmly on non-motorised activities and so the walking safaris here are very good.See more ideas for Walking safaris in Botswana
Attitude towards children: In theory, Motswiri does not accept children under 6 years, but this rule is sometimes bent. Parents with children aged 8–12 years are advised to share accommodation with the child and to take private game activities.
Property’s age restrictions: No children under 6 years.
Special activities & services: None
Generally recommended for children: No
Notes: All children will need to be constantly and closely supervised by their parents as there is big game around, and no fences.
Power supply: Generator
Communications: For most purposes, consider yourself out of contact here. There is no mobile reception, no direct fax or phone and no email! Swift radio contact can be made with Maun if there is an emergency.
TV & radio: None
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: A comprehensive first-aid kit is kept at camp and for medical emergencies there is a medical evacuation service covering the whole Delta.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: Guests are escorted to and from their rooms after dark as dangerous wildlife is known to wander through the camp. A thorough safety briefing is given on arrival. A fog-horn is provided in each room for attracting attention in case of emergency.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers around camp and fire-assembly points are identified to guests when they arrive at the camp.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Included
Money: No exchange facilities are offered at Motswiri. There are small safes in all the rooms.
Accepted payment on location: Payments may be made only in cash; Motswiri accepts US Dollars and Botswana Pula.