The canoe trail in Selinda Reserve offers a gentle trip through this wild area ...
Selinda Canoe Trail: Our full report
The Selinda Canoe Trail runs along the Selinda Spillway (also known as the Magwegqana Spillway), located in the 1,350km² Selinda Reserve. The reserve extends from the Okavango Delta to the south to the Linyanti/Kwando rivers ecosystem to the east, with the Spillway connecting the two.
For almost three decades the Selinda Channel was a mostly dry riverbed, only occasionally catching rain water in pools. In mid-August 2009, after a couple of years of good rain and high floodwaters, the Okavango Delta and Linyanti river system both overflowed into the Spillway, finally meeting in the middle and creating one flowing river - a lifeline for wildlife migrating between the two areas.
The replenished Selinda Spillway now creates the perfect backdrop for a new canoe trail. The route for the Selinda Canoe Trail begins downstream from Motswiri Camp, based at the north-east point of the Okavango Delta, and runs eastwards towards Selinda Camp – a distance of about 45km.
None of the Expert Africa team has been lucky enough to try out the Canoe Trail, although we know the Selinda Reserve well, but here is what we know about it.
The 5-day Selinda Canoe Trail spends 4 nights along the banks of the Spillway, fly-camping at no particular pre-arranged site. When the group arrives at each selected camp site, the safari team sets up canvas dome tents furnished with comfortable bedrolls containing thick foam mattresses, linen and pillows. Communal bathroom facilities are also set-up with a bucket shower enclosure and a 'bush' toilet with a toilet seat over a short drop. Towels are supplied. Each of the 4 guests is given a camp chair every evening in which to relax with a sundowner drink whilst watching the chef prepare a delicious meal over the camp fire.
Transport is in 18-foot Canadian canoes, each fitted with two or three cushioned seats complete with back rests. Every passenger is provided with a paddle and a life jacket and has space to store a small (preferably waterproof) day-bag carrying personal items like binoculars and suntan lotion. The trail will be led by a professional and knowledgeable guide who carries a rifle to take on any walking safaris during the trip. Drinks are available whilst in the canoes or in camp and are included in the safari price.
The pace of the Selinda Canoe Trail is set according to the group's fitness and comfort levels. The trip is not a race; instead you'll take time to discuss any sights you see or to explore on foot, taking a short walking safari on the banks of the Selinda Spillway whenever there is activity in the wilderness that warrants attention.
This is a scheduled safari with set departures between mid-May and early-October yearly. Speak to us about possible dates to fit in with your holiday plans.
Directions: Fly into Selinda airstrip (a 30-minute flight from Maun or a 50-minute flight from Kasane). Then two to three hour transfer by 4WD to the start of the trail. Fly out from Selinda airstrip at the end of the canoe trail.
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Beer, wine and a limited selection of soft drinks are on offer whilst on safari. Water is filtered directly from the Selinda Spillway and is safe to drink. Requests for bottle water and premium brand liquors should be made will in advance and amounts will depend on available space in canoes.
Attitude towards children: Children over 12 years are able to join the Selinda Canoe Trail.
Generally recommended for children: As this trail includes time walking in the wilderness and because there are no facilities to keep young children amused during the 'siesta' period of the day Expert Africa only recommends it for children over 16 years old.
Notes: The Selinda Canoe Trail runs through a wilderness area with no fences to stop dangerous wildlife walking through the camp or across your path and so children will need constant and close supervision by their parents.
Power supply: None
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: The safari team will carry a comprehensive medical bag and maintains radio contact with their base in case of any emergency.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: No Laundry Facilities