Linyanti Bush Camp

Linyanti Bush Camp : Our full report

Rooms
6 Meru-style tents
Traveller's rating
Excellent (90%) From 33 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.

***STOP PRESS*** In July 2016 we were advised that due to very low water levels mokoro and boat activities are suspended.

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 conceals 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 License, 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, laminate flooring, and polished wooden furniture. There's a writing desk, comfortable sofa with footstool, and a sleigh-style bed decked with pillows, duvets, crisp 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 and a safe complete the set up. Guests are provided with mosquito coils, insect spray and repellent, chitenje 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 currently no electric fan or cooling system, although we were told there are plans to install solar-powered fans later in 2016.

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, shower gel and body lotion.

On our last visit in July 2016, while we thought the interiors of the tents were lovely and comfortable, we felt the exteriors looked tired and worn. Improvements are however already in progress. Two tents have been replaced with new canvas and plans are in place to replace the other four tents later this year. The new tents also incorporate some small design changes to enhance their functionality and appearance. Small ventilation windows have been added to the roof of the tents to help improve air circulation in the hotter months, and the white mosquito gauze windows have been replaced with black gauze which is easier to see out of and harder to see in. Other improvements in the pipeline include replacing the concrete bases for the tents with a wooden deck.

Linyanti Bush Camp is typically able to offer a variety of activities in our experience led by excellent guides. These include 4WD game drives (day and night) and guided walks as well as motorboat and mokoro trips. Unfortunately, on our most recent trip, the water levels were too low to try any of the water-based activities, as the Linyanti has been very dry this year and the marshes did not flood. Nevertheless we had some enjoyable sightings with plenty of elephant, zebra, waterbuck, baboons and dozens of fish eagles that had gathered to take advantage of the catfish bonanza in the muddy marshes.

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.

One of the real highlights of our stay here was the helicopter flight over the marshes. To be able to see the habitat from an aerial perspective offers new insight into the surrounding ecosystem as well as some great game spotting opportunities – we saw elephant, buffalo, giraffe, a couple of large pods of hippo lying in the mud and some very large crocodiles. This is a totally different kind of safari experience and we loved it! A 30-minute helicopter flight is included for guests of Linyanti Bush Camp between April and November.

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 very 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 tempura beef goujons, a delicious noodle salad, green salad, cheeses with homemade chutney and fresh bread, and fresh fruit for desert.

Before the afternoon activity afternoon tea is served in the main area - we had a fabulous banana bread and tempting Mexican quiches, served with tea and coffee.

A couple of times a week dinner is a very sociable affair that combines guests from both Linyanti Bush Camp and Linyanti Ebony. This is often for a traditional night or braai (barbeque).

As it happened, our last visit coincided with the traditional evening, where we enjoyed a buffet of beef seswa (a thick shredded beef stew), chicken stew, rice, semp (pounded corn), braised cabbage and green salad. Desert was a milk tart.

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. Please note that it is only possible to fly out of camp during daylight hours as the bush airstrips do not have any lighting at night.

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. There are small safes in all the rooms. Everything is pre-paid and included; no payments are required at the camps and there are no credit-card facilities.