Selinda Adventure Trail: Our full report
STOP PRESS: 2019 was the last season the Selinda Adventure Trails was operating.They have since stopped because of the unpredictability of water levels, and in 2019 there was no canoeing at all and the focus was on walking safaris.
The Selinda Adventure 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 an adventure trail - the nature of which is dictated by water levels in this seasonally flooded channel. The route for the Selinda Adventure Trail begins downstream from Motswiri Camp, based at the north-east point of the Okavango Delta, and runs eastwards towards Selinda Camp. The distance covered depends on whether its a walking or canoeing adventure. Over the 5 days the walking distance is just over 20 km and canoeing is roughly 40km.
None of the Expert Africa team has been lucky enough to try out the Adventure Trail, although we know the Selinda Reserve well, but here is what we know about it.
The 5-day Selinda Adventure Trail starts with a 20 minute helicopter journey to the remote starting points, flying over the channels and lagoons that branch off the Spillway and riverine forest that follows its path. Each of the 4 nights is spent fly-camping along the banks of the Spillway 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 8 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.
When water levels are high enough the Selinda Adventure Trail will combine walking and canoeing. The 18-foot Canadian canoes, are 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. Walks explore the banks of the Spillway and also head inland to the productive areas around the pans and woodland clearings. All walks are led by a professional and knowledgeable guide who carries a rifle to take on any walking safaris during the trip. When water levels in the Spillway are low, this 5-day trail will be a pure walking expedition. The trail ends at Selinda Explorers Camp from where you'll be driven to the airstrip for an onward flight or to stay at Selinda Camp or Zarafa.
The pace of the Selinda Adventure 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 the sights you see.
This is a scheduled safari with set departures between late-May and early-September yearly. Speak to us about possible dates to fit in with your holiday plans.
This trip is likely to appeal to anyone with an adventurous spirit. You'll explore the bush on foot and from the water on the Selinda Spillway, accessing areas that otherwise are inaccessible, all the while being led by a superb, knowledgeable guide.
Country manager: Botswana
- Kwando-Linyanti area, Botswana
- Ideal length of stay
- The Selinda Adventure Trail is a set 5-day/4-night package. You might like to consider adding nights on at the lovely Selinda Camp or luxurious Zarafa Camp at the end of the safari.
- Fly into Selinda airstrip (a 30-minute flight from Maun or a 50-minute flight from Kasane). Then take a 20 minute helicopter trip to the start of the trail. Fly out from Selinda airstrip at the end of the canoe trail.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Dining style
- Group Meals
- Dining locations
- Outdoor Dining
- 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 Adventure 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.
- The Selinda Adventure 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.
Fly camps that leave no trace behind
As a fly camp which is ‘here today, gone tomorrow’, Selinda Adventure Trail is a pure representation of sustainable accommodation, leaving the natural environment untouched as it moves through the scenic Selinda Spillway. This is achieved by making sure both tourists and staff follow strict rules. Most importantly, the group size is kept small to minimize the impact on the natural environment. In exchange, this allows the staff to properly interact and look after each guest. Moreover, the length of the camp is set to 3 nights, allowing for limited resources to be carried along. Also, Selinda Adveture Trail uses walking and traditional canoes as the single modes of transportation, which means that only human energy is used to power the camp. Camp schedules have also been carefully considered to make sure there is enough water to allow paddling, which is why the camp departs only once per week and only during the winter season.
Choosing to adapt to the drought conditions challenging the whole of southern Africa in a way that still gets tourists as close to nature as one can get, Selinda Adventrue Trail was the winner of Pure Awards in 2016, thus celebrating the camp’s sustainability, ‘mindful’ design and transformational travel experience it provides to each guest.
See more great sustainability projects in Botswana
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- The safari team will carry a comprehensive medical bag and maintains radio contact with their base in case of any emergency. 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
- Fire safety
Guided walking safari
- Disabled access
- Not Possible
- Laundry facilities
- No Laundry Facilities
Other lodges in Kwando-Linyanti area
Alternative places to stay in this same area.