Selinda Walking Safari
This trip is a great add on to the Selinda Canoe Trail for those who are looking for a in depth Botswana diverse adventure.
A five-day walking safari in Botswana’s Selinda Reserve
Selinda Reserve is a pristine wilderness area between the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park and well known for its hippo-killing lions, cheetah and wild dog.
A special area along the Selinda Spillway – a water course linking the Okavango Delta to the Linyanti Swamps – has been set aside for walking safaris.
The walks follow time-worn trails, through riparian forest and open plains.
Location: Selinda Reserve Botswana
Best time to visit: April to November
Approximate trip cost:On request inquire using our Africa Safari request form
Walking Safari staying in trail bush camps.
Over the last 12 years of operating our Selinda Walking Trails have continued to grow in popularity.
Each Walking Trail has a set departure date and will be a fixed 3 night/4 day safari.The number of departure dates is quite extensive with up to 9 departures a month, so slotting it into an itinerary is relatively simple.The Trails season remains March 1st to Novemebr 30th.
Guests should start the Trail on the set departure date i.e. it is not encouraged to join the safari halfway through.
The capacity of each Trail has been increased to 6 persons maximum all sharing. There are only 3 twin/double tents available,so private guides and tour leaders who may be accompanying the safari will need to be accommodated in one of these tents.
Selinda walking Safari details:
The recommended itinerary is as follows:
(Day 1) – arrive on The Selinda Reserve by light aircraft where guests are met at the Selinda airstrip. From there, guests can elect to be driven to their first overnight Trails camp by vehicle or to start exploring Africa on foot straight away i.e walk to camp. This will depend to some extent on arrival times. The first night is spent in one of our two Trails Camps (Mokoba or Tshwene).
(Day 2) – After an early breakfast, depart on foot for a destination determined by the guide, returning to camp some 4-5 hours later in time for a hearty lunch. Siesta & afternoon tea is followed by a quiet walk to explore new areas close to camp. After dinner a night drive is on offer.
(Day 3) – After breakfast set out on foot in the general direction of the second Trails camp, again arriving in time for lunch. The rest of the day’s activities are at the discretion of the guests and guide.
(Day 4) – After breakfast either depart by foot for one of our permanent camps if staying there, or a vehicle transfer to catch a light aircraft transfer to the next destination.
SELINDA WALKING TRAILS – SELINDA RESERVE, BOTSWANA
A special area has been set aside in the northern reaches of the Selinda Reserve for walking safaris.
Following the trails and time-worn paths of elephant and antelope through riparian forest and open plains, guests have the privilege of experiencing Africa as our ancestors and the early explorers did – on foot.
The two or three night walking safaris are limited to a maximum of four trailists at a time (or 6 if they are a group traveling together).
The Selinda Walking Trails are conducted in the far northern section of the Selinda Reserve in areas that have little or no vehicle tracks.
Two separate, semi-permanent camps, Mokoba and Tshwene are erected in two completely different habitat types. Guests usually stay in one camp for two nights and then walk to the second camp for another night.
Tshwene is heavily wooded and overlooks a dry channel in close proximity to the Selinda Spillway, whilst Mokoba gazes over an expansive floodplain with the marshes of the Kwando/ Linyanti river system a short distance away.
Selinda is a derivative meaning “many small pools of water” in the Khoesan language of northern Botswana.
Selinda Walking Trails are located in the 300,000 acre (135,000 hectare) Selinda Reserve, one of Botswana’s prime wildlife viewing locations and most beautiful settings.
The Selinda Reserve is fortunate in that it is the only reserve that straddles both the Okavango Delta in the west and the Linyanti waterways and savannahs in the east.
The Selinda Reserve follows the course of the Selinda Spillway as it connects the Okavango to the Linyanti / Kwando river systems. The Selinda Spillway is like no other.
It is a river that can flow in two directions, depending on where the water levels are the highest. In most years it flows in both directions with water pushing ‘up’ from the Linyanti waterways and also ‘down’ from the west, fed by the waters of the Okavango Delta
The Selinda Reserve is one of Botswana’s famous wildlife ‘concessions’ or private reserves that offers all the privacy that Botswana is famous for.
At the same time, guests to the Selinda can enjoy wildlife viewing at a level that Chobe National Park is famous for – but without any of the crowds and without the restrictive rules and regulations that are needed in areas of high tourism density. Selinda can offer a peaceful and private experience far from the crowds – but with unrestrictive and exhilarating wildlife viewing.
The Selinda Reserve has a network of small tracks that traverse the area, and if there is something special on the go, we can go ‘off-road’ sensitively when there is something exceptionable. There are still places in this reserve where no person has ever set foot before.
The Selinda Walking Trails only operates from 01 March to 30 November each year.
Each of the two trails camps has three custom designed tents (3x3m) that are erected on raised platforms, accommodating a maximum of 6 guests. The platforms are built in such a way to allow so that guests can either sleep in their tents – or on their decks under the stars and their mosquito net.
Each tent has a half-bathroom with vanity basin and flush toilet at ground level. Hot water is delivered to the tent on request. One shower deck is situated a short and discreet distance away from the tents. This features twin bucket showers (with hot water on demand) and an extraordinary view!
During ‘siesta hour’ guests can enjoy the relative cool of the below deck hammocks to recharge before the afternoon’s walk. A flush toilet and hand basin are ‘en suite’ at ground level.
Hot and cold water is replenished on request. A secluded, open air ‘shower deck’ is shared by safari participants. Twin bucket showers, plenty of hot water and spectacular views are the norm.
The Trails Camps are essentially luxury ‘fly camps’. The emphasis is on the outdoors and the camps reflect this. Meals, prepared at the campfire by the Trails hostess, are enjoyed on top of a levelled termite mound.
The camp and its facilities are designed to have a minimal impact on the environment. The campfire boma is centrally located and the focal point for socializing and story swapping.
The camp is lit by paraffin lanterns and tents are supplied with rechargeable electric lanterns. A small mobile generator accompanies each trail and this is run when guests are out of earshot, charging camera batteries.
It is recommended to bring spare batteries for their photographic equipment.
The emphasis on our trails is the outdoors and to leave as little impact on the environment as possible. The communal areas are intentionally rustic and blend with the surroundings. Meals are enjoyed with a view over the surrounding plains. The fire is the social focus of the camp and much of the camp cuisine is cooked here in front of guests.
All meals are table d’hôte and include a light breakfast at dawn, a hearty lunch on return from the morning trail, with tea before the afternoon walk, and a three course dinner in the evening.
Meals are served el fresco and much of the preparation is done at the camp fire. Special meals and requirements are catered for on request. A selection of drinks is available and guests’ preferences are determined prior to departure.
A complimentary same day laundry service is offered.
It is recommended that trail participants are physically fit and under the age of 70 years. For safety reasons, no children under the age of 16 years may participate. Luggage is transferred between camps by vehicle whilst the guests are on trail.
The Trails guide carries, and is competent with, a firearm and a handheld radio whilst walking. A support vehicle is available for the duration of the safari.
Wildlife & Activities
Each Walking Trail has a set departure date and a duration of three nights with three full days walking. The first two nights are generally spent in the first Trails camp with the morning trail of the third day ending at the second camp.
Walking is relatively easy over firm flat ground with few sandy patches. The morning trail is 7 to 10km (4 to 6 miles) taking 4 to 5 hours, whilst the afternoon walk is a more leisurely 3 to 4km (2 to 3 miles). Guests usually return to camp at or shortly after
sunset. A night drive is offered after dinner for those who still have the energy.
Selinda Walking Trails are led by an armed Professional Guide as well as a tracker. Safety! The Trails guide carries a rifle, two-way radio and first aid kit. A back up vehicle is available in emergency.
The morning walk is between 7-10km/4-6miles and lasts for between three and five hours. Typically, the morning trail ends at that evening’s trail camp.
A short afternoon walk of 3km/2miles is conducted from camp into the surrounding area. Trailists need carry only their cameras and binoculars. All luggage is transferred by vehicle to the next camp. Water and snacks are supplied whilst on the trail. In the event that something interesting is discovered on foot, such as a lion kill, the Trails back-up vehicle can be used for drives to get closer to the action. It also gives trailists the chance to do night drives should they wish.
Walking safaris are the best way to become closer to nature, to see it up close and to feel it. The Trails guide and tracker will introduce the smaller creatures, plants and spoor, as well as stalk up on some of the larger manmmals.
Elephant are common and frequently encountered but mostly viewed from a distance. Lion and cheetah are seen less often. Wild Dog sightings are rewarding and quite possible during the dry season.
Birding is excellent with more than 310 species having been recorded on The Selinda Reserve.
The species more commonly seen on foot include: buffalo, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, warthog, hippo, hyena and a wide variety of antelope.
The Trails are only accessible by air via the Selinda airfield, with coordinates S18°33.95’; E23°30.73’.
The Selinda Reserve – 300,000 acres of pure wilderness
There are few places on earth where humans have not walked. deep in the forests of Selinda there are such places. vast areas of woodland, dotted with seasonally filled rainwater pans. places that are for lions and elephants only, or herds of buffalo, never exposed to the pressures of human society. There are impenetrable woodlands and rolling great plains. this is the place where wildlife can breathe freely, unmolested, unrestrained.
The Selinda Reserve is a 300,000 acre / 135.000 hectare private wildlife sanctuary straddling both the Okavango and Chobe systems in northern Botswana. It’s vast floodplains and ancient forests offer an authentic and timeless African experience. But what makes this reserve so special is exclusivity. Within this massive wilderness, we allow only 8 game viewing vehicles… a truly exclusive experience.
The Selinda Reserve is owned and managed by a small group of good friends who believe passionately in making the Earth better. Ownership is less about laying claim to a vast tract of land like this, than it is about taking care of the reserve and making it better than when we found it. When we took over just a few years ago, most of Selinda was used as hunting land, where people could shoot ‘trophy’ animals; lions, elephants, leopards…just about anything.
On the first day they took over, they stopped all the hunting and since then not a shot has been fired in the area. Wildlife has responded in kind and concentrations are increasing. Elephants sense the difference and now calmly drink as you pass by. Once they ran at the first sound of a vehicle. Lion and leopards numbers are getting back to their natural levels and in general the whole area seems to now breathe a deep sigh of relief.
The reserve is one of the best places in all of Africa to view the highly endangered African wild dog, especially while they are less nomadic when they come to Selinda to den and raise their young.
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