On Your Bucket List: Camp Linyanti

It could possibly be the original Secret Garden. Or perhaps, the Garden of Eden. Either way, Linyanti is alluring and unique, and feels quite magical, preserved, and untouched. Nestled beneath its enchanting trees, on the edge of the brimming floodplain, Camp Linyanti has claimed its position in the northernmost corner of Chobe National Park and is most certainly the next item on your bucket list!

Elephants interact in front of Camp Linyanti

Elephants interact in front of Camp Linyanti

Main guest area overlooking the water at Camp Linyanti

Main guest area overlooking the water at Camp Linyanti

Camp Linyanti as seen from the water

Camp Linyanti as seen from the water

In a space of just 3 days, Linyanti will captivate your soul and mould an irreplaceable spot in your safari heart. In the summer months, when visitors are few and far between, the undefined roads become overgrown with lush, green vegetation. Vines of dangling leaves drape over your vehicle, while tall grass rises right up to your window, and you smell the richness of this wild and thriving region. Tall jackalberry trees with huge canopies create shade, while the waters of the Linyanti swamps lap at the sandy edges creating small, private beaches littered with animal tracks and elephant dung.

A big, male waterbuck stands camouflaged in Linyanti

A big, male waterbuck stands camouflaged in Linyanti

Elephant herd approaches the water to drink

Elephant herd approaches the water to drink

Birds of all sorts call from the treetops, perch on lookout branches, and paint streaks of colour in the air. A fish eagle settled only a few metres away and sent its iconic call across the swamp, allowing us to watch the whole performance before it swooped down to the water below and snatched up a fish. To our left, a herd of elephants lumbered towards the water, pausing when they noticed us and raising their trunks to gather our scent. With a heartfelt trumpet and the shake of her head, the matriarch decided we were worthy of watching them and led her family to drink. Drink, they did, but they also splashed, swam, and completely submerged themselves in the cooling depths of the swamp.

(Two rare and exceptional sightings at Camp Linyanti caught on video: Baby honey badger, and a rock python eating a mongoose)

A fish eagle perches and calls out over the Linyanti swamps

A fish eagle perches and calls out over the Linyanti swamps

The fish eagle throws its head back 180 degrees when calling

The fish eagle throws its head back 180 degrees when calling

Two bull elephants play fight in the Linyanti swamps

Two bull elephants play fight in the Linyanti swamps

Elephants loving the water at Camp Linyanti

Elephants loving the water at Camp Linyanti

In the morning light that streamed through the trees in mottled shapes and sizes, young baboons played with enthusiasm. These troupes of chacma baboons can be heard during the night and throughout the day, barking warning calls into the silence. Agile climbers, the primates take to the tops of trees to escape danger, but when the coast is clear, the child-like performance between siblings provides endless entertainment to visitors.

Baboons playing at Camp Linyanti

Baboons playing at Camp Linyanti

Young baboons play energetically

Young baboons play energetically

A kudu cow beneath Linyanti's tall trees

A kudu cow beneath Linyanti’s tall trees

Those in tune with the signs of the bush will know how to read various behaviours, and in one instance, a panicked rush of activity alerted our attention to the road ahead of us. Screeching young baboons and the thunderous barks of the elders echoed through the trees and what followed was the unmistakable shape of a leopard shooting across our path. A successful hunt for this young male cat, but the unfortunate end for one of the bigger baboons in the troupe; we watched as our beautiful leopard took his prize into a hiding place through the impenetrable bush. (Read the full story and see the images here).

A young male leopard catches and kills a baboon

A young male leopard catches and kills a baboon

In the absolute quiet (a quiet not counting the chirping birds, grumbling elephants, and grunting hippos), a journey through Camp Linyanti’s private concession can surprise and amaze you. Not frequently visited, not well discovered, this is a paradise that remains a solace for wildlife. A small lodge with only 5 bedrooms, a balcony, bar, and dining area, Camp Linyanti takes a handful of passionate people and shows them an area of Botswana’s oldest National Park that is incomparable to anything else.

Spotting a hippo out of water in Linyanti

Spotting a hippo out of water in Linyanti

A hippo heads for the water in the morning sunlight

A hippo heads for the water in the morning sunlight

Portrait of a pied kingfisher

Portrait of a pied kingfisher

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