An Overview of Selinda Adventure Trail
The high waters flowing through northern Botswana in 2009, together with subtle tectonic movements, caused the waters of the Okavango River to flow in a way that it has not done for nearly three decades, pushing east along the previously dry Selinda Spillway to meet the waters of the Linyanti in the West. This enabled adventurers the opportunity to experience a rare first, canoeing along the Selinda Spillway.
As the waters of the Selinda Spillway ebb and flow each year, some years with higher flood levels than others, so the name of the Selinda Canoe Trail was changed to reflect a more inclusive guided walking safari and is thus now known as the Selinda Adventure Trail.
From the 2017 season and beyond the Selinda Adventure Trail has been run by Kane Motswana and his team of river bushmen from the Gudikwa village of the Okavango Panhandle area to the west of the Selinda Reserve. Their intimate knowledge of the reserve and the bush make them the ideal guides for your physical, spiritual and cultural journey through the reserve.
The trail replicates the safari experiences of old as we chart a course along the Selinda Spillway and into the remote woodlands of the vast 320,000 Selinda Reserve. As over previous year’s we are always mindful of the climatic variances and changes that naturally occur in our remote locations. As such as we monitor the changes the Selinda Spillway offered us in 2017, we have amended this experience to a 4 Day / 3 Night adventure in 2018. There will only be three departures in 2018 that remain on the longer 5 Day / 4 Night basis.
The experience either entails a traditional canoe and walking safari following the course, and exploring side channels, of the Selinda Spillway (subject to high-enough water levels); or a pure walking safari following a similar route (should the channel be dry or too shallow to canoe).
The Adventure Trails start at the Selinda Airstrip where you are met and immediately transferred to the remote starting point of your adventure. Please make sure you arrive at the Selinda Reserve airstrip by lunch-time on day 1 of the Adventure Trail so that you are able to join us on the scheduled helicopter air transfer which takes you to the start point of the trail. This may require you to overnight, ideally with us at one of our camps such as Duba Expedition Camp or elsewhere in Botswana, the night before your joining this adventure.
The distance of the Selinda Adventure Trails differ depending on whether it is a walking or canoeing adventure. Walking distance is just over 20 km altogether and canoeing is approximately 40km. Along either routes we expect to come across many species of wildlife. The Selinda Reserve is well known for some of Botswana’s largest herds of buffalo and elephant, roan antelope and African wild dog. Other possible sightings include cheetah, lion, leopard and variety of other species. It is also a birder’s paradise with over 300 species possibly seen.
All three nights are spent in fly camps along the Selinda Spillway at pre-arranged sites. The days are spent paddling or walking along the Spillway and into the woodlands of the reserve, depending on which option is available at that time, with regular stops whenever there is something of interest to be seen along the way.
When canoeing, each canoe has two guests as well as their bed-rolls and soft bags. Participants paddle their own canoes each day. No previous paddling, canoeing or walking safari experience is needed as tuition and safety briefings are given – but participants must be fit enough to paddle their own canoes and be prepared to walk between camps when water levels are not sufficiently high on the Selinda Spillway.
Guests are not expected to put up their tents or help with the cooking and camp chores as our staff are on hand. Walk-in Kodiak tents are provided as they are comfortable and large enough for two people. Screened, bucket showers with hot and cold water are also supplied.
When walking each guest will be supplied with a day backpack, which will include water. An armed, qualified walking guide as well as an experienced tracker will be with you at all times as you explore the banks of the Spillway as well as the more remote areas of the Selinda Reserve.
The four day / three night Selinda Adventure Trail offers new and exciting elements and days full of adventure. Each day begins in the early morning after a hearty breakfast and when the Spillway is at its most peaceful.
Walking is an integral component of the adventure and allows for access to new islands and lagoons. Even when you are on a canoe safari, each day includes walking experiences of up to four hours to investigate areas of regular predator activity or wildlife sightings. In addition if there happens to be wildlife activity that warrants investigation whilst canoeing, we stop on the banks and take a short walk into the bush.
Brunch is taken around mid-morning and light snacks are available throughout the day for sustenance until dinner. At night, the deep silence is punctuated by nocturnal sounds, from croaking frogs to roaring lion or the hyeana’s whooping call. The atmosphere is magical and the highlight of any African safari.
On one afternoon of the trails your river bushmen dress in their tribes’ traditional leather loincloths and steenbok skull head decoration and take you on a survival walk and cultural experience that is unparalleled in Botswana. The storytelling is ancient, yet relevant in today’s age, and forms one of the highlights of the trail, of which with the helicopter arrival, canoeing and/or walking in pristine wilderness, and unexpected encounters there are many highlights. The Selinda Adventure Trail truely defines adventure.
On the last morning of the Adventure Trail, after a short morning walk or canoe, we end with a relaxed game drive from your final camp to the Selinda Airstrip for your onward departure. Ideally you could and should elect to stay on for an additional night or two at either Selinda Explorers Camp, Selinda Camp or Zarafa Camp and Dhow Suites.
The Selinda Adventure Trail camps bring you closer to nature. The overnight camp sites create that sense of wilderness with a clear emphasis on essential camp comforts and maximum wilderness experience.