Welcome to Selinda Adventure Trail

An adventure exploration safari experience of 5 days / 4 nights the Selinda Reserve’s Selinda Spillway, offering either a canoeing and walking adventure or pure walking safari experience.

This is an authentic African adventure discovering hidden wonders of an ancient waterway in the tradition of the explorers of old…

QUICK FACTS

Accommodation

Fully inclusive of all meals, all related activities, limited but good selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and park fees. Feel free to bring your own favourite beverage at no additional charge if we don’t have stock of it! Flights are additional.

Number of Guests

Each departure is guaranteed with a minimum of two guests and each departure accommodates a maximum of 8 guests sharing in 4 tents. Should you be the only guest on a particular departure we may have to charge you for 2, but that should not stop you from experiencing one of Africa’s best safari experiences!

We recommend children join us from the age of 14 due to the daily walking distances that we can enjoy. For guests with children from 10 – 13 years, we look forward to consulting with you to create a private tailor-made safari which may be subject to an additional cost.

Activities

Essentially we are governed by the availability of water in the Selinda Spillway and thus the Selinda Adventure Trail offers you either a combination of canoeing and walking experience or fully guided walking experience.

Helicopter transfer to the start of the adventure trail from Selinda airstrip. On completion of the Selinda Adventure Trail at Selinda Explorers Camp, a game drive airstrip transfer back to the Selinda airstrip – unless you choose to extend your safari at our Selinda Explorers Camp, Selinda Camp or Zarafa Camp and the Zarafa Dhow Suites (highly recommended).

Location

Truly unique experience along the Selinda Spillway in the private 320,000-acre Selinda Reserve of northern Botswana.

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.

Camp Access

The Selinda Adventure Trail begins with a helicopter air transfer from the Selinda Airstrip on day 1 and ends with a game viewing road transfer from Selinda Explorers Camp on day 5. The Selinda Airstrip is accessible by scheduled air transfers or private charters.

The private Selinda Reserve (Category B) airstrip is licensed for aircraft as large as a King Air, Pilatus PC-12 and Cessna Caravan. The co-ordinates are S18″33.95′; E23″30.73′.

Flying time in a Cessna Caravan from Maun to Selinda Airstrip is 45 minutes and from Kasane it’s 50 minutes. Flying times vary depending on the type of aircraft being used and prevailing weather conditions.

Our Footprint

The Selinda Adventure Trail is about as environmentally friendly as a safari gets, using nothing but human energy to walk the trail and/or paddle canoes when flood waters are high enough.

Our fly camps are literally here today, gone tomorrow and we leave no trace behind. The small group size and low volume results in minimal impact on the pristine wilderness along Botswana’s Selinda Spillway and surrounding woodlands. The trail operates on a scheduled weekly departure basis seasonally each year between May and October, our winter season where there is a good chance of the Spillway flooding to offer canoeing in addition to the guided walking opportunities.

We are proud members of Pack for a Purpose, an initiative that allows travelers like you to make a lasting impact in the community at your travel destination. If you save just a few kilos of space in your suitcase and take supplies for the Gudikwe School Initiative and the Gudikwe Artist Initiative, you’ll make a priceless impact in the lives of our local children and families. Please click here to see what supplies are needed for our projects.