Adventure is defined by a certain amount of unpredictability and unknown. It should also enhance senses and stimulate adrenaline. The new 5 days/4 nightsSelinda Adventure Trail embodies this definition entirely: The itinerary primarily dictated by water levels in the Selinda Spillway, a seasonally flooded channel that connects the Okavango River to the west and the Linyanti Swamps to the east. When the Spillway has low water, or dry, we will operate a professionally guided walking safari; and when there is enough water we will offer a combination walking and canoeing expedition (formerly the Selinda Canoe Trail). Secondary effects to the itinerary route often depends on wildlife movements.
The adventure for both experiences start with a thrilling 20 minute helicopter journey to the remote starting points in the vast 320,000 acre Selinda Reserve, giving an aerial perspective of the Selinda Spillway and the myriad of channels and lagoons that branch off it creating clearings in the pristine woodland. Call it ‘heli-walking’, ‘heli-stalking’ or ‘heli-canoeing’ if you like.
The unpredictable nature of the floods means that your guests won’t know before they board the helicopter from the Selinda Reserve airstrip whether they will be doing the pure-walking safari or the combination walking and canoeing expedition. Be prepared to walk, regardless of whether the Spillway is dry or in flood.
The 2016 season will operate 20 May to 11 October and in 2017 season from 02 April to 23 September. Download 2016 rates and departure dates here. 2017 rates, with Selinda Adventure Trail dates, will be sent shortly. Download full itineraries and factsheet here.
What little water there is in the Selinda Spillway will act as a magnet for wildlife. An Elephants Without Borders aerial survey in 2012 stated that the Selinda Reserve has the highest concentration of elephant bulls in all Africa and largest population of buffalo in Botswana.
Day 1, when the Spillway is dry, or has low waters, we will helicopter guests straight to their first, mobile camp site on the banks of the Selinda Spillway. That afternoon guests will meet their team – a professional guide, tracker and support team including chef – and take a short guided walk.
Day 2 is the longest walking day, 11kms, following the banks of the Spillway before heading inland to a highly prolific area of lagoons, pans and woodland-clearings. This woodland camp site is home for nights 2 and 3, allowing further exploration of one of the richest wildlife areas in an extremely remote part of Botswana.
Day 4 sees the trail rejoin the Selinda Spillway where the last camp is located.
Day 5, the final morning, is a short walk to Selinda Explorers Camp where the Selinda Adventure Trail ends with a celebratory drink before driven to the airstrip for onward flights, or to stay at Selinda Explorers Camp, Selinda Camp or Zarafa Camp and Dhow Suites.
Canoeing and walking expedition
The combined canoeing and walking expedition will only operate when water levels are high enough to allow passage along the entire length of the trail from it’s start point to its end point at Selinda Explorers Camp.
Day 1 guests helicopter to the start point, further west of the pure-walking trail start. Guests will learn how to paddle and steer their 18 foot, two-person, Canadian canoes. A short paddle to the first night camp site.
Day 2. After a morning walk, where in the meantime the support team have the chance to pack up the camp onto their own canoes for transportation downstream, guests will canoe further down the Selinda Spillway, stopping for lunch and exploratory walks to get closer to wildlife seen from the Spillway. For the next two nights the camp remains in the same place.
Day 3 is a pure-walking day i.e. no canoeing . A full day walk from the Spillway camp location into rich wildlife areas in the interior of the mophane woodland and open glades, pans and side-channels which makes this area so productive for walking.
Day 4 is similar to Day 2, canoeing and walking further downstream to the next camp location.
Day 5 is a morning walk and short canoe to the finish at Selinda Explorers Camp.
Guides for 2016 Season
Michael was born in Santa Barbara, California, between the mountains and the sea, and spent his early years exploring the Californian coast with his mother, a marine biologist.
He first went to Africa with his father and grandfather in 1988, age 9. This would prove to be the last time that he spent with his grandfather and it was one of the most memorable trips that he has ever taken. Read more…
Growing up on a farm in the central part of Botswana, the son of an avid geologist, Simon spent his childhood camping out and enjoying nature as his playground. Numerous family holidays to the Okavango Delta and many other wild places in Southern Africa engrained in him a passion for wild and remote places. “I spent every free moment during my childhood and university holidays in the bush, either exploring or guiding (to pay for my student life!). Read more …
Hydrology and tectonics
The Selinda Spillway flowed for the first time in some 30 years in 2009; a combination of a wetter period in southern Africa and imperceptible tectonic movements in the southwestern extremities of Africa’s Great Rift Valley. Historical records showed cyclical drier (typically 20-30 years) and wetter (5-10 years) periods in northern Botswana. Presently southern Africa is experiencing near-drought conditions and whilst we are expecting the Okavango to flood again between April and September, this will be on top of a lower water table. We simply cannot predict what nature throws at us, but we can predict that it will be an adventure of a lifetime.