Explore the wild areas of Botswana by canoe, paddling along the Selinda Spillway.
A unique opportunity for us to canoe this incredible water system thus replicating the safari experiences of old, camping along the banks of the river at the end of the day, wherever we find ourselves.
The distance from one end of the Canoe Trail to the other is roughly 45 km. It is a wildlife experience like no other as we witness elephant herds splashing and mudbathing along the banks; buffalo, giraffe and sable antelope amongst some of the many species that come down to drink; wild dog have been known to swim the Spillway in front of the canoes and lion and leopard can also be sighted. The Selinda also hosts some 300 bird species making it a twitcher’s paradise.
Your arrival by light aircraft from Maun into the Selinda Reserve offers a bird’s eye view of what lies ahead for the next few days.
The flight takes you over the Linyanti Marsh where off to the west the Spillway itself can be seen meandering its way through the flood plains and mopane woodlands. Elephant and hippo feeding deep into the marsh are a common sight.
David and a 4 x 4 safari vehicle will be at the Selinda airstrip to greet you and take you on a 3 hour drive to the starting point of where the actual canoe trail begins.
The drive follows the old tsetse fly control cut line passing through miles of mopane woodland interspersed with pans which attract the elephant and buffalo as they quench their thirst.
The vastness and wildness of this country soon becomes apparent!
Without warning the waters of the Spillway suddenly open up before you – indeed a refreshing sight after the hot, dry drive. You are now truly deep in the wilds of the Botswana bush!
A full safety briefing and demonstration on the handling of the canoes follows before setting off with your guide for a gentle late afternoon paddle taking you to your first camp.
A dedicated support team who move ahead daily by canoe to set up camp will be on hand to greet us. The comfortable camp consists of small dome tents with made up bed rolls and a bucket shower and long drop toilet.
An early wakeup call followed by a hearty breakfast sees us heading out in the canoes for a full day of paddling.
As the day warms up each bend in the river offers a host of surprises including the likelihood of elephants coming down to drink. A game walk on foot is a distinct possibility should we encounter buffalo or sable or hear the alarm calls of animals in the surrounding bush.
A delicious lunch will be taken in the heat of the day with a cooling swim for those who wish before paddling on in the late afternoon to our next campsite further along the Spillway.
After a delicious home cooked dinner out under a starlit sky we drift into a tired but contented sleep with the nocturnal calls of peeping frogs, roaring lions and the hyena’s whooping punctuating the deep silence.
A truly magical African safari experience.
￼Today will be spent exploring on foot the environs around our campsite which is situated in an area where large parts of the back country become flooded at this time of year.
This creates a truly beautiful area to walk in and to search for the wildlife that uses these water logged areas.
Lions are regularly heard calling here, wild dogs have been known to den in the vicinity and elephants love the surrounding mopane woodlands.
Another early start is necessary with another full day of paddling ahead. It is on this day that we truly notice the diversity of this magnificent water course.
Gliding ever closer to the Selinda itself, the Spillway takes on a new identity with the water levels slowly dropping before suddenly rising again as we reach the confluence of the Kwando River backing up westwards.
A rich abundance of wildlife and birdlife becomes apparent with pods of hippos wallowing in the deep pools and flocks of jacanas, herons and plovers littering the river banks.
After another sumptuous lunch we finally arrive at the last campsite which has been exquisitely sited on a small palm tree island.
Yet another delicious dinner prepared in front of us on the coals of the fire.
Today your Botswana canoe safari comes to an end and we journey back to home base.