Selinda Reserve, Botswana


Selinda-shutterstock_224148943The Selinda Reserve is a 300,000-acre private wildlife sanctuary in northern Botswana. Although a lot of hype goes with eco-friendly projects nowadays, this place is serious about its conservation and unique in that it is shared by a maximum of 32 guests split between three camps and managed by a very experienced team of conservationists.

The reserve centres around the famous Selinda Spillway, which weaves its way through the area, linking the outer reaches of the Okavango Delta in the west with the Linyanti Swamps in the east. As it is upstream of the Savuti system and west of the Chobe, it has all the advantages of excellent game and bird viewing away from the main tourist routes.

When the waters are high enough, a very unique three-night canoe safari runs from the north-east Okavango Delta, just below Motswiri Camp, and travels eastwards along the Selinda Spillway towards the Kwando and Linyanti rivers. Read more about the Selinda canoe trail here

Wild dogs are known for denning in this area and many of our guests have taken superb photographs of them over the years. There are also many cheetah, leopard, jackal, hyena and prides of lion.

For years, eighty per cent of this area was used for trophy hunting, but the hunting has been relegated to the periphery of the main wildlife areas, while photographic safaris have taken over using and conserving the most favoured game-viewing parts.

There are three small camps to stay at around the Selinda Spillway. The most rustic of these is also the remotest and probably the most true to original safari camps, although the game can be difficult to track down at certain times of the year. Motswiri Ketumetse is in the far southwest and has different animals and habitats to the two camps in the east: Selinda and Zibadianja. Activities include driving, walking and canoeing when it is wet enough, which is generally between April and September.

Selinda is good for viewing less common antelope such as roan, sable antelope and eland, particularly in the dry season. Lion are resident and there are cheetah on the floodplains in the north. There is a great number of elephant here, with densities during the dry season (May to October) on a par with those of the Chobe.

The eastern area, where Selinda and Zibadianja camps are, is famous for hippo-hunting lions but there is so much other game that it is difficult to put them all down in a paragraph. One of Africa’s most endangered predators, the wild dog, is usually resident here and the Selinda pack frequently lives in close proximity to the camps. Other common species include: buffalo (sometimes congregating in their thousands), giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, hippo, hyena, waterbuck, kudu, steenbok, lechwe and impala. During night drives, you get the chance to spot a number of nocturnal species, such as civet, serval, wild cats, honey badger, springhares, aardvark and aardwolf.

The Selinda Reserve is owned by a small group of good friends who believe passionately in their goal of making Earth better. On the first day of ‘ownership’, all hunting was stopped and the caretakers have seen a tremendous difference. Elephants have sensed the change and are at ease with passing vehicles and guests. Lion numbers have increased and, in general, the whole area seems to have breathed a great sigh of relief.


John and Trish Berry loved travelling around their native Zambezi Valley so much they started Zambezi Safari and Travel. Nearly 21 years later the company prides itself on its specialist knowledge of the region’s national parks. To read their personal advice and to find out more about Selinda Reserve, click here

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