In August last year, the Selinda Spillway connected the Okavango system and the Kwando-Linyanti river system for the first time in nearly 30 years.
Botswana’s world-renowned filmmakers and conservationists, Dereck and Beverly Joubert, observed this great natural event. Partial owners of Selinda Camp, the Jouberts waited in eager anticipation for the headwaters to finally connect. It was a slow progress, with the Okavango waters pushing further east and the Kwando-Linyanti system pushing further west. The last kilometre, where the spillway had to “climb” over a fault line, seemed to take an especially long time.
Amidst the dusty plains of the Kalahari Desert, which covers most of Botswana, the Okavango Delta’s channels and lagoons provide visitors with a wildlife oasis. The Selinda Spillway winds through the 300 000-acre Selinda private game reserve which has been given over to high-class, eco-friendly tourism. The reserve is one of the most isolated and pristine areas in Botswana.
The mysterious river is very rarely seen in its full colour and its flowing brings new life to this region of Botswana, creating an interexchange of species between the two systems. The spillway is as wide as 100 yards in some places but is seldom deep. Visitors should consider flood impacts when choosing which camps to stay in. When waterways like the Selinda Spillway flow, animal concentrations change and the best areas from which to view game may change. Adventure Safaris can help you with this kind of information.
Open floodplains make up most of the Selinda Reserve with occasional, small palm islands. Visitors can spot a range of wildlife, including various buck species, giraffe, lion, cheetah, leopard and wild dog. Between the dry months of May and September, wildebeest, buffalo and elephant are drawn to the area’s permanent waters.
The Selinda Reserve neighbours the Kwando Reserve, and has the Linyanti marshes in the east. The Reserve’s eco-tourism policies allow visitors to view the protected wildlife undisturbed. Guests can enjoy going on game drives and walks or view game on the river itself. A popular activity here is the four-day Selinda Canoe Trail which takes visitors down 70 kilometres of the Selinda Spillway.