© Elephants at Linyanti River at Sunset
The Linyanti of today is a far cry from the hunting days. Photographic safari operators have taken over the concessions
and the wildlife has responded to the new order - to provide one of the most dramatic wildlife experiences in Africa. My first experience of Linyanti in 1995 - which was my last for more than seven years - left me with the idea that the area was out of bounds for a genuine wilderness safari.
Linyanti Journals: A Wilderness Reborn
With the ending of the hunting the wildlife slowly began to settle down
and I heard rumours that Linyanti was becoming one of Botswana's finest wildlife experiences - but I was not convinced.
Chance allowed me the opportunity to see the area some years after the cessation of hunting and I was amazed at the turnaround. Today animals show little reaction to vehicles and the river provides one of the continent's greatest concentrations of wildlife, in particular elephants, during the dry season.
Africa's unknown wilderness
Linyanti Journals: September 1995:
'The animals were tense, moving off quickly as the vehicle approached. I was surprised at the behavior but then realized that the Linyanti public area is sandwiched between two hunting concessions
- and we were at the end of the hunting season. I wondered what this area would be like without hunting - but knew that it would be a long while before hunting was stopped'.
Linyanti Journals: October 2002:
'The baboon troop was moving in on the leopard, barking hysterically. With no time to move its kill the leopard moved off into the undergrowth followed by the baboons. We decided to wait near the large ebony tree where the dead baboon lay to see what would happen to the carcass. The excitement of the morning events settled down into the heat and white-hot sky of October.
Animals were coming down in numbers to the water, a herd of impala approached cautiously, a big male warthog sauntered uncaringly to the edge and had a drink and a herd of the stately sable antelope jittered towards the river. Hippos were lying in the sun, a large crocodile was basking opened-mouthed on a sandbank and a herd of elephants moved in. The scene in front of me was a far cry from my experience in 1995.
Back then the animals were wary of humans whereas now they were more alert to the predator threat ... my thoughts were broken by the return of the leopard to its baboon meal.By Leigh Kemp