Pressed against the border of Namibia by the Chobe National Park, the Linyanti region is a mixture of wide open floodplains that skirt the edge of a towering strip of forest. As the road network pierces through the well established trees, it eventually opens up to dramatic marshland, revealing snaking channels and lush grazing grounds for those who call this landscape home.
The NHFU was lucky enough to spend 2017 exploring the many facets of this reserve, from its border at the mouth of the Savute Channel, to its secretive Eastern edges. Working alongside Wilderness Safaris at the Kings Pool Camp, the team was able to experience the incredible diversity that this concession has to offer. Here are a few of the teams highlights from this area.
Wild dogs are always a joy to follow, and Linyanti's two very prevalent packs, the "LTC" pack and the "Zib" pack were no exception. The Zib pack, named after the Zibalianja lagoon on the Western fringe of the concession, was a formidable force throughout the year. The pack had returned after denning on the neighboring Selinda concession, showing off the inquisitive additions to the pack. Feeding twelve hungry new mouths was no easy task, and the pack was spotted dashing through the bush after prey on a daily basis.
As the dry season took a stranglehold of Linyanti, the inland terrain became sparse and desolate. Animals were subsequently forced into the open floodplains as they made the arduous march down to the water. As dry bush gives way to floodplain, Linyanti’s many predators pace along the trees edge, where dry bush gives way to floodplain, waiting for any opportunity to strike weakened prey.
The beautiful Southern Carmine Bee-eaters provided a splash of colour to the later months of the year. From August the birds appeared on en masse, as they begin the strenuous process of digging their nesting holes in the hardened earth. With this new frenzy of activity, smaller predators are drawn into the area in abundance. Dickinsons's Kestrels, Yellow-billed Kites, and Monitor Lizards are just some of the many threats that came in search of an easy meal.
Three of Linyanti's most frequently seen leopards were spotted with cubs through the year. One of the resident leopards known by many as "MmaLebadi" gave birth to a beautiful cub towards the middle of the year, and was the centre of attention for the team. The cub first appeared at just a few weeks old, and the crew was able to document many tender moments between cub and mother, as she began to slowly grow in age and confidence.
As the year came to an end, the land was greeted by the onslaught of rain again, and we reluctantly said goodbye to the beauty that encompasses this concession.