Selinda Adventure Trail is an excellent way to explore this wonderful area while enjoying the benefits of fresh air and gentle exercise. You are completely at the mercy of the water levels in the Spillway, so this will determine whether you enjoy a canoe safari with island walks, or if the waters are low, then a guided walking safari is the way to explore the area. By canoe it is a journey of some 40kms along the Selinda Spillway, which links the Okavango Delta and the Kwando and Linyanti waterways. Highlights include impromptu walks, easy paddling, hearty food, peaceful siestas and camping on remote islands under the stars. If you are on the guided walk, then over the course of the 5 days you will walk about 20kms, always stopping for interesting things along the way.
The trail begins about 45kms downstream from Selinda Camp, reached by an exhilarating helicopter transfer. From here you meet your guide and take to the canoes following the winding Selinda Spillway through the reserve, or you embark on your walking safari. You'll be staying at fly camps along the route. The trail ends with a game drive back to the Selinda Airstrip, close to the meeting point of the Linyanti and Kwando rivers. This region has abundant wildlife including elephant, buffalo, roan antelope and wild dog, but relatively few crocodiles and hippos, making for a more relaxing experience. You'll have opportunities to leave the canoes behind and explore on foot, led by your guide, picking up bushcraft skills as you search for tracks and spoor. You'll be travelling in the early morning and late afternoon, avoiding the heat of the day and arriving at camp before dark, in time for sundowners.
If you are on the canoe trail, it uses comfortable, 18-foot wide-bottomed Canadian canoes, with padded seats, which carry 2 people each. Drinks and snacks are available throughout the day, with each canoe carrying its own supplies. Trips are led by an experienced guide, assisted by a cook and 2 camp hands, who travel in their own canoes and carry most of the equipment.
This trip is a wonderful way to enjoy the sights and sounds of this remote waterway and its inhabitants. With a maximum of 8 guests, this is a personal and intimate experience. It involves 3 full days and 2 half days of paddling (or walking), which is generally easy, though a reasonable level of fitness is required. Each day is different and brings its own highlights.
Photographs courtesy Great Plains Conservation
Open: The adventure trail operates from April to late September each year. The nature of the trail varies depending on the water levels. It will either be a canoe trail with opportunities to take walks on the islands, or if the water levels are low, then it will be an exhilitrating guided walking safari exploring the Spillway and portions of the famous Selinda reserve.
Location: The canoe trail follows the Selinda Spillway for approximately 40kms, ending at Selinda airstrip. If you are on the guided walking safari, you will walk approximately 20kms in total. It all takes place entirely within the 320,000 acre Selinda Reserve. You'll need flights into the Selinda Reserve airstrip, about a 45 minute flight from Maun and 50 minutes from Kasane. On arrival at the airstrip you will be transferred by helicopter to the remote start of the trail.
Rooms: The dome tents accommodate up to two people and are equipped with 2 thick foam bedrolls laid on the ground. You don't have to erect your own tent, this will be done for you. Bed linen and towels are provided. There are bucket showers with hot water available each evening. Each camp has a long drop toilet in a canvas tent placed at a discreet distance.
Activities: The trip begins with a helicopter transfer from the Selinda airstrip to the start of the trail. If it's the canoe trail, you'll be paddling on the Selinda Spillway in 18-foot Canadian canoes which take 2 people. They have padded seats and are comfortable and stable. Each person is given a single paddle and a life jacket. There are opportunities each day for guided walks on the islands. The guide carries a rifle for safety while canoeing and walking. You'll be setting out just after dawn each day, while predators are still active and may be spotted, stopping to enjoy a hearty brunch and a well-earned siesta around midday. You then head out again in the comparative cool of the afternoon, reaching camp before nightfall. The trail ends at mid-morning on day 5, when you can either transfer to the airstrip for your onward flight or extend your stay in the area at Selinda or Zarafa Camp. On the guided walking safari the days are spent walking along the Spillway and into the woodlands of the reserve, there will be regular stops when there is something of interest to be seen along the way.
Facilities: You will be staying in fly camps erected by the staff each afternoon. Meals are cooked over the camp fire and sundowners are served each evening. Beer, wine and a selection of soft drinks are available, though you are welcome to bring any drinks of your own. Dining: Meals are eaten communally.
Children: Children of 14 years and over are welcome to join the canoe or walking trail, but there are no special facilities for children and they should be kept under supervision at all times.
Health: This is a malarial area.
Communication: There is no internet access on the trail.
Notes: Most of the paddling is with a gentle current, but a reasonable level of fitness is required.