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The Africa Travel and Nature Library



Images from the Interior - Livingstone to Wilderness
Gill Staden

Wilderness Safaris owns or markets many lodges in Africa. The company has grown from small beginnings in Botswana to a large organization which operates in many countries. They have an ethos of working with the environment and not against it.In March I went to see three of their lodges in Botswana: Dumatau in Linyanti;Duba Plains and Jaoin the Okavango. It was an amazing experience so I have plenty of stories. Our journey started from Livingstone where we boarded a light aircraft, Cessna 206. The aircraft was one of the Sefofane fleet, a partner of Wilderness Safaris. The flight to Kasane, Botswana, took 25 minutes; a flight along the Zambezi River. The Zambezi was in flood so it was interesting to see where the water had infiltrated inland.

All the flood plains were inundated with water; the Zambezi was bursting at the seams. At Kasanewe we checked in at Immigration and Customs,a very friendly process. We then boarded a Cessna Caravan for our flight to Selinda Airstrip near Dumatau, our first lodge. Againthe flight was great fun, seeing where the waterhad spread inland fromthe Chobe River.

Arriving at Selinda, the land was so flooded that we had to be taken by helicopter from the airstrip to Dumatau. Dumatau, meaning'roar of the lion',is ona backwater to the LinyantiRiver. Itisa10-roomed lodge;the tentedroomsreachedbyraised timber walkways. All the rooms overlook the lagoon in front. The main area,with its various decks and rooms,arealsoraisedupofftheground. Theloungehada librarywith manybooksabout Botswana,the Okavangoand wildlife;lotsofcomfysetteesand chairs tooon which torelaxand read. But wedidn't gothere to read;we wentthere tosee the animals,birds andlandscape.

Ourdriver/guidewasTheba,knownas'Mr.T'. Mr.ThasbeenwithWildernessSafaris for as long as anyone can remember. He let it be known in 2001 that he was going to retire; since thenhehasbeengoingtoretireeveryyear…heisstillretiringin2010. Mr T, an entertaining,dryol' stick,informedus ofeverythingthere was to knowabout the Linyanti region. Mr T found us lions,wild dog,and much more. He knows the name of every bird; hetold us about the Savute Channel and the Selinda Spilllway; he is a mine of information. He also kept us well fed and watered as we journeyed around. These stories will have to wait until the next time.