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Klaserie River Sands

Botswana’s photographic areas expand

Khwai
Map, showing NG18 and NG20, courtesy of Wilderness Safaris

Some of the most important wildlife areas in Northern Botswana are associated with two major river systems. In the very north of the country is the Linyanti River and its distributaries, the Savuti and Selinda. To the south of these rivers lies the Okavango Delta. Much of the land within these areas has been divided up into private concession areas. The concession areas are leased from either the government or the local communities. They can be utilized either for photographic safaris or for the purpose of controlled hunting.

Within the last year, all hunting operations came to an end in two concession areas named NG18 and NG20. As can be clearly seen from the map above, these two concession areas lie directly between the two major river systems mentioned above, the Linyanti and the Okavango. Both NG18 and NG20 are very large concessions and are home to good numbers of wildlife. NG20 was divided up between photographic camps and some hunting camps. Importantly, they are surrounded by Moremi Game Reserve, the Selinda and Linyanti private concessions, and Chobe National Park.

This is good news for the photographic safari industry. These two areas both have extensive riverfront areas that make ideal locations for low-volume photographic camps and NG20 is already home to some very well-known camps.

Most importantly though, it means that for wildlife there now exists a hunting-free zone which extends from the Moremi Game Reserve all the way to the country’s northern boundary, the Linyanti River. The changes in land-use in these concession areas will be of most benefit to animals like large bull elephants, buffalo and leopard – all species that may have been hunted in the past. Hunting in Botswana is strictly controlled but still has some impact on the wildlife that is targeted.

In these days of ever-increasing pressure upon wildlife refuges, especially from growing human populations, changes such as these are extremely valuable. The bigger and more effective the protected areas become, the greater their value in all respects.

Khwai

Lions photographed in NG18 a few weeks ago.

Ndumu River Lodge
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I am a South African who grew up in the former Transkei, (now the Eastern Cape) and I spent much of my time along the Wild Coast. For over ten years I have been working as a guide in northern Botswana, for a company called Wilderness Safaris. I spend many days of each year leading photographic safari trips with small groups of people through our fixed camps in the Kalahari, Okavango, Linyanti and Savuti regions, mostly. My special interests are birds, lions and photography, in no special order. When I am not guiding in the field, I take part in some of our companies environmental projects. Botswana is a country with a solid conservation ethic, and I am fortunate to be able to share some of what I do and see by means of my writing and my images. Visit my photography page