The Super Lions of Northern Botswana


On Safari in the Duba & Selinda Concessions

For the last few decades, travelers to the remote Duba concession have been wowed by buffalo-hunting lions found only in that area. It’s exceedingly rare for lions to hunt such large, cantankerous animals, but the Duba area specializes in it. Duba safaris often center around game drives tracking these daring hunters and to watch their impressive travails. It’s an incredible experience, and many travelers return time and again to immerse into the pristine wilderness of Duba.


To contrast this, on the Selinda concession north of the Linyanti Wetlands, travelers are treated to a handful of activities that celebrate the diverse Selinda landscape. After a twenty-year drought, the Selinda Spillway has once more started flowing as the annual flood waters from the Angolan highlands seep into the delta. Beyond the usual game drives, guests can explore Selinda on guided bush walks, boat excursions, or on a multi-day canoe trails safari.

When combined, both areas offer a well-balanced and overall spectacular safari experience in this famed region of Botswana.

But it wasn’t always this way. Due to recent changes in the weather and flood patterns, these regions have switched places, with Duba getting wetter and Selinda getting drier. This has led the camps in the area to flip the script on their typical safari model and create a new one that better fits the transforming landscape.

As water levels rise at Duba, populations of semi-aquatic red lechwe antelope have exploded. Despite their reputation as buffalo hunters, the lions now forego these challenging beasts in favor of the much more docile lechwes. They’re still have a go at the big boys every once in a while, but unfortunately it’s much less common now. Even without this signature experience, Duba still delivers in a huge way. The camps now feature a much broader selection of activities, rather than focusing in on just one experience. You can paddle quietly down the channels carved out by hippos, spend a morning on foot with a knowledgeable guide, or meet the bushveld’s incredible nocturnal wildlife on a nighttime game drive. Guests come away with a much truer safari experience as a result.


With guides telling us that Selinda is drier than it’s ever been, it’s becoming the hotspot for predators hunting big prey. On my recent trip, I personally witnessed two sub-adult buffalos being taken from their large herd by a pride of determined lions. Happening just a few feet away from our vehicle, it was an experience I’ll never forget. I had always wanted to see this unusual phenomenon of buffalo hunting lions and was thrilled when I learned I’d be visiting Duba on this trip. Little did I know that Selinda would be home to this once in a lifetime sighting.  Nature is funny that way – you think you know what’s going to happen, but you just never know what lays in store for you.

Despite flipping the script, these two areas still combine quite nicely year round. The natural world is wonderfully unpredictable, it’s a big reason why we’re so drawn to the wilderness, so it’s important to avoid bogging down in preconceived notions about areas we think we know. This is why Mango Safaris continually explores Africa, checking out new areas and visiting old favorites time and again to ensure we’re always in the know. With this wealth of knowledge and dedication, we help you create the trip of a lifetime that centers around the latest and greatest, rather than past reputations and experiences.




Photos from Brendon Cremer, National Geographic & Great Plains Conservation


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