The following is information supplied by Africa Geographic Magazine and specifically from their ‘man in Maun’, Grant Atkinson. I consider Africa Geographic to be one of the best wildlife magazines available, with stunning photography. Unfortunately, the print version of the magazine is quite expensive outside of South Africa. Luckily, they do have a nice .pdf magazine you can subscribe to for free…. and we recommend you do so. Further, we suggest you regularly visit Grant’s web site as he is more than a reporter. He is an experienced guide and quality photographer. We’ve shared discussions on camera settings and safari destinations in the past and find him to be a valuable contact.
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.