With no guests in camp during Botswana’s lockdown, staff in and around the Linyanti Wildlife Reserve used this down-time to build a fully operational nursery as part of their efforts to help with the reforestation in the Linyanti. This project actually started a couple of years ago, but due to restrictions of time and equipment it was only now that the team has been able to construct a dedicated area for it.
Project Manager Jacques Moorcroft took on the responsibility and, with a small group of staff, built the nursery using leftover construction material, including shade covering from a previous nursery. In the spirit of recycling and upcycling, all materials were taken from old builds in the staff village and the construction of the new DumaTau. “No new materials were bought for this project”, Jacques proudly states.
The importance of this reforestation effort is new trees will be planted all over the concession, but mainly along the riparian belt and the wooded areas on the banks of the Linyanti and Savuti channel, as well as inside the footprint of our camps.
With the large, year-round elephant numbers comes a great deal of loss to the trees and flora due to consumption, particularly during the dryer months of the year. Elephants tend to “ring bark” trees, which ultimately leads to the trees breaking and dying. The new trees will be planted during the wet season to give them a fair chance of surviving, especially during summer, as this is when elephant pressure is at its lowest. Elephant numbers tend to be lower during the rainy season as they are not as dependent on the channel, with water to be found further to the south, allowing the elephants to roam. But as the seasons change large numbers of elephants are seen returning to the water to wait out the dryer months.
The nursery is situated back-of-house at King’s Pool near the solar plant, allowing easy access to water and utilities to help the saplings grow. Guests at all our Linyanti camps are welcome to take a tour of the nursery as we are very proud of the hard work that has gone into this project. We are also only growing trees that naturally occur on the concession. Currently there are jackalberry, knobthorn, African mangosteen, mahogany, buffalo thorn, marula, baobab, strangler fig and birdplum, Kalahari apple leaf and camelthorn trees in the nursery.
Once the trees are ready to be planted we would also like to invite guests to plant their own tree within the Linyanti Wildlife Reserve, giving you an even greater reason to repeat your visit to this magnificent area, and watch the progress as your tree flourishes in its natural environment.
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