Known to many as Africa’s Eden, the Okavango Delta in Botswana is a favourite with riders and is famous for its annual flood and abundance of wildlife; the area provides a haven for a huge array of wildlife. In the Okavango Delta flood months, these horseback safaris offer the unique experience of cantering across flooded plains, grinning from ear-to-ear as you get drenched in splashing water.
Further South, on the border of Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe, lies the unfenced and vast Mashatu Game Reserve – Another haven for horse riders. Long canters kicking up dust and weaving your way through endless bush wilderness with wildlife around every corner.
For those horseback riders looking for something a little different, a speed fix and an adrenaline rush, or simply a complete change of scenery – the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans will deliver. Hear your horses hooves crunch across the wide-open salt pans that stretch as far as the eye can see, the best natural race surface in the world! Enjoy a good gallop, spectacular sunsets and perhaps even spending a night sleeping under the stars.
Due to the wild nature of these destinations and the big game often encountered, most riding safaris require a riding level of strong intermediate to advanced. However, there are some horse safari exceptions which are not to be passed up if you fancy just a day experience or do not ride with much confidence.
Safari, Landscape & Wildlife
There are three main areas for horseback safari in Botswana; the Okavango Delta, the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans and the Mashatu Reserve in the Limpopo.
Home to the big five, as well as wild dog, cheetah, hippo and many, many more; an Okavango Delta riding safari is bound to leave you in awe. Great breeding herds of elephants gather in the delta during the floods, making for spectacular sights as they gather around large lagoons filled with hippos. Explore passed the herds of zebras, red lechwe, impalas and reed buck that graze on the islands between the flood plains and pause to watch a giraffe browsing the tallest trees. It is called Africa’s Eden for a reason and is not to be missed!
The Tuli Block is known as the ‘Land of Giants’ due to its large elephant herds, and towering Baobab trees. The area is famous for its wildlife and is home to lion, cheetah, leopard, large herds of elephant, a multitude of plains game like zebra, wildebeest and giraffe, and many varied bird species.
The Makgadikgadi offers an entirely different scene, the pans make up a large area of north Eastern Botswana and are separated by areas of sandy desert islands. During the green season witness the pans fill with the enormous herds of migratory zebra and wildebeest, often seen in their thousands. Jump down from a morning’s horse safari to visit the meerkat colonies and watch closely as they venture above ground to bask in the first morning rays, unfazed by your presence.
From the minute you step off the plane and into the saddle, you will be met with the smiling faces of the Botswanans. The energy and vibe in Botswana is infectious, you will quickly find yourself smiling too as you chat to your guides, grooms and camp staff. On the Makgadikgadi horse safari you get the privilege of spending time with the San Bushmen who will show you their communities and introduce you to and involve you in their traditional ways of living.
Unwind in one of our exclusive luxury camps which perfectly intertwines all those creature comforts with the bush wilderness experience. Return from fast-paced mornings in the saddle, recline by the pool and watch elephants drinking from a nearby lagoon. You may prefer to really embrace nature to the fullest on one of the mobile camping safaris. Here you’ll dine under the stars every night, siesta in the shade under trees and enjoy a hot bucket shower hung from a tree to wash off the dust from a day in the saddle.