Desert and Delta – Ultimate Botswana

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THE ULTIMATE BOTSWANA SAFARI COMBINING TWO VERY DIFFERENT AND UNIQUE LANDSCAPES AND OFFERING THE ULTIMATE HORSE-RIDING ADVENTURE!

Depending on the time of year this safari will consist either of 5 Nights Kalahari / 3 Nights Okavango or 5 Nights Okavango / 3 Nights Kalahari. Follow in the footsteps of David Livingstone as you recreate a stretch of his journey across Botswana. Discover the true magic of these two incredible destinations with thrilling water canters and exhilarating gallops across the best natural rding surface in the world. Spectacular sunrises and sunsets, diverse and vast landscapes, intriguing and contrasting plants and wildlife, and sleeping under the stars make this an unforgettable riding holiday.

Enjoy the simplicity of the Okavango Delta on a mobile-safari through one of Africa’s last Edens. The camp is broken down and transported on moving days by a flotilla of mekoros (traditional dugout canoes) poled by members of the local community, who live on the fringes of the Delta and know it intimately. When the water levels are too low for the mekoros to navigate, a train of pack donkeys takes over. No two days are the same and the camp is moved depending on the wildlife movement, water levels and length of safari. A safari like this strips  back to the bare beauty of embracing the African wilderness and allows you to enjoy the exclusivity of a personalised camp.

Exploring this wilderness on horseback is exhilarating and your first encounter with herd of elephants is bound to leave you awe-inspired.  Game viewing is exceptional and being in the saddle offers the perfect vantage point. This is a true wilderness area, where lion, wild dog and hyena may be encountered – adding a thrill to the ride.  In the wetter months, racing through the floodwaters leaves every rider grinning from ear to ear with sheer elation. In the drier months, the last pools of water become a mecca for wildlife and offer some epic National Geographic moments.

From the Delta to the Desert, ride out across the vast open landscapes, taking in the stillness and serene quiet of the untouched and pristine savanna islands that break up the mysterious salt pans.Encounter wide open plains, denser scrub land, stark and barren salt pans and an array of desert-adapted wildlife like wildebeest, zebra, elephant and lion. Spend a morning with the curious habituated meerkats and discover the secrets of desert life during a unique afternoon spent with the Kalahari Bushmen.

As the days warms up, remount and head out onto the pans for some fun! Step out onto the largest stretch of naturally made race surface in the world. Looking out across the vast, white nothingness, it would be difficult not to take advantage and experience the ultimate sense of freedom as you fly across the perfect natural racetrack.

A horse safari across the Makgadikgadi combines the wonderful luxury of a tented base camp with a true bush experience. If you spend 5 nights in the pans, you will spend 2 nights fly-camping like the original pioneers; nestled in the bush with campfires, bucket showers, alfresco dining and the wonderful sounds of an African night.

QUICK FACTS
Botswana
Maun International Airport
Open All Year
8 Nights / 9 Days
Group Size: Max. 8
Minimum of 2 
Intermediate Plus and Advanced
THE DESTINATION

Considered one of Nature’s masterpieces, the Okavango Delta offers adventurists the chance to explore one of Africa’s truly great wildernesses. A World Heritage Site, this vast and virtually untouched wetland lies at the heart of Botswana’s arid Kalahari Desert yet supports an abundance of wildlife in what is often referred to as Africa’s ‘Eden’.  This is the classic horse-riding safari many envision, cantering alongside giraffe and zebra, encountering bathing elephants and being the only humans for miles around.  Offering a maze of sparkling pools in winter and savannas teeming with wildlife in summer, this is an exceptional place for a horse-riding holiday.

The shimmering salt pans of Makgadikgadi along with the Nxai Pans are believed to be the largest in the world. Situated in the middle of the dry savanna of north-eastern Botswana it is all that remains of the ancient Lake Makgadikgadi, The Makgadikgadi Salt Pans are not a single pan but a jigsaw of pans with several sandy desert lands in between spotted with tall makalani palms, making for varied and ever-changing terrain to ride through.

DATES & RATES

There are a number of 8-night set date departures throughout the year for a minimum of 2 participants and a maximum of 8.

2020 Rates

11 January – 19 January 2020

25 January – 02 February 2020

08 February – 16 February 2020

22 February – 02 March 2020

14 March – 22 March 2020

21 March – 29 March 2020

USD5830 per person sharing plus transfers

10 April – 18 April 2020

USD6340 per person sharing plus transfers

31 March – 08 April 2020

19 April – 27 April 2020

12 May – 20 May 2020

19 May – 27 May 2020

02 June – 10 June 2020

10 November – 18 November 2020

USD5810 per person sharing plus transfers

09 July– 17 July 2020

14 – 22 July 2020

28 July – 05 August 2020

11 – 19 August 2020

USD6535 per person sharing plus transfers

01 September – 09 September 2020

22 September – 30 September 2020

06 October – 14 October 2020

19 – 27 October 2020

USD6235 per person sharing plus transfers

Includes:

  • Accommodation
  • All meals and drinks
  • Road transfer between Maun and Delta
  • A personal and expert guide throughout your trip
  • All the riding throughout your stay
  • Selected activities
  • Well trained and responsive horses to ride

Excludes:

  • Visas and full travel and medical insurance – which is essential
  • International flights to Maun
  • Return air transfers between the Desert and Delta (USD741) OR return road transfers (USD350)
  • Gratuities for camp staff and guides
YOUR 8-DAY ITINERARY

Depending on the time of year this safari will consist either of 5 Nights Kalahari/ 3 Nights Okavango (approx. Jan – Mid-April) or 5 Nights Okavango / 3 Nights Kalahari (approx. mid-April – November) Guests have a choice between air transfers or road transfers between the Delta and the Desert.

** Please be aware this is a sample itinerary with showing 5 nights in the Kalahari. This sample itinerary is for the GREEN SEASON in the Pans – the dry season has a different itinerary. Any changes to the dry season sample itinerary will always be made with your best interests in mind.

A Typical Day in the Delta

Wake up on a beautiful African morning, to the sound of the dawn chorus. Enjoy a light breakfast around the campfire as dawn breaks.

The morning will be spent on horseback, following ancient elephant trails, searching for a variety of wildlife. Spotting for the prolific birdlife, and depending on the time of year, cantering through the recently flooded plains. Herds of buffalo might be found grazing, lone male elephants browsing, giraffes sauntering by and red lechwe splash through the water.

Return to camp for lunch and siesta in the dense shade of the giant jackalberry or leadwood trees.

In the afternoons, head out on a gentle evening ride, absorbing the Delta’s magic and listening to the sounds of the bush and the snorting and splashing of the horses. Enjoy Africa’s ‘golden hour’ where the wonderful afternoon light sets the landscape alight with beautiful colours.

Return to camp for a delicious alfresco dinner under the stars.

Occasionally guests (and horses) may need to rest, which is the perfect opportunity for a tranquil ride in a mekoro, the traditional way of traversing the glittering, lily-lined lagoons and waterways. It is a chance too, to venture out on foot to appreciate the smaller creatures that inhabit the bush – or to learn some rudimentary tracking skills.

No two days are the same and every day is a different adventure out across a new and intriguing landscape.

Day 1 in the Kalahari

On arrival by air or road, you will be greeted by your host and settled into Camp Kalahari. The camp is nestled amongst the acacias and Mokolwane palms of Brown Hyaena Island, on the edge of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans.

A thatched central library, living and dining area featuring an eclectic mix of original African furniture , traditional campaign style pieces and colonial antiques. This provide the perfect area in which to relax and enjoy the serenity of this enchanting area. Cool off in the swimming pool or enjoy a siesta in the thatched pavilion.

Head off after tea in the beautiful afternoon light, for an introductory ride – primarily to match horse and rider but also your first opportunity to experience the beauty of this magical area. Return to the camp for sundowners and to kraal the horses close by, before the lions of the Kalahari commence their nightly prowling.

Day 2 in the Kalahari

Up with the dawn, a light breakfast is followed by a long morning ride through the “land of a thousand islands”. Stranded on the ancient lakebed, these sand dunes covered in palm trees are one of the most beautiful and fascinating areas of the Botswana wilderness. At the height of the migration season, the islands and adjoining grasslands are awash with zebra, wildebeest, hartebeest and ostrich – and of course the attendant predators!

The white encrusted pans between the islands provides excellent going for the horses, but if there has been a lot of rain, many of these areas may be full of water attracting several species of migratory water birds. Return to the camp for lunch and rest through the heat of the day in the welcome shade of the camel thorn trees or cool off in the camp swimming pool.

After tea, head off by vehicle to see some unique desert species such as springbok, gemsbok, red hartebeest and the elusive brown hyaena; these desert specialists survive in arid areas where both food and water are scarce. Enjoy a night game drive back to camp, ht, looking for nocturnal desert inhabitants such as aardvark, bat eared foxes, aardwolves, porcupine, honey badgers and perhaps even a black maned Kalahari Lion. Arrive at Camp Kalahari in time for dinner.

Day 3 in the Kalahari

Today is a long ride eastwards to Xau Xai Fly Camp, so an early start is imperative. Be sure to pack a few essentials for the next two days of adventure. The journey takes us away from the edge of the Pans and through the mopane and acacia woodlands interspersed with short grasslands allowing for lovely long, relaxed canters. Whilst the area is rich in birds of preythere is also a chance that we will sight kudu and the odd elephant bull.

By lunchtime we reach the famous Green’s Baobab proudly positioned alongside the well-travelled Missionary Road, traversed by David Livingstone on his journeys northwards. Break for lunch at the adjacent Gutsa Pan under a stand of palm trees where we may find Stone Age artefacts and the hunting blinds used over millennium by the Bushmen. Siesta through the midday heat and after tea, continue the journey on to Xau Xai Fly Camp.

Camp will be made up of comfortable dome tents, a central mess tent, loos and bucket showers. Enjoy a long cool drink as you watch the sunset followed by dinner out under the magnificent Kalahari sky.

Day 4 in the Kalahari

Wake up to a steaming hot cup of coffee and a light breakfast. Ride offin search of some of the Kalahari’s most fascinating inhabitants, the meerkats. With our horses tethered we will proceed on foot in to the midst of the group. Due to an ongoing habituation programme it’s possible for us to get up close and personal with these captivating creatures. Remember, they are not tame – just used to our non-threatening presence. On chilly mornings, you might well find a meerkat snuggling up to you for warmth. Or, in the absence of a termite mound or tree, using your head as a sentry lookout post…

By spending quality time with these incredibly social, superbly adapted animals, you will be able to see how they interact with each other and their environment. You also get the chance to see the desert through the eyes of a meerkat – which, despite the fact that it’s only a foot off the ground, is a pretty spectacular vantage point, and definitely one of the most special and memorable game experiences you will encounter in Botswana.

As the day warms up, leave the meerkats to continue foraging. Mount up and follow the well-worn trails that lead to the resident herds of zebra and large congregations of ostriches attracted to the area by permanent freshwater in hidden waterholes. Return to Xau Xai for lunch, a refreshing shower and a siesta in the shade of the mess tent.

In the late afternoon take a walk to a nearby permanent waterhole to look for many of the Kalahari’s special bird species and, as the sun sets, watch the hundreds of sand grouse fly in for a drink. Return to camp for another beautiful evening under a Kalahari sky with a delicious dinner around the campfire.

Day 5 in the Kalahari

As the dawn greets this extraordinary landscape and the last of the stars disappear, wake for a light breakfast before mounting up and heading homewards at a fast pace sometimes riding along the edge of the Pans and at other times heading into the woodlands and open grasslands where the zebra and wildebeest graze.

The grasslands may be covered as far as the horizon with the vast herds. Canter through them and. with luck, they will join the ride – thousands of zebra cantering in front of you, to the side of you and behind you. Arrive at Camp Kalahari in time for a refreshing shower and lunch. As the sun dips below the horizon and the last light fades, we will be sure to dwell on these amazing past few days. Incredible scenery, memorable wildlife encounters and above all superb riding!

Day 6 in the Kalahari

Uncharted Africa has pioneered and passionately supported cultural tourism in Botswana since the company’s inception in 1993. It has long been our belief that it is a vitally important tool in terms of preserving this unique, but sadly fast-vanishing, culture. The Zu/’hoasi lead a semi-traditional lifestyle, and share their traditional hunting and food-gathering skills as well as how they make jewellery and hunting equipment, it is a glimpse into their traditional way of life.

After breakfast, drive through the bush to the traditionally built Bushmen village; where the community gathers during the day. The huts provide shelter from the harsh Kalahari environment, but are not the community’s permanent accommodation. On arrival, the elders of the community will meet you in a traditional manner after which you will walk out into the bush with the men, women and children. The focus of the walk will be to provide a gentle introduction to the Kalahari and Bushmen way of life. The group will point out the distinct ecological characteristics of this area and its animal and bird species.

Spontaneous gathering and discussions about the uses of plants and wildlife by your Bushmen guides provide the link between culture and wild environment that we seek to offer our guests.

Time for one more lunch; before you bid farewell to Camp Kalahari in preparation for your onward journey back to Maun, either by road or by air.

THE ACCOMMODATION

FLY CAMPING IN THE OKOVANGO DELTA

Rather than a permanent riding camp, a lightweight mobile camp is transported by a flotilla of mekoros (traditional dugout canoes) poled by members of the local community, into the Delta. In the dry season, the camp is moved by a group of enthusiastic pack donkeys. The emphasis is on the experience, the beauty of the Okavango and top-level guiding. Enjoy food cooked over an open fire and sleeping under the stars. The location of the camp is moved depending on the length of the safari, wildlife movements and water levels.

CAMP KALAHARI

This traditional bush camp has spacious Meru tents, comprising of twin tents,  double tents and one family unit which has two adjacent tents, accommodating two guests in each with an inter-leading bathroom. All guest tents have en-suite covered bathrooms, hot and cold running water and flush loos. They boast four poster beds, crunchy cotton sheets, rich textiles, Moroccan kilims and hot water bottles in winter. There is a thatched central library, living and dining area, featuring an eclectic mix of original African furniture and textiles paired with traditional campaign style pieces and colonial antiques. It provides the perfect area in which to relax and enjoy the serenity of this enchanting area. Cool off in the swimming pool or enjoy a siesta in the thatched pavilion.

XAU XAI FLY CAMP

The camp will be made up of comfortable dome tents, a central mess tent, loos and bucket showers set out in the wilderness.

QUICK FACTS
Botswana
Maun International Airport
Open All Year
8 Nights / 9 days
Group Size: Max. 8
Minimum of 2
Intermediate Plus and Advanced
View Gallery
8 Nights from $5 810 pp sharing

See Detailed Rates

SUITABLE RIDING LEVELS
Beginner
Novice
Intermediate
Intermediate Plus
Advanced
WHAT RIDING LEVEL AM I?
TOUR HIGHLIGHTS
  • Explore two of Botswana’s unique and very different landscapes
  • Viewing abundant and varied wildlife adapted to these very different areas.
  • Being able to really absorb Africa’s wilderness through the private and exclusive set-up of fly-camping and sleeping under the stars.
  • Enjoy meeting the meerkats of the Makgadikgadi and the enchanting Kalahari Bushmen.
  • Thrilling canters and gallops across the best natural riding surface in the world
DATES & RATES

There are a number of 8-night set date departures throughout the year for a minimum of 2 participants and a maximum of 8.

2020 Rates

11 January – 19 January 2020

25 January – 02 February 2020

08 February – 16 February 2020

22 February – 02 March 2020

14 March – 22 March 2020

21 March – 29 March 2020

USD5 830 PP SHARING +  transfers

10 April – 18 April 2020

USD6340 per person sharing plus transfers

31 March – 08 April 2020

19 April – 27 April 2020

12 May – 20 May 2020

19 May – 27 May 2020

02 June – 10 June 2020

10 November – 18 November 2020

USD5 810 PP SHARING +  transfers

09 July– 17 July 2020

14 – 22 July 2020

28 July – 05 August 2020

11 – 19 August 2020

USD6 535 PP SHARING +  transfers

01 September – 09 September 2020

22 September – 30 September 2020

06 October – 14 October 2020

19 – 27 October 2020

USD6 235 PP SHARING +  transfers

Includes:

  • Accommodation
  • All meals and drinks
  • Road transfer between Maun and the Okavango Delta
  • A personal and expert guide throughout your trip
  • All the riding throughout your stay
  • Selected additional activities
  • Well trained and responsive horses to ride

Excludes:

  • Visas and full travel and medical insurance – which is essential
  • International flights to Maun
  • Gratuities for camp staff and guides

Transfers: 

Guests can choose to do air or road transfers between the two destiantions, ending in Maun for their departing flight home.

  • Return Air Transfers USD741 PP 
  • Return Road transfers USD350 PP 
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

It was a great, amazing, cool, top experience to ride the Tuliblock in Botswana. 8 day's on a back of a horse and view a lot of game. The guides and staff were great. So I will come back!

Nicole PlasTuli Safari, Botswana
READ MORE REVIEWS

How we care for our horses

Our horseback adventures are hand-picked for their quality and care of their horses. Here’s how the horses are kept in tip-top shape for your safaris. Our horses are on top of the hierarchy and receive very special care:
  • The herd of 41 horses are fit, responsive and reliable, and adapted to the African environment.
  • Under the guidance of our permanent and qualified Equestrian Stable Manager, our team of 15 guides and grooms take pride in the wellbeing of each horse, ensuring that they are well schooled, (but not over-worked) and well-rested between the trips, hence each guest will have the opportunity of riding several different horses during their stay.
  • Great care is taken in matching horse to rider. We ask our guests to respect each of our horses and treat them as they would their own: they are an integral part of the Foot Family.

Please let us know if you have any more questions around this.

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