Kalahari & Makgadikgadi Salt Pans Horse Safari

3 Nights: From USD $3690 pp sharing

HEAD OUT ON A KALAHARI HORSE RIDING ADVENTURE

Ride 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.

Despite being classed as a desert landscape, this ride takes you through very diverse scenery. Encounter wide open plains, denser scrub land, stark and barren salt pans and an array of desert-adapted flora and fauna such as wildebeest, zebra, elephant, a morning spent with the curious meerkats and many more. You will be given the unique opportunity to learn about this intriguing landscape from an afternoon spent with the Kalahari Bushmen. They have lived off the land for many years and know all the secrets of life in the desert.

Follow in the footsteps of David Livingstone as you recreate a stretch of his journey across Botswana, stopping for lunch by the iconic baobab tree that Livingstone used as a landmark.

A horse safari across the Makgadikgadi combines the wonderful luxuries of a beautiful tented base camp, with a true bush experience. The mid-stay three day excursion from your luxury base camp allows you to experience a night of fly-camping like the original pioneers; nestled in the bush with campfires, bucket showers, alfresco dining and the wonderful sounds of an African night.

Spend a night sleeping far out on the salt pans. Set out onto the pan in the wonderful afternoon light of an African dusk, and after the sun has finished setting the white salt alights with colour, ride on into the night. The surface of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans is so perfectly designed for horse riding you will encounter the unique thrill of cantering through the darkness, with only the light of the stars, moon and distant campfire to guide you – a truly surreal experience. That night sleep out on a camp bed under the unparalleled stars of an unpolluted African sky.

The salt pans also make the perfect natural race track, and I mean it would be rude not to go for a blast on that ideal surface! Enjoy a ‘release-your-inner-cowgirl or boy’ gallop on one of the mornings!

Spectacular sunrises and sunsets, diverse and vast landscapes, intriguing flora and wildlife, sleeping under the stars, thrilling canters across the best natural riding surface in the world makes for an unforgettable riding holiday.

DATES AND RATES

Open all year round. Please enquire for availability.

2024 RATES

TAILOR-MADE 3 NIGHT STAY

Low Season: 10 January – 31 March 2024

USD $3690 per person sharing + transfers

Mid Season: 01 April – 31 June / 01 September – 09 January 2024

USD $3990 pp sharing + transfers

High Season: 01 July – 31 August 2024

USD $4350 per person sharing + transfers

ETRAS

TRANSFERS (Subject to change)

USD $790 per person sharing return flights from Maun

Or USD $350 per person sharing return road transfers from Maun

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT

Single supplement charged throughout the year

INCLUDES & EXCLUDES

Includes

  • All accommodation on a sharing basis
  • All food and drink – including alcohol
  • Personal and expert guidance throughout your trip
  • All the riding throughout your stay
  • Game drives stated in the itinerary
  • A visit to the meerkats
  • The Kalahari Bushmen experience

Excludes

  • International Flights to Maun Airport
  • Visas
  • Comprehensive Travel and Medical insurance
  • Internal charter flights / Road Transfers
  • Gratuities for camp staff and guides
  • Items of a personal nature such as gifts etc

QUICK FACTS

Location: Botswana
Airport: Maun International Airport
Month: Open All Year (set dates)
Duration: 3 - 5 Nights
Group Size: Max 8
Skill Level: Intermediate Plus & Advanced + Non-riders
Weight Limit: 95kg / 210lbs
Accommodation: Luxury Tented Camp
VIEW GALLERY
3 Nights: From USD $3690 pp sharing

SUITABLE RIDING LEVELS

  • Beginner
  • Novice
  • Intermediate
  • Intermediate Plus
  • Advanced
WHAT RIDING LEVEL AM I?

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Knowledgeable, experienced and exciting guiding
  • During certain months experience the zebra and wildebeest migration in this area
  • Thrilling canters and gallops across the best natural riding surface in the world
  • Experience safari in the style of David Livingstone, fly-camping and sleeping under the stars out on the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans
  • Enjoy meeting the meerkats of the Makgadikgadi and the enchanting Kalahari Bushmen

TOUR REVIEWS

Wonderful memories and great friends!
I had a great time and made some wonderful memories and new friends. I rode Radar and McGuinness. I think that of the two locations, I was most impressed with Botswana. I like the open areas and the plethora of animals and new scenery. Plus, I LOVED the treehouse camp! All the camps were wonderful, and the food was really next level for each meal. I loved how the staff sang to us before dinner in Botswana. One of my favorite memories will have to be as we rode into a plains area and on our left, impala and wildebeest were running, in the distance, a small group of elephants were hurrying on their way, and then as we turned the corner, a bat eared fox was jumping through the tall grass as more animals frolicked around us – a herd of zebra and a family of giraffes. Definitely seemed to bring a lot of the amazing things of the Mashatu Game Reserve together in one moment.

Nicole SchrockAfrican Explorer Horse Safari
READ MORE REVIEWS

SAMPLE ITINERARY

** Please be aware this is a sample itinerary. This sample itinerary is for the DRY SEASON – the green season has a different itinerary as it does not include a sleep-out on the salt pans (they are full of water!). Please enquire for the GREEN SEASON sample itinerary. Any changes to the dry season sample itinerary will always be made with your best interests in mind.

DAY 1: ARRIVAL AND INTRODUCTORY RIDE

Arrive by air or road into the Kalahari, where you will be welcomed by your guide, and settled into your base Camp Kalahari. Camp is situated among the acacias and Mokolwane palms of Brown Hyaena Island, on the edge of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, adjacent to the Makgadikgadi-Nxai Pans National Park, Botswana.

After a steaming cup of tea – or refreshing G&T, the chance for a cool off in the swimming pool or a relaxing siesta; head out for your first ride across the vast landscape in the beautiful light of African dusk. Get to know what will soon be your faithful four-legged companion and take in the peaceful essence of the Kalahari. Ride over the jigsaw of savanna islands and salt pans, keeping a keen eye out for any game. Pull up to a beautiful sundowner spot, dismount and enjoy an iconic African sunset wash the sky with red, and listen to the rare purity of absolute silence.

Return to camp for a delicious dinner and to kraal the horses close by, before the lions of the Kalahari commence their nightly prowling.

DAY 2: MORNING RIDE & AFTERNOON DRIVE

After rising to a glorious African morning, head out at sunrise and explore this magical area once more. Bathed in the light of dawn, the yellow grasses look even more beautiful. Seek out the desert adapted wildlife such as elephant, zebra and wildebeest as you traverse the ‘land of a thousand islands’. 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 salt pans separating the islands makes great going for the horses and provides ample opportunity to pick up the pace.

Return for a well-deserved lunch and to shelter from the heat of the day by relaxing in the pool, keeping an eye out for any elephant that might be looking for a drink!

In the afternoon, swap horse for vehicle and take a game drive in search of some of the areas treasures such as; springbok, gemsbok, red hartebeest, bachelor herds of bull elephant and the elusive brown hyena. After sunset, enjoy a night game drive back to camp, and with the aid of a spot light, look 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: MEERKAT RIDE & AFTERNOON DRIVE

Wake up to a steaming hot cup of tea or coffee and a light breakfast, before heading off in search of some of the Kalahari’s most fascinating inhabitants, the meerkats.

With your horses tethered, you can proceed on foot into the midst of the group. Due to an ongoing habituation programme by Uncharted Africa Safari co. it’s possible to get up close and personal with these captivating creatures. They are not tame – just used to the non-threatening presence of humans. 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! Visiting these interesting animals is definitely one of the most special and memorable game experiences you will encounter in Botswana.

As the day 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 nothingness and open space of white, it would be difficult not to take advantage and experience the ultimate sense of freedom as you fly across it!

Return to camp for lunch and a refreshing shower. In the afternoon head out on a game drive or quad bike ride. You’ll get a chance to have sundowner drinks in the heart of the dry pans or one of the dry islands. Head home in the dark, keeping your eyes open for nocturnal wildlife such as hyenas, leopards and black maned lions.

DAY 4: BUSHMEN WALK & DEPARTURE

Visit the Kalahari Bushmen. Uncharted Africa has pioneered and passionately supported cultural tourism in Botswana since the company’s inception in 1993. It has long been their belief that it is a vitally important tool in terms of preserving this unique, but sadly fast-vanishing, culture.

Offering a window into the past, an experience with the Bushmen offers an insight into how they have survived in these harsh environments. Using their vast and ancient knowledge of plants, animal behaviour and survival skills.

Through the initiative, a community is able to work together and share their knowledge with each other and our guests, allowing the older generation to pass the knowledge on to the next generation.

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.

THE ACCOMMODATION

CAMP KALAHARI

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.

THE DESTINATION

The Makgadikgadi Salt Pans

The Makgadikgadi Salt Pan is in north-eastern Bostwana. The pan is one of the largest salt flats in the world and is all that remains of the former Lake Makgadikgadi, which once covered an area larger than Switzerland. The lake dried up several thousand years ago and lies southeast of the Okavango Delta, surrounded by the Kalahari Desert.

The Makgadikgadi Salt Pans are not a single pan but a jigsaw of pans with several sandy desert lands in between. This makes for a varied and always changing terrain to ride through.

Kalahari Desert

Encompassing nearly all of Botswana, more than half of Namibia, parts of South Africa, and stretching a vast 360,000 square miles; the Kalahari Desert is not a desert in the strictest sense of the word.

This huge expanse of land has vastly varying environments; encompassing large areas of land receiving between 5 to 10 inches of rainfall annually. The beautiful area is home to a huge array of desert-adapted flora and fauna, with most being migratory animals, calling the Kalahari home during the wet season and when there is adequate water present.

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 at Camp Kalahari are kept in tip-top shape for your safaris. Our horses are on top of the hierarchy and receive very special care:

  • Saddles are checked regularly and tack cleaned daily
  • Horses have dedicated rest days each week and varied exercise program
  • Our horses live out in a herd environment, allowing them to live as naturally as possible
  • Horses are stabled at night and have watchmen to keep them safe

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

HOW TO SIGN UP FOR A HORSE SAFARI

Fill in the form on our website/social media describing your dream African Horse Safari

A Horse Safari Specialists will get in touch to help you plan the perfect escape

Confirm your ride and dates by paying your deposit

We’ll send you a reminder for your balance payment + travel advice

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