Botswana ~ Limpopo Valley
Limpopo Horse Safaris operate in south eastern Botswana's Mashatu Game Reserve, part of the Tuli block which borders South Africa and the great Limpopo River. Known as the 'Land of Giants' for its large population of elephant as well as giraffe, eland, lion, ostrich, the huge Kori Bustard and massive Baobab tree, the varied terrain of the Tuli ranges from belts of thick thorn scrub and tall mashatu and fever trees that line the Limpopo, to vast semi-arid plains with striking rocky 'kopjes' and sandstone outcrops jutting into the horizon. Cecil Rhodes carved his name on one of Mashatu's large Baobab trees and as well as game, there are sites of historic interest to bring alive those pioneering days.
Safari itineraries vary with a choice of 7 night Tuli and African Bush & Lodge Safaris, both exciting mobiles which include nights in different camps or lodges across the reserve. Two Mashatu Safaris are based at the main camp with rides out each day (flexible number of days).
7 night African Explorer Safaris, with 4 nights in South Africa riding from Camp Davidson and 3 nights on Mashatu riding in the Limpopo valley, are another option and a wonderful chance to explore two contrasting areas of Southern Africa (for further information on African Explorer Safaris see South Africa - Saddlebag Safaris).
9 night Best of Botswana Safaris explore the Limpopo and Okavango, with 6 nights at Limpopo followed by 3 or more nights in the Okavango.
Riding: 4-7 hours a day.
Horses: Boerpede, TB and Shire crosses, warmbloods.
Pace: moderate, with good chances for long canters.
Riding ability: confident intermediate to experienced riders.
Weight limit: 95kg (15 stone).
Accommodation: 4∆ and 5∆ camping, comfortable safari lodges.
Group size: maximum 8.
Season: year round; Tuli Safaris - April to October
Horses: The horses include South African Boerperd crosses, Thoroughbred crosses and some shire crosses. They vary from about 14.2hh to 17hh, are very well schooled, responsive and forward going to ride. Saddles are mostly English, with some Maclellan and Australian stock saddles available on request. There are grooms on hand to look after the horses.
Hours: Most safaris include between 4 and 7 hours riding a day, riding out from camp or to different fly camps / lodges. Rides are broken up with rests, for snacks and game viewing.
Pace and experience required: To join a safari you must be a fairly experienced rider who is comfortable riding at all paces from a walk to fast canter in open country. You will be riding in a varied, open area where there is 'big' game including elephant and lion. The going on the safaris is good, there are places for long canters and you will enjoy it more if you are riding fit. If in doubt about ability please contact us.
Accommodation for the first and last nights of the Tuli Safari is at Two Mashatus Camp, a comfortable, semi-permanent base camp at the confluence of the Limpopo and Majale Rivers. This is also the base for the Botswana part of the African Explorer safaris. Two Mashatus has 4 walk-in twin / double East African style safari tents, raised on teak decking with their own long drop loo and private shower tent. The camp has a small plunge pool and a dining and sitting area built in local style with a palm thatch roof and set on raised teak. Other nights on Tuli Safaris are spent at a selection of wilderness camps, set up at carefully selected locations across the Mashatu Reserve. At these, 2 man walk in A- frame tents are generally used, with beds and linen provided. One night may be in the simpler 'Kogtla' sleeping out under the stars. At wilderness camps a shower tent is set up as well as a 'long drop' loo and a back up lorry carries camping equipment, provisions and horse food from camp to camp. Meals are eaten outside at a table set up in the shade of a tree.
Tailor made African Bush & Lodge Safari use private farms, permanent camps and lodges on the Mashatu Reserve with at least 2 nights at Two Mashatus Camp. All lodge rooms have en-suite bathroom and are comfortable although style and standard varies a little. There are swimming pools at most lodges.
Tuli Safaris (7 night mobile safari)
Tuli Safaris (7 nights)
Itinerary in Brief (7 night Tuli Safari)
|Day 1||You will be met at the Limpopo Valley Airstrip (or South African border post of Ponts Drift) and driven the short way to the stables. Lunch and a late afternoon ride to try the horses, returning to the stables as the sun sets. Short transfer to Two Mashatus Camp. Dinner and overnight at Two Mashatus.|
||Set off early riding north-west towards Majale River Camp in a lovely spot next to the river. A late lunch on arrival and an then a gentle ride in the afternoon. Dinner and night in camp.|
||A long ride of 6 to 7 hours, taking you west again to an area of golden sandstone rock formations. Camp is set up inside an old tribal meeting court, the Kgotla. Dinner and overnight in camp.|
||A long morning ride, exploring this area where two mighty rivers, the Limpopo and the Mocloutse, meet. Lunch back at the Kgotla with time to explore the Mmamgwa hills in the late afternoon. Dinner and night in camp.|
||An early start with a full day ride of about 7 hours, arriving at Liana camp for a late lunch. An afternoon game drive then return to camp for dinner. Night at Liana Camp.|
||Today's route meanders through beautiful plains between the Mojadi and Majele rivers, with views into the Limpopo River Valley. After a long morning you'll return to base camp, Two Mashatus, for lunch by the pool. Enjoy an afternoon ride to a nearby kopje for sundowners. Dinner and night Two Mashatus.|
||Set out on a full day ride to explore the Pitsane river valley, where regular water holes often draw thirsty herds of game. The open plains are perfect for a gallop, alongside wildebeest or zebra if you're lucky! Arrive back to Two Mashaus in the afternoon. Final dinner and night at Two Mashatus.|
||An early morning ride along the banks of the Limpopo, and after about 2 hours arrive at the stables. Farewell to the horses and after an early lunch at the stables transfer to Mashatu airstrip for the charter to Johannesburg (or Ponts Drift border post for your onward journey).|
|Contact us at email@example.com or on tel (+44) (0)1837-82544 / 825440 for further information, detailed itineraries, dates and answers to questions|
The meeting point for these safaris is usually at Johannesburg airport in South Africa and transfers are arranged for you from there, either by private charter to Limpopo Valley airstrip in Botswana (about an hours flight), or overland to Ponts Drift border post (about 5 and a half hours). The set group rate charter transfer is £420 per person return which is added to the safari cost.
Vehicle transfers can be arranged (cost approx £300 per person return assuming minimum 2 people).
You can also hire a car and drive yourself to Ponts Drift - and easy journey on tar roads.
For an economy return flight from London to Johannesburg, budget around £750 to £1200 (fares vary with seasons).