Botswana, Okavango Delta ~ Okavango Horse Safaris
5, 7 or 10 nights using 2 private safari camps and occasionally an optional third 'fly' camp. Available year round. Suitable for confident intermediate riders and above. Non-riders welcome.
Where Based at Kujwana Camp, in a prime position in the south west Okavango Delta, with one or two nights on all safaris at Mokolowane tree house camp (10 night safaris sometimes include the option of a night in a 3rd temporary 'fly' camp).
What is it like Pristine, protected and beautiful, its prime Okavango Delta! Large expanses of flat, open grassland, watermeadow and a network of channels and lakes when the flood is high. Islands of palm trees, shady mashatu trees and patches of thick mopane forest. Its one of the world's foremost wildlife habitats, home to a huge variety of game, including numerous elephant, buffalo herds that can number in the thousands, zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, many different antelope, all the cats, hippo, rhino.....the list goes on. The birdlife is superb.
Who does it suit Riders of at least intermediate ability who are confident and secure to ride in an open, unfenced area with 'big' (and potentially dangerous) game. The OHS focus is horses but it's also appreciation of the wilderness. The emphasis is on game, the bush and learning about life in the Delta. Strong child riders of 12 yrs or over and non-riders are very welcome, with game drives, guided walks and boat outings all on offer. We particularly love OHS safaris for private groups - if your group want focused game viewing, have high expectations for horses and horse care and will appreciate exclusive use of an intimate, privately owned safari camp, this is the place for you! Exclusive safaris can be booked for just 8 at standard rates.
Why we love it It's the original Delta horse safari operation, still run by the wonderful PJ & Barney Bestelink with their unmatched knowledge, dedication and years of experience, which all show through. Barney's horses are her passion and her enviable home bred herd is hard to match, whilst Kujwana Camp - relaxed, authentic and low key but also very comfortable - is a perfect home base. We also love that safaris move to 2 (and sometimes 3) camp locations, adding to the feeling of exploration and adventure.
Riding: 4-6 hours a day
Horses: TB, Arab cross, Saddlebred, Boerperd and TB crosses
Pace: moderate, with good chances for long canters
Riding ability: confident intermediate to experienced riders
Weight limit: 90kg (14 stone)
Accommodation: 5∆+ camping
Group size: 12 in camp, maximum 6 to ride
Season: March to November (December, January / February on request)
Price: 7 night safaris from £4270 per person
Horses: Horses include Thoroughbreds, part Thoroughbreds, Arab crosses, Boerperd and Saddlebred crosses. They average between about 14hh and 17hh, are well schooled, sensible, responsive and forward going to ride. Grooms look after horses on safari and prepare them for rides. Tack is English style. Camp sleeps a maximum of 12 guests, riding groups are usually a maximum of 6 guests.
Hours: About 4 to 6 hours a day, riding out from camp or to fly camps. Rides are broken with rests, for lunch and game viewing.
Pace and experience required: Riders must be fairly experienced, secure and comfortable riding at all paces from walk to fast canter in open country. Riding is in a varied, open area where there is 'big' game including elephant and lion. Going on safari is good, there are places for long, energetic canters and you will enjoy it more if you are riding fit. If in doubt about ability please contact us.
Accommodation is in Kujwana base camp, a very comfortable semi-permanent tented camp with a few nights at Mokolowane tree house camp. Kujwana sleeps up to 12 in 4 spacious double / twin safari suites and 3 double / twin walk- in safari tents. All are raised on teak decking, have proper beds, tables, chairs and all linen provided. Each suite and tent also has its own en-suite bathroom with hot shower and flush loo. The camp has a central living, dining, bar and library area, a plunge pool surronded by decking, wifi, plenty of staff and service is excellent. Mokolowane tree house camp is a little simpler, with guest accommodation in atmospheric tree house platforms raised 2 metres above the ground (each with own shower and loo). On 10 night safaris, a night might sometimes be spent in a temporary mobile 'fly' camp, using spacious two man dome tents, sharing a bush shower and long drop bush loos.
High Season: 1st June to 30th September
Example Inclusive Rates 2021
High Season - 7 night safari, £6710 per person; 10 night safari £9350 per person.
February to November:
Average temperature guide
Example Itinerary (10 nights)
Day 1 Met in Maun and transferred by helicopter on a spectacular 20 minute flight over the delta. Short drive to Kujwana base camp for late lunch or tea. Meet the horses and a late afternoon ride to try them, returning to camp as the sun sets. (Overland transfers Maun to Kujwana are also sometimes possible, about a 4 hour drive) Dinner and overnight in camp.
Day 2 Early morning wake up and set off when game is at its most active, riding across open floodplain where there are often big herds of lechwe or zebra, to palm islands where you may surprise timid bushbuck. Return to camp for lunch and a siesta. Afternoon walk or game drive before dinner and the night at Kujwana.
Day 3 Ride west to Baobab Island, a good habitat for cheetah and breeding area for carmine bee eaters. The thick riverine forest is also good country for buffalo and elephant. Ride back to Kujwana for lunch. Perhaps an afternoon game drive. Dinner and night at Kujwana.
Day 4 A long ride from Kujwana to Moklowane Tree house camp, about 30km north west. Cross flood plains and scattered islands of the Matsebe river, stopping for a picnic, then continuing to arrive at new camp at sunset. Dinner and night Moklowane camp.
Day 5 & 6 Two full days to explore the new area on the Matsebe river system. There are plenty of antelope and giraffe here and the moklowane palm trees are a favourite food of elephant and baboon. 2 nights Moklowane camp [ those on 5 night safaris may depart Moklowane].
Day 7 An early wake up call and set off riding back to Kujwana by a different route. A full day ride covering about 40km and crossing a variety of game areas. Ford the Xudum river arriving back at Kujwana at sunset for drinks. Dinner and night Kujwana camp.
Day 8 Those on 7 night safaris depart today. Others might set off on a morning ride to fly camp in a new area, first heading east to Beacon and Lion islands. Arrive at fly camp for lunch. In the late afternoon time to explore on foot. Dinner and night in fly camp.
Day 9 A full day ride exploring the new area. Open plains attract game such as zebra, wildebeeste and impala - and with them predators both cheetah and wild dogs are often seen here. The shallow waters are great too for wading birds. Stop for a picnic under a shady fig tree and in the afternoon ride back along hte Qwaapo river to fly camp.
Day 10 Another early start, with a long morining ride back to Kujwana. The riverine forest is ideal for tracking elephant and you may come across big herds of buffalo, up to 1000 head. Lunch at Kujwana and a final relaxing afternoon, perhaps taking a 'mokoro' (canoe) onto one of the lakes, or a gentle evening ride. Dinner and night at Kujwana camp.
Day 11 A final early morning ride then return to camp for brunch before boarding the helicopter for the short flight back to Maun. Own arrangements from Maun.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on tel (+44) (0)1837-82544 / 825440 for further information, detailed itineraries, dates and answers to questions
The meeting point is Maun in Botswana. We will arrange private charter / helicopter transfers from there to the horse safari camp. To fly to Maun from London it is usually easiest to go to Johannesburg and to take a connecting flight onto Maun. British Airways, South African Airways and Virgin all have direct flights from London to Johannesburg, departing every evening. Air Botswana and South African Airways have daily flights between Johannesburg and Maun. For an economy return flight from London to Maun, budget around £850 to £1200 (fares vary with seasons).