Botswana, Okavango Delta and Kalahari Desert ~ Ride Botswana

Safaris in the Okavango Delta, either using a lightweight camp which can be moved to a different location, or based from a semi-permanent 'fixed' camp, the latter of which you can combine with the Kalahari Desert to make a Delta & Desert Safari. Suitable for intermedate riders and above. Non-riding groups also welcome.

Where Ride Botswana's base is in the southern part of the Okavango Delta where, uniquely amongst ride operators in the Delta, it offers safaris that use a non-permanent, lightweight safari camp, the location of which can change. At certain times of year, for those who prefer or for riders wanting more flexibilty, riding from a semi-permanent camp is an alternative option and this can be combined with a few days in the Kalahari Desert to experience Botswana's vastly contrasting environments.  Ride Botswana's founder David Foot has more than 30 years' experience as a wildlife guide and one of his aims in curating these safaris was to return to the days when 'safari' meant a journey and those on safari were just temporary residents in the wilderness, leaving minimal imprint on the surroundings after visiting. Ride Botswana's 'mobile' safaris operate in an area leased from local communities and another goal is to actively involve people from these communities who help with back-up, moving luggage (using dug-out canoes if water levels allow) as well as staffing the camps. 

What is it like Beautiful, unspoilt and home to numerous, varied game, the Okavango Delta is a mix of flat, grassy plain with raised 'islands' of palm trees, thick mopane forest and a network of streams and water channels that branch out from the main Okavango River. When rain falling further north causes the river to burst its banks, water overflows these channels, flooding out over the plains to create vast watermeadows and huge, clear lakes. Protected from domestic cattle on its southern border by the 'Buffalo Fence', the Delta is one of the world's foremost game areas and boasts huge numbers of elephant, buffalo, wildebeest, giraffe, zebra, hippo, rhino, numerous species of plains game, all the cats, hyena, jackal and wild dog as well as a vast array of birds. Game moves around the Delta area seasonally, depending on flood levels, so what you see, in which region, is always flood and weather dependent, but with the vast number and variety of species, the chance of good game viewing is high and there is always something special.

Away from the main Okavango River and south of the floodwaters' reach, reedbeds and grassland turns to dry Kalahari plains, within which the glistening white of the Magadikgadi saltpans provide incredible contrast. During seasonal summer rains, the pans fill with water; in dry winter months, they are an empty moonscape, a harsh but unique environment - and perfect going for horses!

Who does it suit Intermediate riders and above who are confident and secure to ride in remote, unfenced areas that are open to 'big' (and potentially dangerous) game. Riding from the lightweight Delta camp is a great choice for any adventurous safari-goer who enjoys the feeling of being immersed in nature. The camp is generally set up a few weeks ahead but can be moved if game, weather or water levels require, adding an element of adventure and variety. These safaris are purposefully low impact, with minimal use of vehicles (mokoro canoes are used in preference to vehicles for re-locating if water level allows and game drive vehicles are not used in camp), low level (solar and re-chargable) lighting and great care taken with rubbish and consumables. Walks and (water levels allowing) mokoro trips are often part of the safari day and dedicated walking guides can be brought in on request. For those wanting a broader mix of safari activities, a little more comfort or who are unsure of their riding fitness, the fixed Delta camp, Cha Cha Metsi, which also runs to a green sustainability footprint is ideal. All safaris are for small groups and the atmosphere is low key and relaxed. Family groups with (if wishing to ride) confident, strong child riders aged 12yrs and above are always welcome.

Why we love it A simple but comfortable safari camp with all you need and nothing you don't, set up where there was no human-imprint before and will be none after. You're merely passing through to observe nature in its course. Delicious meals, cooked over a log fire, eaten under the canvas of the night sky. Every safari is different; every safari is an adventure.

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 Riding: 3-6 hours a day

Horses: Boerperd crosses, TB and Arab crosses

Pace: moderate and varied with good chances to canter

Riding ability: confident intermediate to experienced riders

Weight limit: about 95kg (15 stone) but please contact us if your weight is close to this

Accommodation: 4 Δ lightweight, mobile camp; 5 Δ fixed camps

Group size: maximum 8

Season: year round

Price: 7 night safaris from USD 4725 (aaprox £3940) per person 


Horses: Mixed crossbreds, all owned by Ride Botswana. They include Boerperd crosses, Shire/TB crosses and others with Arab, Friesian and Appaloosa blood. They range from around 14.2hh to 16.2hh and are keen, responsive and forward going but sensible to handle, used to game and at home in the bush. Saddles are comfortable Maclellans. Riding groups are up to 8 guests (occasionally more for private groups on request) lead by a professional guide, accompanied by a back-up rider. Grooms are on hand to look after the horses in camps.

Hours: Around 3 to 6 hours riding a day, usually 3 or 4 hours in the morning and 1 1/2 to 2 hours in the evening.

Pace and experience required: Suitable for intermediate to experienced riders, who are comfortable at all paces, from walk to fast canter, in open country and on different types of terrain. You will be riding in a varied, open area where there is 'big' game including elephant and lion so need to be confident of controlling a well-schooled horse at all paces and of keeping up with the group. The ground underfoot is generally good and there are places for long canters. You always need your wits about you, keeping a close eye on signals from your guide and watching out for holes, ditches and game - big and small. You will also enjoy the whole experience much more if you are riding fit. If in any doubt about ability, please contact us.


In the Delta, safaris use a lightweight 'mobile' camp, carefully located for views and shade, or the semi-permanent Cha Cha Metsi camp. The lightweight camp has walk-in 2 man dome tents, with stretcher beds made up with duvet, pillows and blankets, shared ‘short-drop’ loos and traditional 'bucket and pulley' showers (usually one shower and loo between 2 tents). It is deliberately simple but you have all you need - chairs and tables for meals, solar lamps for lighting, extras such as soap, towels and even ice for your drinks!  When moving camp, luggage and equipment is transported by vehicle or, if water level allows, by mokoro canoe. Cha Cha Metsi camp is another Delta option, sleeping 12-14 guests in 6 walk-in 'East Africa' style safari tents, raised on decking and each with attached bathroom with shower and flush loo. There is also a central dining and sitting area with views over the Gama Tau lagoon. In the Kalahari, the safari base is usually the very comfortable Camp Kalahari where large walk-in tents, set on decking under thatch, have 'proper' beds and spacious attached bathroom with shower and flush loo. The camp has a large, comfortable sitting and dining area and plunge pool for hot days. Rates assume two sharing and single supplements will be charged to guarantee single occupancy.  


Rates 2024

Okavango Delta Safari (7 nights) 
Low Season (1st January to 31st March & 1st to 31st December): USD 4955 per person
Mid Season (1st April to 30th June & 1st to 30th November): USD 5865 per person
High Season (1st July to 31st October): USD 6600 per person

Single supplement - for those travelling alone who are not prepared to share a tent there is a supplement of USD 875.

Delta & Desert Safari (8 nights):
5 nights Okavango, 3 nights Kalahari
Peak USD 9475; High USD 9115; Mid USD 8490 per person: Low USD 7165

See dates below for applicable season
Single supplement - varies with dates & season, from USD 700 to USD 2315

Note - for Delta & Desert Safaris ADD light aircraft transfers Maun/Kalahari currently USD 1425 per person return (assumes at least 2 travelling); (road transfers also possible USD 600 return)


Rates include - All riding and other safari activities within the itinerary, guiding and equipment, 7 (8 on Delta & Desert) nights camping accommodation, meals (dinner first day to breakfast last), drinks (a selection of soft drinks, local spirits, beer and house wine), group vehicle transfers between the safari start point and Maun airport at set times on the first and last day and emergency evacuation Okavango Air Rescue cover. 

Rates exclude - International flights to Maun and taxes, any special (non-standard) transfers between Maun and the safari start point, air charter Maun / Kalahari on Delta & Desert Safaris, personal medical / travel insurance (which you must have with cover to ride), visa fees, premium drinks, any personal extras on safari and any tips you may wish to leave staff.  

Dates 2024

Okavango Safaris (7 nights)
9th to 16th May
18th to 25th May
5th to 12th June
14th to 21st June
23rd to 30th June
6th to 13th July**
15th to 22nd July**
7th to 14th August**
16th to 23rd August**
25th August to 1st September**
6th to 13th September**
15th to 22nd September**
24th September to 1st October**
9th to 16th October**
18th to 25th October**
10th to 17th November
24th to 31st December*

*= Low season; **=High season; Mid Season unmarked

Desert & Delta Safari (8 nights)
2nd to 10th May (USD 8490)
23rd to 31st May (USD 8490)
4th to 12th June (USD 8490)
2nd to 10th July (USD 9575)
18th to 26th July (USD 9475)
6th to 14th August (USD 9475)
15th to 23rd August (USD 9475)
3rd to 11th Septembe ((USD 9115)
17th to 25th September ((USD 9115)
1st to 9th October (USD 9115)
23rd to 31st October (USD 9115)
1st to 9th November (USD 8490)
23rd to 30th November (USD 8490)
4th to 12th December (USD 7465)

Safaris of 3 or more nights are possible on request for other dates, minimum 2 riders. Please contact Ride World Wide for prices and availability.

 Average temperature guide


 Example Itinerary (7 night safari)

Day 1 Meet your guide and other guests at Maun Airport and then a drive of around 30 minutes to the buffalo fence which marks the southern end of the Okavango Delta. Meet the horses and back up team and whilst luggage is transferred to a mokoro or vehicle, mount up and set off riding into the Delta, arriving at camp in time for sundowners. Settle in and hot showers followed by a delicious bush dinner, cooked over a log fire.
Days 2-7 Six full days to explore the Delta. Each day’s activity and timetable varies according to the weather, water levels, movement of game and also group wishes - but typically days start with an early wake-up call and light breakfast around the camp fire as day breaks. Then you might mount up for a morning ride, heading out to track wildlife, enjoying the prolific bird life and cantering across open floodplains. You may return to camp for lunch and a siesta in the shade during the heat of the day and after tea at about 4pm, ride out again, generally at a gentler pace, enjoying the softening early evening light and sounds of the bush. Or perhaps in the afternoon, you'll swap horses for mokoro canoes to explore the Delta's waterways in the traditional manner or head out on foot with your guide, a different but equally wonderful way to get to know the bush. Returning to camp at sun set, there are drinks and hot showers before dinner under the stars or on some days, you may ride to a new camp, set up ahead by the back-up team. Nights camping out in lightweight mobile camps.
Day 8  An early breakfast before mounting up to ride back to the buffalo fence, where your luggage will meet you. Group transfer (about 30 mins) back to Maun airport for your onward travel.



The safari meeting point is Maun in Botswana. To fly from London it is usually easiest to go to Johannesburg where you can connect with an onward flight to Maun. British Airways and Virgin have direct flights from London to Johannesburg, departing every evening and arriving early the next day (British Airways timings are usually best, to connect onto Botswana directly). Air Botswana and South African Airlink then have daily flights between Johannesburg and Maun (about 1 hour 40mins flying time). For an Economy return flight from London, budget around £800 to £1200 (fares vary with seasons).

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