Botswana ~ Ride Botswana ~ Okavango Mobile Safaris
David & Robyn Foot's Ride Botswana operates the only fully mobile riding safaris in the Okavango Delta. With over 30 years' experience operating and guiding safaris in southern Africa, David's aim with these trips has been to return to the days when a safari was a journey through the bush, a chance to immerse yourself in an untouched wilderness, to explore, observe and depart, leaving minimal imprint on the surroundings.
With no set route or itinerary, the Ride Botswana team allow the Delta's ever-changing environment and prolific wildlife to guide these safaris.. Each one is unique; routes and camp locations change as water levels rise and subside; game is ever present and you are the visitor, priviledged to temporarily share the space with numerous elephant, large herds of buffalo, wildebeest, giraffe, zebra, hippo, many types of plains game from the iconic red lechwe to impressive kudu; cats including leopard and lion, as well as jackal, hyena and wild dog. That’s not to mention the bird life, astonishing in number and variety.
Safaris are designed to leave little imprint on the pristine environment. Luggage is transported by mokoro (traditional canoe) or, when water is low, by pack donkeys. Simple but comfortable camps - all you need and nothing you don't - their location depending on water levels, are set up in an idyllic spot on one of the many sandy, tree-shaded islands and delicious meals, cooked over a simple log fire, are eaten under a shady awning or the canvas of the night sky.
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: 3-4 Δ camps (light weight, completely mobile camp)
Group size: maximum 8
Season: year round
Horses: The horses are mixed crossbreds, including 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: Safaris include 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 cool of the evening.
Pace and experience required: To join a safari you must be a fairly experienced rider who is comfortable 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 and you need to be confident of keeping up with the group. The going underfoot is generally good, there are places for long canters and you will enjoy the whole experience more if you are riding fit. If in doubt about ability please contact us.
Accommodation is in light-weight completely mobile camps, carefully located for views and shade. Camps have walk-in 2 man 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). They are 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, luggage and camp equipment is transported by mokoro canoe, poled by members of the local community who live on the fringes of the Delta and know the area intimately, or, if the water level is too low for mokoros, by pack donkeys. Rates assume two sharing and a single supplement will usually be charged to guarantee a single tent.
Okavango Mobile Safari (7 nights)
Rates include - All riding and other safari activities within the itinerary, guiding and equipment, 7 (8 on Desert & Delta) 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. A laundry service is also included on the Kalahari section of Desert & Delta Safaris
Okavango Mobile Safaris
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 your luggage is transferred to mokoro or pack donkey, mount up and set off riding into the Delta, arriving at the first 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, South African Airways and Virgin all have direct flights from London to Johannesburg, departing every evening and arriving early the next day. Air Botswana and South African Airways then have daily flights between Johannesburg and Maun (about 1 hour 40mins fliying time). For an Economy return flight from London, budget around £800 to £1200 (fares vary with seasons).