Botswana ~ Ride Botswana ~ Okavango Delta

7, 5 or 3 nights semi-mobile in the Okavango Delta, using lightweight temporary camps, available year round. Intermedate riders and above with non-riding groups welcome.

Ride Botswana is owned and run by David and Robyn Foot and uniquely amongst riding operators in the Okavango, organises safaris that use lightweight, movable camps. David has more than 30 years' experience as a wildlife guide in Southern Africa and his aim in setting up these safaris was to return to the days when a 'safari' meant a 'journey' through the bush, an opportunity to temporarily immerse yourself in the wilderness, to explore, observe and then depart, leaving minimal imprint on your surroundings. He was also determined to involve local communities, to ensure they benefit from preserving, and are encouraged to continue to preserve, the Delta as a wildlife area.

The safaris have no set route. Camp locations and day-by-day itineraries are adapted according to the environment, which is constantly changing as water levels rise and subside. The whole camp team are always only temporary visitors and this gives wonderfully privileged, unpredictable access to wildlife - opportunities to see elephant, herds of buffalo, wildebeest, giraffe, zebra, hippo, huge herds of plains game from red lechwe to kudu; cats including leopard and lion, as well as jackal, hyena and wild dog - not to mention the birds, which are always astonishing in number and variety.

In tune with the low impact philosophy, safari luggage is transported by mokoro (traditional canoe) poled by members of the communities that live on the fringes of the Delta or when water is low, by pack donkeys. Simple but comfortable camps - all you need and nothing you don't - are set up on sandy, tree-shaded islands; delicious meals, cooked over a simple log fire, are eaten under an awning or the canvas of the night sky. Every safari is exciting; every safari is an adventure.
 

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SUMMARY

 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 (lightweight, mobile camps)

Group size: maximum 8

Season: year round

HORSES & RIDING

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 fairly experienced riders, who are comfortable at all paces from 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 so need to be confident of controlling a well-schooled horse at all paces and 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

Accommodation is in light-weight 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 camp, luggage and equipment is transported by mokoro canoe 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.  

RATES & DATES

Rates 2020 

Okavango Mobile Safari (7 nights) 
Low Season (1st January to 31st March & 1st to 31st December): USD 3730 per person
Mid Season (1st April to 30th June & 1st to 30th November): USD 4395 per person
High Season (1st July to 31st October): USD 4990 per person

Single supplement - limited singles are available; usually two singles are possible without extra charge for those travelling alone, depending on group mix (first come first served basis). For additional singles, there is a supplement of USD 700.

Desert & Delta Safari (8 nights):
January to mid April - 5 nights Kalahari, 3 nights Okavango
Mid April to November - 5 nights Okavango, 3 nights Kalahari
January, February, March - USD 5830 per person 
April (excluding Easter), May, June & November - USD 5810 per person 
Easter (10th to 18th April) - USD 6340 per person 
July & August - USD 6535 per person 
September & October USD 6235 per person 

Single supplement - varies with dates & season, from zero to USD 1720

Note - for Desert & Delta Safaris ADD fare for charter transfer Maun/Kalahari currently USD 741 return

 

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

Rates exclude - International flights to Maun and taxes, any special (non-standard) transfers between Maun and the safari start point, charter Maun/Kalahari on Desert & Delta 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 2020

Okavango Safaris 
14th to 21st September+
28th September to 5th October+
12th to 19th October+
25th October to 1st November+
2nd to 9th November
19th to 26th November
27th November to 4th December*
5th to 12th December*
14th to 21st December*

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

8 night Desert & Delta Safari
22nd to 30th September
6th to 14th October
19th to 27th October
10th to 18th November 

2021 dates
Okavango Safaris

16th to 23rd January 2021
2nd to 9th February 2021
16th to 23rd February 2021
1st to 8th March 2021
16th to 23rd March 2021
29th March to 5th Aprli 2021
11th to 18th April 2021
8th to 15th May 2021
16th to 23rd May 2021
5th to 12th June 2021
23rd to 30th June 2021
3rd to 10th July 2021
11th to 18th July 2021
28th July to 4th August 2021
7th to 14th August 2021
28th August to 4th September 2021
18th to 25th September 2021
26th September to 3rd October 2021
16th to 23rd October 2021
24th to 31st October 2021
13th to 20th November 2021
21st to 28th November 2021
2nd to 9th December 2021

8 night Desert & Delta Safari
2nd to 10th January 2021
23rd to 31st January 2021
6th to 14th February 2021
20th to 28th February 2021
6th to 14th March 2021
20th to 28th arch 2021
2nd to 10th April 2021
18th to 26th April 2021
1st to 9th May 2021
27th May to 4th June 2021
15th to 23rd June 2021
20th to 28th July 2021
17th to 25th August 2021
7th to 15th September 2021
7th to 15th October 2021
6th to 14th November 2021
12th to 20th December 2021

 

ITINERARY

 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.
   

 

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).

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