Botswana ~ Ride Botswana ~ Okavango Delta
3, 5 or 7 nights in the Okavango Delta, using lightweight temporary camps which can be moved to different locations. Available year round. Suitable for Intermedate riders and above. Non-riding groups also welcome.
Where In Botswana's Okavango Delta and uniquely amongst riding options in the Delta, uses a lightweight, movable camp. Ride Botswana's founder, David Foot has more than 30 years' experience as a wildlife guide and his aim with these safaris is to return to the days when a 'safari' meant a 'journey' through the bush, temporary immersion in the wilderness, leaving minimal imprint on the surroundings.
What is it like Beautiful, protected, unspoilt with a huge amount of game. The Delta is flat, a mix of grassy plains, islands of palm trees, thick mopane forest and a network of waterways, floodplain and lakes when the flood is high.
It is one of the world's foremost wildlife habitats boasting huge numbers of elephant, large herds of buffalo, wildebeest, giraffe, zebra, hippo, numerous species of plains game, all the cats, hyena, jackal and wild dog as well as an array of birds. These safaris operate in an area close to the Delta's fringes and a primary aim is to involve people from the local communities who are part of the safari back-up team, helping move safari luggage by dug-out canoe or by pack donkey if water is low.
Who does it suit Intermediate riders and above who are confident and secure to ride in a remote, unfenced area open to 'big' (and potentially dangerous) game. Adventurous safari-goers who will enjoy the feeling of being immersed in nature, staying in a lightweight camp that can be moved according to game, weather and changing water levels and the unpredicatability of a safari with no fixed route. Families with confident child riders aged 12yrs and above. Safaris are purposefully low impact and there are no vehicles (other than mokoros when water is high). Guided walks are often part of the safari day and for group bookings, additional walking guides can be brought in for non-riders.
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.
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
Price: 7 night safaris from USD 3730 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 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 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.
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
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 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).