Southern Africa ~ African Explorer Safari with Horizon Horseback

7 night safaris, with 3 or 4 nights at a private camp and lodge in South Africa and 3 or 4 nights at a private camp in Botswana. Available year round. Suitable for intermediate riders and above.

Where Starting with 3 or 4 nights in South Africa's Waterberg, about 3 hours' drive north of Johannesburg and then 3 or 4 nights in eastern Botswana's Tuli Block, staying at the comfortable Two Mashatus Camp, just across the Limpopo river.

What is it like The Waterberg is sometimes called South Africa's 'best kept secret'...a high plateau, which means fantastic views, and a huge range of flora and fauna. Camp Davidson is on private land, hidden away on a hillside with views out across thick bush, close to a small game and nature reserve. After a couple of nights here, there's a chance to explore a neighbouring private reserve, with a night in a comfortable lodge, before the drive to Botswana, a great way to see the real South Africa. Over the Limpopo River and you head into Mashatu Game Reserve, elephant country with a landscape of dusty plains, rough scrub, sandstone towers and shady Mashatu and Fever trees.

Who does it suit These are ideal as a first proper riding safari for anyone who is a little unsure of what that means! You need to be a fairly experienced rider - you'll be riding with 'big' game so no novices or children under 12 - but being gently broken in, with the first few days in South Africa and flexible riding in an area where there's no 'big' (or potentially dangerous) game is the perfect way to find your feet. Then confidence blooming, the next step is north to Botswana where its open wilderness, elephant country and lots of game viewing thrills.  Safaris are great value too, with overland travel keeping down costs for anyone on a budget 

Why do we love it Because its a great value safari, a chance to ride in two very different areas and it gives a proper taste of safari life - traditional (but comfortable) tented camps, big game and fantastic, friendly hospitality.

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Riding: 3 to 6 hours per day, with a shorter ride on the day 1 and day 5 when you transfer to Botswana

Horses: farm / locally bred, TB, Arab crosses

Pace: moderate

Riding ability: intermediate and above (minimum age 12 years)

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

Accommodation: private game lodge, 4Δ camping

Group size: maximum 8

Season: year round

Price: 7 night safaris from £2052 per person


Horses: The horses include local breeds such as South African Boerperde and Boerperde crosses, Thoroughbreds, part TB and Arab crosses, with some Shire crosses in Botswana. They are between about 14hh and 16.2hh and there is a good selection for the experienced rider as well as horses to suit those with less experience. All are responsive to ride, extremely good natured and well mannered. They are also used to the bush and sure footed, coping easily with varied terrain. Grooms are on hand to look after the horses. Saddles are Maclellan style with a few English saddles available on request. Maximum group size is 8 guests.

Usually between 3 and 6 hours riding a day, with a shorter ride on day 1 and on day 5 when you travel to Botswana.

Pace and experience required: Riding is at a varied pace according to terrain but is often energetic, with long trots and canters. Safaris are aimed at riders who are at least an 'intermediate' standard and are comfortable on a horse at all paces from walk to fast canter in varies, open country. These are an excellent 'first' safari as the first few days are in an area where there is no 'big' / dangerous game, giving plenty of time to gain confidence, get used to the environment and into safari life, but for the second part of the ride, in Botswana, you'll be riding in an unfenced wilderness area where there are plenty of elephant. You must be confident and secure on a horse at all paces. No children under 12yrs. 


The first 2 or 3 nights are at Camp Davidson, a small bush camp where accommodation is in spacious walk-in East African style safari tents set on wooden decks with proper beds and shower / loo attached. The 3rd or 4th night is at a private game lodge in comfortable rooms with en-suite bathrooms. The second half of the safari is on the Mashatu Reserve in East Botswana. Two Mashatus tented camp which has spacious walk in safari tents set on teak decking with attached shower and flush loo. The camp has a central dining / sitting area built in local style with a palm thatch roof and a small plunge pool.


Rates 2024

African Explorer Safari - Friday & Monday start (4 nights South Africa; 3 nights Botswana)
Mid Season (March, April & December) £2944
single supplement if requested £1212
High Season (May, June, July, August, September, October, November) £3382 per person
single supplement £1431

African Explorer Safari - Tuesday start (3 nights South Africa; 4 nights Botswana)
Low Season (December) £3115
single supplement if requested £1298
High Season (May, June, July, August, September, October, November) £3587 per person
single supplement £1534

Rates include - 7 nights twin accommodation, all riding, guiding and equipment, meals (dinner day 1 to brunch last day), house drinks, vehicle & charter transfers at set times Johannesburg / Camp Davidson / Mashatu / Johannesburg and laundry service.

Rates exlude - International flights to Johannesburg and taxes, personal medical / travel insurance (which you must have), Mashatu conservation fees ($20 USD per person per night), supplements for a single tent /room, any extra night's accommodation before or after the safari, premium spirits and drinks, any visa fees any tips you may wish to leave staff.

Single supplement is only applied if you wish to guarantee a single tent - if you are happy to share with another rider of the same gender you will not be charged.

Dates 2024

African Explorer Safari
4 nights South Africa; 3 nights Botswana - Friday to Friday, every week
(Monday to Monday safaris also sometimes possible)

3 nights Sourh Africa; 4 nights Botswana - Tuesday to Tuesday
(once or twice a month, please enquire)

 Average temperature guide

  Itinerary in brief - African Explorer Safari, Friday & Monday start
Day 1 Arrive Johannesburg by 10.15am and transfer to Camp Davidson, about 3 hours drive north of Johannesburg. Lunch or tea when you arrive, meet the horses and a first ride in the African bush, returning to the camp for dinner and the night.
Day 2
A full day with morning and evening ride out on the reserve exploring the open grasslands and also the hidden valleys and foothills of the Waterberg escarpment. Night at Camp Davidson.
Day 3 Another full day ride, this time heading west to historic Baber homestead for lunch. In the afternoon visit the local Sotho village, then return to Camp Davidson for your last night there.
Day 4 Breakfast and pack up then set off riding to Bellevue Lodge on a neighbouring reserve while your luggage is sent ahead by vehicle. Arrive in time for lunch overlooking the plains. After a siesta by to pool you set off riding again, a chance to explore the reserve, tracking a variety of game. Return to the lodge for drinks at sunset. Night at Bellevue Lodge.
Day 5
An early start, riding back to the Horizon base where you say goodbye to the horses and set off by vehicle for Botswana. The drive to the South Africa / Botswana border takes 5 to 6 hours. After clearing customs and immigration, transfer to Mashatu in time for lunch. After lunch meet the horses and set off riding to Tree Camp where the night is spent. Dinner and night Tree Camp.
Days 6
A morning ride through the reserve takes you to Two Mashatus Camp. Lunch and time to relax by the pool before an afternoon ride or game drive to the Mmagwa hills. Dinner and night Two Mashatus.
Day 7 An early morning ride exploring the Pitsane river area with its rich wildlfie. Arrive at Tree Camp and in the afternoon you have the option to ride, walk or (for an extra charge) game drive to see if you can spot some of the big cats. Dinner and night Tree Camp.
Day 8
A final early morning ride, ending at the stables at the Mashatu base. Lunch and a shower before transfer to the Mashatu airstrip for a charter flight to Johannesburg Lanseria. Transfer to the international airport for your flight home (departing not before 20.00.
  Contact us at or on tel (+44) (0)1837-82544 / 825440 for further information, detailed itineraries, dates and answers to questions.

 The nearest international airport is Johannesburg. British Airways and Virgin have direct overnight flights from London to Johannesburg arriving the next morning. For an economy return flight from London budget about £750 to £950 per person (varies with the season and availability).

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