African Horseback Safaris (Macatoo) riding holiday in Botswana - Far and Ride
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African Horseback Safaris (Macatoo), Botswana




Programmes


• Macatoo Camp

• Best of Botswana Safari

 

Reviews



The best holiday/adventure ever. Horses were excellent, sure-footed, fit and very well looked after. Guide Gareth was excellent - his knowledge was outstanding and he made every ride fun and challenging. Outstanding!

Lisa B.
Amazing, fantastic, one of the best. The 'posh tents' were great, food and drink and hospitality were of the highest order. The horses are of the highest quality. Sekongo our guide and his 'back man' knew their stuff - it appeared to me they 'sensed' the wild animals - we never felt in danger, just sat back and enjoyed it.

Anita & Paul
 

Horses



Type of horses:

Thoroughbreds, Namibian Hanoverians, Kalahari-Arab crosses, South African Boerperd crosses and some Percherons.

Nature of horses:

A range of horses to suit different preferences, all well-schooled, brave and fun to ride.

Height of horses:

14hh - 18hh

Weight limit:

95kg/ 15 stone
95-105kg subject to availability and for advanced riders only.
Exceeding 105 kg by special arrangement only

Tack type:

English and western style trail saddles.

 

Weather



 

Ride Description

Macatoo Camp is situated on the western side of the Okavango Delta, the largest inland delta in the world. This area is a lure for a variety of magnificent wildlife who depend upon the delta's waters in order to survive and these include lions, hyenas, buffalo, wild dog, elephant, antelope, hippo, crocodiles, warthog, mongoose, genets, monkeys, bush babies and over 400 species of birds (resident and migrant). Guests are invited to join these magnificent safaris, cantering through the Okavango Delta, listening to the calls of the wildlife or riding with a herd of zebra or giraffe across the plains. One of the resident elephants may even join you in camp!

For the keen rider the main attraction here is of course the selection of great horses and the spectacular riding country. The landscapes offer a variety of riding opportunities from peaceful walks, stalking some of the bigger game and wildlife, to cantering through the water-meadows or galloping alongside lechwe. Qualified and knowledgeable guides are delighted to share their knowledge of the area with you and can use the horses to get you as close as possible to the exciting wildlife for optimum viewing. Non-riders are also welcome to come and enjoy some of the other activities which include seasonal boating, mokoro canoe rides, fishing and game drives.

The camp comprises of seven comfortable tents, each with an en-suite shower and toilet, and a large communal mess tent. A private pool is available for guests to enjoy. There is also the opportunity to spend a night sleeping out under the stars on the treehouse platform (weather dependent). The majority of guests reach camp by flying to Maun via Johannesburg. They are then met by a staff member in Maun and introduced to their pilot who will fly them into the camp airstrip.

The company was set up in 1995 (Macatoo Camp being established in 1999) and is designed to offer you an exciting but not strenuous riding safari. Within a 500,000 acre private concession the camp is ideally placed for guests to explore the fertile floodplains whilst enjoying extremely comfortable tented accommodation, excellent food and the company of experienced but warm and friendly guides. The camp is also visited regularly by eventing legends such as Mark Todd and Lucinda Green MBE!

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

Macatoo Camp features eight spacious and well-appointed tents, each of which have their own en-suite shower and loo. Each tent is situated on its own raised platform which offers wonderful views across the surrounding flood plain. Amongst these eight tents are the 'family and friends suite' which are two tents linked together by a walkway, ideal to provide easy access for parents and children. There is also the honeymoon tent - a lovely couples' tent complete with additional deck to allow for private dining experiences and a raised double bath tub with fantastic views.

Centrally there is a large, furnished 'mess tent' with dining deck, plus a swimming pool deck with plunge pool and sun beds. This is a wonderful place to relax, read a book or simply to enjoy your surroundings when not in the saddle. You might also like to bring your binoculars here for some game and bird-spotting!

Communal areas are linked together via a chain of well-lit pathways whilst a warming fire burns in front of the mess tent at all times of year. This provides a great social spot for guests to gather at.

Longer rides may include a stay at the magical 'tree house' - a platform suitable for lunches, drinks or even an overnighter if you feel adventurous! This lies a short drive away from the main camp and is accessible via a ladder.

There is a daily laundry service. The tents are mosquito proof, although there are few mosquitos around between June and late August. There is a generator at the camp and solar lights but there is no electricity in the tents at night.

Food served in camp is to a very high standard, well-cooked by a professional team. Meals are accompanied by quality wines and dinner is generally a candle-lit affair with several courses.

 

Activities

In addition to riding guests can enjoy game drives, bird walks, night drives, seasonal boating, canoeing and fishing.

 

Further Details

Languages: English.

Health requirements: None specific but those with severe heart or respiratory or any other physical limitation must consult a doctor before travelling. Clients are asked to sign a medical indemnity form on arrival.

Age limit: 16 years and over. Anyone over 60 needs to be riding fit and strong.

Tuition: No.

Included: Accommodation in camp on a sharing basis, all meals and selected local beverages, riding and non-riding activities, 12% government VAT.

Not included: Flights, Charter flight from Maun/Kasane, visas, transfers, travel & medical insurance, camp staff tips and gratuities.

 

Travel Information

We can arrange charter flight transfers from Maun (the most popular option) or Kasane into Macatoo Camp. The majority of customers fly from Johannesburg into Maun and then we organise the flight transfer from there.

The light aircraft takes approximately 30 minutes to transport you from Maun to Macatoo or 1.5 hours from Kasane. This is followed by a game drive / boat trip depending on water levels. As the Kasane flights are longer, it's not possible to ride on your departure day should you be flying there.

Costs are per person, one way, and include government and airline taxes which are subject to change:

Maun - Macatoo Camp: £185 per person each way

Kasane - Macatoo Camp: £270 per person each way

**Please note that from 1st June 2017, Botswana have introduced a Tourism Levy of 30 USD which must be paid in cash on arrival at the airport**

Airport: Johannesburg (JNB)

Alternative Airport: Maun

 

Programmes


Macatoo Camp



Please note this horseback safari is exciting but not strenuous. This itinerary only serves as a guide; all scenarios are dependent on the season and levels of the Okavango flood. At times it may not be possible to go on fly camps and during cooler months one longer ride may replace the normal morning and evening rides. Your host reserves the right to alter the itinerary in any way and leaves this to the discretion of the guides. Local weather conditions may also affect game movements.

Day 1:

On arrival in Maun you are met and transferred by plane and a game drive to the camp which overlooks a seasonal flood plain lagoon. After lunch under the trees, there is time for a rest before the evening ride where you can get to know your horse. You return, as every evening, to a candle-lit dinner.

Day 2:

Awoken by a cup of tea or coffee in bed, followed by a light breakfast you then ride westwards following elephant trails from one palm island to another through seas of grass into the back country. After lunch and a siesta you ride out into the plains, later enjoying a drink while the sun goes down.

Day 3:

You leave camp early to investigate fresh game tracks, joining semi-aquatic red lechwe as they thunder through the water meadows. A champagne breakfast is waiting for you under a large baobab tree. The evening ride is spent exploring the lower flood plains where elephant often gather at a pool. As dusk closes in you have drinks around the fire.

Day 4:

You ride through different country, making your way through clouds of bushman hair grass to plains with fig trees.You might encounter giraffe or shyer antelope while passing through mopane woodlands. Your pace increases as you break out onto the flood plains, often disturbing troops of baboons. Return to the camp for an afternoon spent at leisure and later a night drive by spotlight.

Day 5:

Today's ride heads deeper into the heart of the delta, to reach another river system and a hippo pool. Return to camp by a different route. In the afternoon you may prefer to take a mokoro (traditional dugout canoe) to drift gently through the reeds, searching for the pretty little painted reed frogs; or perhaps try your hand at fishing from the steel boat whilst listening to the haunting cries of the African Fish Eagle. After dinner you may choose to spend the night on the Treehouse platform - sleep under a mosquito net high in the trees and listen to the sounds of the bush around you.

Day 6:

Having slept under the stars, the next morning you splash through water on the vast open plains, home to wildebeeste and zebra. The riding may be fast as you approach deep reedy areas full of bird life – heading back to main camp for a hearty lunch followed by another afternoon activity.

Day 7:

For our last full day you ride through the shallow flood plains admiring the deeper pools of lilies. Here the buffalo gather in numbers and you have to creep up to them using islands for cover. The evening offers a last quiet ride with memorable smells of sage as the sun goes down.

Day 8:

For your final ride you will go along some of the high palm islands which offer great vistas. You'll maybe take a final exhilarating gallop and run with the game before returning to camp to prepare for your onward journey.

We are sure you will never forget the true sense of freedom which you will experience on your horse with in the Okavango Delta in Africa.



Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 8
Ability description: Confident, fit intermediate and experienced riders.
Type of ride: Stationary safari.
Total riding time: 4-6 hours per day on average.
Departure dates: All year round with a 3 night minimum stay.
 
Pricing: Prices are PER PERSON, PER NIGHT on a shared tent basis.

2017:

Green Season (January, February, March, 16th - 30th November, December): £475 per person, per night.

Mid Season (April, May, June, 1st - 15th July and 1st - 15th November): £550 per person, per night.

Peak Season (16th - 31st July, August, September and October): £610 per person, per night.

Single supplement of 50% if not prepared to share twin-bedded accommodation. There is one tent dedicated to single travellers and to which no supplement applies, subject to availability.

NB. 3 night minimum stay but 5 - 10 nights recommended.

Honeymoon suite: this is available at a surcharge of £100 per couple, per night.



Best of Botswana Safari



Experience the best of Botswana on horseback by joining this combination ride - five nights with Limpopo Horse Safaris and five nights at African Horseback Safaris! This is the ultimate Botswana safari and guests will ride most of the popular Tuli Trail before enjoying a stay at Macatoo Camp in the Okavango Delta. Ride with a herd of giraffe or zebra across the plains and track elephant or buffalo from island to island. Cantering your way through the lagoons of the Okavango Delta, perhaps accompanied by some lechwe, is a breathtaking experience. Watch the spectacular African sunsets whilst listening to the calls of lion and hyena.

Sample Itinerary (serves as a guide: scenarios are dependent on weather, water levels etc. The organisers reserve the right to alter the itinerary as necessary and at the discretion of the guides):

Day 1: You will be met at Johannesburg International Airport at 11 am for the flight which will depart at around 12.00 (one hour flight) to Limpopo airstrip where you will be met by a representative from Limpopo Horse Safaris and transferred to the reception area by the stables. Following a light lunch, you will be taken to the stables to meet your assigned horse and to set out on a short introductory ride, a chance to make sure that you are well matched. If there is time then you will ride directly to Two Mashatus Camp or otherwise back to the stables again. After dismounting it's time for a refreshing drink before heading to camp for a warm shower and a delicious dinner, served in the Llala palm dining room at the Two Mashatus camp. 

Day 2: The day begins at sunrise with tea/coffee brought to your tent, followed

by a light breakfast. Mount up and head away from the dense woodland

along the Limpopo river towards the shallow rocky hills that mark the

edges of this great river valley. Your destination is Kanda Camp - a

rustic series of cabins atop the steep banks of the Majala river. Here,

in the heart of the Mashatu area, the game is plentiful. The Tuli area

is home to one of the largest herds of free-roaming elephants south of

the Zambezi and you are almost assured of great viewings of these

magnificent creatures. After lunch and a siesta you will take a gentle

ride in the cool of the afternoon to explore the Kanda area. Dinner is

prepared over an open fire and enjoyed in the thatched lapa overlooking

the river.

Day 3: An early wake up call heralds a new day and tea/coffee and breakfast is

served around the log fire pit. Today your journey takes you through the

heart of Mashatu to the ancient rock formations synonymous with the

Limpopo valley. Giant baobabs silently survey the land as they have for

centuries, ancient elephant trails are stamped into the soil and there

are wonderfully long canters on offer through the open scrub. This ride

brings you to the banks of the Motloutse river, and nestled amongst the

dense Mashatu trees sits a leadwood boma or "Kgotla". This is an old

tribal court from a nearby community that was relocated to the banks of

the Motloutse River on the western periphery of Mashatu. The open-air

traditional African enclosure is offers perfect security for spending a

night under the stars and a unique experience in the African bush. In

the afternoon you are taken on a guided walk to the "Ampitheatre", an

ancient rock formation, before ending your walk with sundowners

overlooking the river. Back at the Kgotla, dinner is enjoyed around a

large log fire after which the night is spent sleeping under the stars

while listening to the cacophony of sounds generated by the African bush

orchestra.

Day 4: You spend another night at Kgotla Camp tonight and so you have the

choice of doing a morning and afternoon ride, or of doing a longer

morning ride with an afternoon excursion. Rides will explore the amazing

sandstone formations including the famed Solomon’s Wall. Some of the

oldest civilizations in southern Africa had their settlements in this

valley, with their kings safely nestled in royal kraals on top of these

flat-topped hills.  The Mapungubwe topography is ancient and timeless,

and combined with the great wildlife sightings, makes for an incredible

riding day. If you opt to do one longer ride in the morning then rather

than an afternoon ride you will visit the nearby village of Lentswe Le

Moriti and the basket weavers, followed by a trip to the Mmamagwa Hills.

After a short, easy climb you can sit beneath a beautiful baobab and be

rewarded with a breathtaking view of the Tuli area, with South Africac

to the south, Zimbabwe to the north and Botswana surrounding you.

Day 5: Another early rise and a good breakfast will set you up for probably

your longest day on horseback. Wind your way through the mopane bush,

with the chance of sighting elephant, before reaching the more open

plains close to the Limpopo river. Liana Camp is snugly nestled amongst

giant Mashatu trees that line the Liana lagoon, a tributary of the

Limpopo river. To ease your aching muscles, this afternoon is your

opportunity to explore Mashatu from a game drive vehicle and try to

locate the elusive leopard, cheetah and lion the area is renowned for.

Day 6: This is your last day in the Tuli and begins with early morning tea, coffee and a breakfast snack over the open fire. You will ride along the Limpopo River, enjoying the last few hours with your steed, before heading back to the stables where you will bid them a fond farewell. This shorter ride of about two hours means that you have time for a hearty brunch before getting ready to depart. You board the light aircraft for your flight onwards to the Okavango Delta - you will enjoy a bird eye view as you approach! Macatoo Camp, overlooking a seasonal flood plain lagoon, lies just a short game drive or (depending on the time of year) an exciting boat ride from the airstrip. Guests enjoy a quick look around camp and lunch under the trees before relaxing or taking a siesta until it's time for tea. Then you can mount up for an evening ride and a chance to get to know your horse, returning to camp for a hot shower and a candle-lit safari dinner. 

Day 7: This morning you will wake up with a cup of tea or coffee brought to you in bed. This is followed by a light breakfast of homemade toast and muesli and then a ride out from camp to explore. Depending on the season this may involve galloping, swimming through the flood waters of pushing on through the seas of tall grass, following giraffe, zebra, antelope, elephant, buffalo or whatever else is out there! After the morning's excitement you ride back to camp to enjoy an outdoor lunch with the guides... if you're lucky then it will be their famous chicken pie and some good wine to encourage a little nap before tea. The evening ride is of a slower-pace and is a good time to ask questions and take photos. Leopard sightings are not unusual and the bird life is considered some of the best in the world. As sunset approaches you may also get to interact with some elephant or hippo! A sundowner is enjoyed out in the bush before you ride back to camp to fresh up. Dinner is not always eaten in the same place...

Day 8: Wake up as normal with freshly-brewed coffee or tea and then, depending on your wishes, you can choose between another ride out (maybe to find the rare semi-aquatic antelope or the red lechwe) or perhaps a guided walk, game drive or a spot of bream fishing from the boat. Riders and non-riders can meet for a spectacular champagne breakfast under one of the impressive baobab trees. After lunch you can relax, swim in the pool or maybe read a book. Homemade tea and cake is followed by a sunset ride, exploring the lower flood plains where elephants often gather at a pool. As dusk approaches it is fascinating to watch them interact in the wild and being on horseback allows you to get that much closer.

Day 9: Today you will ride through some different countryside, working your way through the clouds of bushman hair grass towards the plains which are dotted with fig trees. During this ride you might encounter giraffe or some of the more shy antelope as you pass through the mopane woodlands. As you ride out onto the flood plains the pace increases and you may disturb a troop of baboons. On return to the camp you will settle down for an afternoon at leisure or, if preferred, you might wish to hire a helicopter for an hour to gain access to the more remote and inaccessible parts of the delta - a wonderful experience for photographers especially! The day is finished with a night drive by spotlight when it is common to spot the resident clan of hyena. Bushbabies leap from branch to branch, travelling through the terminalia and acacia trees, only to be spotted by the brights of their eyes. If you're lucky then the spotlight will catch the glint of a leopard's stare! 

Day 10: This morning sees you ride deeper into the delta's heartland and along some of the high palm islands with great sweeping views of the delta plains. After tea there is a slower ride to the magical tree house with the option to spend the night out, sleeping high up in the tree tops under the stars. A night out like this in the Okavango bush is a truly special experience! 

Day 11: After waking up amongst the trees, listening to the call of the African Fish Eagle, you are ready to ride again! You will splash through the water covering the vast plains, home to blue wildebeeste and Burchell's zebra. This ride may well be fast as you reach the deep and reedy areas which are full of bird life such as open-billed storks, squacco herons, slaty egrets, egyptian geese and more. The path back to Macatoo is along the myriad of waterways which are lined with large trees. On arrival back at camp it is time to pack your things and say goodbye before you are driven to the airstrip with a picnic lunch. Your hosts are sure that you will never forget the true sense of freedom you have experienced on your horse in the African Bush. 



Accommodation: Five nights at luxury camp on the Tuli Safari (Limpopo Valley Horse Safaris) followed by five nights at Macatoo Camp, Okavango Delta (African Horseback Safaris).

Tuli: Wilderness/Satellite Camps - set up in specific locations throughout the Mashatu Reserve. Accommodation is in A-frame tents on comfortable beds with sheets and duvets. Facilities include a bucket shower and "bush-WC". Meals are cooked over an open campfire.

Tuli: The Kgotla - An old tribal court (leadwood enclosure) as described in the itinerary. Guests sleep on beds around a large log fire which blazes at the centre.

Tuli: Two Mashatus - Nestled in the shade of a centurion Mashatu tree, two traditionally built Llala palm rondavels serve as the dining area and lounge. Accommodation is in big A-frame, walk-in tents which are pitched on teak platforms. They have en-suite enviro loos and hot water showers. Each tent is private and positioned in the shade of a tree with a small deck area on which to relax in the afternoons.

Okavango: Macatoo Camp - This camp is situated on the western side of the Okavango Delta. Covering 17,000km sq, this is the largest inland delta in the world and offers a mix of labyrinth channels, palm fringed islands and fertile floodplains. The beautiful camp features eight large, luxury, en-suite safari tents on raised wooden platforms. These overlook the floodplains where elephant, zebra, buck and the birdlife can be seen by visitors from their private verandahs or even bed! Centrally there is a large, well-appointed mess tent and a private pool lies tucked away.
Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 8
Ability description: Experienced riders who must be riding regularly (at least once or twice a week) and who are comfortable at all paces, including gallop, as well as managing small jumps should you have to. Riders must be 16 or older.
Type of ride: Trail and Based Combination.
Total riding time: Flexible - five days riding on the Tuli Trail and then optional daily riding at Macatoo Camp (you may choose to enjoy other activities instead).
Departure dates: 2017: 22 Jan-1 Feb; 19 Feb-1 Mar; 7-17 May; 13-23 August (FULL); 12-22 November.

Please contact us if a group (of 4 plus) would like to book this safari and we can arrange an alternative date.
 
Pricing: 2017:

22 Jan - 1 Feb AND 19 Feb - 1 March: £5285 per person.

7 - 17 May: £5660 per person.

13 - 23 August: £5905 per person.

12 - 22 November: £5230 per person.

Price includes 10 nights of shared accommodation (5 nights on the Tuli Safari, 5 night at Macatoo Camp), all riding and activities, all meals, selected local beverages and laundry service, all internal transfers, charter flights and VAT.

Price does not include international flights (UK to Johannesburg; Maun to Johannesburg; Johannesburg to UK), travel insurance, tips and extras not mentioned.