Kalahari Ride (Ride Botswana) riding holiday in Botswana - Far and Ride
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Kalahari Ride (Ride Botswana), Botswana





Horses



Type of horses:

Mostly crossbreeds including Shire x TB, Boerperd cross and Appaloosa sport horses. Some purebred Appaloosas also.

Nature of horses:

Sure-footed and well-trained.

Height of horses:

14.2 - 17hh

Weight limit:

95kg / 210lbs

Tack type:

Trail saddles.

 

Weather



 

Ride Description

This special ride takes place in the remote Makgadikgadi Pans, an incredibly unique area which offers excellent ground for fast, exhilarating riding and the chance to meet fascinating desert wildlife including meerkat clans, brown hyenas and aardwolves. Riders follow the shoreline of this ancient lake bed, an area once ridden by early explorers such as David Livingstone. The programme changes between the dry season and the green season but whatever the time you travel, you are guaranteed a special experience unlike any other African ride!

The standard five night programme includes three days riding from a traditional tented safari camp (Camp Kalahari) and two nights in a remote fly camp or on bedrolls under the stars (dry season). The Zu/Hoasi bushmen can interpret the life around you and teach you of their ancient culture. During the dry season guests ride into the heart of the Pans, a chance to experience the mysterious landscapes and feel completely free. When the green season arrives and the Pans fill with the rain you ride on the adjoining grasslands and woodlands, observing the waterholes which attract the last surviving migration of zebra and wildebeest in southern Africa. Up to 30,000 zebra are scattered over the land, as far as the eye can see.

Organised by David Foot, one of Africa's most experienced riding guides, and his wife Robyn, these safaris are designed to share a passion for wildlife, pristine wilderness and the ancient people inhabiting the land. Those who love a real adventure and an adrenalin rush might also like to consider joining the 'Saddle and Paddle' itinerary which combines an adrenaline-packed canoe safari on the Selinda Spillway with riding on the Pans.

Ride Botswana was the 2014 winner of the 'Best Riding Safari Operator in Africa' title in the Safari Awards, an incredible achievement.

Cathy from Far and Ride has been lucky enough to ride here and will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

Guests on these safaris are based at Camp Kalahari for three nights and then spend two nights in a fly camp (or sleeping on the pans in dry season). Camp Kalahari features 10 spacious Meru tents consisting of 6 twin tents, 3 double tents and 1 family tent. The family tent actually combines 2 adjacent tents, accommodating 2 guests in each with a bathroom in between.

All tents have en-suite outdoor bathrooms, flush loos and hot and cold running water alongside comfy beds, crunchy cotton sheets, stripy African blankets and hot water bottles (in winter).

The camp has been designed in a simple but comfortable, traditional style. There is a thatch library, living and dining area and also a plunge pool.

Xau Xai (fly camp): Comfortable dome tents with stretcher beds. There is a central mess tent with dining table, bush loos and bucket showers.

Fly camp on the pans (DRY SEASON ONLY): Stretcher beds under the stars and bush loos.

There is no electricity in camp but there are camera charging facilities.

Food in camp is fresh and original with meals served plated (not buffet style). The meals include a variety of interesting and delicious dishes. Special dietary requirements can be catered for with prior notice.

 

Activities

In addition to horse riding guests can enjoy these other activities:

- getting up close and personal with meerkats
- walking with Zu/Hoasi bushmen to learn about their ancient culture
- game drives to spot unique desert wildlife

DRY SEASON: sleeping out on the salt pans under the stars
WET SEASON: observing the incredible migration of zebra and wildebeest

 

Further Details

Languages: English

Health requirements: Fit & Healthy

Age limit: 12+

Tuition: No

Included: Accommodation, all meals, activities, drinks and laundry.

Not included: International flights, air transfers (from Maun to camp), travel insurance, premium beverages and discretionary tips/gratuities are excluded.

 

Travel Information

Transfer is available from Maun. You can fly to Maun on Air Botswana from any of the following airports:

Johannesburg (South Africa)
Gaborone (Botswana)
Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe)
Windhoek (Namibia)

You can also fly to Maun with South African Airways from Johannesburg.

Once in Maun, you take a privately chartered light aircraft to the camp which we can arrange for you at additional cost (see pricing on the individual itineraries). This is a short 40 minute flight to the airstrip adjacent to camp. There is a luggage restriction of 12kgs (26lbs) per person, soft sided luggage only. Excess luggage can be stored in the Maun office.

**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: Maun

Alternative Airport: Johannesburg (JNB)

 

Programmes


Green Season Itinerary



An exciting five night safari based in the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans. Suitable for intermediate to experienced riders, this is a wonderful adventure which includes three nights at base camp and two nights fly camping out on the Pans themselves. Exhilarating riding opportunities and incredible wildlife! 

The following is an example itinerary which outlines the activities and riding experiences you can enjoy during your stay. Please note that the itinerary will be subject to weather and other factors, so the order of things may change. Guests with an early morning departure will not be able to join the final morning's activity. 

Sample Itinerary

Day 1: Following arrival by air or road, you will be greeted by your host and guide David Foot and settled into Camp Kalahari. The camp lies amongst the acacia trees and Mokolwane palms of Brown Hyena Island, located on the edge of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans and next to the Makgadikgadi-Nxai Pans National Park, Botswana. 

After a chance to become accustomed to your surroundings and to have some tea, you will head off for an introductory ride in the beautiful afternoon light. This first ride is primarily used to pair up horses and riders but it is also a chance to see, for the first time, the incredible beauty of the area and where you will be riding for the coming days. After the ride you will head back to camp to enjoy sundowners (an African safari tradition!) followed by dinner. The horses will be kept close by, away from the threat of the Kalahari lions!

Day 2: Today you will rise at dawn and eat a light breakfast before a long morning ride through the "land of a thousand islands". These are sand dunes covered in palm trees which dot the ancient lakebed, creating a fascinating landscape and one of the most beautiful wilderness areas in Botswana. During the migration season these "islands" and their neighbouring grasslands become feeding grounds for zebra, wildebeest, hartebeest and ostrich, as well as the various predators. The white pans offer excellent going for the horses but depending on the rain, some of these areas will be full of water and a playground for migratory water birds. You will ride back to the camp for lunch and a rest - the camel thorn trees provide excellent shade or you may wish to cool off in the camp swimming pool. 

After tea you will embark on a game drive to spot some of the special species unique to the desert - springbok, gemsbok, red hartebeest and the elusive brown hyena. These species are specially adapted to survive in the arid lands where food and water are often hard to come by. The brown hyena is rarely seen by humans as it is a timid, nocturnal animal which forages alone, despite living in clans of up to ten or twelve. 

The night game drive back to camp is complete with a spot light to help you see the nocturnal animals such as the aardvark, bat-eared foxes, aardwolves, porcupine, honey badgers and maybe even a Kalahari Lion with a black mane! You will arrive back to Camp Kalahari in time for dinner. 

Day 3 - Xau Xai: Today's ride is a long route east towards Xau Xai Fly Camp so the group needs to make an early start. You will have to pack a few essentials for the next two days of adventure!

The ride leads you away from the Pans and into the mopane and acacia woodlands. These are characterised by stretches of short grassland which allow long, relaxed canters. The area is rich in incredible bird life such as birds of prey, bustards, korhaans and other rare dry woodland bird species. You might also spot kudu or even a bull elephant! By lunchtime you will have reached the famous Green's Baobab which is situated next to Missionary Road once traversed by the explorer David Livingstone on his journey northwards. The trunk of this ancient tree is truly magnificent and is notched with the initials of early travellers dating back as far as 150 years. It is a living testimony to the history of the area!

Lunch break will be at the Gutsa Pan in the shade of palm trees, also a great spot to find Stone Age artefacts from ancient bushmen. A siesta through the midday heat followed by tea will fuel you for the journey onwards to Xau Xai Fly Camp, your home for the night. 

Camp consists of comfortable dome tents, a central mess tent, toilets and bucket showers. A long, cool drink is the perfect accompaniment to a beautiful sunset and dinner out under the Kalahari sky. 

Day 4 - Pans: Today you will wake up to steaming hot coffee and a light breakfast before saddling up and riding off in search of the meerkats!  

You will leave the horses tethered as you continue on foot into the middle of the meerkat group. Uncharted Africa Safari co. are running an ongoing habituation programme meaning that you can get up close with these captivating creatures - they are not tame but are accustomed to the non-threatening presence of humans. On cold mornings you might find a meerkat cuddling up to you for warmth or, in the absence of a termite mound or tree, using your head as a sentry lookout post! 

Your time spent with these enchanting animals will show you how they interact with both each other and their harsh environment. They are very social animals and extremely well-adapted to their habitat. This experience is bound to be one of the most special and memorable moments of your time in Botswana, a chance to view the desert as if through the eyes of a meerkat. 

As the day gets warmer you will leave the meerkats to forage. You will mount up again and ride on to view the resident herds of zebra and large groups of ostriches which are attracted to the area by permanent fresh water hidden away in waterholes. You will make your way back to Xau Xai for lunch, a refreshing shower and most likely a snooze in the shade. 

Later in the afternoon the group can take a walk to one of the waterholes to look for some of the Kalahari's bird species. As the sun sets you will witness hundreds of sand grouse flying in for an evening drink. 

You will return to camp for another beautiful evening under a Kalahari sky, with a tasty dinner around the campfire. 

Day 5: As dawn arrives and the stars disappear it is time to wake for a light breakfast. You will mount up and head homewards with this fast-paced ride, sometimes travelling along the edge of the Pans and at other times riding into the woodlands and open grasslands where the zebra and wildebeest are grazing. 

From far away you will see the famous Chapman's Baobab on the horizon. This is also known as the Seven Sisters and is one of the largest trees in Africa, measuring 25m around its girth. It was the focal point of campsites for the early explorers such as Livingstone and Selous when they pioneered this area. (Sadly, Chapman's Baobab has fallen, but it is still a worthy sight to behold).

You will arrive back at Camp Kalahari with time to enjoy a refreshing shower before sitting down to lunch. As the evening approaches and the sun disappears behind the horizon, you can take some time to think over the last few amazing days and all of the incredible landscapes and wildlife you've seen, not to mention the amazing riding!

Day 6: Depending on your departure time, today allows for a special cultural experience during which you will learn about the Zu/Hoasi bushmen and their ways of life. 

Uncharted Africa (with whom your stay at Camp Kalahari is organised) has been a passionate supporter of cultural tourism in Botswana since the company's start in 1993. They strongly believe that tourism is an important tool in preserving this unique and unfortunately fast-vanishing culture. They have been working with the people of the Western Kalahari for several years now and are extremely fortunate to have bushmen, women and children spanning four generations living at their Jack's Camp in the Makgadikgadi. 

The Zu/Hoasi lead a semi-traditional lifestyle these days, sharing their traditional hunting and food-gathering skills as well as their aptitude for making jewellery and hunting equipment. They can offer a window into the past and the opportunity to understand how they have survived in this harsh environment using their knowledge of the plants, animal behaviour and necessary survival skills. The intention is not to keep them frozen in time but to provide a glimpse of their traditional ways of life and their culture. 

The initiative has allowed this community to work together with each other, sharing knowledge with both the camp guests and also their own younger generations, ensuring that the knowledge of their people is passed down. The hope is that these children will go into the modern world carrying this knowledge and the traditions of their ancient culture with a sense of pride. 

After breakfast you will be driven through the bush to the traditionally built Bushmen's village where this community spends the day. These huts offer shelter from the environment but are not the community's permanent accommodation. On arrival you will be met by the elders of the community, in the traditional manner, after which you will take a walk out into the bush with the men, women and children. The focus of the walk will be to provide you with a gentle introduction to the Kalahari and the bushmen way of life. They will indicate distinct ecological characteristics of the area and it's animal and bird species. Your bushmen guides will talk about the uses of plants and wildlife offering a link between their culture and the wild environment that you have been experiencing. 

After this special experience you will settle down to one more lunch before bidding farewell to Camp Kalahari and departing for your onward journey. 



Accommodation: Three nights spent at Camp Kalahari and two nights fly camping on the Pans.
Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 8
Ability description: Intermediate to experienced riders only.
Type of ride: Camp-based safari.
Total riding time: As per itinerary.
Departure dates: 2017: 19-24 December, 24-29 December.

2018: 27 January-2 February, 4-9 February, 27 February-4 March, 6-11 March, 28 March-2 April (confirmed), 4-9 April (confirmed), 27 April-2 May, 8-13 May, 19-24 December, 24-29 December.
 
Pricing: 2017:

Safari: £2725 per person.
Air transfers from Maun to camp and back again: £512 per person.
Single supplement: £689 per person.

Safari price includes 5 nights shared room accommodation, all meals, drinks, riding and activities.

If you combine this ride with one of the Delta Trail ride departures then there is a discount of £303 per person off the total combination price.

2018:

Low season (January-March): £2876 per person
Low season - no single supplement if willing to share

High season (April/May and December): £3027 per person sharing
High season Single supplement: £696

Air transfers from Maun to camp and back again: £521 per person.
Single supplement on air transfer (if no other travellers on same flight): £341

Safari price includes 5 nights shared room accommodation, all meals, drinks, riding and activities.




Dry Season Itinerary



An exciting five night safari based in the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans. Suitable for intermediate to experienced riders, this is a wonderful adventure which includes three nights at base camp and two nights fly camping out on the Pans themselves. Exhilarating riding opportunities and incredible wildlife! 

The following is an example itinerary which outlines the activities and riding experiences you can enjoy during your stay. Please note that the itinerary will be subject to weather and other factors, so the order of things may change. Guests with an early morning departure will not be able to join the final morning's activity. 

Sample Itinerary

Day 1: Following arrival by air or road, you will be greeted by your host and guide David Foot and settled into Camp Kalahari. The camp lies amongst the acacia trees and Mokolwane palms of Brown Hyena Island, located on the edge of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans and next to the Makgadikgadi-Nxai Pans National Park, Botswana. 

After a chance to become accustomed to your surroundings and to have some tea, you will head off for an introductory ride in the beautiful afternoon light. This first ride is primarily used to pair up horses and riders but it is also a chance to see, for the first time, the incredible beauty of the area and where you will be riding for the coming days. After the ride you will head back to camp to enjoy sundowners (an African safari tradition!) followed by dinner. The horses will be kept close by, away from the threat of the Kalahari lions!

Day 2: Today you will rise at dawn and eat a light breakfast before a long morning ride through the "land of a thousand islands". These are sand dunes covered in palm trees which dot the ancient lakebed, creating a fascinating landscape and one of the most beautiful wilderness areas in Botswana. During the migration season these "islands" and their neighbouring grasslands become feeding grounds for zebra, wildebeest, hartebeest and ostrich, as well as the various predators. The white pans offer excellent going for the horses but depending on the rain, some of these areas will be full of water and a playground for migratory water birds. You will ride back to the camp for lunch and a rest - the camel thorn trees provide excellent shade or you may wish to cool off in the camp swimming pool. 

After tea you will embark on a game drive to spot some of the special species unique to the desert - springbok, gemsbok, red hartebeest and the elusive brown hyena. These species are specially adapted to survive in the arid lands where food and water are often hard to come by. The brown hyena is rarely seen by humans as it is a timid, nocturnal animal which forages alone, despite living in clans of up to ten or twelve. 

The night game drive back to camp is complete with a spot light to help you see the nocturnal animals such as the aardvark, bat-eared foxes, aardwolves, porcupine, honey badgers and maybe even a Kalahari Lion with a black mane! You will arrive back to Camp Kalahari in time for dinner. 

Day 3 - Xau Xai: Today's ride is a long route east towards Xau Xai Fly Camp so the group needs to make an early start. You will have to pack a few essentials for the next two days of adventure!

The ride leads you away from the Pans and into the mopane and acacia woodlands. These are characterised by stretches of short grassland which allow long, relaxed canters. The area is rich in incredible birdlife such as birds of prey, bustards, korhaans and other rare dry woodland bird species. You might also spot kudu or even a bull elephant! By lunchtime you will have reached the famous Green's Baobab which is situated next to Missionary Road once traversed by the explorer David Livingstone on his journey northwards. The trunk of this ancient tree is truly magnificent and is notched with the initials of early travellers dating back as far as 150 years. It is a living testimony to the history of the area!

Lunch break will be at the Gutsa Pan in the shade of palm trees, also a great spot to find Stone Age artefacts from ancient bushmen. A siesta through the midday heat followed by tea will fuel you for the journey onwards to Xau Xai Fly Camp, your home for the night. 

Camp consists of comfortable dome tents, a central mess tent, toilets and bucket showers. A long, cool drink is the perfect accompaniment to a beautiful sunset and dinner out under the Kalahari sky. 

Day 4 - Pans: Today you will wake up to steaming hot coffee and a light breakfast before saddling up and riding off in search of the meerkats!  

You will leave the horses tethered as you continue on foot into the middle of the meerkat group. Uncharted Africa Safari co. are running an ongoing habituation programme meaning that you can get up close with these captivating creatures - they are not tame but are accustomed to the non-threatening presence of humans. On cold mornings you might find a meerkat cuddling up to you for warmth or, in the absence of a termite mound or tree, using your head as a sentry lookout post! 

Your time spent with these enchanting animals will show you how they interact with both each other and their harsh environment. They are very social animals and extremely well-adapted for their habitat. This experience is bound to be one of the most special and memorable moments of your time in Botswana, a chance to view the desert as if through the eyes of a meerkat. 

As the day gets warmer you will leave the meerkats to forage. You will mount up again and ride on to view the resident herds of zebra and large groups of ostriches which are attracted to the area by permanent fresh water hidden away in waterholes. You will make your way back to Xau Xai for lunch, a refreshing shower and most likely a snooze in the shade. 

Later in the afternoon you saddle up for a moonlit ride across the pans to your campbeds, set out under the stars. The white pans glow under the light of the moon, lighting your path into the middle of what feels like the moon. The campfire will glow on the horizon as you open up and canter towards camp.

The horses are tethered around camp and your camp beds are set up ready for you to spend a beautiful evening under the Kalahari sky, with a tasty dinner around the campfire. 

Day 5: As dawn arrives and the stars disappear it is time to wake for a light breakfast. You will mount up and head homewards with this fast-paced ride, sometimes travelling along the edge of the Pans and at other times riding into the woodlands and open grasslands where the zebra and wildebeest are grazing. 

From far away you will see the famous Chapman's Baobab on the horizon. This is also known as the Seven Sisters and is one of the largest trees in Africa, measuring 25m around its girth. It was the focal point of campsites for the early explorers such as Livingstone and Selous when they pioneered this area. (Sadly, Chapman's Baobab has fallen, but is still a worthy sight to behold).

You will arrive back at Camp Kalahari with time to enjoy a refreshing shower before sitting down to lunch. As the evening approaches and the sun disappears behind the horizon, you can take some time to think over the last few amazing days and all of the incredible landscapes and wildlife you've seen, not to mention the amazing riding!

Day 6: Depending on your departure time, today allows for a special cultural experience during which you will learn about the Zu/Hoasi bushmen and their ways of life. 

Uncharted Africa (with whom your stay at Camp Kalahari is organised) has been a passionate supporter of cultural tourism in Botswana since the company's start in 1993. They strongly believe that tourism is an important tool in preserving this unique and unfortunately fast-vanishing culture. They have been working with the people of the Western Kalahari for several years now and are extremely fortunate to have bushmen, women and children spanning four generations living at their Jack's Camp in the Makgadikgadi. 

The Zu/Hoasi lead a semi-traditional lifestyle these days, sharing their traditional hunting and food-gathering skills as well as their aptitude for making jewellery and hunting equipment. They can offer a window into the past and the opportunity to understand how they have survived in this harsh environment using their knowledge of the plants, animal behaviour and necessary survival skills. The intention is not to keep them frozen in time but to provide a glimpse of their traditional ways of life and their culture. 

The initiative has allowed this community to work together with each other, sharing knowledge with both the camp guests and also their own younger generations, ensuring that the knowledge of their people is passed down. The hope is that these children will go into the modern world carrying this knowledge and the traditions of their ancient culture with a sense of pride. 

After breakfast you will be drive through the bush to the traditionally built Bushmen's village where this community spends the day. These huts offer shelter from the environment but are not the community's permanent accommodation. On arrival you will be met by the elders of the community, in the traditional manner, after which you will take a walk out into the bush with the men, women and children. The focus of the walk will be to provide you with a gentle introduction to the Kalahari and the bushmen way of life. They will indicate distinct ecological characteristics of the area and it's animal and bird species. Your bushmen guides will talk about the uses of plants and wildlife offering a link between their culture and the wild environment that you have been experiencing. 

After this special experience you will settle down to one more lunch before bidding farewell to Camp Kalahari and departing for your onward journey. 



Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 8
Ability description: Intermediate to experienced riders only.
Type of ride: Camp-based safari.
Total riding time: As per itinerary.
Departure dates: 2018: 3-8 June, 17-22 June, 22-27 July, 29 July-3 August (FULL), 19-24 August, 9-14 September (FULL), 23-28 September (FULL).
 
Pricing: 2018:

High Season (June/July and September): £3027 per person sharing.
Single supplement High Season: £696

Peak Season (August): £3311 per person sharing.
Single supplement Peak Season: £999

Air transfers from Maun to camp and back again: £521 per person.
Single supplement on air transfers (if no other rides on same flight): £341.

Safari price includes 5 nights shared room accommodation, all meals, drinks, riding and activities.