Limpopo Valley Horse Safaris riding holiday in Botswana - Far and Ride
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Limpopo Valley Horse Safaris, Botswana




Programmes


• Tuli Safari

• African Bush & Lodge Ride

 

Reviews



The Tuli Trail was an incredible, unforgettable experience, fabulous hosts, horses, accommodation and food. The wildlife sightings exceeded all expectations. The holiday was a perfect balance for me of excitement and relaxation. There are too many favourite memories to list, some wild like cantering with Giraffe, to the African stars and sunset, watching the horses enjoy a well deserved roll in the African dust at the end of the day.

Claire L.
We had a fantastic time. The trip really met our expectations, and we got to see lots of animals. The guides were great and knowledgeable. The horses were really fit. All in all we had a fabulous trip.

Remy H.
The horses were very good and well matched to the riders so a mixed ability group could all have an enjoyable stress free time. Wildlife was brilliant as was accommodation, food and guides. My favourite memory was riding amongst the wildlife on a really good horse that was so easy to ride so I could relax and enjoy the experience.

Sarah W.
Exceeded my expectations. Limpopo had extremely well schooled and very well mannered horses - saw all big five closely. Fantastic horse with a big jump. Excellent guide - we felt safe and reassured even when lions did come close to camp - very well briefed on safety by David.

Susan G. (African Explorer)
 

Horses



Type of horses:

A wide range including Boerperds, Shire Thoroughbred Crosses, Appaloosas and Warmbloods.

Nature of horses:

Responsive, honest and well-schooled. The horses here are all capable of good level dressage and jumping and are regularly schooled to ensure that they are an enjoyable mount.

Height of horses:

14.3hh - 17hh

Weight limit:

15st / 209lbs / 95kg

Tack type:

Primarily English saddles. Some Australian stock saddles and South African McLellans are also available.

 

Weather



 

Ride Description

This destination is now owned by Shane and Laura from Horizon when Louise and Cor decided to embark on new adventures in the US. Your main host is Lindy who formerly ran horseback riding in Mauritius. They offer safaris on Mashatu Game Reserve which is located in the Northern Tuli Game Reserve - the eastern tip of Botswana. Mashatu covers 30,000 hectares and is home to great herds of elephant, estimated to be at least 800 strong.

As well as numerous cats, including leopards, lions, cheetah, African wild cat and cerval, the Tuli Block is known as 'The Land of the Giants' for good reason - the magnificent Baobab tree, huge sandstone outcrops, magnificent plains and of course, the Mashatu trees, are all prevalent along the great Limpopo River. The area is perfect for riding, offering good going with natural ditches and logs to jump, adding that extra dimension to an already exhilarating ride. Guests can expect regular game sightings, not only of the elephants and cats but also of antelopes, jackals, bat eared foxes and giraffe. The occasional canter across the plains with zebras and wildebeest will leave you with memories of an unforgettable riding holiday.

The horses used at Limpopo Horse Safaris have been individually selected for their temperament and ride-ability. Many have been chosen from the various South African breeds which are known to be of a tough nature and able to cope under extreme conditions. Some of the breeds used include the Boeperd, Shire x Thoroughbreds and South African Warmbloods. Arab and Friesian crosses are also becoming popular. Your hosts pride themselves on providing horses which have been selected using the same stringent criteria as those used to choose horses for eventing and other competitive disciplines. Their schooling concentrates on classical English style, although neck reining is used when in the bush. The horses are schooled to a high level and respond easily and lightly to the aids. Australian stock saddles, South African Mclellans and a selection of English saddles are all available.

There are a choice of programmes to choose from at this destination, including the famous African Explorer Safari which combines this destination with Horizon in South Africa to create the ultimate safari experience. All safaris are tented and mostly mobile, giving you the special chance to see as much of Mashatu as possible. Whichever itinerary you choose, you can rest assured that this will be one of the best horseback experiences of your life.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

Different itineraries offer different standards of accommodation.

The "Two Mashatus" camp is where most safaris begin and end. This camp is in a wonderful location near the Limpopo River but also has a view over open plains to the west. Toilets are long drop but each tent has its own toilet and shower in a private area behind each tent. The central dining area is built on a teak platform using the local building style with a lala palm thatch roof. In 2013 a small swimming pool was also built so now you can relax with a refreshing dip after your exciting day on horseback safari! **New for 2017: flushing toilets will replace the individual long-drops!

The Kgotla is an old tribal court and now performing the function of a wilderness camp. It is built from leadwood poles in the sandstone formations of the Limpopo basin. Equipped with running water and hot showers, the Kgotla provides an alternative exciting night out.

On the Tuli Trail, Wilderness accommodation is in A frame tents. These tents are 3.5 x 6 metres so that you have the space you need. With beds, sheets and duvets this is very comfortable camping. A bucket shower is shared, while each tent has a long drop of its own. Meals are cooked around the fire.

On the Bush and Lodge ride, accommodation is at different lodges and camps in the area - see the itinerary for more details.

A well known cook will prepare delicious meals offering an array of regional specialities using fresh local produce.

 

Activities

Whilst on the safari, guests can take part in game drives, walking and cycling, when not on horseback.

For the adventurous, or those wishing to explore more of this beautiful continent, then it is worth knowing that Limpopo valley airfield is only a 1,5h direct flight to Vilankulo, Mozambique. We would highly recommend spending a few days riding and relaxing on the beautiful coast as an extension to your trip and can help with flight reservations and accommodations in this area.

 

Further Details

Languages: English

Health requirements: Dependent on programme, but a reasonable standard of physical fitness is required throughout. Please note that hard hats are compulsory and you will be unable to ride without one.

Age limit: For the most part, strictly no under 16s, unless they are judged to be very competent, strong riders and are accompanied by parents.

Tuition: No

Included: All riding with qualified guide and armed back up, all meals, drinks, snacks, tea, coffee, concessions fees, luggage transfer between camps and specified transfers to/from Limpopo Valley Airfield or Point Drift Border.

Not included: Flights, travel / medical insurance, bar services, gratuities and transfers to/from Johannesburg International airport.

 

Travel Information

Direct flights from the UK to Johannesburg can be booked with the following airlines:

London Gatwick to Johannesburg - Nationwide Airlines

London Heathrow to Johannesburg - British Airways, South African Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

Indirect flights from a number of regional airports can be booked with KLM, Lufthansa and Air France.

Transfers (prices on individual itineraries):

From 2018 onwards it is likely that ALL transfers will be by air from OR Tambo (Johannesburg) International to Limpopo Valley Airfield (10 minutes from the stables). You MUST book flights at the following times to meet these air transfers:

Arrival: Your flight MUST land before 09:30 to allow time to collect your luggage, clear passport control and make it to the gate. If you arrive later than this then you will have to pay extra for a Menzies transit service or a private road transfer.

Departure: You flight MUST depart later than 20:00. We cannot guarantee what time the air transfer will get you to Johannesburg airport for earlier flights and so if you book an earlier departing flight you will need to pay extra for a private road transfer back to Johannesburg and miss the final morning ride.

There are luggage restrictions on the light aircraft which will be detailed in full after you have booked.

* For 2017, In the event that there are insufficient numbers of passengers to run the flights, alternative road transfers will be taken.

**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)

 

Programmes


Tuli Safari



Itinerary (which may vary depending on local conditions)

Day 1:

Upon arrival at the Pont Drift Border Post or Limpopo Valley Airfield, you will be met by your guide, David or West, and transferred to the Reception area by the Stables. After a light lunch it’s time to head off to the stables to meet your horse for the week. You will embark on a short introductory ride to make sure that you and your horse are well suited - if time permits you will ride directly to Two Mashatus Camp, otherwise back to the stables again. Dinner will be served in the Llala palm dining room of 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 Majele River Camp - a rustic series of cabins atop the steep banks of the Majele 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 guided walk to a nearby lookout spot known as 'Majele Koppie'. 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 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 either a guided walk or ride to the "Ampitheatre", an ancient rock formation, before ending 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 Africa to the south, Zimbabwe to the north and Botswana surrounding you - this is a sundowner spot you will never forget.

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:

Today's ride meanders through the beautiful plains between the Mojali and Majele rivers. Abundant with game and with spectacular views of the Limpopo river valley, you make your way back towards your base camp, Two Mashatus. Feeling like a returning traveller, you can relax in the comfort of this permanent camp with its pool, shady tents and ensuite bathrooms. In the afternoon, ride to a nearby koppie for sundowners before returning to camp for dinner.

Day 7:

Today’s ride promises great game viewing from horseback as you explore the Pitsane river valley on an all-day ride. The Pitsane originates from a spring high in the hills and provides regular drinking holes along its course, to draw thirsty herds of game. History tells of a skirmish here during the Boer war, where an old supply post - Bryces store - was destroyed. There was once a stage coach line called Zeederberg that ran from the towns of the Transvaal in South Africa to the newly forged settlements of Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. The coaches followed the line of the Pitsani river before crossing into Zimbabwe. Enjoy a picnic lunch under a shady Mashatu tree before continuing your exploration in the afternoon and returning to camp for a cooling drink beside the pool. As your final day draws to a close you take to your tent for a peaceful night in the bush.

Day 8:

Your last ride is a great opportunity to snap one last picture of elephants or to take a long and winding canter through the scattered mustard bush with your guides. This is a shorter ride of about two hours, allowing you to get back to the stables with enough time to enjoy a hot shower and hearty brunch before saying your farewells. Then it’s off to Pont Drift in time for your return transfer to Johannesburg.



Accommodation: First and last two nights at the comfortable Two Mashatus camp which is nestled in the shade of a centurion Mashatu tree, two traditionally built Lala palm rondavels serve as dining area and lounge. Accommodation is in big A frame walk-in tents pitched on teak platforms, with en-suite enviro loo and hot water shower. Each tent is private and positioned in the shade of a tree with a small deck area on which to relax during the afternoons.

Two nights at the Kgotla camp “sleeping under the stars”. The Kgotla 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 boma is an open-air traditional African enclosure made up of leadwood logs. Guests sleep on beds around a large log fire which blazes at the centre.

Two nights in different wilderness camps. These satellite campsites are 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 a camp fire.
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.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: Long hours in the saddle.
Departure dates: 2017: 30 Apr-7 May; 7-14, 14-21 May, 21-28 May (FULL); 28 May-4 June (FULL); 4-11, 11-18 (FULL), 18-25 June; 25 June-2 July; 2-9, 9-16, 16-23, 23-30 July (FULL); 30 July-6 Aug (FULL); 6-13, 20-27 August; 27 Aug-3 Sep; 3-10, 10-17, 17-24 Sept; 24 Sep-1 Oct (FULL); 1-8, 8-15 (FULL), 15-22, 22-29 Oct; 29 Oct-5 Nov; 5-12, 19-26 November

2018: 7-14, 14-21, 21-28 January; 28 Jan-4 Feb; 4-11, 11-18, 18-25 February; 25 Feb-4 Mar; 4-11, 18-25 March; 25 Mar-1 Apr (FULL); 1-8, 15-22, 22-29 April; 29 Apr-6 May (FULL); 6-13, 13-20, 20-27 May; 27 May-3 June; 3-10, 10-17, 17-24 June; 1-8, 8-15, 22-29 July; 29 Jul-5 Aug; 5-12, 12-19, 19-26 August; 26 Aug-2 Sept; 9-16, 16-23, 23-30 September; 30 Sep-7 Oct; 7-14, 14-21, 21-28 October; 28 Oct-4 Nov; 4-11, 11-18 November; 25 Nov-2 Dec; 2-9, 9-16, 16-23, 23-30 December.
 
Pricing: 2017:

Per person for 7 nights
High season (1 March-30 April; 1 July-5 January 2018): £2730
Low season (1 May-30 June; 6 January - 29 February 2018): £2321

50% Single supplement is only charged if guests are not willing to share a room.

Rates are inclusive of accommodation, riding, meals, teas and coffees, drinks, a game drive, bush walks and laundry. Only transfers, tips and curios payable locally in cash.

Price does not include flights or travel insurance.

Air transfers from OR Tambo International to Limpopo Valley Airfield (10 minutes from the stables)

£420 per person return trip*. Price includes passenger taxes, VIP escort to connecting flights at OR Tambo and on board refreshments.

* In the event that there are not sufficient passengers to run the flights, alternative road transfers will be taken.

2018:

Per person for 7 nights
High season (1 March-30 April; 1 July-5 January 2019): £2947
Low season (1 May-30 June; 6 January - 28 February 2019): £2499

Single supplement of £1050 is only charged if guests are not willing to share a room.

Accompanying non-rider: £1750

Rates are inclusive of accommodation, riding, meals, teas and coffees, drinks, a game drive, bush walks and laundry. Only transfers, tips and curios payable locally in cash.

Price does not include flights or travel insurance.

Air transfers from OR Tambo International to Limpopo Valley Airfield (10 minutes from the stables)

£450 per person return trip*. Price includes passenger taxes, VIP escort to connecting flights at OR Tambo and on board refreshments.

* In the event that there are not sufficient passengers to run the flights, alternative road transfers will be taken.



African Bush & Lodge Ride



This is the most luxurious safari - a seven night mobile safari which covers approximately 120 miles over the course of a week. The safari can be scheduled from January to November. Each riding day ends at either beautiful camps or luxury lodges. The safari embraces fine dining in the wilderness and every evening is a delightful mix of good food and good company.

As you traverse the greater expanse of the Northern Tuli Game Reserve, guests have the opportunity to enjoy sightings of animals such as elephant, leopard, lion, hyena and cheetah as well as a huge range of bird species, antelope and smaller game. With no fences within the reserve, this is truly one of the wildest places in Africa! 

Day 1:

Meeting point is at counter A54  departures terminal OR Tambo International Airport, at 10.45am, for air transfers. Upon arrival at the Pont Drift Border Post or Limpopo Valley Airfield, you will be met by your guide, David or West, and transferred to the reception area by the Stables. After a light lunch it’s time to head off to the stables to meet your horse for the week. You will embark on a short introductory ride to make sure that you and your horse are well suited - if time permits you will ride directly to Two Mashatus Camp, otherwise back to the stables again. Dinner will be served in the Llala palm dining room of the Two Mashatus Camp.

Day 2:

A leisurely start today with tea or coffee in bed followed by a light breakfast. You will mount up and head off from the dense woodland along the Limpopo River towards the shallow rocky hills that mark the edges of the great river valley. Your destination for night two is Majele River camp a rustic series of cabins atop the steep banks of the Majele 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 elephant south of the Zambezi and you are almost assured of great viewing of these incredible creatures. After lunch and a siesta you will take a gentle ride in the cool of the afternoon to explore the 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 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 surveying the land as they have for centuries, ancient elephant trails stamped into the soil and wonderfully long canters around the open scrub. This ride brings you to the banks of the Motloutse River and amongst dense old Mashatu trees a Leadwood Boma that we call "Kgotla" after the old tribal court that was once held in its enclosure. The open air traditional African enclosure gives perfect security to nights spent under the stars and a unique experience of the African bush close and personal. The afternoon activity on day three is a guided walk to the "Ampitheatre" an ancient and awesome rock formation. Your walk concludes with traditional sundowners looking out of the Motloutse River. Back at the Kgotla dinner is enjoyed around a large log fire. The night is spent in the comfort of your bed set within the boma but with a ceiling provided by the southern skies, a blanket of stars to send you to sleep, a truly unique experience and just about as far away as you can get from city life and the modern world.

Day 4:

Today is a choice of either a morning and afternoon ride exploring the amazing sandstone formations including the famed Solomon's Wall. Some of the oldest civilisations in southern Africa had their settlements in this valley, their kings safely nestled in royal kraals at the tops of these flat topped hills. The Mapungubwe topography is ancient and timeless and combined with great wildlife sightings is an incredible riding experience. Or the group may prefer a long morning ride and an afternoon excursion to the nearby village of Lentswe Le Moriti and the basket weavers followed by a trip to the Mmamagwa hills. At the end of a short easy climb and beneath a beautiful Baobab, you are rewarded with a breathtaking view of the Tuli area with South Africa to the south Zimbabwe to the north and Botswana around you, this is a sundowner drink you will remember for many years to come.

Day 5:

An early rise and hearty breakfast is a good start for our journey winding your way through the Mopane bush, with the chance of sighting elephant, you will make your way to the centre of the reserve where a night of absolute luxury awaits at Mashatu Main Camp. For the guest who is accustomed to luxury, this camp will meet every expectation. The suites lie along the camp's perimeter and are designed to allow absolute privacy and a communion with the bush and its inhabitants. To easy any aches this afternoon is set aside to enjoy a game drive that will take you deep into the reserve in search of the big cats the area is renowned for including leopard, cheetah and lion.

Day 6:

Today's riding promises great game viewing from horseback we you explore the Pitsane river valley. The Pitsane has a  spring high in the hills which provides regular drinking holes along its course to draw thirsty herds of game. An area, where history has it, there was a skirmish during the Boer war and Bryce's store, an old supply post was destroyed. There was once a stage coach line called Zeederbergs that ran from the cities of Transvall in South Africa to the newly forged settlements of Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. Those coaches crossed the broad Limpopo and followed the Pitsane River, crossing into Zimbabwe at the next night's camp - the Mashatu Tented Camp. This afternoon you will ride to a year round waterhole where there is a good chance of seeing elephants who often come for their afternoon bath.

Day 7:

The ride today meanders its way through the beautiful plains between the Mojali and Pitsane Rivers. Abundant with game and with spectacular views into the Limpopo River Valley you will work your way back to the base camp, Two Mashatus. You will be greeted with a cool drink around the pool and treated to a homecoming lunch in the Lala Palm lapa, In the afternoon you will ride to one of the nearby koppies for a pre-sundown drink. As the final day draws to a close you may take to your tent for a peaceful and dreamy last night in the bush.

Day 8:

Your last ride in the Limpopo valley is a great opportunity to snap one last picture of elephants and enjoy a long and winding canter through the scattered Mustard bush with your guides. Arriving back at the stables with plenty of time to enjoy a hot shower and a tasty brunch you get to say farewells to your safari companions and new found friends.



Accommodation: One night at Mashatu Main Camp. Here each of the air conditioned suites is tastefully decorated and includes impressive black and white prints of Africa's most beautiful animals. A double bed and an extra large single bed, together with a seating area that includes a single day bed, comfortably accommodates families with younger children. The ample en-suite bathroom with both bath and shower facilities and a separate WC complete the well appointed suites.

One night at Mashatu Tented Camp which comprises eight completely private tents tucked under the branches of enormous trees accessible via meandering pathways. The tents themselves are spacious and comfortable and large enough that adults need not duck to move around in. Each is mounted on a concrete platform and has its own private outdoor ensuite facilities, including WC and shower.

Two nights at the Kgotla camp "sleeping under the stars". This is an old tribal court from a nearby community which was relocated to the banks of the Motloutse River on the western property of Mashatu. The bona is an open air traditional African enclosure made up of Leadwood logs. Guests sleep on beds around a large log fire which sits on a hearth in the centre of the boma.

One night is spent at Majele River Camp with rustic cabin bedrooms and shared bathroom facilities.The rustic cabins are set atop the Majale River. A beautiful thatched lapa dining and rest area set in the shade of a thicket old Mashatsu trees. Accommodation is made up of two twin room units with each unit sharing a bathroom, a separate flushing toilet and secluded outdoor showers. There is a also a large fixed site tent with adjoining outdoor bathroom.
Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 8
Ability description: Experienced riders only due to the potentially dangerous game. Children under 16 please enquire. Strictly no under 12's.

Non riders welcome.

Strictly over 16s ONLY.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: Long hours in the saddle, with canters, gallops and jumping.
Departure dates: 2017: Sunday start dates. 29 January-5 February (FULL); 25 June-2 July (FULL)
(Additional dates may be possible - please enquire)
 
Pricing: 2017:
Per person for 7 nights
High season (1 March-30 April; 1 July - 5 January 2018): £2912
Low season (1 May-30 June; 6 January-29 February 2018):
£2499

Rate is inclusive of accommodation, riding, meals, teas and coffees, drinks, game drives (at least 2), bush walks and laundry. Tips and curios payable locally in cash.

Flights, transfers, travel insurance and gratuities are not included.

Air transfers from OR Tambo International to Limpopo Valley Airfield (10 minutes from the stables)

£420 per person return trip*. Price includes passenger taxes, VIP escort to connecting flights at OR Tambo and on board refreshments.

* In the event that there are not sufficient passengers to run the flights, alternative road transfers will be taken.