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Thamalakane River Ride (Ride Botswana)


This wonderful lodge-based safari is an ideal short break, suitable for riders of all levels including families with children. After years of drought the flood waters of the Okavango Delta have spilled over into the land, causing the Thamalakane River to flow and create a riding paradise. Tall wood…


  • Ride with giraffe, zebra and various antelope
  • Splash through the Thamalakane river on horseback
  • All abilities and families welcomed, for any duration
  • Self-guided walking trails meander through the reserve
  • Wonderful accommodation with superb food

Essential Facts

  • 1 itinerary available
  • Max 10 riders per group
  • Average of 2 - 3 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: 95kg / 210lbs / 15 stone


This wonderful lodge-based safari is an ideal short break, suitable for riders of all levels including families with children. After years of drought the flood waters of the Okavango Delta have spilled over into the land, causing the Thamalakane River to flow and create a riding paradise. Tall woodlands line the riverbanks providing homes for a variety of incredible bird species and wildlife. Kingfishers, storks and fish eagles all live near the river and the neighbouring reserve is roamed by giraffe, zebra, kudu, oryx, eland, springbok, impala, blesbok and duiker. There is also a large number of ostrich!

Mornings and afternoons are spent riding amongst the wildlife of the reserve, often enjoying close encounters, before exploring the beauty of the Thamalakane and Boteti Rivers. The resident wildlife has become quite at ease with the horses meaning that there are great photo opportunities. The longer rides to the river take you through the acacia woodlands with opportunities for exhilarating canters, visiting old cattle posts and even jumping over the odd fallen log. Bird watchers will be delighted with what they can spot at the riverside and adventurous riders can canter in the water or maybe even swim with the horses. Some morning rides are broken up with an incredible picnic breakfast by the water's edge and the evenings can be spent enjoying sundowners whilst listening to the chorus of the reed frogs.

The rides are organised by David Foot and his wife Robyn. David is an experienced guide who has lived and worked in some of Africa's most incredible wildlife areas and who enjoys sharing his passion for riding and wildlife (especially birds!) by offering these wonderful adventures. This is a great add-on to an African holiday and a chance to enjoy a luxury stay in this special setting.

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

Horses & Riding


Trail saddles.


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


There is 1 itinerary:

  • Three Night Programme is a based ride


Children welcome.


General good health recommended.


95kg / 210lbs / 15 stone

Food & Accommodation


Delicious meals are served in the dining area or on the shaded decking area. Guests often enjoy picnic breakfasts on the river's edge or drink sundowners whilst listening to the reed frogs.


The ride is based out of an intimate, luxurious lodge called Royal Tree Lodge. The lodge lies within a 400 acre expanse of acacia and riverine woodland along the edge of the Thamalakane River. It is just a twenty minute drive from Maun but you feel as if you are deep in the bush.

There are eight safari tents, all en suite, which are well-appointed. There is a dining area and also a shaded deck under the lead wood and bird plum trees. The lodge also has a swimming pool which is an excellent way to refresh yourself during the hottest parts of the day.


Three Night Programme Luxury accommodation.

Other Activities

Marked walking trails invite guests to create their own adventure allowing safe, intimate interaction with wildlife - there is no dangerous game on the reserve.

Off-site activities in the vicinity can also be arranged and paid for locally such as a game drive to nearby Moremi to view the Big Five, scenic flight over the delta, or mokoro canoe trip down the river.

Non-Riders are welcomed.


Guests should fly into Maun. You can fly to Maun on Air Botswana or South African Airways. The most common route is via Johannesburg in South Africa, but it's also possible to arrive from Windhoek (Namibia), Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) or Gaborone (Botswana).

Once in Maun, you will take a road transfer to the Royal Tree Lodge.

**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**

Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1

Riding: 1 - 2 hours

Arrival in Maun followed by a short road transfer to Royal Tree Lodge where you will be based. After taking some time to settle in to your accommodation you can enjoy lunch or afternoon tea before a safety briefing from your guide. Then you will be introduced to the horses and can set out for a fun afternoon ride in the surroundings of the reserve. The wildlife is very relaxed in the presence of the horses so hopefully you will enjoy some close encounters and the chance to take great photos! You will arrive back at the lodge before dark and can enjoy a sundowner before a great dinner.

Day 2

Riding: 3 - 4 hours

Today is an early morning start and you will be up with the dawn in time for a long morning ride. After a short ride amongst the wildlife of the reserve you will head into the back country, enjoying long canters through the seemingly endless acacia woodlands and jumping fallen logs if you wish. You will pass by some of the cattle posts and can learn about the local Motswana and how they manage their free-roaming herds. As the day starts to warm up you will make your way towards the riverine woodlands of Thamalakane River for a delicious picnic breakfast which is waiting for you in the shade of the jackalberry trees. 

After you have satisfied your appetite there will be a leisurely ride along the river during which you can spot the waterbirds. For adventurous riders there is also the chance to canter in the shallow waters - the splashing can be a great way to cool down!

On arrival back at the lodge it will be lunchtime which is usually followed by a relaxing siesta. In the afternoon you can walk to the river's edge and enjoy an afternoon in a boat exploring the waters with excellent bird watching, fishing and of course those favourite sundowners!

Day 3

Riding: 3 - 5 hours

Another dawn start followed by an early breakfast and mounting up for an all day ride. Today you will explore further afield, reaching the point where the Thamalakane River splits into two - the Nhabe heads west towards Lake Ngame and the Boteti heads east to the Makgadikgadi. These rivers are what allowed early explorers, hunters and traders to make their way deep into the wilderness. David Livingstone was the first European to see Lake Ngami after having spent several thirsty days crossing the Kalahari to reach the Boteti. 

A picnic lunch is served in the shade of the evergreen mangosteen trees and you can enjoy a refreshing swim. Once you've dried off you will mount up again and follow the river which will guide you back to the lodge. When the river water levels are low enough you can cross the river and ride home on the opposite bank, watching out for resident hippos who become more active as the sun begins to set.

Day 4

Riding: 1 - 2 hours

A last early morning ride through the reserve and a final hearty breakfast before departure.


Each night will be spent in one of 8 safari style tents, with en-suite facilities, at the luxurious Royal Tree Lodge.

Experience Beginner / Intermediate / Experienced

All levels are welcome, including families with children

Minimum group size 1
Maximum group size 10
Departure windows

At any time during: Jan. 1, 2021 - Dec. 31, 2021  (Dates available to suit, year round, with flexible arrival and departures.)


Adult High Season (July - October)
£365 $520 €425 per night
Adult Low season (Jan-June, November-December)
£335 $475 €390 per night
Children under 12 (July - October)
£300 $430 €350 per night
Children under 12 (Jan-June, November-December)
£275 $390 €320 per night
Included 3 nights accommodation in shared tents, all meals, table wine at dinner, 4 days of riding, Maun airport transfers and 12% surtax.
Not included Flights, travel insurance, other drinks, laundry services, tourism levy (c. US$30 per person) on arrival to Botswana, tips & other personal expenses.


2021 - Single Supplement £70 $99 €81 per night
Paid to Far and Ride
* Applicable to stays between July - October only.
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.