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Horizon African Explorer

Overview

Horizon Horseback, regular winners of the 'Best Riding Safari in Africa' title in the prestigious Safari Awards, are well-known for offering horse safari destinations, with a longstanding reputation for its friendly, relaxed atmosphere and focus on quality and service. The 'African Explorer' it…

Highlights

  • Horse riding safari for experienced riders
  • The chance to ride in two different countries
  • Viewing elephant from horseback
  • Exciting camping in the wilderness
  • Game drives in Botswana to try and spot big cats

Essential Facts

  • 2 itineraries available
  • Max 8 riders per group
  • Average of 4 - 5 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: 13st 5 lbs/ 187lbs / 85kg.
    more info Slightly heavier riders may be accepted if very experienced or tall - please enquire.

Description

Horizon Horseback, regular winners of the 'Best Riding Safari in Africa' title in the prestigious Safari Awards, are well-known for offering horse safari destinations, with a longstanding reputation for its friendly, relaxed atmosphere and focus on quality and service.

The 'African Explorer' itineraries showcase two distinct game-rich areas; the malaria-free Waterberg Biosphere in South Africa and the Mashatu Game Reserve in Botswana, ensuring an exhilarating safari experience. The Waterberg is a vast and largely unspoilt wilderness with miles of sandy tracks to explore, rocky escarpments offering beautiful vistas, and open plains scattered with antelope, zebra, wildebeest and giraffe. The horses here live out all year round amongst the game offering close encounters with the wildlife of the reserve.

Horizon Botswana offers exciting safaris on the 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. This destination is partly owned by Shane and Laura who also run Horizon Horseback in South Africa.

This area is home to numerous cat species including leopard, lion, cheetah, African wild cat and cerval and the Tuli Block is known as 'The Land of the Giants' for good reason - the magnificent Baobab trees, 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 for these 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. South African Mclellan saddles which have been specially designed for long hours in the saddle are used for the comfort of both horse and rider.

All the team from Far and Ride have been lucky enough to ride here on different occasions and will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Horses & Riding

Tack

McClellan trail saddles are used on safaris both in South Africa and Botswana. They are comfortable for both horse and rider when spending long hours in the bush.

Horses

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

Riding

There are 2 itineraries:

  • African Explorer (Mashatu Camp) is a trail ride
  • African Explorer (Kgotla Camp) is a trail ride

Ages

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

Health

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.

Weight

13st 5 lbs/ 187lbs / 85kg. Slightly heavier riders may be accepted if very experienced or tall - please enquire.

Food & Accommodation

Food

After the horses, food is your hosts' second passion.

In South Africa, before an early morning ride, guests are offered a light breakfast. After working up an appetite on your ride, a home-cooked lunch is served followed by afternoon tea at about 3 pm.

Dinner is a sociable and sumptuous affair, during which the day's adventures or misadventures are accounted with great delight. The carefully planned three-course menus are accompanied by a selection of fine South African wines. Fresh vegetables and home grown herbs are used in all recipes with home made bread and cakes which are baked on a daily basis.

In Botswana, a local cook will prepare delicious meals offering an array of regional specialities using fresh local produce. You will be amazed at what can be produced over the fire! Breakfast is very early and light, such as tea, coffee, cereal and rusks.

Lunch is also light and may include quiche and salads. Dinner comprises hearty meals and may include game meats.

Local drinks are included and you can help yourselves to soft drinks, beer and cider. Local spirits and good quality South African wines are also on offer.

Accommodation

In South Africa you will stay at Horizon's tented camp called 'Camp Davidson', a traditional 'under canvas' safari experience. The camp features luxurious canvas tents with decking and is completely run on solar energy. It also has its own small swimming pool. One night on the ride will be spent at Bellevue lodge on a neighbouring game reserve.

In Botswana you will stay in two of three unique camps depending on your itinerary; Mashatu Camp, Tree Camp and Kgotla Camp.

The "Two Mashatus" camp is in a wonderful location near the Limpopo River but also has a view over open plains to the west. Each tent has its own flushing 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. There is also a small swimming pool so that you can relax with a refreshing dip after your exciting day on horseback safari!

Tree Camp is built 4m above the ground in the boughs of a giant Mashatu tree and two ancient Leadwood trees. Sleeping pods which each sleep two people filter off the central dining/lounge area, and a short walkway leads to shared showers and toilets. This extraordinary camp overlooks the Majale river for wildlife sightings from a heightened perspective.

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.

Itineraries

African Explorer (Mashatu Camp) Tented / Luxury accommodation.

African Explorer (Kgotla Camp) Basic / Tented / Luxury accommodation.

Other Activities

Whilst on the safari, guests can take part in sundowner drives or bush walks when not on horseback - these are included in the itinerary. There is also the possibility of paying extra for a specialised game drive.

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.

Travel

There are several airlines flying direct to Johannesburg (ORT). Many leave the UK in the evenings and after an overnight flight you will arrive the next morning hopefully without any jet lag! We will arrange your safe transfer. On arrival we ask that clients make their way to the information desk of the arrivals hall to meet their driver who will have a sign with their name on it.

African Explorer Transfers include:
Day 1 - leaving ORT at 11:15am for Camp Davidson. Your flight MUST arrive before 10:15 and you should arrive to Camp Davidson at 14:30 in time for a late lunch. For 2024 safaris, your flight MUST arrive before 09:30.
Day 4 or 5 (depending on itinerary) - depart from Bellevue on horseback at 06:30, riding to Horizon lodge. Depart Horizon at 09:30, by car, arriving at the stables in Botswana by 13:00 for lunch.
Day 8 - Departure day air transfer from Botswana to Lanseria, departing LVA (close to the stables) at 12:30, landing in Lanseria at 14:05. On the event of bad weather you will take a road transfer to ORT airport instead, arriving there at 18:00. You MUST book a flight leaving ORT after 20:00.

Please note that alternative transfers cannot be organised for those taking part in the African Explorer. Those who are not able to book flights to fit these times should consider spending an extra night in South Africa before or after the ride in order to meet the transfer times.

Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1

Riding: 1 - 2 hours

Guests are personally met at OR Tambo Airport in South Africa by representatives of our sister company, Saddlebag Shuttles, and transported directly to Camp Davidson in the Waterberg, where they will enjoy a light lunch overlooking the vastness of the Waterberg plateau. They will then receive a safety briefing and meet their horses.

Horizon takes great care to match horse to rider based on a guest’s riding experience and professed ability. The horses are predominantly Boerperds, together with a mixture of warmbloods, Appaloosas and Friesians. They are all well schooled, forward going but calm horses. It is crucially important for the safety and enjoyment of the whole group that riders wishing to book the African Explorer are at least intermediate riders. While the journey is not an endurance test, it does involve long hours in the saddle and, with the possibility of close encounters with elephant and the big cats in Botswana, riders need to be able to control their mounts gently and confidently.

The first ride is a gentle introduction to the reserve and an excellent opportunity for first encounters with species such as zebra, giraffe, wildebeest and kudu. The riding ranges from purposeful walking to easy cantering along sandy tracks and culminates with sundowner drinks on the open plains.

Day 2

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

Todays ride sets out from the high country overlooking a beautiful wilderness area to the east and heads south, winding along the banks of Sunset Lake where resident Fish Eagles and Spur-Winged Geese are often spotted, as well as a pod of resident hippo. Later ride through the open savannah where wildebeest and zebra can be encountered. The riding is varied, from canters along sandy tracks to winding through rocky outcrops and densely wooded areas. Weather and local conditions permitting there may be a chance to take the horses for a swim in one of the dams before returning to camp for lunch and a chance to relax by the pool.

The afternoon ride offers more chance for hippo viewing and some great long canters.

Day 3

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

Todays ride heads to the game conservancy which is home to Bellevue Lodge. The ride traverses a wide wetland, home to reedbuck and grass owls, before entering dense woodland dotted with wild fig trees and large fruited bushwillows. Here it crosses the watershed and descends through open grasslands with sweeping views to the upper reaches of the conservancy's main water system. Your route passes the favoured habitat of waterbuck and Cape buffalo. The open plains that follow are aptly known as Little Serengeti and are filled with large herds of blesbuck, eland, wildebeest and kudu as well as elegant sable, swift red hartebeest and impressive journeys of giraffe and Cape buffalo. After a lunch at the lodge and a rest by the pool, the afternoon continue to explore this game rich area, closing with sundowners overlooking the African plains.

Overnight Bellevue Lodges.

Day 4

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

A morning ride from the lodge in search of buffalo before returning to the lodge for lunch and a chance to relax and enjoy this beautiful setting before riding back up to Camp Davidson for a final night in South Africa.

Day 5

Riding: 2 - 3 hours

An early ride down from Camp Davidson to Horizon Lodge where there's time to quickly freshen up before jumping into the vehicle for the transfer to Botswana, which aims to depart at 9am. You'll arrive at Mashatu in time for lunch before changing into your riding clothes and heading out on your first afternoon ride to experience your new horses before arriving at the newly built Tree camp.

Day 6

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

An early wake up call with tea/coffee brought to your tent followed by breakfast around the camp fire. You will make an early start each day to enjoy the freshness of the morning and to maximise game viewing opportunities in the hours the wildlife are most active. Undoubtedly you will come across the large herd of elephant for which the Tuli is renowned as well as many different species of antelope, giraffe, zebra, bat eared fox, jackal, hyena and possibly even lion, leopard, wild dog and cheetah. 

Depart Tree Camp and explore the centre of the reserve and game rich Pitsane river area before arriving at Two Mashatus camp in time for lunch and a cooling afternoons rest beside the pool.

In the afternoon you can either ride or take a game drive to the south-western side of the reserve, which is an area not reached on horseback during this itinerary. It is an area which is rich in game with a resident pride of lion. The highlight of the drive is a sundowner in the ancient landscape of rock formations of the Mmagwa hills, with vast vistas into the setting sun.

Day 7

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

Full morning ride from Two Mashatus camp.

The afternoon brings the chance to choose between a bush walk, afternoon ride or possibly a game drive with Mashatu looking for cats (subject to availability and an additional charge of c. USD 87 per person). Return to Two Mashatu camp for your last night in Africa.

Day 8

Riding: 1 - 2 hours

A final early morning ride back to the stables, taking one last photo of elephant of enjoying a long and winding canter through the scattered Mustard bush. At the stables there is time for a quick shower and brunch before heading back to the airport.

Light aircraft transfer back to Johannesburg airport for your flight home.

Please be aware that due to changes in weather and other unforeseen events, the itinerary may be changed at the last minute. We will endeavour to keep everyone informed of any changes and the reason for them.

Accommodation

3 nights Camp Davidson, 1 night Savannah Lodge, 1 night Tree Camp, 2 nights Two Mashatus Camp

Experience Experienced

You need to be a competent rider, able to post to the trot and take a forward seat in canter and gallop. You should be used to riding in all paces across varied terrain and remain in control in a group. For your own safety there is a rider assessment on the first day to ensure all riders are safe to ride in big game areas.

Minimum group size 2
Maximum group size 8
Departure windows

May 3, 2024 - May 10, 2024

May 10, 2024 - May 17, 2024

May 17, 2024 - May 24, 2024

May 24, 2024 - May 31, 2024

May 31, 2024 - June 7, 2024

June 7, 2024 - June 14, 2024

June 14, 2024 - June 21, 2024

June 21, 2024 - June 28, 2024

June 28, 2024 - July 5, 2024

July 5, 2024 - July 12, 2024

July 12, 2024 - July 19, 2024

July 19, 2024 - July 26, 2024

July 26, 2024 - Aug. 2, 2024

Aug. 2, 2024 - Aug. 9, 2024

Aug. 9, 2024 - Aug. 16, 2024

Aug. 16, 2024 - Aug. 23, 2024

Aug. 23, 2024 - Aug. 30, 2024

Aug. 30, 2024 - Sept. 6, 2024

Sept. 6, 2024 - Sept. 13, 2024

Sept. 13, 2024 - Sept. 20, 2024

Sept. 20, 2024 - Sept. 27, 2024

Sept. 27, 2024 - Oct. 4, 2024

Oct. 4, 2024 - Oct. 11, 2024

Oct. 11, 2024 - Oct. 18, 2024

Oct. 18, 2024 - Oct. 25, 2024

Oct. 25, 2024 - Nov. 1, 2024

Nov. 1, 2024 - Nov. 8, 2024

Nov. 8, 2024 - Nov. 15, 2024

Nov. 15, 2024 - Nov. 22, 2024

Nov. 22, 2024 - Nov. 29, 2024

Nov. 22, 2024 - Nov. 29, 2024

Nov. 29, 2024 - Dec. 6, 2024

Nov. 29, 2024 - Dec. 6, 2024

Dec. 6, 2024 - Dec. 13, 2024

Dec. 13, 2024 - Dec. 20, 2024

Dec. 20, 2024 - Dec. 27, 2024

Dec. 27, 2024 - Jan. 3, 2025

Pricing

2024
High Season (May-November), sharing
£2860 $3640 €3360
2024
Mid Season (Mar, Apr, Dec), sharing
£2420 $3085 €2845
2024
Low Season (Jan, Feb), sharing
£2115 $2690 €2485
2025
Low Season (Jan, 5-31 Dec), sharing
£2510 $3195 €2950
2025
High Season (Feb - 5 Dec), sharing
£3205 $4080 €3765
Included 7 nights accommodation as per itinerary, all meals, all drinks (soft drinks and local beers, wines and spirits), riding and safari activities as per itinerary.
Not included Flights, transfers, travel insurance, conservation fee, tips & other personal expenses.

Extras

2024 - Airport Transfer (road and flight) £520 $660 €610
Paid to Far and Ride
Includes arrival day road transfer from ORT airport to Camp Davidson, Day 5 transfers from Camp Davidson to Botswana and departure day air transfer (charter flight) from Botswana to Johannesburg. Transfers are strictly at set times - please check with us.
2024/2025 - Conservation Fee $20 per night
Paid locally
Conservation Fee payable locally for the nights in Botswana
2024/2025 - Single Supplement 50.0%
Paid to Far and Ride
Single supplement is only payable if not willing to share.
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.

Day 1

Riding: 1 - 2 hours

Guests are personally met at OR Tambo Airport in South Africa by representatives of our sister company, Saddlebag Shuttles, and transported directly to Camp Davidson in the Waterberg, where they will enjoy a light lunch overlooking the vastness of the Waterberg plateau. They will then receive a safety briefing and meet their horses.

Horizon takes great care to match horse to rider based on a guest’s riding experience and professed ability. The horses are predominantly Boerperds, together with a mixture of warmbloods, Appaloosas and Friesians. They are all well schooled, forward going but calm horses. It is crucially important for the safety and enjoyment of the whole group that riders wishing to book the African Explorer are at least intermediate riders. While the journey is not an endurance test, it does involve long hours in the saddle and, with the possibility of close encounters with elephant and the big cats in Botswana, riders need to be able to control their mounts gently and confidently.

The first ride is a gentle introduction to the reserve and an excellent opportunity for first encounters with species such as zebra, giraffe, wildebeest and kudu. The riding ranges from purposeful walking to easy cantering along sandy tracks and culminates with sundowner drinks on the open plains.

Day 2

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

The ride this morning is generally quite fast. The route follows the centre of an open valley which is home to species such as sable, reedbuck, red hartebeest, waterbuck and impala. The sandy tracks make for excellent going, and the route crosses open grassland and weaves through dense woodland. Dark red pedigree cattle bred on the property are often encountered on this route. When conditions are suitable, the last stretch of the ride involves splashy canters along the edge of the lake adjacent to Horizon Lodge. This is a great experience, but don’t expect to remain dry in the process!

The afternoon ride follows past a series of dams where encounters with hippo are likely and returns across the open plains. At this time of day there is often much activity on the plains, with the herds mingling in the soft sunlight and different groups coming and going as they prepare for the night. It is a truly magical experience to be able to ride so close to these wild animals, which have become completely relaxed in the presence of the horses.

Day 3

Riding: 5 - 6 hours

An early start is needed for the long ride from Camp Davidson to either Savannah Lodge in the far southwest of the reserve, or Seringa Lodge in the southeast. The first part of the route covers country that riders will now be somewhat familiar with, but soon enters new terrain. In places the bush is thick but after a while the scenery opens to grasslands with sweeping views to the south and west. Riding through this landscape gives riders a sense of the vastness of the African plains. The area boasts a very high concentration of game with herds of over 300 blesbuck, or 80 eland, often sighted. Other species which call the plains home include red hartebeest, tsessebe and ostrich. There are plentiful zebra, wildebeest, impala and giraffe, and smaller groups of sable, roan and waterbuck. The final stretch to Savannah Lodge is along a wooded stream where kudu and bushbuck are likely to be seen.

After a relaxing time around the pool and within the sophisticated lodges, it is time to ride to the southern most areas of the reserve in search of Cape buffalo. These are members of Africa’s famous “big five” and deserve their formidable reputation. Riders therefore need to be alert and responsive to the guides’ instructions. This area is known for its spectacular sunsets as the sun sets over the distant headlands of the Waterberg escarpment – a fitting end to an eventful and memorable day in the African wilderness.

Day 4

Riding: 5 - 6 hours

After an early start, another long ride through game rich country returns riders to the heart of the operation, Horizon Lodge. The route taken is different from that taken on the outward leg, turning this part of the safari into an exciting journey passing through diverse landscapes and ecosystems. Game species typically prefer different habitats, with nyala and bushbuck for instance occupying dense forest-like sections of the reserve while blesbuck and hartebeest stick to the open plains, and waterbuck and reedbuck, unsurprisingly, are normally seen close to streams and other waterways. The route provides excellent opportunities to see giraffe, which is always a highlight.

At the Horizon Lodge, you say goodbye to your horse and embark on the road transfer to Mashatu Game Reserve in Botswana with Saddlebag Shuttles.

Having crossed the mighty Limpopo River, you are received at the Horizon Horseback Mashatu Stables where you enjoy a light lunch, receive a safety briefing, and meet your new horses. The route this afternoon is from the Stables to Tree Camp. The route typically yields rich encounters with elephant, waterbuck, giraffe, impala, wildebeest and zebra. Signs of the many predators that make these rich riverine environments their home are bountiful, and chance encounters possible. The ride typically takes about two hours, and riders start to form a true bond with their individual mounts. The trappings of modern living begin to fall away as the sense of adventure and journey deepens. Tree Camp is a truly beautiful place where one is enveloped by the exceptional qualities of Africa’s wilderness areas.

Day 5

Riding: 5 - 7 hours

Waking in Tree Camp is a magical experience. One feels fully immersed in nature, surrounded by birdsong, and alive to the new day as the early morning light filters through the tree’s leaves. After a quick breakfast, riders set off on the journey’s first long ride – up onto the edge of the mini escarpment and then down through the Valley of the Elephants and on towards the distant sandstone citadels guarding the Limpopo and Motloutse Rivers.

The first part of the journey is not to be hurried, as the horses wind along well worn elephant paths, past giant baobabs and the occasional shallow watering pan. Soon, however, the country opens up and the horses can start to stretch their legs along soft ground leading to the headwaters of a stream flowing off the ridge and down towards the Limpopo. This is prime elephant country and the guides are always on the lookout, using all their sharpened senses. Once the path leaves the river, the terrain is once again more open and the pace faster.

A second river is then joined, which leads directly down to the veterinary control gate on the main road through Mashatu Game Reserve. The route then follows the road for a short while before heading across flat country towards the intriguing Sacred Rock massif. Here the mopane vegetation is short, and it is safe to ride quite fast across the plain. Large herds of zebra, wildebeest and impala inhabit this area. The guides plot their route using individual mashatu, leadwood and apple-leaf trees as their markers. Soon riders reach the old leadwood enclosure (used in the past as a traditional law court of a Botswana village) known as the ‘Kgotla’. This open-air enclosure forms the perfect, secure camp for the night. The camp is not far from the banks of the Motloutse River and, with high concentrations of game living along the river’s fertile floodplain, the area is home to large prides of lion and clans of hyena. The sounds of these predators at night provide enduring memories!

In the afternoon, you search for the area’s resident lion on a game drive and draw the day’s adventures to a close with sundowners at the ancient “Amphitheatre” rocks. Whilst big cat sightings from horseback occasionally happen, Horizon Horseback follows a ride away policy. The best opportunities to approach lion, cheetah, leopard, and spotted hyena occur whilst on game drives where the vehicle acts as a natural hide and is largely ignored by the predators.

Back at the Kgotla, dinner is enjoyed around a large fire. The night is spent with a ceiling of stars and Africa’s night-time melody to sing you to sleep; a rare experience which is just about as far away from city life and the modern world as anyone can imagine.

Day 6

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

The riding this day is more relaxed and tailored to the group, since a different camp does not need to be reached by nightfall. A particularly interesting route to follow is first along the Motloutse River, stopping at well-known elephant drinking holes to watch the herds come and go before winding down towards the impressive Solomon’s Wall, a tall dolomite dyke which was breached by the river in ancient times. This is the favourite haunt of troops of baboon, which are always fascinating to watch. The trail then follows the banks of the river, flanked by giant mashatu and leadwood trees, towards the mighty Limpopo. This area is renowned for its dramatic sandstone rock formations, steeped in colour and home to eland, klipspringer and kudu.

Some of the oldest civilizations in southern Africa settled in this valley. Archaeological evidence in the area includes middle and late stone age tools, rock art and the legendary Mapungubwe Dynasty. Mapungubwe means “Place of the Jackal” in the Venda language and this dynasty existed around 1220 AD. The Mapungubwe topography itself is ancient and timeless and, combined with marvellous wildlife sightings, makes for an incredible riding experience.

The game drive in the afternoon takes guests to the foot of the impressive Mamagwa massif, a free-standing formation which was used by British troops as a defensive position against incursions from the Transvaal Boers at the end of the 19th century. Sundowners are traditionally taken at the far western edge of the massif, with endless views over the wilderness landscape whilst watching the sun slowly slip over the horizon. The drive back to Kgotla in the dark provides more excellent opportunities to spot lion, leopard, and hyena.

Day 7

Riding: 4 - 5 hours

On this day the journey turns northeast and follows a series of river trails on the way back to the centre of the reserve. Life in this arid environment is always concentrated near water, and the ride promises sightings of elephant, zebra, giraffe and wildebeest. The route crosses the watershed and then winds along ancient paths adjacent to a stream flowing north towards the Majali River. At these elevated heights, the sweeping views to the north reveal the true wilderness character of Mashatu Game Reserve. The remainder of the day’s riding is a mixture of elephant trail trekking and canters across relatively open mopane veld. The final stretch is along the Majali River itself, past rocky pools, cliff faces and ribbons of green grass. Encounters with baboon, kudu, klipspringers and crocodile are likely. Tree Camp is finally reached after 4-5 hours of riding.

This afternoon you leave your horses to a well-earned rest and will go either on a guided bush walk or, if the group chooses, a game drive with Mashatu Main Camp guides. This opportunity, while provided at an extra cost (c. USD 87), should not be missed as the near guaranteed sightings of lion and leopard, and sometimes of cheetah, are legendary. The guides are very knowledgeable about the structure and whereabouts of the various prides and individuals, and failure to find them is very rare indeed.

Day 8

Riding: 3 hours

After a quick breakfast, riders set off on the final ride of the safari. This ride offers sweeping views to the east and south, bathed in early morning light, as it traverses along the edge of a ridge near the centre of the reserve. The path then descends to a game rich area along the Majali River. The deep river pools are the favourite haunt of baboon and impala. Sooner or later the great herds of elephant come past for their daily drink, to play in the water and enjoy a dust bath.

The final part of the ride is across open plains with some fast canters to the Stables. Other notable sightings include Kori Bustard, the largest flying birds in Africa, bat eared foxes and ostrich. Once at the Stables it time for a shower and meal on the banks of the great river, and then a short journey to the Limpopo Valley Airfield for the flight to Johannesburg in South Africa.

Accommodation

2 nights Camp Davidson, 1 night Savannah Lodge, 2 night Tree Camp, 2 nights Kgotla Camp.

Experience Experienced

You need to be a competent rider, able to post to the trot and take a forward seat in canter and gallop. You should be used to riding in all paces across varied terrain and remain in control in a group. For your own safety there is a rider assessment on the first day to ensure all riders are safe to ride in big game areas.

Minimum group size 2
Maximum group size 8
Departure windows

May 27, 2024 - June 3, 2024

June 10, 2024 - June 17, 2024

June 24, 2024 - July 1, 2024

July 8, 2024 - July 15, 2024

July 22, 2024 - July 29, 2024

Aug. 5, 2024 - Aug. 12, 2024

Aug. 26, 2024 - Sept. 2, 2024

Sept. 9, 2024 - Sept. 16, 2024

Sept. 23, 2024 - Sept. 30, 2024

Oct. 7, 2024 - Oct. 14, 2024

Oct. 21, 2024 - Oct. 28, 2024

Nov. 4, 2024 - Nov. 11, 2024

Nov. 18, 2024 - Nov. 25, 2024

Dec. 2, 2024 - Dec. 9, 2024

Dec. 16, 2024 - Dec. 23, 2024

Pricing

2024
High Season (29 Mar - 2 Dec) sharing
£3430 $4370 €4035
2024
Mid Season (1 Feb - 28 Mar) sharing
£3275 $4170 €3850
2024
Low Season (1-31 Jan, 3-31 Dec), sharing
£2670 $3400 €3140
Included 7 nights accommodation as per itinerary, all meals, all drinks (soft drinks and local beers, wines and spirits), riding and safari activities as per itinerary.
Not included Flights, transfers, travel insurance, conservation fee, tips & other personal expenses.

Extras

2024 - Airport Transfer (road and flight) £520 $660 €610
Paid to Far and Ride
Includes arrival day road transfer from ORT airport to Camp Davidson, Day 4 transfers from Camp Davidson to Botswana and departure day air transfer (charter flight) from Botswana to Johannesburg. Transfers are strictly at set times - please check with us.
2024/2025 - Conservation fee $20 per night
Paid locally
Conservation Fee payable locally for the nights in Botswana.
2024/2025 - Single Supplement 50.0%
Paid to Far and Ride
Single supplement is only payable if not willing to share.
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.