African Horseback Safaris (Okavango Delta) Botswana
Our horse riding safaris are based at Macatoo Camp, situated on the western side of the Okavango Delta. Covering 17,000 km sq., the Okavango is the largest inland delta in the world, a mix of labyrinth channels, palm fringed islands and fertile floodplains. Trapped in the parched sands of the Kalahari desert, it is a magnet for the wildlife who depend on the delta's life giving waters.
More than 400 species of resident and migrant birds,
lions, elephant, hyenas, wild dog, buffalo, hippo and
crocodiles congregate with a variety of antelope and smaller
animals - warthog, mongoose, genets, monkeys and bushbabies
to name a few - the ultimate landscape for a horse safari
The main attraction of a horse safari is the joy of riding good horses over superb country, with just about every landscape dotted with game.
The riding is varied, sometimes quietly walking, stalking big game and admiring the bird life, sometimes cantering through the water-meadows alongside galloping giraffe and lechwe. There are over 40 horses at the camp with every one trained to meet your need on an African horse safari in the Okavango Delta.
Macatoo, the Horseback Safari Camp, is situated on the western side of the Okavango Delta, Botswana. The riding terrain from camp is scenically varied in all directions.
Typically safaris are 7-nights or longer, enabling you to experience the Okavango in depth by staying out at our mobile fly-camp - weather permitting. Otherwise we recommend a minimum of 3 or 4-nights.
The camp features large, walk-in, twin bedded tents, each with their own en-suite shower and loo. Centrally there is a large furnished mess tent and tucked away a private pool. On the longer safaris guests have the opportunity to experience the thrill of riding out to a mobile fly-camp. There is a daily laundry service except at fly-camp although for hygiene reasons we do not wash underwear. Washing powder will be provided in your room for this purpose.
Whether you are travelling alone, as a couple or as part of a larger group, your time spent around the camp fire, drinking sun downers on the deck, or dining al fresco will mean you are sure to acquire new friends during your stay at Macatoo.
Prior to your early morning ride you will be woken just before dawn by a tent lady bearing gifts of tea or coffee, and there will be time for a slice of home made toast or a bowl of fruit before you set off. On your return, late in the morning, you may wish to have a quick shower before indulging in Lydia's mouth-watering array of lunchtime fare.
A siesta now beckons, whilst the sun is at its strongest, but sunbathing by the plunge pool , a good book, sorting through your photos or watching the wildlife on the plains in front of the camp are popular alternatives. Tea is served prior to your evening ride or drive, and on your return there is time for a sun downer and shower before dinner is announced. The menu is varied and excellent, accompanied by attentive staff and a good selection of South African wines. Much time is spent re-living the events of the day, with the occasional myth creeping in too!
On a Riding Safari:
The main attraction is the joy of riding good horses over superb country, with just about every landscape dotted with game. The riding is varied, sometimes quietly walking, stalking big game and admiring the bird life, sometimes cantering through the water-meadows alongside galloping giraffe and lechwe.
The 4x4s are used for night drives, spotting the nocturnal species and for close up photography of kills and predators. When the water levels permit, we also go out in boats to put another perspective on the game.
Our safari team is inspired each day by the beautiful surroundings to provide the best safari experience possible for our guests. We are enormously privileged to have a huge unspoilt wilderness in which to run our safaris. The Okavango Delta is an intriguing phenomena, with ever changing landscapes due to the seasonal flood waters coming through from Angola. The movement of the game, the dramatic seasonal changes in the flora and the varying interests of our guests ensures that no two safaris are the same, each one is unique.
Horse riding safaris are usually 3, 5, 7 or 10 nights. You can view the sample itineraries from the menu on the left hand side of this page.
If you cannot see what you want please feel free to contact us as we can tailor make any safari package you care to mention!!
SAMPLE ITINERARY:- 5 NIGHTS
One of us will meet you at the airport and then you will be transferred from Maun to Macatoo camp by small plane (either a Cessna 206 or 208), giving you a fine view of the Okavango Delta. Camp is a short drive and (depending on the time of year) an exciting boat ride from the airstrip.
After a quick look around camp and lunch, there is
usually time for a siesta before tea, and the evening ride
when you can get to know your first horse. You return to
camp for a hot shower and candle-lit safari supper.
Wake up with a cup of tea or coffee in bed, followed by light breakfast with homemade toast and muesli, then a ride out from camp to stretch our legs and explore. Depending on the season this may involve some galloping, (or even swimming) through the flood waters or pushing-on through seas of tall grass following giraffe, zebra antelope, elephant, buffalo; whatever's out there. Back to camp for another brilliant lunch outside with the guides, if you're lucky it might be our famous chicken pie, and there's usually some wine to encourage a little nap before tea.
The evening ride (by now you might be on a different
horse) is deliberately slower-paced for safety reasons and
it's a good opportunity to ask questions and take
photographs. Leopard sightings are not infrequent, the
bird-life is some of the best in the world and towards
sunset there is often elephant or hippo interaction to
enjoy. A sundowner gin and tonic can be enjoyed out in the
bush before riding back to camp to freshen up. There's no
guarantee that dinner is always eaten in the same place...
Wake up as normal with freshly-brewed coffee or tea and depending on your whim, either ride out again (perhaps to find the rare semi-aquatic antelope, the red lechwe), or join one of our guided walks, game drives or perhaps a spot of fishing for bream from the boat? The riders and non-riders can meet up for a delicious champagne breakfast under one of the large baobab trees.
After lunch take the opportunity to relax and either swim in the pool or sort out your digital photos. Homemade tea and cake is followed by the sunset ride, exploring the lower flood plains where elephant often gather at a pool. As dusk closes in, it is fascinating to watch them interact in the wild, and being on horseback brings you that much closer.
We ride through different country, making our way through clouds of bushman hair grass to plains dotted with fig trees. We might encounter giraffe or shyer antelope while passing through mophane woodlands. Our pace increases as we break out onto the flood plains, often disturbing troops of baboons.
Return to camp for an afternoon of leisure, or the
possibility of hiring a helicopter for an hour to gain
access to remote and otherwise totally inaccessible parts of
the delta with spectacular photographic results. Finish off
the day with a spot-lit night drive.
This morning we ride deeper into the heart of the delta, without returning to Macatoo. After six hours in the saddle, on reaching another river system we find our fly camp already set up - our home for the night. While the horses take a well-earned rest in the shade, our afternoon may be spent swimming or walking. Fires are lit at night, creating a strong human presence to keep marauding animals away from the horses.
Night watches are fun and guests usually join in. To camp out so freely in the Okavango bush like this is a wonderful
experience and one that few people experience. Fly camp is basic but very beautiful as you can see from the photos and,
of course, we do our best to provide excellent food, a comfy bed and hot water for the bucket showers after a long day's
Having helped to keep watch under the stars, the next morning we splash through water on the vast open plains, home to blue wildebeest and Burchell's zebra. The riding may be fast as we approach deep reedy areas full of bird life open-billed storks, squawker herons, slatey egrets, cattle egrets, pygmy Egyptian geese and many more.
After our night at fly camp, we return to Macatoo along
the myriad of waterways lined with large trees. Once back in
Macatoo there will be time to pack and say goodbye before we
drive you to the airstrip with a picnic lunch.
This itinerary only serves as a guide; all scenarios are dependent on the season and levels of the Okavango flood. At times it may not be possible to go on fly camps and during cooler months one longer ride may replace the normal morning and evening rides. AHBS reserves the right to alter the itinerary in any way and leaves this to the discretion of the guides. Local weather conditions may also affect game movements
Accommodation Rates:- Please contact us for a quote and suggested itinerary.