This exciting 10-night adventure in Botswana is a combination of the Limpopo Valley Tuli Safari and the African Horseback Okavango Safari, with 5 nights in each area. The chance to experience Botswana’s Limpopo area as well as the famous Okavango Delta, this is a truly a spectacular experience that will stay with you for a very long time.
Day 1: Upon arrival you will be met by your guide and transferred to the reception area by the stables. After a light lunch it’s time to head off to meet your horse.
You will embark on a short introductory ride to make sure that you and your horse are well suited and then ride out to camp, where supper will be served in the Llala palm dining room of the Two Mashatus Camp.
Day 2: The day begins at sunrise with tea or coffee brought to your tent, followed by a light breakfast. 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 Kanda camp, a rustic series of cabins atop the steep banks of the Majala 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 Kanda 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 itsenclosure. The open-air traditional African enclosure gives perfect security to nights spent under the stars and a unique experience of the African bush up close and personal. The afternoon activity on day three is a guided walk to the “Amphitheatre”, an ancient and awesome rock formation. Your walk concludes with traditional sundowners looking out over 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 far away as you can get from city life and the modern world.
Day 4: Is a choice of either a morning and afternoon ride exploring the amazing sandstone formations including the famed Solomon’s Wall. Some of the oldes tcivilisations 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, it is certainly 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 ton the Mmamagwa hills. At the end of a short easy climb and beneath a beautiful Baobab you are rewarded with a breath taking 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 what is probably your longest day on horseback. Winding your way through the Mopane bush, with the chance of sighting elephant, you will make your way to the rich plains area close to the Limpopo River. Liana Camp is snugly nestled amongst giant Mashatu trees that line the Liana lagoon, a tributary to the Limpopo River. To ease your aches we use the afternoon for a game drive that takes us deep into the reserve in search of the big cats the area is renowned for including leopard, cheetah and lion.
Day 6: Today is your last day in the Tuli and begins with your final early morning tea/coffee and breakfast snack over the open fire. The morning is spent riding along the Limpopo River. We head back to the stables where fond farewells are made to your steed. This is a shorter ride of about two hours, allowing you to get back to the stables with enough time to enjoy a hearty brunch and to get ready for departure as you board the light aircraft flight onwards to the magical Okavango Delta from a birds eye view. Macatoo camp, that overlooks a seasonal flood plain lagoon, is a short game drive or (depending on the time of year) an exciting boat ride from the airstrip. After a quick look around camp and lunch under the trees, there is usually time for a siesta before tea, and the evening ride where you can get to know your horse. You return to camp for a hot shower and candle-lit safari dinner.
Day 7: Wake up with a cup of tea or coffee in bed, followed by a 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, 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 open air lunch 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 is deliberately slower-paced 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 sun downer 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.
Day 8: 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 read a book or organise your 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.
Day 9: 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 the camp for an afternoon spent at 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 night drive by spotlight, where the resident clan of hyena are often spotted. Bushbabies leap from branch to branch through the terminalia and acacia trees –only seen by the brights of their eyes. If lucky, the spotlight twill pick up the glint of a leopard’s sultry stare.
Day 10: This morning we ride deeper into the heart of the delta, along some of the high palm islands which offer great sweeping views of the Delta plains. After tea we'll do a slower ride to our magical tree house where you will have the option to spend the night out, sleeping high up in the tree tops under the stars. To be out in the wilderness so freely in the Okavango bush like this is a wonderful experience and one that few people experience.
Day 11: After waking up amongst the trees to the call of the African Fish Eagle, the next morning we splash through water on the vast open plains, home to blue Wildebeeste and Burchell's zebra. The riding may be fast as we approach deep reedy areas full of bird life including Open-billed storks, Squacco herons, Slaty egrets, Egyptian geese and many more. We return to Macatoo along the myriad of waterways lined with large trees. Once back there will be time to pack and say goodbye before we drive you to the airstrip with a picnic lunch. We are sure you will never forget the true sense of freedom which you will experience on your horse in the African bush.
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