Heard on the grapevine: Botswana at its best…

In The Saddle have established themselves as horseback safari specialists over the years and have been responsible for sending many travellers on their ‘trip of a lifetime’. Africa really is your oyster when it comes to experiencing wide-open spaces, wild game and adrenalin hits – however Botswana has a particular magnificence. Don’t just take our word for it though, read our latest blog and get first hand feedback from some of those who have been well and truly captivated by the beauty of Botswana…

The opulent Okavango Delta…
Often described as the jewel of the Kalahari, the Okavango Delta in Botswana is a haven for wildlife and fauna and provides experienced horse riders with a thrilling mix of exciting equestrianism, together with spectacular sights unlike anywhere else on earth! 

One of the flagship destinations for us in this area is Macatoo and the feedback from customers explains why! “The riding was great,” says Jenny Kennedy on her return. “The water levels were low and so there were plenty of opportunities for long and very fast canters and gallops – the pace was not for the faint hearted! My room was brilliant. I got the one with the bath and took advantage of it! The food was, as always, excellent and there was lots of champagne and wine through the week! John (Sobey) even organised a helicopter tour for 3 of us in a small chopper and it was such fun and a very special experience. We saw lots during the week – even a pack of wild dogs, which is quite rare.”

There are plenty of chances for fast riding at Macatoo!

There are plenty of chances for fast riding at Macatoo!

Sue Owen described her trip to Macatoo as ‘Unforgettably brilliant’ and ‘An amazing riding experience’ which is not an uncommon response from travellers who have been to the destination. “The horses were beautifully kept, the tack was in excellent condition and all were fast, fit and forward going. Our guide, Sekongo, judged the pace really well and there were long canters, splashy canters and on one particularly fast day some amazing gallops and log jumping. Sekongo got us very close to elephant, hippo, buffalo and had us cantering through the bush with zebra and giraffe.”

While obviously focusing on the horse riding, the luxury tented accommodation and hosting is very much an important element at Macatoo as Sue confirms! “This is true glamping – with excellent food and plenty of salad, fruit and veg. Pizza night was a highlight as were the champagne lunches. I won’t give too much away for anyone planning their first trip because the surprises are a lovely special touch. There’s no shortage of alcohol – but keep up your water intake if you go during a Botswana summer. It’s very hot and easy to get dehydrated.
One thing to be aware of – the baboons wander freely through camp: one of them stole my newly-washed bra as it was drying on the deck. So be alert for ape theft! If you can’t easily afford this holiday – it really is worth saving up to go. If you can afford it, you’ll end up going back.”

Set in the north edge of the Okavango Delta, near the Selinda Spillway, Motswiri Camp proved to be the fantastic experience for Donna Darbyshire that we knew it would be! “This more than met my expectations,” she said. “Carmen, who managed the horse side of the venture, ran an excellent stables with well cared for and loved horses. Her tidy tack room was to die for! All saddles and tack was in excellent condition and well cared for. The horses were fantastic and despite the heat, enjoyed themselves and were happy to go out. Given that we were miles and miles from anywhere, the food and service was excellent. There was plenty to eat and drink and we were made to feel very much at home. We even settled in well to the 5.30am wake up call. The accommodation was wonderful with plenty of solar powered hot water and a beautiful cool plunge pool, which was great during the heat of the afternoon!”

The accommodation is a highlight at Motswiri

The accommodation is a highlight at Motswiri

Perfect Pans
A contrast to the nearby Okavango Delta, the Makgadikgadi Pans are saltpans that offer wonderful game, scenery, an education and in Rosie Tarbox’s eyes, ‘exceeded her expectations’. “I enjoyed nice pacey rides over the wonderful ground of the Pans including a moonlight canter and lots of long canters in the day, plus one or two great gallops,” she says. “We spent one night out in the Pans in the middle of nowhere in the open under a full moon – it was cold but worth it for a fab experience! We were very fortunate to see and follow (respectfully at a distance) a caracal one evening and also, when spotlighting one night, an aardwolf hunting in the grass (who ignored us completely and carried on with his hunting). It’s the space, the riding and the whole atmosphere, quality of light, etc, which makes this such a special ride. We also visited a habituated colony of meerkats which were enchanting – as well as a very informative trip to meet with some Bushmen who showed us some of their legendary skills in desert survival. David made sure we enjoyed a great deal of variety in those few days. I really recommend this ride and it makes a wonderful contrast to riding in the Okavango Delta.”

Allow yourself to be enchanted by the meerkats at Makgadikgadi Pans

Allow yourself to be enchanted by the meerkats at Makgadikgadi Pans

Legendary Limpopo
The Tuli Reserve gives travellers the chance to explore a true adventure through African as you trek and camp along the banks of the legendary Limpopo River, spotting elephant, other wild game and enjoying exhilarating riding. Marian Moxon visited the Tuli Trail earlier this year and was bowled over by the experience. “The horses were beautifully mannered, forward going and very safe,” Marian says. “They were selected with great expertise to suit their riders and, without exception, every horse and rider was perfectly matched! The riding was fantastic and we were given every opportunity to view the wildlife. The Tuli Trail “team” were fantastic, the food was delicious, the clothes washing service brilliant and the complementary massage greatly appreciated after all those hours in the saddle.
How do they do it? This holiday certainly has the WOW factor!”

Limpopo certainly has the wow factor for guests!

Limpopo certainly has the wow factor for guests!

Run by the same guides as the Tuli Trail, and on the same fabulous horses, the Two Mashatus Safari is based at a semi-permanent camp and for Isobel Crane it surpassed all expectations! “The horses, game and setting were all top notch,” she says. “The routes were varied and the opportunities David created to view the game were excellent providing unforgettable memories. On one day, David expertly judged the movements of the animals so that we took up positions on a hill and watched three separate herds of elephants enter from separate far corners of the plain to converge right in front of us startling the giraffe sharing our view point.”

If you want to create your own magical memories in Botswana then get in touch with In The Saddle to find out more!

Categories: Equestrian Travel, Horses & riding, Ride reviews, Riding expeditions, Riding Holidays, Riding safaris | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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