Ultimate Riding Safari Adventure in the Okavango

The ultimate riding adventure for the most intrepid travellers – this ten day itinerary expands on the classic one week riding itinerary with a couple of nights fly camping deep in the wilds of the concession. Moving between two permanent camps and fly camping, this itinerary truly captures the pioneering spirit of safari. Operated by the experienced Okavango Horse Safaris team, in the stunning western Okavango, days are spent exploring this beautiful and lively area on horseback with a number of other activities offered for a complete Okavango safari experience.

This itinerary will appeal to experienced riders looking for a longer and really adventurous safari. To those drawn to the idea of sleeping below the stars, under nothing more than a mosquito net in the style of the first explorers, this is the perfect journey. Not an itinerary for those who need a full range of creature comforts, this itinerary will certainly reward those looking for the most authentic and memorable riding safari.

The itinerary is split between three different camps, with exciting long rides between the camps inclusive of a picnic lunch and rest along the way during the midday heat. Five nights are spent at the main camp of Kujwana followed by 2 nights at the smaller sister camp Mokolowane with its charming treehouse rooms. Then you set off on deeper into the concession for a night ‘fly camping’ in a remote corner of the concession – a simple mobile camp is set up, with mattresses below mosquito nets and basic ablutions. Rustic but well organized and comfortable. As well as horse riding other activities are offered. Game drives are available as are walking safaris. Boating and mokoro are available and are water level dependent. This area is characterized by open grass plains, papyrus – lined waterways, lily peppered rivers and rich woodland where guests discover a rich variety of wildlife.

Full day rides with picnic lunches in the bush and siestas below the canopy of the trees are highlights of this superb trip.

Established in 1986 and still operated by the reputable PJ and Barney Bestelink, Okavango Horse Safaris has a real focus on the equine safari. With equipment and horses of the highest standards, Okavango Horse Safaris’ experienced team provide a remarkable safari experience in this water wonderland. Testament to the quality of the experience, the huge number of repeat guests consider themselves part of the family. With a string of over 60 horses ranging from thoroughbreds to Arabs, Barney matches horses to riders ensuring the perfect fit. Both English and South African trail saddles are available.

This itinerary may vary according to water levels and game movements.

Day 1 - Kujwana Camp

Okavango Horse Safaris will meet you at Maun airport and transfer you into camp. Options on transfers are available; fixed wing and helicopter shuttle is highly recommended. Flying into the delta is a special experience and the view from the helicopter is the finest way to start your safari.

Having settled into your rooms you will gather for lunch followed by an introduction talk on safety and game viewing from horseback. The it is time to get into the saddle with your first orientation ride lasting 1-2 hours. (Please note that unless arriving by helicopter there will not be time for a ride the day of arrival). Returning as the sun begins to set and the skies burst into colour you will gather around the fire for drinks and dinner - retiring for bed to recharge for your safari the next day.

Day 2 - Kujwana Camp

An early wake up call before dawn not only brings wonderful views of the sunrise but the best game viewing. After breakfast you set off on a morning ride into the Xudum area. Wading through lush green malapos that lead you from island to island, surprising a timid reedbuck out his dense cover on a heavily wooded island, or enjoy the herds of lechwe and zebra moving through the open spaces. Return to camp for lunch followed by a siesta during the heat of the day.

As the heat of the day cools you set off on an afternoon game drive toasting the setting sun with drinks in the bush and then returning to camp with an evening night drive with a spot light - a chance to spot predators in action such as lions and leopards and hyena are never far either. Returning to camp for a three course candlelit meal and bed.

Day 3 - Mokolwane Camp

Ride from Kujwana to Mokolwane Camp, following a 30-km north-westerly route through open floodplains and scattered islands to the Matsebe River system. A picnic lunch is served on a shady island some two hours from Mokolwane Camp. After a delicious lunch camp beds will be available for a siesta, and once rejuvenated you continue to camp arriving around sunset. Drinks will be waiting and the camp fire roaring. Settle into your new home.

Day 4 - Mokolwane Camp

Another early start today as you head out on a morning 4x4 game drive. This is an opportunity to get closer to predators and offers a different perspective. This camp lies on the Matsebe river system, the landscape here enjoys large open flood plains peppered with Mokolowane palms, favoured by elephant and baboon while the numerous Buffalo prefer the dense Tsaro Palms. It is great area for plains’ game. Alternatively if water levels allow, take a tranquil mokoro trip up the river and enjoy the peaceful nature of the delta from the traditional dug out canoes. A quintessential Okavango experience. In the afternoon head out for a 2-3 hour ride and enjoy the stunning landscapes of the Delta which constantly changes colour with the rise and fall of the sun. Returning to camp for dinner and drinks around the fire.

Day 5 - Kujwana Camp

This is a full day’s ride from Mokolowane back to Kujwana enjoying one of the famous picnic lunches along the way. Six hours in the saddle with a good rest stop along the way. The ride covers around 35 km, with 4 hours ridden in the morning and two hours in the afternoon after lunch. The route covers a range of game areas crossing the Xudum River at numerous hippo channels. Arriving back to Kujwana as the skies are beginning to turn pink we settle back into our camp and indulge in a well -earned dinner.

Day 6 - Kujwana Camp

After breakfast ride out into the east of the camp an area marked by rain pans and shady riverine forest. Tracking breeding herds of elephants and other animals we find our way further out in search of game. Stopping for a rest at Hippo Pool we rejuvenate with some snacks and chocolate before riding on into more open areas with the chance of picking up a herd of buffalo which might be passing through. Returning to camp for lunch and a siesta the afternoon sees a gentle mokoro ride through the beautiful waterways surrounding Kujwana.

Day 7 - Kujwana Camp

This morning you set off after breakfast for a full morning ride to explore the western Baobab area. Small islands linked by numerous hippo channels eventually lead you onto Boabab Island. This is a good habitat for Cheetah and breeding grounds for the stunning Carmine Bee eaters, our summer visitor. Boabab Island has thick riverine forest and is a good area for general game viewing (and the unexpected).

Day 8 - Fly Camping

This morning you set off for a morning ride east in the direction of the evocatively names Lion and Beacon Island, two very large islands in the area, cut off from Kujwana by the Qwaapu River.

This area is different to the open flood plains, the shaded mopane forests and acacia woodlands offer a good variety of food for elephant, kudu and giraffe who browse here.

The area is criss-crossed with game paths leading you through a chain of rain pans, and we look out for breeding herds of elephant who enjoy the security of the dense forest and should the pans be holding water, zebra, wildebeest and buffalo will also be found. Animal tracks abound telling you what has been and gone – or what you might still find.

An afternoon bird walk allows the opportunity to learn more about the traditional uses of the plants and trees of the area. Finally, we arrive at our fly camp, set up under stars. A truly authentic safari experience in the wilderness. We arrive for a three course bush dinner, before spending the night with nothing but a mosquito net between you and the stars, drifting off to the sounds of the bush around you. Your guides are close by for your peace of mind – you are safe to relax and enjoy the sounds of the bush.

Day 9 - Kujwana Camp

The dawn chorus and light creeping over the horizons wakes you early, the fire will be stoked to life for coffee and a light breakfast before setting off on a slow game drive back to camp.

This game drive allows you the chance to follow up on any sounds and tracks from the night before, to get closer to the larger animals, make sure you have you camera charged and with you!

After a morning drive you arrive at camp for a hearty lunch followed by a few hours siesta and relaxing in camp. Meeting in the late afternoon you set off on a 2 hour evening ride, ending with sunset drinks on one of the flood plains.

Day 10 - Kujwana Camp

The last full day on safari- rising early again to make the most of it. We head out for a morning ride to the pans, a great spot for game you can hope to find elephant, giraffe and large herds of zebra. Returning for lunch and an afternoon powerboat trip up the river for a boating safari to or throw in a line and catch a delicious bream for dinner.

Day 11 - End of Safari

Time to bid farewell to Okavango Horse Safaris. An early morning game ride out of Kujwana camp is possible if flight times permit- this may depend on your chosen transport option. Leaving after breakfast. For those on fixed wing flights, a one hour’s game drive takes you to the nearest airstrip for the transfer by light aircraft into Maun or a 20 minute helicopter ride.

Map View

Okavango Horse Safaris – Kujwana Camp

Okavango Horse Safaris – Kujwana Camp

Mokolwane Camp

Mokolwane Camp

Okavango Horse Safaris – Kujwana Camp

Okavango Horse Safaris – Kujwana Camp

Okavango Horse Safaris – Kujwana Camp

Okavango Horse Safaris- Fly Camp

Okavango Horse Safaris – Kujwana Camp

Okavango Horse Safaris – Kujwana Camp

Okavango Horse Safaris – Kujwana Camp

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Extensions to this safari

From USD 437 per person

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