Perhaps the purest and best way to experience the Okavango Delta, riding safaris have operated in various locations since 1986. In this time they have grown both in number and stature providing excellent safari opportunities.
The delta’s specialist riding safaris operators provide some of the best riding safaris on the African continent. With fertile plains and intriguing waterways to explore riding safaris offer a first rate African experience for the experienced jockey.
Stunning Okavango landscapes make a dramatic backdrop on your rides as your horses walk with the herds on the plains. The unobtrusive nature of riding on horseback, rather than a 4x4 game vehicle, enables riders to get much closer to the animals, enjoying amazing peaceful moments alongside herds who might otherwise scatter. Forget the 4x4 tracks, explore the nature animal paths through the Okavango, following the hooves of the zebra and swimming across the channels with your horses. Walk amongst the zebra, gaze up at the giraffe and gallop alongside the lechwe. The views are wonderful as you sit mounted on your horse gazing across the Okavango, enjoying the simple pleasure of watching a herd of elephant go about their business undisturbed by a vehicle.
While it is of course horse riding which bring most guests to these specialist camps it is worth noting that non-riding activities are also offered and indeed recommended at some point during your stay for a complete Okavango experience. Game drives allow you to approach predators much closer than you would on horseback and this offers superb picture opportunities too. If the water levels are high enough, then bosting safaris, fishing and mokoros (dug-out canoes) are a lovely way to experience the Okavango – indeed a quintessential Okavango experience. The camps will encourage you to enjoy other activities in addition to the riding at some point in your stay, for a full safari experience.
With this in mind it is worth noting that the camps cater very well to non-riders, so friends and family may still travel together. Non-riders will enjoy game drives, walking safaris, boating and mokoro rides while the riders are out – meeting for meals together and maintaining the same structure to their day so as to share as much of their safari holiday as possible.
Most riding safaris will run for 5 or 7 days, some for 10 days. Some camps will have set arrival and departure days while others offer greater flexibility to arrive and depart on any day for any length of stay. Some camps offer the chance to ride between camps and even fly camp overnight, others are based from one fixed more luxurious camp and run different outrides from camp each day. Each outfit offers a slightly different safari experience, please speak to us for further details.
Okavango Horse Safaris have teamed up with &Beyond to offer riding safaris from their Xaranna camp in the Rann Concession and with Belmond to offer riding from Eagle Island Camp. Access to the stables is by helicopter from the camps – a truly fantastic start and end to an already very special activity.
An Okavango Horse safari can also be combined with rising safaris in the Kalahari desert for a complete Botswana riding experience. Shorter rides are offered at Jack’s Camp, San Camp and Camp Kalahari, offering the opportunity to gallop across the lunar like salt flats which is another truly unforgettable riding experience. Riding safaris are also offered at Mashatu Private Game Reserve in the east of Botswana, by Limpopo Horse safaris. A completely different landscape offering big game viewing and horse back riding in very different environments.
The riding safaris operate in true wilderness therefore there is an inherent risk in the activity as guests will be riding in an area with wild and potentially dangerous animals. For this reason only experienced riders will be permitted on rides – a questionnaire must be completed prior to booking to access the rider’s experience before confirming any riding safari. Approximately 4-6 hours are spent in the saddle each day, with breaks for refreshments such as a picnic breakfast or lunch.
Although the riding component is restricted to those with a fair amount of experience because of safety concerns, other activities can be arranged for non-riders.
The Okavango offers the ultimate riding safari and indeed Botswana as a whole offers a fantastic range of riding experiences. The Okavango is the jewel in the crown but for those interested in riding further into Botswana, a stunning range of landscapes and safari experiences await from the Kalahari to the Limpopo River. The major operators in the Okavango are Okavango Horse Safaris and African Horseback Safaris while Ride Botswana operate mobile safaris in the Okavango as well as in the Makgadikgadi. Limpopo Horse Safaris in Mashatu.
Contact us for more information and to start planning your Okavango safariContact