Okavango Horse Safaris
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Imagine yourself mounted high above the long grass and reeds watching great herds of wildebeest and lechwe as they move across the golden floodplains.
Okavango Horse Safaris operate riding safaris in the Okavango Delta, a World Heritage Site. Safaris take place in a 2,500 square kilometre private concession bordering the Moremi Game Reserve and situated on the western edge of the Okavango Delta and includes three major river systems of the Okavango Delta, the Xudum, the Matsibie and the Kiri. Okavango Horse Safaris has two camps each accommodating six guests, normally restricting rides to groups of six. Guests spend between four and six hours in the saddle each day, broken into refreshment stops and ten minute walks for every two hours spent in the saddle.
Often described as a water meadow, the Okavango Delta comprises palm islands, grassy flood plains, mopane forests and clear streams. The Delta floods between May to September filling many of the Delta’s flood plains and the horses wade through from island to island. Going is normally good and firm along the edges of the islands allowing the ride to move at a trot and canter.
Accommodation at Kujwana Camp is in spacious safari tents en suite bathrooms. This camp has honeymoon tent with queen size bed and, three double-bedded tents and two twin bedded tents complete with attractive furnishings, bedside tables, hanging cupboard, luggage rack, floor rug, and chairs.
Mokolwane Camp has tree houses that are 10 feet off the ground boasting superb views, each with private bathroom.
For the 10 night safaris the fly camp offer camp beds under the stars, with bedrolls, cotton sheets, duvets under mosquito nets. Wash stands and bush toilets are provided with bucket and pulley showers.
Horse safaris require the mastery of the basic aids, the ability to post to the trot for up to 10 minutes at a time, to be comfortable at all paces and to be able to gallop out of trouble. Being a fit and a proficient rider is a considerable advantage. Okavango Horse Safaris herd comprise full and part Thoroughbred, pure Arab, Anglo Arab, Friesian cross and Botswana Warm Bloods (American Saddle bred cross African Boerperd) between 14 and 17 hands. Horses are well-schooled, responsive and have even temperaments. Every effort is made to match horse and rider with a wide range of horses (over 50) suitable for the competition rider to a steady hack. Tack is English Style and South African Trail saddles. Each saddle has a seatsaver for comfort. Tack is of high quality and kept in good condition. Saddles are well known makes such as Ideals, Albion, and Symonds. Most horses are in snaffle bridles. The maximum weight limit of is 200 lbs (14 ½ stone or 90 kg) is rigidly applied. Okavango Horse Safaris offer a special programme, at a 50 percent surcharge, for guests who exceed the weight limit. This programme comprises shorter rides, game drives and walks.
All rides are lead by qualified, specialised and/or professional guides and a back up guide. A keen interest is taken in birds as well as fauna and flora. Other activities including game drives, Mekoros, walks and power boats are also led by qualified, specialised and/or professional guides.
The priority at Okavango Horse Safaris is riding, but alternative activities during the afternoons that are not day rides are offered. Many people find a six hour morning ride tiring and so afternoons are often spent at leisure with evening bird walks or mokoro rides depending on the water level. Afternoon game drives in open topped game drive vehicles and night spotting is offered. Non-riders can be accommodated by prior arrangement and have their own guide and enjoy game drives, walks and mokoros. When riding guests to the various fly camps non-riders are transported to the camps by vehicle and join non-riding activities and picnics.
Okavango Horse Safaris accepts children over twelve. Special arrangement must be made with the company younger children and family groups. Children wishing to ride will have to produce a letter confirming the child’s competence from an independent equine professional.
Meals are provided by safari cooks who prepare three meals a day, including a three course candle lit dinner. Saddlebag snacks and vehicle support picnic lunches are also included. There is an emphasis on fresh vegetables and salads with fresh bread baked every day. Vegetarians and special diets are catered for.
Additional facilities at Kujwana Camp includes WiFi, electric charging points, bar, library and laundry. Kujwana Camp is solar powered with horse dung is recycled into Biogas for cooking.
Helicopter transfers arrive directly into camp. This is a 25 minute scenic flight from Maun or a 7 minute flight from the nearest airstrip. In high water months we offer an option to fly from Maun to Pompom airstrip in a light aircraft and then a boat transfer into camp. This is only available seasonally. Overland transfer is also available. This is by vehicle and boat depending on water levels takes 4 hours. No activities on day of arrival or day of departure with this transfer option.
From GBP 480
January, February, March, December
April, May, June, 1 – 17 July, November
18-31 July, August, September, October
The Okavango Delta region experiences summer rainfall (November to April).
Summers in the Okavango Delta are hot with temperatures reaching 38o Celsius.
Winters are cold in the morning with midday temperatures reaching mid 20o Celsius.
Game is plentiful, including elephant, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, kudu, lechwe, reedbuck, bushbuck, steenbok, impala, roan antelope, duiker, waterbuck, tsesebe, bat-eared fox, sidestriped and blackbacked jackal, African wildcat, baboon, vervet monkey, honey badger, spotted hyena, mongoose, meerkat, warthog, tortoise and ostrich; special nocturnal creatures – porcupine, aardwolf, aardvark, civet, genet, serval, spring hare; water species – hippo, crocodile, cape clawless and spotted necked otter; predators – leopard, lion, cheetah, wild dog. Rhino have been recently introduced to the area. Safety precautions are taken when viewing any dangerous game.
Best Time to Travel
Game is most prolific in the winter, although good riding is available year round.
The Okavango Delta has prolific birdlife. Including African jacana, pygmy-geese, goliath heron and migrant waders. Birding is particularly good in summer.
Okavango Horse Safaris operate in a wildlife area and the camps are not fenced. Guests are requested to take care at all times and adhere to guidance given by guides and camp management. It is recommended that participants wear approved riding hats.
All rides are lead by qualified, specialised and/or professional guides. A .375 rifle is carried on all the rides. All camps and vehicles have radio communication and guides ride with hand held radios. A demonstration is given at the beginning of the safari with a talk on how to handle big game situations.