Horse Riding Family Safari on the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans

Botswana from the saddle

We’ve teamed up with the much-admired David Foot Safaris to offer this fabulous horse-riding safari for the whole family. The six-day trip combines three nights at quirky, family-favourite Camp Kalahari with two nights fly camping in the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, making a plethora of childhood dreams come true in the process!

You’ll explore this vast and mysterious area on horseback, just as the earliest explorers, hunters and missionaries did, and each member of your family will be assigned their own trusty steed. There’s also the chance to get up close and personal with the habituated meerkats of the Makgadikgadi, meet the Bushmen who call the desert their home, and search for rare and elusive desert-adapted species.

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Price from:

Please enquire for details

Duration:

6 days/5 nights

Departure Dates:

Departures on demand

Min / Max Group Size

Enquire with reservations

Trip Begins / Ends

Maun, Botswana / Maun, Botswana

Includes Mobile Camping:

Yes

Details, Details

Highlights

  • Explore one of the most extraordinary and mesmerising parts of Botswana from a different perspective – high up on horseback!
  • Follow in the footsteps of great explorers, and search for ancient artefacts and prehistoric engravings in the heart of the desert.
  • Feel the wind in your hair as you ride across the sun-scorched earth, herds of zebra and wildebeest by your side.
  • Visit four generations of the Zu/’hoasi people of the Western Kalahari, a fascinating community who offer a window into the past.
  • Fly-camp in the middle of the vast Makgadikgadi, and fall asleep to the murmurings of the trees and the snuffling of the wildlife.
  • Embark on day and night game drives to search for black-maned lion, springbok, oryx, and the rare nocturnal species.

The Essentials

Pricing Information: We’re busy putting the finishing touches to this itinerary, so please get in touch with us for details on price.

Included: Travelling costs as per itinerary; activities (most!); entrance and park fees; accommodation as specified on a sharing basis; all meals and local drinks; road transfers; applicable tourism levies, taxes, and all relevant VAT.

Excluded: Expenses of a personal nature, such as telephone expenses & shopping; premium brand drinks; tips and gratuities; additional activities; scheduled flights and related taxes; Visa fees where relevant; cancellation, baggage, medical, and evacuation insurance.

Child Policy: Please enquire with reservations.

Disabled Access: Please enquire with reservations.

Wifi: Wifi is not available for the duration of the trip.

Can this itinerary be customised? Yes, this itinerary can be fully customised.

Extension ideas: Discover a different part of the Makgadikgadi and spend two or three nights at Meno a Kwena camp, overlooking the magnificent Boteti River.

When to Go & What to Pack

This trip runs throughout the year, but activities may vary slightly in the green season (November to March) and the dry season (April to October).

When it comes to packing your bag, we recommend that you include neutral, cotton, long-sleeved tops and trousers; a warm sweater; a broad-brimmed hat (preferably with a strap so it doesn’t fall off when you’re riding!); sunglasses; sunblock; insect repellent; lip salve; two pairs of lightweight riding shoes and extra socks (in case they get wet); a head torch; binoculars; a camera; a kikoi; a good book; and swimming kit, all year round. Those coming during the summer should also pack a light, compact jacket, and those visiting in the winter should bring layers, warm leggings to go beneath trousers, and a hat gloves, and a scarf. If you have your own jodhpurs, please bring them but don’t worry if not.

Our Guides

Both born and raised in Africa, David and Robyn Foot (the owners of Ride Botswana, our partners for this safari) have a love for exploring the wildest places of Africa on horseback. David is one of Africa’s most experienced horseback safari guides, and has ridden with guests in Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Together with Robyn he has run his own horse safari operation since 1993, first in the Nyika National Park in Malawi, and since 2008, Botswana.

Many of their horseback safaris are personally led by David, who has over 30 years of guiding experience with riders of all levels, and with families. If David isn’t available, he will arrange another highly-rated safari guide to lead your safari. Rest assured, you couldn’t be in safer hands

Highlights

  • Explore one of the most extraordinary and mesmerising parts of Botswana from a different perspective – high up on horseback!
  • Follow in the footsteps of great explorers, and search for ancient artefacts and prehistoric engravings in the heart of the desert.
  • Feel the wind in your hair as you ride across the sun-scorched earth, herds of zebra and wildebeest by your side.
  • Visit four generations of the Zu/’hoasi people of the Western Kalahari, a fascinating community who offer a window into the past.
  • Fly-camp in the middle of the vast Makgadikgadi, and fall asleep to the murmurings of the trees and the snuffling of the wildlife.
  • Embark on day and night game drives to search for black-maned lion, springbok, oryx, and the rare nocturnal species.

The Essentials

Pricing Information: We’re busy putting the finishing touches to this itinerary, so please get in touch with us for details on price.

Included: Travelling costs as per itinerary; activities (most!); entrance and park fees; accommodation as specified on a sharing basis; all meals and local drinks; road transfers; applicable tourism levies, taxes, and all relevant VAT.

Excluded: Expenses of a personal nature, such as telephone expenses & shopping; premium brand drinks; tips and gratuities; additional activities; scheduled flights and related taxes; Visa fees where relevant; cancellation, baggage, medical, and evacuation insurance.

Child Policy: Please enquire with reservations.

Disabled Access: Please enquire with reservations.

Wifi: Wifi is not available for the duration of the trip.

Can this itinerary be customised? Yes, this itinerary can be fully customised.

Extension ideas: Discover a different part of the Makgadikgadi and spend two or three nights at Meno a Kwena camp, overlooking the magnificent Boteti River.

When to Go & What to Pack

This trip runs throughout the year, but activities may vary slightly in the green season (November to March) and the dry season (April to October).

When it comes to packing your bag, we recommend that you include neutral, cotton, long-sleeved tops and trousers; a warm sweater; a broad-brimmed hat (preferably with a strap so it doesn’t fall off when you’re riding!); sunglasses; sunblock; insect repellent; lip salve; two pairs of lightweight riding shoes and extra socks (in case they get wet); a head torch; binoculars; a camera; a kikoi; a good book; and swimming kit, all year round. Those coming during the summer should also pack a light, compact jacket, and those visiting in the winter should bring layers, warm leggings to go beneath trousers, and a hat gloves, and a scarf. If you have your own jodhpurs, please bring them but don’t worry if not.

Our Guides

Both born and raised in Africa, David and Robyn Foot (the owners of Ride Botswana, our partners for this safari) have a love for exploring the wildest places of Africa on horseback. David is one of Africa’s most experienced horseback safari guides, and has ridden with guests in Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Together with Robyn he has run his own horse safari operation since 1993, first in the Nyika National Park in Malawi, and since 2008, Botswana.

Many of their horseback safaris are personally led by David, who has over 30 years of guiding experience with riders of all levels, and with families. If David isn’t available, he will arrange another highly-rated safari guide to lead your safari. Rest assured, you couldn’t be in safer hands

Itinerary & Map

Day 1: Arrive at Camp Kalahari, Makgadikgadi Pans

Today you’ll meet your host, David Foot, at Camp Kalahari. You’ll be matched with your four-legged companion, before getting stuck straight into the action with an afternoon horse ride across the plains.

Day 2: Camp Kalahari, Makgadikgadi Pans

Kick off the day with a lengthy ride through the ancient lakebed, grasslands and sand dunes. In the afternoon, the horses will have a break as you head out on a game drive to search for the desert-adapted species.

Day 3: Xau Xai Fly Camp, Makgadikgadi Pans

It will take most of the day to reach Xau Xai Fly Camp by horseback. You’ll canter through mopane and acacia woodlands, stop at the famous Green’s Baobab for lunch, and search for ancient hunting tools in Gutsa Pan, before arriving at the fly camp as the sun sets.

Day 4: Xau Xai Fly Camp, Makgadikgadi Pans

Today you’ll meet the Kalahari’s fascinating habituated meerkats and enjoy a bush walk to a nearby water hole to look for some of the Kalahari’s bird species.

Day 5: Camp Kalahari, Makgadikgadi Pans

Ride back to Camp Kalahari, via Chapman’s Baobab, one of the largest trees on the continent.

Day 6: Depart from Camp Kalahari

Spend the morning in a traditional Zu/’hoasi Bushmen village. You’ll meet the community elders, before walking with the Bushmen and learning how they survive in the harsh environment. In the afternoon, it’s time to bid farewell to your horse, and begin the journey home

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Accommodations

This journey begins at Camp Kalahari on Brown Hyaena Island at the edge of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans. The camp is laidback, quirky and fun, and a favourite with families. As well as six twin tents and four doubles, there’s also a family unit with two tents and an inter-leading bathroom, perfect if you’re travelling with younger kids. The swimming pool is the ideal spot for some siesta-splashing and will keep children of all ages entertained.

During your time at Xau Xai Fly Camp, you’ll be staying in rustic but comfortable dome tents. Each has a private bathroom with a loo and bucket shower, and there’s plenty of hot water too. Meals will be cooked over the fire, and kids will experience the magic of camping in the heart of the bush.

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Wildlife

There aren’t many childhood experiences than can beat riding a horse through Botswana’s Makgadikgadi salt pans, especially when there’s wildlife involved too. You’ll ride alongside herds of zebra, wildebeest and hartebeest, and will probably encounter an ostrich or two along the way. Game drives will yield sightings of springbok, gemsbok, red hartebeest and, if you’re lucky, the brown hyena, one of the rarest species on the continent. There may also be a chance to see the black-maned Kalahari lion, and some magnificent birds of prey. And then of course, the habituated meerkat of the Kalahari. Meeting the cheeky creatures is a special experience, and on cooler days they’ll sometimes snuggle into you for warmth. In fact, some will even clamber onto your head to use you as a lookout post!

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