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South Africa and Botswana - African Explorer

Get the best of two countries. Ideal for experienced riders who want to get as much as possible from their African riding holiday.

This exciting ride combines four nights in a newly built camp in the Waterberg and three nights in the Limpopo Valley in Botswana. First explored Waterberg's fantastic Highlands and then move to Mashatu Game Reserve, Tuli, on new horses.

There is plenty of wildlife. In South Africa in this private game reserve, there is a good chance of seeing wild animals such as giraffe, zebra, impala, red hartebeest, eland and reedbuck as well as many of the smaller mammals such as jackals, baboons, monkeys and warthogs. In Botswana Mashatu that covers 30,000 hectares is home to great herds of elephant, as well as numerous cats, including leopards, lions, cheetah, African wild cat and cerval and a multitude of plains game like zebra, wildebeest and giraffe, as well as over 350 species of birds.

The camp at Waterberg is located high above the Matlapeng Valley in the heart of the forested mountains. Here you have a wonderful panoramic view of the central highlands in the Waterberg Massif. The classic two-man safari tents are built on wooden decks with private bathrooms behind the tent. One night at the stunning Bellevue lodges.

Depending on the season, the Botswana part of the safari can either be a mobile camping safari or a camp nestled in the shadows of Centurion Mashatu trees. The tents are built on teak platforms, with private toilets and hot showers. In the mobile camps there are comfortable beds with sheets and duvets. Facilities include a bucket shower and "bush toilet". Meals are cooked over a campfire.

The food is excellent, the lunch often consists of hearty picnics and dinners are excellent with lots of vegetables and are served with good wine.

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Horse Riding

All horses are ridden English style. You ride with light contact with the horse's mouth and when galloping you stand in the stirrups to save the horses' backs. The saddles are custom designed for the trail rides (not Western saddles). In Botswana you use English saddles. You ride 3-7 hours per day.

Travel Information

Ability description: Trail Ride level 3 >> Guests must be experienced riders. They must ride regularly (at least once or twice a week) and be comfortable at posting trot, light seat canter and gallop as well as being able to do small jumps should they have to. They must be able to control a horse independently of the group at all paces. On arrival in Botswana you will be asked to do a independent riding test.

Included in the price: 7 nights, 8 days riding, full board incl. house wine, beer, soda, return transfer to/from Johannesburg airport according to set times. 

Not included: Flight to/from Johannesburg (OR Tambo), fine wine, liquor and tips, transfer (2023).

Transfers 2022: Transfers are included in the price. Book a flight that land by 10.15am latest. Go to the info desk in the arrivals hall as soon as possible. The driver will be there to meet you and will advise of the expected departure time from ORT. The latest departure time being 11.15am. On the return trip you leave the camp in Botswana at 2:30pm and arrive at Johannesburg airport between 4.30 and 6pm. Therefore book a departing flight after 8.30 pm from Johannesburg.  

Transfers 2023: Transfers are not included in the price. Book a flight that land by 09.15am latest. Go to the info desk in the arrivals hall as soon as possible. The driver will be there to meet you and will advise of the expected departure time from ORT. The latest departure time being 10.30am. On the return trip book a departing flight after 8.30 pm from Johannesburg.
Transfer options: You choose in step 3 under Book on request under Dates & prices if you want to fly or book a road transfer back from Botswana to Johannesburg.
Transfer (with flight on departure day): Includes arrival day road transfer from ORT airport to Camp Davidson, Day 5 transfers from Camp Davidson to Botswana and departure day light aircraft flight from Botswana to Johannesburg (min 8 pax for flight).
Price: 735 EUR / person
Transfer (road): Includes on arrival day road transfer from Johannesburg ORT airport to Camp Davidson, Day 5 transfers from Camp Davidson to Botswana and departure day road transfer from Botswana to Johannesburg.
Price 460 EUR / person

Number of riders: A minimum of 2 and a maximum of 8. If only one to four participants you may be upgraded in South Africa to the lodge based Waterberg - Ranch Stay if available.

Age limit: Very experienced children from 12 years, accompanied by an adult.

Wi-fi: Yes there is a limited service in both locations.

Electricity: In each tent in both locations there is a small solar charger that can charge most cell phones with a USB port.

Misc: A Tourism levy of $30 pp payable on entry into Botswana will come into place on June 1, 2017.  Please bring dollars to avoid inflated exchange rates and bring the correct amount as there is sometimes a lack of change at borders. Other costs such as souvenir shopping and gratuities in both SA and Botswana can be done in rand.

 

The Program

This is an example of the weekly program. It may change due to local circumstances. No week is like another with wild animals moving about in the large reserve.

This exciting new ride combines three nights in a camp built high above Matlapeng Valley, one night in a Bellevue Plains lodge and three nights in the Limpopo Valley in Botswana. A great combination where you will explore the central highlands of the Waterberg Massif in South Africa before moving to the big Mashatu Game Reserve, Tuli Blocket, Botswana.

Day 1 Friday: Meet at ORTambo at 11.15  and transfer to Camp Davidson in time for a late Lunch. That afternoon you will be introduced to your safari horse. We will ensure that you are matched to a horse that suits your ability and experience before heading off on your ride. This first introductory ride is a relaxed affair, giving riders the opportunity to settle into their new surroundings. Crossing the plains, enjoy your first close encounter with wildlife on horseback. A stunning lookout spot for sundower drinks is a welcome moment to take in your first taste of Africa after a long journey. A three course supper is served at Camp Davidson that evening. 

Day 2 Saturday: Today’s ride sets off from the high country overlooking a beautiful wilderness area to the east, and heads south, winding along the banks of Sunset Lake with its resident pod of hippos and the odd sly crocodile, followed by a visit to one of the Horizon dams for a swim with the horses before getting back to camp in time for lunch.  Guests can then relax by the pool, before a shorter afternoon ride.  NB Those guests not fully vaccinated (including booster if overdue) will be taken for a PCR test during the lunch break (additional cost R1450 pp) 

Day 3 Sunday: this ride heads south to the Game Conservancy which is home to the Bellevue Lodges. The ride traverses a wide wetland, home to reedbuck and grass owls, before entering dense woodland dotted with wild fig trees and large fruited bushwillows. Here it crosses the watershed and descends through open grasslands with sweeping views to the upper reaches of the Conservancy’s main water system. The route passes the favoured habitat of waterbuck and Cape buffalo. The open plains that follow are aptly known as “Little Serengeti”; large herds of blesbuck, eland, wildebeest and kudu are all on view, as are groups of elegant sable, swift red hartebeest and impressive journeys of giraffe and Cape buffalo. After a lunch at the lodge and a rest by the pool, the afternoon ride continues to explore this game rich area, closing with sundowners overlooking the African plains.

Day 4 Monday:  A morning ride in search of buffalo before returning to the lodge for lunch and a chance to relax and enjoy this fabulous setting before riding back to the Horizon lodge where we say our goodbye to our horses before heading up to camp for a last night at Camp Davidson.

Day 5 Tuesday: Wake up early and depart the camp by 6 am with a picnic for the road, our aim is to have you through the border by 9am aiming to arrive at Mashatu by 1 in time for lunch and a chance to change before the afternoon ride to Tree Camp.

Day 6 Wednesday: A morning ride from Tree Camp exploring the center of the reserve and the game rich Pitsane river area,  before arriving at Two Mashatus for lunch and a chance to relax by the pool.  That afternoon there is the option of another ride or a game drive in the Kgotla area with sundowners on the Mmagwa hills.  

Day 7 Thursday: Early morning trip to the Limpopo valley airport for a PCR test (BWP1850 +-£115pp) followed by a full morning ride from Two Mashatu ,  that afternoon you will have the option of an afternoon ride, or bush walk or if available a game drive with Mashatu with a good chance of seeing the big cats ( additional charge $65 pp)  then back to Two Mashatus for your last night in Africa.

Day 8, A good long morning ride from Two Mashatus ending back at the stables in time for lunch and a shower before flying out of Mashatu at 14.30.  
 

Please be aware that due to changes in weather and other unforeseen events the itinerary may be changed at the last minute.


 

Dates and prices

DateDaysName of tripPrice from
07/10/20228South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 3,270Book on request
14/10/20228South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 3,270Book on request
21/10/20228South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 3,270Book on request
28/10/20228South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 3,270Book on request
04/11/20228South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 3,270Book on request
11/11/20228South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 3,270Book on request
18/11/20228South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 3,270Book on request
25/11/20228South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 3,270Book on request
02/12/20228South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,615Book on request
09/12/20228South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,615Book on request
16/12/20228South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,615Book on request
23/12/20228South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,615Book on request
30/12/20228South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,435Book on request
06/01/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,435Book on request
13/01/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,435Book on request
20/01/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,435Book on request
27/01/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,435Book on request
03/02/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,435Book on request
10/02/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,435Book on request
17/02/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,435Book on request
24/02/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,435Book on request
03/03/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
10/03/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
17/03/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
24/03/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
31/03/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
07/04/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
14/04/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
21/04/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
28/04/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
05/05/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
12/05/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
19/05/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
26/05/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
02/06/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
09/06/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
16/06/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
23/06/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
30/06/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
07/07/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
14/07/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
21/07/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
28/07/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
04/08/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
11/08/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
18/08/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
25/08/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
01/09/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
08/09/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
15/09/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
22/09/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
29/09/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
06/10/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
13/10/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
20/10/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
27/10/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
03/11/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
10/11/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
17/11/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
24/11/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
01/12/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
08/12/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
15/12/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
22/12/20238South Africa and Botswana – African ExplorerEUR 2,990Book on request
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