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Horse Riding in the Okavango Delta

Listed under Horse Riding in NW Botswana, Botswana.

  • Photo of Horse Riding in the Okavango Delta
  • Photo of Horse Riding in the Okavango Delta
  • Photo of Horse Riding in the Okavango Delta
  • Photo of Horse Riding in the Okavango Delta
  • Photo of Horse Riding in the Okavango Delta
  • Photo of Horse Riding in the Okavango Delta
  • Photo of Horse Riding in the Okavango Delta
  • Photo of Horse Riding in the Okavango Delta
Photo of Horse Riding in the Okavango Delta
Photo by Louisa Begg
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This highly personalised safari is run by owners PJ and Barney Bestelink and is probably one of the best riding safaris in Africa. To ride in Africa is a magical experience, and to ride in the Okavango Delta the ultimate of magical experiences.

On horseback you can get closer to game than you ever dreamed possible... when you are on horseback the animals don’t perceive you as a threat- you are truly part of the bush. Imagine yourself mounted high above the long grass and reeds watching great herds of zebra, wildebeest and lechwe as they move across golden floodplains, imagine cantering through the shallow floodplains the spray refreshing in the heat of the day or imagine the breathtaking excitement when your silent progress along game trails used only by the animals brings you upon a herd of buffalo or a family group of elephant!

Between May and September the floodwaters from the Angola highlands reach the Okavango Delta in Botswana. When the waters are high you may need to swim your horse over rivers or wade him between the islands but along the island’s edges the going stays firm, allowing for plenty of faster riding. Apart from the fabulous riding one can enjoy game drives, night drives and even some walking and mokoro (dug-out canoe) excursions.

You will need to be an experienced rider and reasonably riding fit. Expect to ride for about 4 hours in the morning (2 in the afternoon), and be prepared to get off and lead your horse every couple of hours to give its back (and your legs) a much needed break! There are plenty of long trots and steady canters as well as leisurely walks along game trails.

Barney is an outstanding horsewoman and has an unerring ability to suit horse and rider – whether you are a happy weekend hacker or an International competition rider. Her horses are all much loved, well looked after and excellently schooled – and the tack is good quality and superbly maintained.

The main camp, Kujwana, where you start and finish your safari, is situated on the banks of the Xudum River – some half hour by light aircraft from Maun - and accommodates a maximum of ten guests in luxurious and spacious safari tents, each with bathrooms en-suite.

The safari can be five, seven or ten nights. On the 5 and 7-night safari you will visit either Moklowane or Qwaapu fly camp for a 2 night stay as well as staying Kujwana. On the 10-night safari you will ride from Kujwana to both other camps so you are able to explore a larger area of the Okavango. Accommodation at Moklowane Camp is in tree houses with private facilities. Qwaapu Fly Camp is temporary and the site moves according to access with water levels. The camp consists of walk in ‘Chobe’ tents with adjacent private ablutions and a mess tent.

For more information contact www.okavangohorse.com

Equine Adventures information on riding in the Okavango Delta.

Written by  Fran Griffith.

Other expert and press reviews

“Horse-riding in the Okavango Delta, Botswana”

In my view, this should be in all riders 'things to to before you die' list. There can't be an experience much better than a long canter through flooded plains, surrounded by loping giraffe, bounding antelope or galloping zebras. And nothing, but nothin… Read more...

Written by  Louisa Begg.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

Horse safari in the Okavango Delta

Many horse lovers are lovers of other creatures as well, so the idea of going on a horse safari in one of Africa’s most biologically diverse places to get up close to elephants, hippos, impala, giraffes and cheetahs (just to get started.) makes sense. A jeep safari is ok if you don’t have a lot of time but animals will be spooked by the noise of your approach and a walking safari is good as long as you’re not hoping to see too much diversity in your surroundings, so a horseback safari makes logistical and practical sense as well.

The best time to see wildlife is early in the morning and at dusk when animals are most interested in feeding and watering themselves and the Okavango’s multiple channels of flowing water make it easy to observe without getting too close. There aren’t set paths to take across the plains and through the jungle, you follow the wildlife to a certain extent, watching for tracks and broken bushes where large animals have passed by. This is a remote oasis of life in the middle of dry plains so animals who have made it here don’t usually stray too far onto the surrounding plains until the wet season, so you have a good chance of seeing the game you came to see.

When the river is full expect the going to be soft under hoof. We ended up using the channels as a thoroughfare when the surrounding jungle got too thick, which the horses seemed to enjoy. Obviously we’re talking about animals meeting other animals here so there is an element of danger so it’s important that you go with experienced guides. You also need to be an experienced rider just in case there is any trouble and you need to be able to make a quick get away. We met with an elephant who I felt very nervous around, ears flapping with a little too much hostility, eyes looking at me a little too intently, but my guide was calm… This is the kind of real life adventure story your friends will be happy to listen to again and again and again.

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