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Join this exceptional riding safari with Equitours. Taking place at Makalali Game Reserve, this safari offers a variety of wildlife which has been reintroduced to the reserve, including lion, cheetah, leopard, elephant, and rhino. Here, exceptional riding and game viewing have been paired with top notch accommodations and cuisine to create the ultimate big five camp horseback safari experience in South Africa.
Accommodation for these first three nights is in old style safari tents with en-suite bathrooms, mounted on platforms above the Makhutswe River at the main camp. For the next nights, you will be staying at Beacon Rock, Equitour‘s fly camp, which is situated at a giant rock formation from where you can overlook the whole Lowveld escarpment.
You will be picked up at preferably Hoedspruit or possibly also Phalaborwa airports by a transfer service, at an extra cost. A pick up from O. R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) directly can also be arranged, but please note that traveling time is five hours.
On arrival at camp sandwiches and afternoon tea and coffee awaits you. The team and your hosts are there to welcome you. They will introduce you to the safety procedures before going on your first riding safari. This orientation ride takes you through the area surrounding the camp as you unwind from your journey and forget yourself in the peace of the African bush. This is your chance to become accustomed to the horses and riding style.
You might even see the first giraffes, zebras, or whatever else is in the vicinity. Sundowners, looking out towards the Drakensberg Mountains, are a perfect prelude to the generous three course dinner, accompanied by hand-picked South African wines, which awaits you in the dining area, furnished with antique African art.
The first night, with all its fantastic sounds and noises, is probably the most exciting one. Accommodation for these first three nights is in old style safari tents with en-suite bathrooms, mounted on platforms above the Makhutswe River at the main camp.
You will be awoken with tea or coffee in the morning. After a light, continental breakfast the group will be ready to mount the horses and go on safari. The weather will create the day, but typically the morning ride is three to four hours and the afternoon one is approximately two hours.
After returning from the morning ride, a big lunch will await you with homemade quiches, pizzas or pancakes, freshly homemade bread, different types of salads and greens, meats, and cheeses. After lunch the hardest time of the day has arrived: siesta. You can spend your well deserved rest in your room or at the swimming pool or maybe you would like to improve your knowledge about Africa by reading one of the books provided in the library.
Afternoon tea and coffee strengthen you for your next adventure. The afternoon ride ends at a beautiful sundowner spot where, drink in hand, you enjoy an often colorful sunset!
Another exciting day awaits you. The morning is similar to the one on day two, but today you will go on an exciting drive to the buffalo project in the afternoon. Your guide will take you to the furthest northern corner of the reserve, all along the Makuthswe river to hopefully find the beautiful beasts. Here you enjoy your sundowner followed by a night drive back home.
Over lunchtime you are welcome to have a relaxing massage offered by an Equitours therapist. There is a well prepared massage room where everything is there for your comfort. Today you have also the chance to acquire some of their merchandise material. From fleeces and sweatshirts to shirts, T-shirts, golf tops, hats, beanies, to bath utensils there is a beautiful and fashionable selection of safari outfits available.
Another beautiful morning ride followed by a delicious brunch. In the afternoon you will pack your bags, leaving for another camp, staying away for three nights. The luggage will be brought by vehicle, whilst you set off on horseback. Riding south, you will pass between the twin rock formations of Lion and Leopard Hill with baited breath. The gently undulating roads in this area lend themselves to long easy canters. Giraffe, zebras, or wildebeest may pick up the pace and run by your side, elegantly maneuvering through the veldt. Beacon Rock, Equitour‘s fly camp, is situated at a giant rock formation from where you can overlook the whole Lowveld escarpment.
A quick scramble up to the top rewards you with a spectacular panorama over the whole reserve and the perfect vantage point to witness a blood red sun fall behind the looming Drakensberg Escarpment. Under the stars, around a campfire, and surrounded by the horses, spend the night listening to the call of the hyenas or jackals, which might visit in the night. Steaks or chops, cooked over the open fire with baked potatoes and salads are the perfect fare to help you into a deep sleep tonight.
Waking to the rich colors of the sunrise the fire is revived for coffee and breakfast before embarking on today's trip. Today you are heading south to the Karongwe river where the hyenas often have their den. It will be a long ride back to the main camp, where you yet enjoy another wonderful lunch. There would be another chance for a massage over lunch.
The last sundowner on the open plain will be sad, but beautiful, impressive, and absolutely unique. The African fever might have caught you as well and the goodbye can be hard. For your farewell dinner, your hosts have chosen something special - perhaps game fillets like kudu or eland served on pasta with sherry sauce.
An early wake up will get you on the horses quickly to enjoy a short, sporty ride before the transfer to the airport.
The Makalali Game Reserve is located in the Lowveld region of the Limpopo province, in South Africa. The landscape is varied with river gullies, rock formations, and look out points. All along the way, meandering game trails lend themselves to fast paced canters and jumps and bushwhacking as you ride in search of wildlife, which is plentiful on the reserve.
Many have encountered buffalo, wild dog, spotted, and brown hyena, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, kudu, bushbuck, steenbok, duiker, impala, waterbuck, black-backed and side striped jackal, honey badger, baboon, vervet monkey, mongoose, warthog, bushpig, tortoise. The special nocturnal creatures are the porcupine, aardvark, civet, genet, caracal, serval, and water species such as hippo, crocodile, otter, and terrapin.
During the safari tour, you have included in the price five breakfasts, five lunches, and five dinners. On most rides vegetarian and other special dietary requests can be accommodated with prior notice.
Please book your flights to O. R. Tambo International Airport (JNB), Hoedspruit Airport (HDS), or Phalaborwa Airport (PHW). Equitours will pick you up at the airport at an extra cost.