Ride Botswana proudly invites you to be involved a 6-day safari vacation in Makgadikgadi Pan, Botswana. You will love to experience exceptional horseback riding, game walk, and game drive sessions plus Bushmen cultural visit that you’ll never imagine before. Are you thrilled to be a part of this safari vacation with an amazing team? Join Ride Botswana to feel the passion for wilderness and ancient people in this extraordinary country!
Camp Kalahari is situated among the acacias and Mokolwane palms of Brown Hyena Island, on the edge of the Makgadikgadi Pans, and adjacent to the Makgadikgadi-Nxai Pans National Park, Botswana. A thatched central library, as well as living and dining areas featuring an eclectic mix of original African furniture and textiles paired with traditional campaign style pieces and colonial antiques, provides the perfect area in which to relax and enjoy the serenity of this enchanting area.
Guests can cool off in the swimming pool or enjoy a siesta in the thatched pavilion. This traditional bush camp has 10 spacious Meru tents comprising 6 twin tents, 3 double tents, and 1 family unit which has 2 adjacent tents accommodating two guests in each with an inter-leading bathroom. All guest tents have en-suite covered bathrooms, hot and cold running water, and flush loos along with four poster beds, crunchy cotton sheets, rich textiles, Moroccan kilims, and hot water bottles in winter. You will stay here for 3 nights on day 1, 2, and 5.
Xau Xai Fly Camp is made up of comfortable dome tents, a central mess tent, loos, and bucket showers. You will stay here from day 3 to 4.
Upon your arrival by air or road, you will be greeted by your host and guide, David Foot, and settled into Camp Kalahari which is nestled among the acacias and Mokolwane palms of Brown Hyena Island. After that, you will head off after a tea session in the beautiful afternoon light for an introductory ride primarily to match horse and rider. This activity will be your first opportunity to experience the beauty of this magical area. Then, you will return to the camp for sundowners followed by dinner and to kraal where the horses are closed by before the lions of the Kalahari commence their nightly prowling.
Up with the dawn, light breakfast will be followed by a long morning ride through the “land of a thousand islands”. Stranded on the ancient lakebed, these sand dunes covered in palm trees are one of the most beautiful and fascinating areas of the Botswana wilderness. At the height of the migration season, the islands and adjoining grasslands are awash with zebras, wildebeests, hartebeests, and ostriches as well as the attendant predators. The white encrusted pans between the islands provide excellent going for the horses. However, if there has been a lot of rain, many of these areas will be full of water attracting several species of migratory water birds.
You will return to the camp for lunch and rest through the heat of the day in the welcome shade of the camel thorn trees or cool off in the camp swimming pool. After having tea, you will head off by vehicle to see some unique desert species such as springboks, gemsboks, red hartebeests, and the elusive brown hyenas. These consummate desert specialists survive in arid areas where both food and water are scarce.
The brown hyenas are timid nocturnal, solitary forager, and rarely seen by humans. However, hyenas are very social animals living in clans of up to 10 - 12 hyenas. You will enjoy a night game drive back to camp and with the aid of a spotlight, look for nocturnal desert inhabitants such as aardvarks, bat-eared foxes, aardwolves, porcupines, honey badgers, and perhaps even a black-maned Kalahari lions. After that, you will arrive at Camp Kalahari in time for dinner.
Day 3 will be a long ride eastwards to Xau Xai Fly Camp so that an early start is imperative. You are required to pack a few essentials for the next two days of adventure. The journey will take you away from the edge of the pans and through the mopane plus acacia woodlands interspersed with short grasslands allowing for lovely long, relaxed canters. While the area is rich in prey birds, bustards, korhaans, and numerous other unusual dry woodland bird species. There will be also a chance that you will sight kudus and the odd elephant bulls. By lunchtime, you will reach famous Green’s Baobab proudly positioned alongside the well-travelled Missionary Road traversed by David Livingstone northwards.
The magnificent trunk of this ancient tree is scarred with the initials of early travelers dating back some 150 years so that providing a living testimony to the rich history of this area. You will break for lunch at the adjacent Gutsa Pan under a stand of palm trees where you may find Stone Age artifacts and the hunting blinds used over a millennium by the Bushmen. Then, you can have siesta through the midday heat. After having tea, you will continue the journey to Xau Xai Fly Camp. You can enjoy a long cool drink as you watch the sunset followed by dinner out under the magnificent Kalahari sky.
You will wake up to a steaming hot cup of coffee and a light breakfast before heading off on your horses in search of some of the Kalahari’s most fascinating inhabitants, the meerkats. With Ride Botswana’s horses tethered, you will proceed on foot into the midst of the group. Due to an ongoing habituation program by Uncharted Africa Safari Co., it will be possible for you to get up close and personal with these captivating creatures. Please remember that the meerkats are not tame, just used to your non-threatening presence.
In the chilly morning, you might find a meerkat snuggling up to you for warmth or in the absence of a termite mound or tree using your head as a sentry lookout post. By spending quality time with these incredibly social, superbly adapted animals, you will be able to see how they interact with each other and their environment. You will also get the chance to see the desert through the eyes of a meerkat which will be a pretty spectacular vantage point and definitely one of the most special and memorable game experiences you will encounter in Botswana. As the day warms up, you will leave the meerkats to continue foraging.
You will mount up and follow the well-worn trails that lead to the resident herds of zebras and large congregations of ostriches attracted to the area by permanent freshwater in hidden waterholes. Then you will return to Xau Xai Camp for lunch, a refreshing shower, and siesta in the shade of the mess tent. In the late afternoon, you will take a walk to a nearby permanent waterhole to look for many of the Kalahari’s special bird species. As the sun will set, you will watch the hundreds of sand grouses fly in search of a drink. You will return to the camp for another beautiful evening under a Kalahari sky with a delicious dinner around the campfire.
As the dawn will greet this extraordinary landscape and the last of the stars disappear, you will wake for a light breakfast before mounting up and heading homewards at a fast pace, sometimes riding along the edge of the pans and at other times heading into the woodlands as well as open grasslands where the zebras and wildebeests graze. The grasslands may be covered as far as the horizon with the vast herds. You will canter through them and with a luck, thousands of zebra will canter in front of you, to the side of you, and behind you. You will arrive at Camp Kalahari in time for a refreshing shower and lunch. As the sun will dip below the horizon and the last light fades, you will be sure to dwell on these amazing past few days. Incredible scenery and memorable wildlife will encounter and above all is superb riding.
After breakfast, you will drive through the bush to the traditionally built Bushmen village where the community gathers during the day. The huts provide shelter from the harsh Kalahari environment but are not the community’s permanent accommodation. Upon your arrival, the elders of the community will meet you in a traditional manner after which you will walk out into the bush with the men, women, and children. The focus of the walk will be to provide a gentle introduction to the Kalahari and Bushmen way of life. The group will point out the distinct ecological characteristics of this area as well as its animal and bird species. Spontaneous gathering and discussions about the uses of plants and wildlife by your Bushmen guides will provide the link between culture and wild environment that you can seek to offer Ride Botswana’s guests. This day 6 will be time for one more lunch before bidding farewell to Camp Kalahari in preparation for your onward journey.
Note: The order in which the activities will be experienced may vary depending on weather and / or other factors. Please note that guests with an early morning departure will not be able to do the final morning’s activity.
Born and raised in Africa, David Foot feels incredibly privileged to have lived and worked in some of Africa’s greatest wildlife areas such as Kafue and South Luangwa in Zambia, Matusadona, and Mana Pools in Zimbabwe, and at Nyika National Park in Malawi for 15 years. Here, David is able to combine his love of horses with his love of the African wilderness. Bird watching is also one of David’s passions, so be prepared with a good pair of binoculars.
This safari vacation will take place in Makgadikgadi Pan, Botswana. Botswana is a land where the desert meets an oasis. This country consists of a land where animals still roam freely over vast distances and the Milky Way glitters in all its glory above. The land becomes home to the San Bushman, the original inhabitants of this great continent, Africa.
During this safari vacation, you will be prepared with daily dinner plus 4 breakfasts and lunches in which one of the lunch is held at adjacent Gutsa Pan. You will also get, sundowners, afternoon teas, and a steaming hot cup of coffee.
The nearest airport is Maun Airport (MUB). Please arrive there and Ride Botswana will pick you up. The pick up is included in the price.