Watching elephant on a horseback safari
Africa > Botswana

Join a horseback riding safari in Botswana

A horseback safari in Botswana allows you to explore a true wilderness whilst also viewing large game species in their natural habitat. The northern Okavango Delta is a seasonal floodplain with lagoons and grassy islands supporting all of the Big Five. Mashatu, in the south, is the land of giants, with large baobab trees, elephant herds and the Limpopo River. The central Kalahari is a starkly beautiful salt pan with unique game-viewing opportunities and the chance to meet local bushmen. All riding safaris in Botswana offer exciting riding and a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
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From the horse’s mouth

  • Cha Cha Metsi camp
    May 2024 Lea Vanessa aged 42
    My stay at Cha Cha Metsi has been nothing short of outstanding. The team made me feel right at home from the moment I arrived. Experiencing Botswana's wildlife on the back of incredible horses was a true privilege. The recommendation to choose a helicopter to get to the camp was very much appreciated, providing... Read all
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  • Macatoo
    April 2024 Maria aged 54
    Trip of a lifetime. Superb from start to finish.
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  • African Explorer Safari
    January 2024 Sonja aged 31
    Truly a once in a lifetime, an incredible horse back safari experience with great diversity in wildlife. The move between reserves really adds to the overall experience. The horses are very well schooled and have such soft mouths! The guides are great and very knowledgeable. I also really appreciated that the guides... Read all
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  • Macatoo
    December 2023 Claudia aged 38
    Horses for all skill and speed levels available, all are sure-footed and reliable for the purpose. I alternated between two horses (Amir and Skyss), one of which was a bit more spirited and faster than the other, but both were really comfortable to ride and within a few minutes, I felt comfortable enough to even let... Read all
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  • African Explorer Safari
    October 2023 Jennifer aged 52
    We had an amazing trip. The horses were so well cared for; it showed that the staff were all very happy and passionate about their work; the accommodations were stunning; the meals were delicious and great variety; the scenery and proximity to the animals was gorgeous. I would do this trip again! I am especially... Read all
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  • Riders with elephant at Macatoo Camp
    An exciting riding safari in the Okavango Delta
  • Riding with elephant in Botswana, African Explorer
    Mashatu in Botswana is known for its herds of elephants
  • Riders with elephant at Macatoo Camp
    An exciting riding safari in the Okavango Delta
  • Horses watching giraffe in Mashatu game reserve
    Watching giraffe on a mobile riding safari
  • Rider cantering at sunset in Africa
    Enjoy magical sunset rides in Africa
  • Riding on the Makgadikgadi salt pans
    The lunar landscapes of the Makgadikgadi salt pans
  • The floodplains of the Okavango, Botswana
    Enjoy splashy gallops in the Okavango Delta

Visa & Health


To enter Botswana, a passport valid for at least six months is required by British, Australian, Canadian, USA and all other EU nationals. Outgoing travel documents and sufficient funds are also required. We recommend having two blank facing visa pages in your passport for the official stamps.

Visas are not required by British, Australian, Canadian, USA or other EU nationals for stays in Botswana of up to 90 days.
Visas are also not required by transit passengers, provided they are continuing their journey by the same or first connecting aircraft, and do not leave the airport.
Nationals of countries not listed above are advised to contact the high commission/embassy to check visa requirements.

Visa note:
Those nationals who do require a visa for Botswana must include a copy of their travel itinerary with their application, along with a letter of support from their intended host and return visa or residence permit from his/her country of residence.

Travel to or from South Africa
If you are planning to enter South Africa before or after you visit Botswana, you should refer to the travel advice for South Africa.

Travelling with children
The Botswana government has introduced new immigration rules from 1 October 2016. Children (under 18 years of age) who are travelling into or through Botswana must provide a certified copy of their full unabridged birth certificate as well as a valid passport (an abridged (short) birth certificate won’t be accepted).

If the child is travelling with one parent, with another adult or unaccompanied, the parent or parents who aren’t present will need to provide an affidavit giving their consent for the child to travel. For more information please contact the Botswana Embassy.

Travelling with children via South Africa
If you’re transiting through South Africa with children, see our South Africa travel advice page for information and advice about the documents you’ll need to carry.

More information:

Addresses of consulates

  • Botswana High Commission
    6 Stratford Place
    London W1C 1AY
    Tél. : (020) 7499 0031
    Fax : (020) 7647 1000
  • Ambassade du Botswana
    88 Avenue de Iéna
    75116 Paris
    Tél. :
    Fax :


There are no vaccinations legally required to travel to Botswana from the UK, however, you need a yellow fever vaccination if you have travelled to a country (7 days or less before entering Botswana) where that disease is widely prevalent, such as Zambia/Victoria Falls.
You should check with your doctor who has access to the most up-to-date information but the following vaccinations are usually recommended - Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio (DTP) together with Hepatitis A and typhoid.
If you are staying longer than 3 months or have a particular risk you might consider a rabies vaccination. Vaccination against Tuberculosis as well as Hepatitis B are also sometimes recommended for stays longer than 3 months.
Malaria is prevalent in the country, but mainly during the warm and wet season and particularly in the northern half of the country. The south is generally considered lower risk. Don't underestimate this tropical disease and take precautions. Buy repellent (preferably with 50% DEET) and sleep under a net and speak to your doctor about anti-malarial medication.


It is a condition of your booking with Equus Journeys that you have travel insurance which covers you for the riding activities to be undertaken. Your travel insurance should cover you for medical expenses and repatriation. Your guides will require your travel insurance details before they allow you to ride and may refuse to let you ride if you cannot provide them. You should take your insurance documents with you.


220-240 volts AC, 50Hz. 15- and 13-amp plug sockets are in use. Plugs used are British-style with two flat blades and one flat grounding blade, or South African style with two circular metal pins above a large circular grounding pin.

Budget and money

Pula (BWP; symbol P) = 100 thebe.
Notes in denominations of P100, 50, 20 and 10.
Coins in denominations of P5, 2 and 1, and 50, 25, 10 and 5 thebe.
It is not necessary to change money into local currency for any of our Botswana rides - they accept GB Pounds, Euro, US Dollars and South African Rand.

Telephone and jetlag

There are very few public phone boxes. The country calling code to Botswana is 267. To make an international call from Botswana, the code is 00.
Mobile phone roaming agreements exist with international mobile phone companies. Coverage is average in the major towns but you are unlikely to get any signal at all when in remote camps.
Time zone: GMT + 2hr

Country information

Country ID

Official Name: Republic of Botswana
Capital: Gaborone
Area: 581,730 sq km (224,607 sq miles).
Population: 2.1 million (2015).
Population density: 3.6 per sq km.
People and ethnies:
Language: English is the official language. Setswana is the national language, with minorities speaking Kalanga and Sekgalagadi.
Religion: Christians (71.6%), Badimo (African Traditional Religion - 6%)
Political regime: Parliamentary republic
President: Seretse Khama Ian Khama since 2008

Socio-economical data

Diamond mining, tourism, financial services and livestock farming are key foreign exchange earners. Botswana is economically connected to South Africa and is a member of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU). It also hosts the Southern African Development Conference, which is the principal mechanism for economic co-operation.
Prudent management and the successful development of new mineral resources have afforded Botswana consistent economic growth at a rate of around 5% in recent years. The country has been seeking to reduce its economic dependence on diamonds and agricultural products, both of which are vulnerable to price fluctuations, and to increase its focus on high-revenue investment services and upmarket safari tourism. Unemployment is officially around 40%, but many citizens support themselves through subsistence agriculture.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic, which is extremely serious in Botswana and mainly afflicts the productive, young and middle-aged population, is starting to have a negative effect on the economy


As early as the seventh century, parts of Botswana were populated by thriving agricultural communities. In the 14th century, the powerful Tswana dynasties took control, originating in the region to the east – today this is South Africa's Gauteng Province. A further series of migrations followed the break-up of the main Tswana kingdoms, the Hurutshe and the Kwena, from the late 17th century. These migrants were firmly established in the southern part of Botswana, and by the 18th century, had established a powerful military state controlling hunting, cattle-breeding and copper mining. The 19th century brought another period of upheaval, as people from the north, dislocated by slavery and the collapse of their local economies, moved to new territory. British colonialists and Boer settlers fought for control of Botswana; the local rulers allied themselves with the British against the Boers, and Botswana was eventually brought under British protectorate control in 1890, remaining so until independence in 1966. Popular Seretse Khama became the country's first president – a position he held until his death in 1980. Today, Botswana’s key domestic priority is to tackle the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Botswana's infection rate, estimated at 20 per cent of the total population, is among the world's highest.


Botswana is landlocked, bordered to the south and east by South Africa, to the northeast by Zimbabwe and to the north and west by Namibia. It also touches Zambia just west of the Victoria Falls.
The country is predominantly flat, tending toward gently rolling tableland. Botswana is dominated by the Kalahari Desert, which covers up to 70% of its land surface. The Okavango Delta, one of the world's largest inland deltas, is in the northwest. The Makgadikgadi Pan, a large salt pan, lies in the north. The Limpopo River Basin, the major landform of all of southern Africa, lies partly in Botswana, with the basins of its tributaries, the Notwane, Bonwapitse, Mahalapswe, Lotsane, Motloutse and the Shashe, located in the eastern part of the country. The Notwane provides water to the capital through the Gaborone Dam. The Chobe River lies to the north, providing a boundary between Botswana and Namibia, in the Caprivi Region. The Chobe River meets with the Zambezi River at a place called Kazungula (meaning a small sausage tree, a point where Sebitwane and his Makololo tribe crossed the Zambezi into Zambia).
The majority of the population lives in the southeast around Gaborone, Serowe and Kanye along the South African border. The vast arid sandveld of the Kalahari occupies much of central and western Botswana. The seasonal rains bring a considerable difference to the vegetation, especially in the Makgadikgadi Pans and the Okavango Delta.

People, culture and traditions

Social conventions:
As most people in Botswana follow their traditional pattern of life, visitors should be sensitive to customs which will inevitably be unfamiliar to them. Outside urban areas and safari destinations, people may well not be used to visitors. Casual clothing is acceptable and, in urban centres, normal courtesies should be observed.

Choosing the right riding holiday

Choosing the right riding holiday

Botswana is a wild and unspoilt country where the big five still roams. Horseback safaris in Botswana are ideal for competent riders who want to ride amongst large game such as elephant and buffalo.

The OKAVANGO DELTA is considered the jewel of the Kalahari. An inland seasonal floodplain which floods annually after the rains attracting large numbers of game into the area. All of the big five are present and so riders should be confident and capable.

For fast and challenging riding visit: Macatoo

For a semi-mobile ride on beautifully schooled horses visit: Kujwana

For a unique and semi mobile ride: Across the Okavango

The KALAHARI DESERT and Makgadikgadi salt pans are in central Botswana and have distinct seasons - the dry season (May-Sept) when there is no rain and the pans are empty and perfect for long canters; and the wet season (Nov - April) when the rain quenches the dry earth, the pans fill, the bush is lush and green, and large herds of zebra and wildebeest migrate into the area: Kalahari desert ride

The TULI BLOCK in the eastern corner of Botswana, near the border of Zimbabwe and South Africa is known as the Land of the Giants - huge baobabs, large herds of elephant and stunning big cat sightings, not forgetting some of the best horses in Africa. For a mobile horseback safari under canvas choose: Tuli Trail

COMBINATION RIDES. If you can't decide on a riding safari then how about combining two different horse riding holidays for two different experiences? Some possibilities include a combo safari between South Africa and Botswana: African Explorer. You can also combine a safari in the Okavango Delta with the Kalahari in one extraordinary ride: the Delta and Desert safari.

On the blog

For more information on African riding safaris in Botswana, please make sure to visit our blog. We have several blog posts dedicated to this very topic, that you may find useful!