Horses watching giraffe in Mashatu game reserve

Tuli Trail Safari

This classic mobile horseback safari on beautifully schooled horses is one of our most popular rides. End each riding day in comfortable walk-in tents and beautiful traditional camps perfectly situated in different locations within Mashatu game reserve, which is home to large herds of elephants, giraffe, lion, leopard and numerous antelope. A fantastic riding safari for competent riders who want to get off the beaten track and experience something different.
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Horseback Safari
10 days / 7 riding
From £2,625
Open to non-riders

From the horse’s mouth

  • Tuli Trail Safari
    October 2022 Lucy Dominique aged 39
    A wonderful horseback safari staying at three different but fantastic camps. Brilliant guides, great food and my horse was a gem even if he was a little scared of the elephants! Olivera is a great little Boerperd. He was forward going but polite to stop after our many canters along with the giraffe! Sharp and... Read all
  • Tuli Trail Safari
    July 2022 Sean aged 49
    Other people on the safari who didn't use Equus Journeys and were unhappy with their booking experience, will be using Equus Journeys for their next trip!
  • Tuli Trail Safari
    July 2022 Jennifer aged 51
    Thoroughly enjoyed the trip and would definitely recommend it. The guides especially West were brilliant and the support staff, in particular the ladies who cooked and looked after us were exceptional. I rode Hotshot - 6yr old, very responsive although you had to encourage him to leave the group which was OK if you... Read all
  • Tuli Trail Safari
    June 2022 Joseph Gerald aged 59
    Exceeded my expectations! Quality of food A++, volume of animals encountered 5x what I expected. quality of horses was fantastic! Steady under all conditions and never spooked. I felt totally safe and in control in all situations. Accommodations were great and the guides very knowledge able. Lots of attention to the... Read all
  • Tuli Trail Safari
    July 2019 Karen aged 60
    There really aren't words good enough to review this trip. It was totally amazing and exceeded my expectations 100 fold. There really wasn't anything missing and the team of people and horses in Botswana go above and beyond to ensure you get everything you can from it. I would urge anyone thinking about it to just DO... Read all
  • The Mmamagwa hills as seen from horseback
    Discover the incredible scenery of the Tuli block
  • Elephant spotting on a riding safari
    The reserve is known for its large herds of eles
  • Jumping on the Tuli Trail in Botswana
    Enjoy the occasional jump!
  • A group of wild dogs on a riding safari
    Watching wildlife from the saddle on safari
  • Watching a snake from horseback in Botswana
    A riding safari in the Tuli block, Botswana
  • Horses watching giraffe in Mashatu game reserve
    Watching giraffe on a mobile riding safari
  • Lions lounging in the sun, Tuli block, Botswana
    Mashatu game reserve is home to big cats too!
  • Getting ready for sundowners, Tuli Trail
    Sundowners after a day in the saddle
  • Riders on a horseback safari in Botswana
    Enjoy the thrills of the Tuli riding safari
  • The Mmamagwa hills as seen from horseback
    Discover the incredible scenery of the Tuli block
  • Sun set ride on a horse safari, Botswana
    An African sun set... Magical!

Itinerary

Highlights

- Vast unfenced wilderness of eastern Botswana
- The largest population of elephant in southern Africa
- Exceptional horses selected for their temperament and ridability
- Accommodation in three stunning camps, quirky and comfortable
- Afternoon game walks and vehicle drives to view species difficult to approach on horseback, such as lion
- Good game viewing opportunities including lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog, elephant etc. As the wildlife in this area are not seasonal, wonderful game viewing experiences are possible throughout the year.
- Transfer to Botswana by light aircraft and avoid the long road transfer!
  • Day 1 1 : OVERNIGHT FLIGHT TO JOHANNESBURG

    International flight overnight to Johannesburg (Tambo International). You will need to depart tonight from Europe to arrive in Johannesburg the following morning (Day 2).

    Flights are not included but they can be booked upon request.
  • Day 2 2 : JOHANNESBURG-TWO MASHATUS CAMP - 2 hours riding

    Two Mashatu Camp
    You need to arrive in Johannesburg in the early morning - please see "dates and prices" for exact arrival/departure time.

    Please note: the Tuli 1 safari runs with a Saturday safari start (arrival in Johannesburg) and the Tuli 2 safari starts on Mondays. The itinerary for Tuli 2 is slightly different (three nights in Tree Camp and two nights in Two Mashatus) but the overall experience remains the same.

    The light aircraft transfer is a journey of approx. 2h and you should ensure that your luggage is packed into soft sided bags so that they fit into the aircraft. Please check the "packing list" for additional luggage restrictions.

    After completing Botswanan entry formalities you will be met by your guide and transferred c. 10 mins in an open safari vehicle to the reception area.

    After a light lunch, you will head off to the stables to meet your horse for the week. This first ride is your chance to get to know your horse and so if you are not happy then you should notify the guide who will be able to select another horse for you. This is also your chance to get your first glimpse of the Mashatu Game Reserve, home to the largest herd of wild free-roaming elephants on private land in Africa.

    After arriving at Two Mashatus Camp there is time for a refreshing drink before dinner served in the Llala Palm dining room.
  • Day 3 3 : TREE CAMP - 5-6 hours riding

    Tree Camp Mashatu
    You will get an early-morning breakfast before going for a morning ride, leaving behind the dense woodland of the Limpopo River. Here is your chance to see a lot of game, and enjoy stunning views on horseback. As the ride traverses the heartland of Mashatu, you will encounter plentiful game: plains game, many giraffe and herd of elephants.

    Arrival at the Tree Camp for lunch. This is a very unique and quirky camp overlooking the Majale river, with beautiful tents nestled in the arms of a trees, high up on a platform - 4 meters off the ground! After a quick rest, choose a ride or enjoy your first bush walk exploring the area along the west bank of the Matabole river. Return to the Camp for sundowners on the deck before dinner is served under the stars.

  • Day 4 4 : KGOTLA CAMP - 5-6 hours riding

    Kgotla camp
    You will enjoy a complete immersion into this gorgeous and sunny area. You will have a chance to race with zebra and gnu across beautiful open plains, making memories for a lifetime. You will witness the ancient rock formations for which the Limpopo Valley is known, and the might Baobab trees that scatter the landscape of the "Land of the Giants". You ride alongside the banks of the Motloutse river, and arrive arrive at Kgotla Camp in time for a late lunch.

    In the afternoon, search for the area’s resident lions on a game drive (if available) and draw the day’s adventures to a close with sundowners at the ancient “Amphitheatre” rocks. Back at the Kgotla, dinner is enjoyed around a large log fire. The night is spent with a ceiling of stars and Africa’s night-time melody to sing you to sleep; a rare experience which is just about as far away from city life and the modern world as anyone can imagine.
  • Day 5 5 : KGOTLA CAMP - 4-5 hours riding

    Kgotla camp
    This morning you will explore the sandstone formations including the famed Solomon’s Wall. Ancient civilizations harboured their wealth among these hills where two mighty rivers, the Limpopo and the Motloutse, meet.

    There is time in the afternoon to head on a short drive to the archaeologically rich Mmamagwa hills where a 360 degree view of the reserve can be enjoyed as well as another beautiful African sunset. After a short climb, enjoy sundowners beneath a beautiful baobab tree with a breath-taking view of the area.

    You will have dinner in Kgotla camp and sleep again under the stars.
  • Day 6 6 : TREE CAMP OR KOGTLA CAMP - 5 hours riding

    Tree Camp Mashatu
    After a light breakfast, test the amazingly sure-footed Boerperds as you cross over basalt ridges following age-old elephant trails and enjoy long sustained canters to make up for the lost time traversing the ridges. After an exhilarating ride through this timeless countryside, a relaxing lunch in the eaves of the Tree Camp is very welcomed.

    After an exhilarating ride through this timeless countryside, enjoy a relaxing lunch at Tree Camp. An afternoon ride or bush walk or game drive (if available) exploring the northern banks of the Majele, Matabole and Jwala rivers.

    Please note that in the Tuli 2, tonight you will stay at the Kogtla camp, instead of the Tree camp.
  • Day 7 7 : TWO MASHATUS CAMP OR TREE CAMP - 5 hours riding

    Two Mashatu Camp
    Today the ride roams through the Pitsane River Valley. The day will involve riding up and down river banks, through riverine forest, game sightings and more fabulous photo opportunities. The river is fed by a spring high in the hills and its regular watering holes attract the wildlife, guaranteeing excellent sightings.

    The area is steeped in history: the Zeederberg Trail, a stagecoach line that connected the towns of the Transvaal (South Africa) to the newly forged settlements of southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), once traversed theses open plains. The coaches would ford the Limpopo River before trailing the Pitsane River into Zimbabwe. En route there was an old British supply post, Bryce’s Store, which was destroyed here in a skirmish between British and Boer soldiers during the Boer war in 1899. Today bullets, buckles and other remains can be found in the rubble around the store.

    Spend the afternoon at leisure - perhaps enjoy the swimming pool - before you embark on a guided walk into the bush followed by dinner around the log fire.

    Please note that in the Tuli 2, tonight you will spend at the Tree camp.
  • Day 8 8 : TWO MASHATUS CAMP - 5 hours riding

    Two Mashatu Camp
    Today’s ride is rich in history and offers a variety of interesting tales of the past. The open Pitsane plains, so characteristic of this area, are perfect for a faster ride, hopefully with zebra or wildebeest... You head in the direction of the Majale and Limpopo confluence where lunch awaits you upon return to the Mashatus camp.

    There is time to relax in camp, before either an afternoon ride or bush walk for your last African sundowner.

    Dinner is in the Llala palm rondavel. A dreamless sleep no doubt awaits you as the final day draws to a close.
  • Day 9 9 : TWO MASHATUS - LIMPOPO RIVER CAMP - JOHANNESBURG - 3-4 hours riding

    Your last day in the savannah! Your final morning is spent riding along the Limpopo River, heading back to the stables where fond farewells are made to your horse and lunch is taken on the river bank.

    You will be transferred to the airstrip for your flight back to Johannesburg. Your international flight back home should be in the evening, please check "dates and prices" for exact timings.
  • Day 10 10 : ARRIVALS IN EUROPE OR BEGINNING OF YOUR EXTENTION

Dates & prices

Price details

IMPORTANT - In 2024/2025, the Tuli 1 safari will run with a Saturday safari start (arrival in Johannesburg) and the Tuli 2 safari will start on Mondays. The itinerary is similar but the order of days is slightly different.
NOTE: In the Tuli you will spend 3 nights at Mashatu, 2 nights in the Tree camp, and 2 nights at Kgotla.
In the Tuli 2, you will spend 2 nights at Mashatu, 2 nights in the Tree camp, and 3 nights at Kgotla.

- Flights to your destination (Johannesburg) are not included but we can assist with this on request

- Rates are per person, based on two riders sharing a twin or double tent.

- The usual group size is a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 8 riders.

- Group air transfers from Johannesburg are not included but are at an additional cost - 2024: £720/€820/$870; 2025: £800/€940/$1030 Your flight should arrive into Johannesburg O R Tambo no later than 9:30 am for your 11:00 am meet-up. On the last day, flights should depart after 20:00. It is possible in exceptional circumstances that the light aircraft transfer is replaced by a road transfer.

- There is a conservation levy of $20 per person per night payable on site. This is $140 per person for the Tuli Trail - payable in $, £, € or rands.

- There is no single supplement if you are willing to share a tent with another rider of the same sex. To guarantee your own tent there is a supplement, as there is only a small number of tents available:
> In 2024 and 2025, this is 25% in the low season, 35% in the high season.
On certain weeks a single tent is available on a first-come, first-served basis at no extra cost. Please contact us for details. Please note there is no single accommodation at Kgotla camp or Tree Camp due to the nature of the camp

- Non-riders have the option to go on a cycling safari. A relaxed ride could cover 15- 25km on a morning ride, more advanced riders could cover up to 40km per day. The pace is generally easy going with regular game sightings, and a scenic picnic stop with an option to opt out of the ride at the mid-morning break if preferred.

- You may be on safari with Mountain Bike riders. However, the two groups separate each morning with their own guides and meet again in time for lunch and normally enjoy all afternoon activities together.

- Game drives in the Kgotla Area on the Tuli Safaris are included. Additional game Drive with Mashatu guides in the central area of the reserve are an additional $87 pp and are subject to availability.

- For this ride, there is a maximum rider weight of 85 kilos, 187 lbs, 13.3 st. If you weigh more than this, please contact us and we will advise on a case-by-case basis.

- Age restrictions: Children under 16 please enquire, strictly no under 12’s.
Please Note
The itinerary may be modified at anytime for security reasons, meteorological or events beyond our control such as blocked roads, rivers in flood, drought, strikes and local holidays. Equus Journeys, our local partners and their local guides will always strive to find the best solution and will alter the itinerary as needed.
The names of the hotels and accommodation are given for information only and depending on availability, they may be modified without notice and replaced by another of a similar standard.

Price includes

Support Team

1 English-speaking horse guide
1 backup guide

Logistics

2 cooks for 8 riders
1 horse equipped with saddle and bridle per rider
4 grooms for 8 riders
1 logistics manager

Accommodation

Canvas safari tent for 2 people with bedding

Meals

Full board from dinner on day 2 to brunch on day 9
All the drinks including wines and cocktails

Additional equipment

First aid kit

Extras

Afternoon activities: game drives, guided walks, sundowners

Price doesn't include

Meals

Meals during your days of travel

Transports

Light aircraft transfer or road transfer to the Tuli block, please see dates and prices
International flights bookable on request

Extras

Conservation fees (see "prices and dates")
Tips to the local team

Insurance

Visas and personal purchase
Cancellation and travel insurance are not included in the above listed price. Please note that insurance is mandatory. We recommend taking out an insurance policy as soon as your trip is booked to cover you in case of cancellation

Optional

Accommodation

Single room/tent supplement
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Equestrian info

Horses

There are 46 horses which have been carefully chosen from the various South African breeds which are well known for being of a tough nature and able to cope under extreme conditions, such as Boerperd, Shire x Thoroughbreds and Appaloosas. The horses are all beautifully schooled, well-mannered, responsive and a pleasure to ride.

You will be matched with a horse for the week, with the possibility to swap if you feel like this isn't the best match after the first day.

Guide & local team

You will be accompanied by two riding guides - a lead guide and a back-up guide - one of which will carry a rifle. The lead guides (West, Mpho or David) have been guiding for many years and are very knowledgeable and experienced.

Minimum riding ability

Minimum riding ability

You need to be a competent rider, capable and in control at all paces. You must be able to rise to the trot and gallop in a forward seat. Due to the presence of dangerous game it is important that you can stay on your horse if you need to react quickly and gallop out of danger. You may also be required to jump small obstacles such as branches dislodged by elephants (although it is often possible to go around these). There are some steep ascents and descents of the Limpopo river banks. Teenagers accompanied by adults are welcome from 16 years old, as long as they are competent riders.

Important: On the very first day, all riders will be asked to participate in a short riding assessment. Riders who do not make it through will be offered shorter rides daily from the main stables.

For this ride, there is a maximum rider weight of 85 kilos, 187 lbs, 13.3 st. If you weigh more than this, please contact us and we will advise on a case-by-case basis.

Pace

There are long periods of walking whilst viewing game, interspersed with long steady canters.

Tacking ability and participation

A team of grooms will feed, care for and saddle your horses. You can help with untacking if you wish, but this is not expected.

Trip conditions and Requested experience

You need to be physically fit for long hours in the saddle (c. 6 hours between dawn and lunch) in the African sun. The terrain is varied to include steep ascents/descents of the river bank and there may be holes or branches which you need to avoid.
Guests who do not ride regularly are requested to get fit prior to the ride. It is of particular importance to ensure you are comfortable and balanced when riding at speed across rough terrain and open spaces. If the guides feel that you are unsafe on horseback, then you will be offered non-riding activities instead.

Equestrian equipment

Water bottles are provided on all of the saddles. A small front saddle bag is also provided which is appropriate for small items such as suncream.

We recommend our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard and you should bring your own to ensure a proper fit. Helmets are mandatory on this safari.

Travel info

Comfort

Please note the accommodation differences between Tuli and Tuli 2 (pointed out in the itinerary).

Three nights at Two Mashatus camp : this camp is situated close to the Limpopo river. Four large walk-in tents are pitched on teak platforms with ensuite enviro-loo and hot shower. Each tent is private and positioned in the shade of a tree with a small deck area on which to relax during the afternoons. Traditionally built Lala palm rondavels serve as dining area and lounge. Small plunge pool available.

Two nights in Kgotla camp : the Kgotla is an old tribal court from a nearby community that was relocated to the banks of the Motloutse River on the western periphery of Mashatu. The boma is an open-air traditional African enclosure made up of leadwood logs. Guest sleeps on beds around a large log fire which blazes at the centre.

Two nights at Tree Camp: A unique camp built 4 meters above the ground, around the boughs of an ancient Mashatu tree and two lead wood trees. Overlooking the banks of the Majale River, this spot offers a spectacular panoramic view of the adjacent cliffs and flood plain opposite where Mashatu's legendary elephant herds roam. Five beautiful, spacious canvas roofed areas house four poster beds and classic antique furniture. There is a separate area for showers and toilets. There is a spacious dining and lounge area on the elevated platform for relaxing.

No Wi-Fi or mobile reception.
Tuli Safari offers a laundry service twice a week from either Tree Camp or Two Mashatus. There are no driers so in case of rain they cannot guarantee a 24h turnaround.

Meals

Breakfast is usually taken very early (before dawn) and is therefore light, consisting of cereals, fruit and rusks with tea or coffee.
Lunch is also light and may be quiche and salad or a variety of salads with cold meats.
High tea in the afternoon with a selection of drinks and freshly baked cakes.
Dinner is three courses. Wine is served with the meals and a selection of drinks are available.
Vegetarians and special diets can be catered for with advance notice.

Climate

The seasons are the reverse of the UK, with winter (June - Sept) being dry with no rain and clear skies. Daytime temperatures are pleasant and the nights are cool.
Summer (Nov - March) is hot and there is the chance of dramatic thunderstorms.

Tips

We recommend tipping c. GBP 10-15 per day which will be split between the entire team. If you go on a game drive then your guide will appreciate a small tip. You can tip in South African Rands, GBP and euros.

If you wish to tip your guide separately then you may do so.

Packing list

Specific Recommendations
Please note: in the case of a light aircraft transfer, remember that planes don't necessarily have a separate luggage compartment, and carry-on regulations may apply. The weight limit is 18 kg and 5 kg for your carry-on. Remember that safari camps provide shampoo and soap, as well as alcohol, so make sure to pack accordingly. Please remember soft bags only are accepted, hard-sided luggage will not be accepted on the plane. Luggage type and weight:
- Maximum luggage weight is 18 kg/35 lbs, 40 cm x 30 cm x 60 cm (Soft luggage/duffle with 1 flat side only, and no protruding wheels).
- Hand luggage is 5 kg/11 lbs (1 soft piece)
- You can also have your “ladies” handbag with you - but please limit the size and do not try to squash extra clothing/equipment inside them. The charter planes are much smaller than normal planes and thus have limited space.
- Power banks = only 1 per person and must be carried with you on your person and not be in any of your bags. This way any overheating Lithium ion batteries/powerbanks will be immediately identified and disposed of to avoid an inflight fire – this is a safety aspect.
- Riding helmets can be carried on the flight with you

Please limit the size of them and not try to squash extra clothing/equipment inside them. The charter planes are much smaller than normal planes and thus have limited space.
Should your luggage exceed these limitations, you will not be able to load it. Excess luggage remains the responsibility of the passenger.
The planes don't necessarily have a separate luggage compartments, and carry-on regulations may apply. Remember that safari camps provide shampoo and soap, as well as alcohol, so make sure to pack accordingly.
Liquid Restrictions:
Perfume- 50ml
Eau de Toilette – (250 ml)
Non-flammable and Non-alcoholic liquids – 500ml per container. A combined total of no more than 2l in checked bags.
Pocket knifes/Leatherman’s and other sharp objects:
These need to be packed into passengers checked bags and will not be allowed in carry-on bags.

- Please don't take a hard sided suitcase. Your luggage should be soft sided, particularly for light air transfers. See above.
- Wherever possible you should wear neutral colours, such as beige, brown or natural bush colours for riding as bright colours, such as red, yellow or white can startle the wildlife and they will see you long before you've seen them
- We recommend travelling in your riding boots and carrying your hat and some riding clothes in your hand luggage - then if your luggage goes astray you are still able to ride!
- Laundry service is provided

Head
- You will be required to wear a hard hat when riding and you should take your own to ensure a correct fit.
- Sunhat for when not riding
- Sunglasses - with a cord attached so they don't fly off when riding
- Buff or bandana

Upper body
- Long sleeved shirts provide protection from the sun and thorns
- T-shirts
- Fleece, jumper or jacket - the evenings can be cold, particularly June - August
- Waterproof jacket - the rains can be difficult to foresee and it's better to be prepared. Rain is more likely Oct-April
- Casual clothes for the evening

Legs
- Lightweight, comfortable riding trousers or jodhpurs - we recommend riding in them at home before taking them on holiday to ensure they don't rub
- Shorts for lazy lunchtimes
- Casual clothes for the evening

Hands and Feet
- Comfortable riding boots. We recommend short boots with half chaps but you may wish to take long chaps to protect against thorns. We don't recommend taking your favourite long leather boots in case they get damaged
- Sandals, flip-flops or trainers for moving around the lodge and camp
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun whilst riding

Nightwear

Other useful items
- Swimsuit - for plunge pools
- Binoculars for viewing game
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery
- Bumbag for carrying your camera and small items whilst riding
- Headtorch or small torch for moving around camp at night

In your luggage
- Any liquids, such as shampoo, moisturiser, deodorant unless they are less than 100ml and all bottles can fit in a small, clear, plastic ziplock bag. Some toiletries are provided by the camps so you can pack lighter.

In your hand luggage
- Any valuables, such as your camera, ipod, ipad etc.
- Your riding hat

Medical kit
- Sunscreen and lip balm - must be high factor
- Insect repellent, preferably containing deet
- Any medication you regularly take
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc...
- Spare prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Anti malarial tablets and Yellow Fever Certificate if required (check with your doctor)

Sustainable tourism

  1. Travel light. It's a little known fact, but the lighter you pack, the better for the environment as heavy bags will produce higher emissions (when flying a plane or driving a car!).
  2. Reduce plastic waste. Take your favorite reusable bottle with you. Avoid single-use bags, cups, or straws.
  3. Preserve nature. Always take your rubbish with you during the ride and recycle them. Leave all the flowers or plants as you found them, and never get too close when observing wildlife. Make sure to use eco-friendly products such as body wash or laundry detergent (if camping) to protect both your skin and the environment.
  4. Choose your experiences carefully. Respect animal life by not participating in any activities that abuse wild animals (shows, elephant rides, etc.).
  5. Support local populations. Buy local handicrafts, be respectful of customs, and learn about the culture of local communities.
  6. Share! Raise awareness among your family and friends about sustainable tourism.

For more information please see this page.

Did you know?

Did you know?


Mashatu Game Reserve

The Tuli Trail mobile safari takes place in the beautiful Mashatu Game reserve in south-eastern Botswana, where Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe converge.

The reserve is home to a large population of big cats, antelopes and especially elephants which you will hopefully see whilst riding with your experienced guide. The landscape is extraordinarily diverse with vast open plains, rocky hills, standstone ridges and marshland. Mashatu, the "Land of Giants", takes its name from the giant Mashatu trees and large herds of elephants - the reserve is home to the largest elephant population on a private reserve on the African continent.

The Mashatu reserve in Botswana is the perfect place to rediscover what life should be like: simple, beautiful and vast. Your mobile riding safari through the reserve is an extraordinary adventure: prepare to discover Africa at its finest!

On the blog

A riding safari in Africa is an unforgettable experience. Really, nothing quite compares to watching giraffe on horseback, race with a herd of zebra or coming face to face with elephant. Horseback safaris are amongst our most exciting riding holidays and we are pleased to have a fantastic selection of options to suit novice and experienced riders alike. We have written the following guide to help you select your safari based on what wildlife you want to see. See more on the blog. 

Customer reviews

Customer reviews

All of our reviews are real, honest opinions from riders who have recently travelled with us. Upon their return, our riders will receive an email inviting them to share their experiences from their trip. Good or bad, each review will be published on our website, provided that they respect our editorial guidelines.