Wild dogs at Macatoo Camp, Botswana
Zimbabwe / Botswana

From Hwange to the Okavango Delta

A unique riding safari with four nights in Zimbabwe and three nights in Botswana. You start your adventure in Hwange National Park, the largest reserve in Zimbabwe and one of the country's prime location for wildlife watching. This itinerant safari is your chance to spot all of the Big Five, and especially the large herds of elephants for which Hwange is known. After four nights in comfortable fly camps, you will head to Botswana and the Okavango Delta. You are staying at Macatoo, one of the ultimate horseback safari camps in the Delta, enjoying the quiet luxury of this permanent camp.
Book now Print the details for this ride
Horseback Safari
10 days (6.5 days riding)
From £5,030
  • Riders after elephants in the Okavango, Botswana
    The Okavango is one of Africa's prime safari locations
  • Riding out from camp in Hwange, Zimbabwe
    Enjoy a mobile safari in Zimbabwe
  • Elephant in the Okavango Delta, Botswana
    Discover the wildlife of the Okavango Delta
  • Riding with giraffe in Hwange in Zimbabwe
    Ride with wildlife in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
  • Riders in the floodplains of the Okavango Delta
    Explore the Okavango Delta on horseback
  • Riders in Hwange at sun set
    Enjoy a safari in the purest African tradition
  • Okavango riding safari in Botswana
    An exciting safari from Zimbabwe to Botswana
  • Horseback riding in Hwange, Zimbabwe
    Explore the African bush on horseback
  • Elephants and horseback riders in Hwange, Zimbabwe
    Hwange is known for its big game, including elephants.

Itinerary

Highlights

- Discover two of Africa's best wildlife watching locations: Hwange national park and the Okavango Delta.
- Experience the only fully mobile safari in a Big Five reserve in Zimbabwe, for a true taste of wilderness, before enjoying the luxury of Macatoo camp.
- An exclusive itinerary specifically designed by Equus Journeys and our partners Cheval d'Aventure in France
  • Day 1 1 : EUROPE - JOHANNESBURG - VICTORIA FALLS

    Fly to Victoria Falls (overnight flight from Europe). Flights are not included in our rates but can be booked upon request. You will likely require a connection in Johannesburg: please note that your transfer on Day 2 is scheduled for 14:30. We recommend flights arriving before 13:00.

    Johannesburg is a big, busy airport, and we recommend you allow enough time for your connection to Vic Falls (usually 2h30-3h is recommended).
  • Day 2 2 : VICTORIA FALLS - HWANGE MAIN CAMP - 2 hours riding

    Hwange mobile camp
    Arrive in Victoria Falls for your transfer scheduled for 14:30. You will arrive at Hwange Main camp at around 16:00, just in time for afternoon tea! This is followed by an important safety briefing before you get in the saddle for your first introduction ride, to make sure you are comfortable with your horse and tack.

    You will be back in camp in time for sundowners and a shower. Dinner is a delicious 3 course meal paired with lovely wines, surrounded by the night sounds of the African wilderness - the distant yowl of the jackal, the grunt of a leopard... The bush is never quiet in Africa!

    Overnight at camp.
  • Day 3 3 : HWANGE RIDING SAFARI - 5-6 hours riding

    Hwange mobile camp
    An early morning wake up call with a light breakfast around the morning campfire. Being part of the Kalahari Desert system, the temperatures at Hwange can drop quite low during the nights and early morning during the winter (May - August).

    After breakfast, you will set out for your first full-day riding safari in Hwange National Park. Ride off into the wilderness to explore the area around Caterpillar camp. There are no set routes or paths, which gives riders the luxury to explore an area seldom market by hoof beats and to be truly in tune with nature: you will ride according to the weather and wildlife movements. Every day is an adventure! This morning, you can expect 3-4 hours in the saddle, perhaps following ancient elephant trails that wind their way through the bush. As you ride along, your guide James will tell you about the intricacies of the wild African Bush: how every blade of grass, lead, root and tree have an important part to play in the delicate Circle of Life.

    Back to camp for a lunch and siesta. After high tea, you meet the horses again for an afternoon ride.

    Dinner after the stars and night at camp.
  • Day 4 4 : HWANGE RIDING SAFARI - 5-6 hours riding

    Hwange mobile camp
    Today you will ride out the entire day, taking a packed lunch so as not to disturb your pioneering explorations while the back-up staff prepare your camp in an exciting new location. Once again, there is no set route - you will ride according to local conditions. You never know what adventures wait around the corner.

    As you arrive at your new camp in the late afternoon, the horses are unsaddled, fed and watered to enjoy a well-deserved rest. You too get to enjoy a hot shower and cold sundowners as the sun dips below the horizon. African sunsets are truly glorious - it is an experience that will stay with you forever.

    Another sumptuous 3 course dinner awaits as you dine under the stars.
    Night at camp.
  • Day 5 5 : HWANGE RIDING SAFARI - 5-6 hours riding

    Hwange mobile camp
    Rise and shine! It is time to explore this new area after the morning bush routine of tea and a light breakfast around the campfire. The Umkawazaan part of the Somalisa Concession is your playground today. You will explore numerous waterhole areas where wildlife abunds, and the extensive Acacia woodlands in search of the game.

    Dinner and overnight at camp.
  • Day 6 6 : HWANGE - VIC FALLS - OKAVANGO - 1.5 hours riding

    MACATOO CAMP
    Morning road transfer to Vic Falls, then Kasane. From Kasane, you will take a charter flight to the Okavango Delta - a fascinating flight of around 45 minutes.

    Important: lunch this day is not included and to your own account.

    On landing at Cement airstrip it is a short game drive or boat ride (depending on water levels) into camp which is situated on the edge of a seasonal flood plain. There should be time for a quick safari a sunset. You return to camp for a hot shower and candle-lit safari dinner.
  • Day 7 7 : OKAVANGO - 5-6 hours riding

    MACATOO CAMP
    You will be woken before dawn with a cup of tea or coffee in bed. After a light breakfast of toast and muesli you will set out on your first full mornings ride. Depending on the season this may involve some long canters, swimming through the flood waters or pushing-on through seas of tall grass following giraffe, zebra, antelope, elephant, buffalo or whatever's out there. After approximately four hours you head back to camp for lunch with the guides and there's usually some wine to encourage a little siesta through the midday heat. The evening ride is deliberately slower-paced and it's a good opportunity to ask questions and take photographs. Leopard sightings are not infrequent, the bird-life is some of the best in the world and towards sunset there is often elephant or hippo interaction to observe. A sun downer can be enjoyed out in the bush before riding back to camp to freshen up. There's no guarantee that dinner is always eaten in the same place...

  • Day 8 8 : OKAVANGO DELTA - 5-6 hours riding

    MACATOO CAMP
    Last full safari day.

    Wake up as normal with freshly-brewed coffee or tea and depending on your wishes, either ride out again, perhaps to find the rare semi-aquatic antelope, the red lechwe, or join one of the guided walks, game drives or perhaps a spot of fishing for bream from the boat? The riders and non-riders will meet up for a champagne breakfast under one of the large baobab trees. After lunch take the opportunity to relax and either swim in the pool, read a book or watch the wildlife from your verandah. Homemade tea and cake is followed by the sunset ride, exploring the lower flood plains where elephant often gather at a pool. As dusk closes in, it is fascinating to watch them interact and being on horseback brings you that much closer.

  • Day 9 9 : OKAVANGO - MAUN - JOHANNESBURG

    Time allowing, for your final ride head along some of the high palm islands which offer great sweeping views of the Delta plains. Maybe take a final exhilarating gallop and run with the game before returning to camp for brunch and a quick shower.

    You are transferred by light aircraft back to Maun in time for your flight. You will need the afternoon flight from Maun to Johannesburg which departs at c. 2pm. You will then require a flight back which departs in the evening, at c. 8pm.
  • Day 10 10 : Europe

    You should arrive back home in Europe before midday.

Dates & prices

Price details

- Flights are not included but we can assist with this on request. You need a flight arriving into Victoria Falls and departing from Maun.

- Rates are per person based on two riders sharing a tent. The single supplement on this exclusive riding safari is 50% of the nightly rate - not invoiced if you are willing to share.

- Transfers from Vic Falls to Hwange, and from Macatoo to Maun, are included.

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

- Extra fees payable locally in Zimbabwe, in cash: $40 park fees and $92 camping fees (subject to change without notice)

- Riders must be 14 year old or older, as long as they are proficient riders.

- Rider weight limit: 90 kg. Heavier riders please contact us.
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 safari guide and back up guide
Groom(s) to help look after the horses

Logistics

1 cook

Inland transport

Airport transfers from Victoria Falls airport and Cement strip as per the itinerary
Light aircraft transfer from Kasane to Cement strip and Cement strip to Maun

Accommodation

4 nights mobile camp (Hwange)
3 nights luxury camp at Macatoo

Meals

Full board from dinner on day 2 to breakfast on day 9, including beverages, expect from lunch in Victoria Falls on Day 6

Price doesn't include

Meals

Lunch on D6 and meals during your travelling days

Transport

Visa fees in Zimbabwe
International flights

Extras

Tips to the local team
Camping and park fees - see dates and prices

Insurance

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 tent supplement
  • May - June 2020

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    20/05/2020 29/05/2020 £5,030 Guaranteed departure Book now

Equestrian info

Horses

In Hwange: A large herd of mostly homebred horses, all accustomed to riding in areas of wild animals and chosen or bred with horseback safaris in mind. Breeds include Boerperd, Shire crosses, TB crosses, and Friesian crosses. They are especially selected for their good temperaments and all are well schooled. They range in height from 15hh to 16,3hh. The team use natural horsemanship methods to start all their horses.

In Botswana: There is a stable of 50-60 horses available, ranging from Thoroughbreds, Namibian Warmbloods, Arabs and Kalahari-Arab crosses to include even a couple of Percheron. The horses are on average 14 - 16.2 hands (140 - 165cm) and all are forward going and sensible around the game. There is a horse to suit everyone, with gentle mounts for those who wish to relax and more spirited horses for guests who prefer a more exciting ride.

IMPORTANT: Riders over 90kg must contact us before booking.

Minimum riding ability

Minimum riding ability

You must be a competent rider, capable and in control in all paces. 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).

Pace

You will experience all three paces throughout your trip. All observations are done at a walking pace - there will be no galloping around/ with the wildlife. The terrain is flat and open, ideally suited for a riding safari.

At Macatoo, the day is divided into two rides out. The morning rides can be fast and exhilarating. You usually ride out at dawn when the game is most active, riding for c. 4 hours before returning to camp for lunch. There are plenty of opportunities for long canters on the dry islands or across the flood plains. When water levels are deep it may also be possible to swim the horses across some channels.
The afternoon rides are shorter, c. 2 hours, and slower. You may walk and trot, but not canter. This is the time to take your camera and appreciate the sights and sounds of the bush - the afternoon light is beautiful.

Tacking ability and participation

An English-speaking staff take care of all of the horses' and camp needs.

Trip conditions and Requested experience

Riders must be in good physical condition and previous experience of a trail ride over several days is a considerable plus. It is of particular importance to ensure you are comfortable and balanced when riding at speed across rough terrain and open spaces. Riders who do not ride regularly should get riding fit before the trip departure.

Riders are accompanied by a lead guide and back-up guide at all times, one of whom will carry a rifle.

Equestrian equipment

Tack in Zimbabwe is of excellent quality and include a range of saddles from English leather to Australian stock saddles and Leon Liversage Trailmaster. Most horses are ridden in a snaffle.

In the Delta, due to the deep water at certain times of year, the saddles are usually synthetic Wintec English style saddles. There are also one or two South African Trail saddles for those that request them.

Riding helmets are mandatory in Zimbabwe. We recommend our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard and you should bring your own to ensure a proper fit.

Small saddlebags are provided.

Travel info

Comfort

Accommodation in Hwange is provided in traditional safari tents. The first four nights of this riding safari are spent in a fully mobile camp, moved according to the game movement. Safari tents with camp beds and mattresses. Full bedding is provided. A shower tent (hot bucket shower) and toilet tent will be set up and are shared between guests. There is no electricity at camp, please make sure to bring spare batteries or portable solar charger. As Hwange is home to a healthy lion population, security is provided by a working electric fence surrounding camp at night.

Macatoo camp features large, walk-in, twin bedded tents, each with their own en-suite shower and loo. Centrally there is a large furnished mess tent and a plunge pool. There is a daily laundry service although for hygiene reasons they do not wash underwear - washing powder will be provided in your room for this purpose.

Wi-Fi is not available and mobile coverage is more than limited throughout the ride.

Meals

Breakfast includes eggs, bacon, toast and sausage.
Lunch includes cold meat, salad, tomato, cucumber and cheese.
Dinner will consist of meat, vegetables and rice/potato/pasta. Three course meal in Botswana.

All drinks are included in your package including soft drinks, gin, vodka, scotch, local beers and South African wines. Premium or imported drinks are not included.

Vegetarians and special diets can be catered for with advance notice.


Climate

November and December:
The summer months are warmer and wetter with continuous rains or thunderstorms in the afternoon ending before the safari starts. Mosquitoes and other insects are also more present during this time of the year compared to the winter months of June, July and August (seasons are in reverse in the Southern Hemisphere).

From January to March:
These months are normally drier with very hot days. Mosquitoes and other insects are more present at this time of the year than in the winter months.

April:
The vegetation begins to change, the green bush becomes sparse and brown during this period of autumn. Temperatures drop during the night but it is still warm during the day with possible thunderstorms in the afternoon.

May to June:
Temperatures are low during the night and early in the morning during the winter months. The vegetation becomes brown and the trees lose their leaves. Visibility is increased by sparse vegetation.

From July to September:
This period is very dry in the bush, with very cold nights, it is also cool during the morning and late afternoon excursions.

From October to November:
Spring is the peak of the dry season with warm winds and sparse vegetation. The first rains arrive at the end of the month

Guide and local team

Zimbabwe - James Varden has been guiding safaris for over 25 years. James is renowned for his incredible knowledge of Africa (he travelled extensively through the continent) and the local wildlife, with a particular love for birds! Each safari is led of James and supported by a back-up guide. First aid kit and satellite phones are carried at all times.

Macatoo - Your horse guide will be either Bongwe, Thabo, John or Bernard. All are experienced guides and riders. There will always be at least one back-up rider with the group and at least one guide will carry a rifle.

Tips

We recommend tipping c. 10-15 USD per day which will be split between all of the camp staff. If you wish to tip your guide seperately then you may do so.

Packing list

When you go on a horseback safari, it is best to wear clothes of a neutral colour (green, brown, beige or grey) that will blend in to the countryside. Please note that this list is a recommendation only and should be adapted depending on the season. If in doubt, please contact your adviser.

PLEASE NOTE: there is a luggage limit of 20kg on the light aircraft which includes your hand luggage. Your luggage MUST be in soft-sided bags which will squash into the small compartments on the plane. Macatoo do laundry and supply some toiletries so this should enable you to pack light. Additional bags can be stored, by arrangement, at the office in Maun.

Head
- A riding helmet is mandatory and you must take your own. Helmet makers (GPA, HKM, LAS Helmets, Lamicell, Troxel, Equithème) now offer horse-riding helmets that are ventilated, strong, light and comfortable. You also have the option of buying protective shells to go under your hats (Ranch & Rider, Lexington Safety Products) or western hat helmets (Troxel).
- Sunhat for lunch break and game drives
- Sunglasses - with a cord attached so they don't fly off when riding
- Buff or bandana for protecting your neck and face from the sun, wind or rain

Upper body
- Polo shirts or long-sleeved shirts (to protect against the sun)
- 1 or 2 long-sleeved shirts for the evening
- 1 lightweight fleece or jumper (from September to June)
- 1 warm fleece or jumper (from May to September during the winter)
- 1 lightweight or warm waterproof jacket (depending on the season). It is always a good idea to wear a coat with a multitude of pockets to keep your cameras, snacks, other items in.

Legs
- 2 pairs of lightweight, comfortable riding trousers or jodhpurs in cotton with either mini or long chaps in leather or other synthetic materials - this will help to protect you against the long vegetation. We recommend riding in them at home before taking them on holiday to ensure they don't rub
- Casual clothes for the evenings (jeans or walking trousers)
- Non-irritant cotton or synthetic underwear

Hands and Feet
- Comfortable riding boots. We recommend short boots with half. We don't recommend taking your favourite leather boots in case they get damaged
- Lightweight shoes or trainers for the evenings
- Several pairs of warm socks
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun, wind or rain whilst riding

Our Recommendations
- Backpacks cannot be worn whilst riding. We recommend a small bumbag or a coat with pockets so that you can carry small items with you during the day (camera - see below, lip balm etc)
- For your cameras, we strongly recommend keeping them in a dust-proof pouch, that can be attached to you whilst riding. It should be easily accessible and not take more than 2 seconds to take out of the pouch. Keeping your camera in your saddle bag is not ideal as by the time you have extracted the camera, you can be sure that whatever you wanted to take a picture of will have moved away!
- Sunscreen can be carried in saddlebags
- A soothing cream may be useful to treat areas irritated by long hours in the saddle

Photos & Extras
- We recommend bringing a camera with a zoom capacity of 200 or 300 mm to take photos of the animals on the plains and large panorama images of the countryside
- Bring a change of batteries. We recommend you bring a change of batteries and multiple memory cards
- A pair of binoculars can come in handy
- Before taking a photo of a person, you must always ask permission of the people concerned. You must consider the feelings/ opinions/ respect due to the possible subjects of your photos
- Throughout the world, and particularly in Africa, it is forbidden to take photos on or of administrative or military installations

Other useful items
- Travel bag 70-100 litres (hold luggage)
- Travel bag 25-30 litres (cabin bag)
- Water bottle (1.5 litres or 2 equivalent)
- Headtorch or small torch for moving around at night - bring spare batteries and bulbs
- Toiletries
- Swiss army knife or equivalent (in checked-in luggage!!)
- Small plastic bags for your rubbish
- Ear plugs (may be useful)

Medical kit
Make sure any allergies (to medication or otherwise) and clearly stated in your medical kit
- Any medication you regularly take
- Anti-malaria pills
- Painkillers
- Imodium or similar anti-diarrhea medication
- Vitamin C tablets
- Sunscreen and lip balm - should be high factor
- Insect repellent
- Eye drops
- Hydrating/ soothing cream
- Plasters
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc..
- 10cm wide bandage
- Spare prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Re-hydration sachets
- Antiseptic wipes
- Handwash gel

In your hold luggage
- Any liquids, such as shampoo, moisturiser, deodorant over 100 ml and all bottles can be decanted into small, clear, plastic Ziplock bags. We recommend biodegradable washing products where possible.
- We recommend taking a copy of your passport and insurance documents with you in case you lose your originals
- In your hand luggage carry any valuables, such as your camera, ipod, ipad etc.
- If you wish to travel 'light' and wash your clothes throughout the ride, please bring with you laundry detergent that is biodegradable
- All waste that could be considered toxic (batteries, aerosols, batteries, empty cream tubes, film) needs to be kept with you and transported back to the UK, where recycling is done well and efficiently. Avoid, wherever possible, to bring with you unnecessary packaging

Visa & Health

Formalities

You’ll need a visa to visit Zimbabwe. You can get a visa from the Zimbabwean Embassy in London or on arrival in Zimbabwe. Most tourists use the visa on arrival service; take enough cash with you in small notes to pay for your visa at the airport. You can also apply for a visa online before travel. Make sure you travel with the correct documentation otherwise you risk arrest and deportation.

Visitors are currently being given entry permission for anything up to 90 days but you should check that the number of days given at the port of entry covers your intended period of stay. You can apply to have this period renewed and extended if required. It’s illegal to give a false statement in support of a visa.

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of six months and have three blank pages left in it to enable you to enter Zimbabwe and exit via one of the neighbouring countries, if leaving at short notice becomes necessary.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION RE: TRAVELLING WITH CHILDREN
From 1st June 2015, South Africa have introduced tough rulings for anyone travelling with children, including passengers transitting South Africa to another destination.
- Two parents travelling with children will need to show the childs Unabridged Birth Certificate (UBC)
- One parent travelling with a child will need to show the UBC plus either: a Parental Consent Affidavit (PAC) from the parent not travelling OR a letter of special circumstance.
- Widowed parents will need to show the UBC and a death certificate for the deceased parent
- Children travelling with family friends will need a UBC, PCA, copies of the parents passports and contact details for the parents.
For more information click this link: http://www.africa-adventure.net/downloads/SummaryImmigrationMinors.pdf

Contact South African Immigration for what is required for other circumstances.

Source and more information: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/zimbabwe/entry-requirements

Addresses of consulates

  • Ambassade du Zimbabwe en France
    10 Rue Jacques Bingen
    75017 Paris
    Tél. : 01 56 88 16 00
    Fax :

Health

Visit your health professional at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures.

• Courses or boosters usually advised: Hepatitis A; Tetanus.
• Other vaccines to consider: Diphtheria; Hepatitis B; Rabies; Typhoid.
• Selectively advised vaccines - only for those individuals at highest risk: Cholera.
• Yellow fever vaccination certificate required for travellers over 9 months of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited more than 12 hours through the airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Malaria is present throughout the country. You should consider anti-malarial medication, especially if travelling through humid regions (Lake Kariba, Zambeze valley including Victoria Falls).
Schistosomiasis is another health risk in Zimbabwe. It is a parasitic infection (also known as bilharzia) that is transmitted to humans through contact with fresh water. The parasite enters humans through the skin and prevention is dependant on avoidance of swimming, bathing or paddling in fresh water lakes and streams. Avoid walking barefoot and do not drink tap water.
Following an outbreak first reported in October 2017, there are continuing reports of typhoid fever in a number of areas. You should follow the advice of the National Travel Health Network and Centre

Source and for more information: https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations/africa/zimbabwe

Insurance

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.

Voltage

In Zimbabwe the standard voltage is 220 V and the frequency is 50 Hz.

Budget and money

The official local currency in Zimbabwe changed in February 2019 and is now the “RTGS Dollar”. Several other currencies remain legal tender including the US Dollar. You should check before making a transaction whether the price quoted is in RTGS or US dollars as the symbol for both is $, and it is recommended to check exchange rates prior to any transaction. The price in USD cash may be different to USD card.

Financial transactions are mainly conducted in US dollars. Zimbabwe is currently experiencing a severe shortage of cash. It’s not currently possible to make cash withdrawals with an international bank card. Credit and debit cards are increasingly being used for transactions, although a growing number of imported items such as fuel will require US dollars in cash. Notes of $100 are rarely accepted and you should make sure to bring to bring small notes.



Source: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/zimbabwe/money

Telephone and jetlag

GMT/UTC + 2h
Phone code: + 263