A Botswana Riding safari with Macatoo

June 21st 2014  |  Botswana  |  by  Richard Smith
Group of horse riders through the Okavango Delta at sunset Botswana African Horseback Safaris

When John Spence rides into a herd of grumpy elephant, he’s very happy his alert horse seems already poised for a quick exit! I’d forgotten what a great experience it is to ride among Africa’s game. On my last trip to Botswana we got fairly close to some grumpy bull elephant. The horses were immediately alert but well behaved: you felt they completely sensed the situation so you could enjoy it without worrying about them bolting, but knew if you had to exit quickly they already had the motor running and gear engaged and were just waiting to slip the clutch.

Camping on a Botswana riding safari

I was riding out from Macatoo Camp, a lovely little vintage-style camp an hour’s flight out of Maun. Accommodation is in Meru-style ensuite tents with hot and cold showers, meals are taken in a simple, open canvas mess and there is a lovely pool and viewing deck. Macatoo specialises in riding safaris, taking up to 12 guests who invariably share an adventurous attitude to life, keen to combine their love of Africa with a passion for riding. Riding is organised around set departure dates, allowing a wonderful camaraderie to develop between the guests, while the friendly and confident staff seem to make sure everything works smoothly.

Botswana riding safari – why do it at the end of your safari?

For several reasons it’s best to do the riding element of a safari at the end of your trip. On horseback you don’t want to become part of the food chain, so it’s as well to have completed most of your predator sightings before you break out the saddle. It also has to be said that conventional game-drives can become something of an anti-climax after riding amongst Botswana’s prolific game. But if you’re a reasonably competent rider with a love for Africa, Macatoo Camp is highly recommended as a dramatic finale to a safari in Botswana.

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