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South Africa & Botswana
African Explorer safari riding in 2 countries

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from £1,793 or €2,100

Horse Riding Holidays South Africa & Botswana – African Explorer safari riding in 2 countries

The African Explorer ride has been personally vetted by the Zara’s Planet team (as have all our Horse Riding Holidays South Africa). We do test every ride to ensure that the quality of the horse riding, accommodation, food and scenery combine to provide only the best Horse Riding Holidays in South Africa for our clients.

Don’t forget our Horse Riding Holidays GUARANTEE. You won’t find any of our Horse Riding Holidays in South Africa at a lower price through any other source… and if you do we will refund the difference.

Here’s a lovely video of the African Explorer ride to give you a feel of what to expect. Enjoy!

PRICES & DATES top

African Explorer – Combining Big Game in South Africa and Botswana

PRICES 2017

Suitable for intermediate plus riders. During the Botswana section of the ride you are riding with big dangerous game and must be secure and confident in the saddle. Rates are quoted per person sharing.

(combining 4 nights at Camp Davidson and 3 nights in Botswana)

7 nights  – £1,793/€2,100/$2,195

Includes – All the riding, accommodation, meals, drinks & alcohol.

Excludes – Flights, transfers & tips.

DATES 2017

20-27 Jan, 27 Jan-3 Feb, 3-10 Feb, 10-17 Feb, 17-24 Feb, 24 Feb- 3 Mar, 3-10 Mar, 10-17 Mar, 17-24 Mar, 24-31 Mar, 31 Mar-7 Apr, 7-14 Apr, 14-21 Apr, 21-28 Apr, 28 Apr-5 May, 5-12 May, 12-19 May, 19-26 May, 26 May-2 Jun, 2-9 Jun, 9-16 Jun, 16-23 Jun, 23-30 Jun, 30 Jun-8 Jul, 7-14 Jul, 14-21 Jul, 21-28 Jul, 28 Jul-4 Aug, 4-11 Aug, 11-18 Aug, 18-25 Aug, 25 Aug-1 Sep, 1-8 Sep, 8-15 Sep, 15-22 Sep,22-29 Sep, 29 Sep-6 Oct, 13-20 Oct, 20-27 Oct, 27 Oct – 3 Nov, 3-10 Nov, 10-17 Nov, 17-24 Nov, 24 Nov – 1 Dec, 28 Nov- 5 Dec, 15-22 Dec, 19-26 Dec, 23-30 Dec

Getting There
International flight to Johannesburg.

Transfers
A 3-4 hour transfer from Johannesburg airport to your initial camp in South Africa. It is then a 4 hour private road transfer to Botswana on day 5. On your final day you will transfer from Botswana to Johannesburg airport by vehicle which takes approx. 3-4 hours. Group fixed time transfers please ask before booking.

  • Total transfer package – £288/€340/$350

We can arrange also arrange private transfers & charter flights for some parts if you wish.

Note: Rates are subject to daily exchange rate fluctuations, please refer to our Terms & Conditions for full details.

All our horse riding holidays hold a price guarantee. We believe in your piece of mind on price when you book one of our horse riding holidays and will refund the difference should you find the same horse riding holiday elsewhere at a lower price.

SUMMARY OF THE TRIP top

This is a very exciting and we think affordable safari ride. It combines four nights at Camp Davidson luxury bushcamp in South Africa built high in the bushveld above the Matlapeng Valley followed by three nights at Limpopo Valley in Botswana where you’ll encounter loads of big game. A fantastic combination enabling you to explore the central highlands of the Waterberg massif before moving onto the vast Mashatu Game Reserve in the Tuli Block.

You should be a fit adventurous rider for this safari as there is plenty of long canters and long days in the saddle.

In South Africa you’ll encounter plains games plus hopefully some hippo and then moving on to Botswana you are in big game country and with any luck it will be teeming with herds of Elephant as well as lion, cheetah, leopard, African wild dog, a multitude of plains game like zebra, wildebeest and giraffe as well as over 350 species of birds. It is an area of great diversity, magnificent vistas, ancient civilisations and dramatic rock formations bordered by the Great Limpopo River in the South.

Camp Davidson has been built high in the bushveld above the Matlapeng valley. It offers the opportunity to explore from a base camp nestled in the heart of the wooded mountains of the Waterberg. The camp commands a wonderful panoramic view of the central highlands of the Waterberg massif, while overlooking the picturesque Sunset Lake at the eastern boundary of Horizons Safari Ranch.

In the late 19th century, Ted Davidson, one of the first members of the Baber family (owners of Triple B Ranch) to settle in the Waterberg, was a young man trading with an ox wagon to remote cattle outposts of a young ranching area. A good day’s travelling may have been only five miles or so by rugged track and so an itinerant life in the Waterberg meant a life by the campfire. Horizon has captured the early camp atmosphere through beautiful decked canvas tents nestled amongst the sandstone ridges overlooking grassy game filled valleys. Each tent is appointed as it would be in Ted’s day with items that would have been essential to the traveller accustomed to regular nights in the bush. In the Tuli Block, the area you will be riding in is named the “Land of the Giants” for its baobab studded plains and large herds of elephant.

THE RIDING top

Horses – Anglo-Arabs, Thoroughbreds, Boerperds and cross breeds

Level of Riding & Pace – Intermediate to Advanced.

Tack – English style with South African McClellan saddles and some English saddles.

Weight Restriction – 16 stone / 102 kg / 224 lbs.

Group Size – Maximum 8

ACCOMMODATION top

Camp Davidson (1st camp on African Explorer Safari)
Stay in decked canvas tents nestled amongst the sandstone ridges overlooking grassy valleys. Each tent is appointed as it would have been in Ted’s day with classic items that would have been essential to the traveller accustomed to regular nights in the bush. The A-frame tents have beds, sheets and duvets. Each tent also has an ensuite bathroom area with bucket showers. There are jug and basin hand wash facilities and flushing toilets.

The food in both accommodations is wonderful, beautifully home cooked, locally sourced and using fresh ingredients – expect good quality meat and fresh salads, with afternoon tea and freshly baked cakes. Vegetarians and people with dietary requirements are easily catered for here due to their high personal care.

Two Mashatu – Botswana (2nd half of African Explorer)
Nestled in the shade of a centurion Mashatu tree, two traditionally built Lala palm rondavels serve as dining area and lounge. Accommodation is in big, ‘A’ frame walk-in tents pitched on teak platforms, with en-suite enviro loo and hot water 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. A new pool has recently been added, perfect for cooling off in after a hard days riding!

We have travelled the world testing a huge variety of horse riding holidays to make sure we offer you, our client, the best horse riding holiday experience possible.

Our horse riding holidays are thoroughly researched – we consider all the elements that go towards making our horse riding holidays collection the best in the world. We check the quality of the horses, if they are fit for the job, well produced and looked after. We make sure the riding terrain is good going, the countryside is interesting and, for example, on Classic Dressage horse riding holidays, the arenas are in good condition. We make sure the accommodation, whether it’s a five star hotel, a farmhouse or camping, is clean and comfortable, and offers a great night’s sleep. The food is all important too – we take the time to make sure we tell you if it’s cordon bleu, home cooked, or regional and locally sourced – above all it has to be delicious, plentiful and nourishing. Last but not least, we choose the horse riding holidays that have the best hosts, who are friendly, warm and welcoming.

It’s only when all these elements come together that we add a horse riding holiday into our hand-picked collection of horse riding holidays.

Horse Riding Holidays at the Horizons Ranch are part of the Zara’s Planet collection of Horse Riding Holidays South Africa.

Please Ask About

  • Cape Town add-on – it’s easy to fly down from Johannesburg to spend a few days sight seeing, Table Mountain, V&A Waterfront, Robyn Island and staying in a wonderful hotel or driving along the wine route staying at some glorious wineries, before taking a direct flight home
  • Victoria Falls add-on – again, very easy to fly to Victoria Falls and visit for a day or two, take a boat or helicopter trip and afterwards head into Botswana and the Okavango Delta, time permitting or travel home

SAMPLE ITINERARY top

Example African Explorer 7 night Safari Itinerary

DAY 1

You will be met at Johannesburg International Airport and transferred to Camp Davidson, 3 hours. If arranging your own flights you should arrive in Johannesburg by 09:00 at the latest. Arrive at Camp Davidson in time to explore the beautiful surroundings and to meet your guides and the rest of your group before enjoying a late lunch. That afternoon you will be introduced to your safari horse. You are matched with a horse to suit your ability and experience before heading off on your first ride. On route through the Matlapeng reserve, the ride will take a sundowner break at the Red Lake, where you are likely to encounter the pod of resident hippo, before climbing the ridge back to Camp Davidson.

DAY 2

A day of exploration in the reserve spent tracking herds of giraffe, zebra, eland, wildebeest, kudu and impala. The terrain lends itself to straying off the trails as your horse leads you along game trails and narrow kloofs. A saddlebag lunch is served at the riverside along a long abandoned wagon route used by the pioneers to congregate for church each Sunday. Rest in the shade of the riverine forest during the heat of the day or take a dip in the clear flowing streams whilst the horses graze, before gradually meandering back through the plains in the fading afternoon light.

DAY 3

A full day’s ride west of camp takes you around Bellevue on the southern end of the reserve and on to the historic Baber homestead for lunch by the poolside. This afternoon, visit the local Sotho village and perhaps have a tour of some of the traditional houses. Meet with the local characters like Martha Mosima and a group of village lady elders for afternoon tea, accompanied by traditional singing and dancing. After a day of riding, culture and history you return to the tranquillity of the Camp Davidson where dinner is served under the stars.

DAY 4

An early departure from camp today, for a game drive at a nearby Big Five private game reserve. Here there is a chance to see rhino, lion, elephant, buffalo and leopard. On the way back to camp, visit ‘Beadle’, a craft workshop at Horizon which has been a community upliftment project since 1998. The crafters specialise in beautiful handmade beadwork and leather products including riding chaps. Lunch will be served by the pool at Horizon lodge, before heading back to camp for a sundowner ride across the game reserve.

DAY 5

Today break camp early and mount for a last ride through the reserve, soaking up the early morning sights and sounds of the African bush en route to Horizon lodge. Depart from the lodge at around 7.30am and are transferred to Limpopo Horse Safaris in the remote north eastern corner of Botswana (a journey of c.4 - 4 ½ hours). Cross the Limpopo River and into the Tuli block, before arriving at the stables. An introductory afternoon ride will familiarize riders with their horses for this leg of the safari. Arrive at Two Mashatus camp in time to freshen up before supper.

DAY 6

An early wake-up call with tea or coffee brought to your tent, followed by breakfast around the campfire. Make an early start each day to enjoy the freshness of the morning and maximise game-viewing opportunities in the hours when wildlife is most active. Undoubtedly you will come across the large herds of elephant for which the Tuli is renowned, as well as many different species of antelope; also giraffe, zebra, bat-eared fox, jackal, hyena. If you are lucky, you may even spot lion, leopard, wild dog or cheetah. Later ride along the Limpopo River, enjoy the rich birdlife, look for crocodile in the pools and learn about the magnificent trees lining the banks. Alternatively, you have the option of a game drive, game walk or visiting the local village. In the village of Mothabaneng, see the ladies make baskets and visit some bushman paintings.

DAY 7

Ride out today following the movements of wildlife in the area and observing and interpreting the world around us. The tempo of the rides is always varied and depending on the terrain, there are opportunities to enjoy the spirit and fitness of the horses at a faster pace.

DAY 8

The last day of your African Explorer adventure begins early with a final morning ride before arriving back at the stables in time for brunch. After saying farewell to your horses there is time for a refreshing shower and change before brunch. You will then begin the transfer back to Johannesburg International via Pontdrift border post, 5 hours.

DESTINATION MAP top

Zara’s Planet Horse Riding Holidays Guarantee:

All our horse riding holidays hold a price guarantee. We believe in your piece of mind on price when you book one of our horse riding holidays and will refund the difference should you find the same horse riding holiday elsewhere at a lower price.

If you are having trouble finding exactly the right horse riding holiday for you from our horse riding holidays collection, please contact us directly using the form below and tell us in your own words what you would like to do and we will use our extensive knowledge to make sure we find that perfect horse riding holiday.

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Also, if the above Holiday describes few different options for your Horse Riding Holiday in the area - please add a note on which choice you are referring to. Thank you.


Current Weather Around Botswana
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Botswana Holidays Testimonials

Lucy Higginson on Limpopo Safaris, Botswana

With a 30 plus strong herd of horses, Louise manages and schools them all beautifully. Apart from the odd compulsive water rollers, they were the best mannered horses I have met in a riding safari.

Lucy Higginson Editor, Horse & Hound Magazine