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Posted on November 7, 2013
We love to get feedback from our clients and it really made our day to read the following letter sent to us from Debbie Gee after a trip to Limpopo Lodge Safari…
I have just returned from a wonderful week with Limpopo Lodge Safari situated on Mashutu Nature Reserve – it exceeded my expectations in so many different ways. This was my first time in Africa and my first riding holiday and, as a 50 plus year old woman travelling alone, I spent a long time researching which horse safari ride would be the best for me. Along with advice and information from In the Saddle and from reading the website and newsletters, as well as the feedback from previous guests, Limpopo felt like the right one.
I thought I needed a bit of luxury so I decided to book the Lodge ride rather than the Tuli Trail; subsequently I travelled out to Botswana at the end of June for the 7 night Lodge ride. Previous feedback and comments from guests about the fabulous, fit, well schooled, contented horses was all spot on; what a joy to ride good mannered, uncomplicated and willing horses who are as happy going away from the others as they are to be in very close proximity to each other when this was required.
Good quality, well-maintained tack and a really comfortable English saddle were provided. I rode Dennis, a 15.2 hh thoroughbred cross who was a treat to ride. The other 5 guest on the safari were expertly matched to their horses; by chance they were all bay coloured and we nicknamed ourselves ‘The Bay Team’!
The riding was a mix of walking and slow and fast cantering over a variety of different terrain and often not in a straight line! The horses were very sure footed; the extensive schooling they receive provides them with excellent balance and fitness; all required when travelling at a fast pace around bushes and logs. I don’t jump so I took (bad!) photos of the others when we came across a good jumping log – those who did jump had a great time; their horses really enjoyed this activity.
We had fantastic wildlife sightings; many elephants, zebra, giraffe, wart hog, impala, wildebeest, Elan, vultures, eagles, birds, Kudu, ostrich, dassie, mongoose, jackal, hyena, lioness and cubs, leopard (3 times) and much more.
The game drives in the evening gave us the opportunity to see the wildlife that we were unable to see on horse back, such as the leopard and lioness with cubs, these cats were all very used to vehicles and didn’t seem to even notice them.
Sundowner gin and tonics along with home cooked crisps and popcorn in wonderful sunset locations will be remembered for a long time, especially the evening when a fellow guest made the drinks and gave us a triple measure. We all got a bit tipsy and giggled our way back to the lodge where the wine with dinner ensured the laughter continued!
The days were full but not tiring, West was our guide, our protector, our font of knowledge on wildlife, stars and Botswana history and our host from breakfast to bedtime. He even brought a cup of tea to the room door each morning with a ‘knock, knock – cup of tea, good morning’. My alarm clock is now a poor substitute!
Tsaone was our back up guide and was constantly vigilant – always looking around for game or watching the guests and horses to see they were all right. He did spend a lot of time getting on and off his horse because we had unintentionally left saddle bags open and consequently water bottles and camera cases fell out during the canters – or in my case sunglasses and lead ropes! He is a rising star, I think.
Kate (volunteer) joined the rides for the first few days on the sweet natured Bruce, then went back to the stables to teach at the school – it was sad to say goodbye to her but she did join us for the last few days; we were fortunate to have her back and hear more of her funny stories and be inspired by her passion for the work she does at the Limpopo Valley School (funded in main by the Limpopo Horse Safari). When we took the horses back to the stables on the last day, we were able to see the school in action and to hear how it has progressed over the years to what it is today.
The accommodation, food and service were all excellent. The work that goes on ‘behind the scenes’ is enormous and this is what ensures the riding safari to run so smoothly. Martha and Grace provided lovely meals in some difficult circumstances – we had a surprise lunch waiting for us in the bush under a huge Mashatu tree on the first riding day, when Martha cooked delicious pizza on the open fire. Maiteseo made up the rooms, cleaned and was waiting with warm wet flannels when we returned from the ride each day. She even put a hot water bottle in our beds every evening!
The grooms were waiting for us when we finished riding for the day – they took such good care of the horses, they cleaned the tack and gave the horses a good groom every evening and took turns (as did all the staff including the bush cooks) to patrol the horses every night ensuring their safety and well being.
Masebe seamlessly managed the safari, loading the enormous amount of everything we required into the massive horsebox which preceded us to the next lodge. Cor and Louise were excellent hosts and made us all feel very welcome at their lovely stables. Nothing was too much bother and it was obvious that they wanted us all to have the best safari experience possible.
If you want a horse riding safari that is run to a very high standard with excellent horses, where safety is a priority, where the staff are very competent and professional, where the wildlife is abundant and where you are made to feel very welcomed, I would not hesitate in recommending Limpopo to you. Thank you everyone at Limpopo for a fantastic week – I have fallen in love with Botswana!