In The Saddle’s Festive Round-Up: Christmas in the Kalahari

Posted on December 20, 2021

Christmas in the Kalahari

If you’ve always wondered what it might be like to spend Christmas on horseback in snowy Iceland, or on safari in Botswana, then you might enjoy our next few blog posts. In the run-up to Christmas, we’ll be sharing how ride operators around the world usually spend the festive season.

Our next festive post takes us to Botswana, where we’ll find out what Christmas is like with David & Robyn Foot and their team in the Kalahari Desert.

The magical Kalahari at Christmas

Only one word can really describe Christmas in the Kalahari – and that’s ‘magical’! Somewhat different to a white Christmas in the Northern Hemisphere, in the desert you’re surrounded by an endless abyss of white salt pans as far as the eye can see. Here, there is a feeling of space that can rarely be felt anywhere else on earth.

Instead of making snowmen and picking holly, being on safari in this part of Botswana will mean you can spend time with the San Bushmen, making fire and picking up all sorts of interesting tracks…not reindeer tracks, but zebra and wildebeest tracks!

A white Christmas Kalahari-style

The Kalahari Christmas lights display is second to none. Unpolluted starry skies and African lighting storms lighting up the night make for an enchanting Christmas Eve.

Have drinks around the campfire counting shooting stars and listening to the choir of crickets sing their merry Christmas songs. Maybe you’ll even hear the distant call of a lion as he waits for his Christmas feast. 

When the night draws to a close, make your way along the lantern-lit path to your tent, where you settle down for the night to await Christmas Day. 

Christmas Eve around the fire

Christmas Day

“Ko Ko” – a welcoming basin of warm water to wash in and a morning coffee to sip in bed is brought to you at the crack of dawn. There’s no sleeping in on safari, even on Christmas Day! It’s time to get up and have a light breakfast, before mounting the horses and heading out as the sun rises over the glistening white salt pans. Today you’ll spend some time with the meerkats.

Have a Meerkat Christmas

Most Memorable Christmas

We asked the Ride Botswana team to tell us about their most memorable Christmas. It was a difficult question, because each year is different and special, but waking up to meerkats on Christmas Day definitely has to be up there at the top. Christmas also wouldn’t be complete without a mad gallop along the edge of the salt pans – what fun! David never tells you but this is actually a race…and the loser has to untack his horse!

Christmas in Botswana is always wild and wonderful. It can be a bit wet, as December brings the start of the rainy season. The rains bring an abundance of grass, which the horses welcome with open mouths – Father Christmas definitely grants their Christmas wish.

Nothing is more special that the Kalahari at Christmas – as the team reins in the end of the year and gallops into the next.

Many thanks to David Foot for this super insight into Christmas in the Kalahari.

If you are keen to ride with David and his team in Botswana, then please do email us on or call +44 1299 272 997 for more information.

David leads these exciting safaris across the Kalahari’s incredible Makgadikgadi salt pans, as well as mobile trips through the magical Okavango Delta. We can’t wait to arrange your riding safari adventure in Botswana!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *