Macatoo - Botswana

Riding Safari

5 star rating   30 August 2023

Deborah (this is their first In The Saddle holiday) Amazing holiday, lovely forward horses and all at camp worked hard to make the holiday flow | It exceeded expectations. The horses were very forward going and well cared for. They are mainly warm bloods and no slow 'riding school' cob to be seen. Each horse was very willing and usually you were given a horse for the evening ride, then had that horse the next day for the long ride. The horse was changed for the evening ride. I rode 3 different horses over the week, each one very enjoyable. Each ride we had a very experienced guide leading and another following us at the rear. The 'Splashy canters' were amazing, although the delta had not flooded as much as expected due to low rainfall in Angola, but it didn't spoil the holiday or riding. The guides were happy to take our phones and film us/film the animals. I also took a seat saver which really helped. Behind the scenes I am sure it is hard work but for us it seemed to flow effortlessly, all staff very professional and approachable. The evenings were very relaxed and Katie who runs Macatoo, would seat us so that we didn't all end up in little groups but mixed with everyone. I liked the fact you could arrive/depart from Macatoo when you wanted, so it wasn't a case of having to book flights for a specific day or for us all to arrive together. It was nice when a new person turned up, sad when I had to leave. I was there during high season when the delta is flooded, and am tempted to try a few days at a different time of year. If you didn't want to ride for one of the rides then they would happily arrange for you to have a jeep tour of the bush and animals.

I also decided to stay for one night in Maun, so that I had time to rest after the long overnight flight to Johannesburg, I would recommend that, a chance to shower, eat and rest before catching the small Cessena plane to the camp. As when you arrive then you have your briefing and depending on the time, you ride in the evening.

The Riding

How well were you matched with the right horse for your ability?
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How would you rate the variety of riding, pace or terrain?
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How would you rate the overall standard of the horses, tack and stables?
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The Accommodation

How would you rate your room(s) for comfort and facilities?
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How would you rate the standard of the food?
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Do you have any comments about the accommodation and food?

The tents are very large and easily high enough to walk around and stand in any part of the tent. They are all set in their own areas so you are not overlooked, except maybe by a few monkeys or hippos. My tent had a raised deck (as I think they all have) with chairs and a lounger and this looked directly onto the bush and a lake in front of me. There is a separate 'en-suite' bathroom with shower. They provided insect repellent, shampoo and body wash. The camp works of solar energy and each tent has its own supply of hot water heated by solar, so sometimes you need to wait for the hot water to come through.

6:30am just as it starts to get light a hot drink is brought to your tent. 7:00am is breakfast, help yourself to what you want. Then 7:30am at the stables.

Lunch at 12:00, tea and cake at 4:00, then riding at 4:30. Supper at 7:30. Some days as a surprise we ate at a table away from camp. All drinks are included, including a very nice white wine!

Before Your Holiday

Did you have all of the information you needed to:

Plan and prepare for your holiday?
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Feel comfortable about your transfers and what to expect?
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How could we improve the quality of pre-holiday information that we send?

I think you could tailor it to be more specific for Macatoo. The packing list was long and also stated that only 15 kilos combined could be taken, due to the last small plane. But Katie advised it is 20 kilos (hand luggage, check in bag and handbag). I found I didn't need as much as I packed. Certainly didn't need sweets etc for energy as we had as much food as we wished. I did pack a lot of sweets and gave many away. I am also sure they have a first aid kit, so didn't really need that either, except maybe a plaster or two. I found the seat saver meant I didn't get any bruises or sores on my legs. The saddles are good anyway.

How could we improve the way we handled your booking and payment?

None, all went very smoothly.

Do you have any other feedback for us?

Lucy, thank you for all your patience with my many questions and your advice. Always got back to me when she could and chased up answers to queries I had.