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Botswana - Macatoo
In the middle of the Okavango Delta, seated high above the long grass and reeds, riders see giraffe, elephant, buffalo, many species of antelope and even lion. This is a luxury bush camp and you can have the riding experience of a lifetime.
Fed by seasonal rains, the Okavango river fans out into the Kalahari desert to create the world’s largest inland delta, supporting a diverse profusion of plant and animal life. The Delta is a mosaic of palm islands, grassy flood plains, mopane forest and streams.
Once considered a wasteland swamp, the Delta is now regarded as one of Africa’s prime wildlife areas.
Rides are tailored to the movement of game in the area, water levels and the guests’ preferences. An early start, just as the sun rises, enables you to ride when the game is most active. During morning rides enjoy long canters, perhaps with zebra, lechwe or giraffe. Track elephant and buffalo across the open plains or through the palm studded islands. After a leisurely lunch and siesta the afternoon rides let you explore at a more gentle pace.
Non-riders are welcomed and are offered boat trips, fishing, mokoros or game drives dependent on the water levels.
Since you are riding in an area of dangerous game you need to be an experienced rider. You normally spend four to six hours a day in the saddle. You need to feel competent about keeping up with the group, capable of rising to the trot and controlling your horse at a fast canter over rough terrain.
The horses are a variety of breeds of Thoroughbreds, Anglo Arab, Kalahari-Arab Crossbreeds and Namibian Hanoverians. The horses are between 14hh and 18hh. They are well cared for fit and in excellent condition. There is a horse to suit everyone and you will normally ride three or four different horses over a seven night stay.
Because you are riding through water so much of the time synthetic or webbing bridles and good quality Wintec English GP saddles are used. South African trail saddles and Western saddles are available for those who prefer them but they do not fit all horses.
The following times are approximate, but the daily pattern is normally a wake-up call to your tent at sun rise (c. 05:30 in summer and c. 06:30 in winter). In the hotter summer days you would ride from about 07:00 through to 11:00, and in winter from about 08:00 through to 12:00. Lunch is back at camp and the afternoons are for resting and relaxing in your tent or by the pool. On a hot summer afternoon tea will be about 16:30 before the afternoon ride from 17:00 to 19:00. In winter tea would be at c. 15:30 and you normally ride from about 16:00 to 18:00.
Camp can take up to a maximum of 16 guests (14 riding guests), however the riding groups will be split, and the usual maximum riding groups will be 6-8 guests.
Each day you ride out in different directions.
You might follow elephant trails from island to island through a sea of grass into the back country. Canter across open plains maybe in sight of herds of zebra and wildebeest. During the morning ride you will have a short break to rest before meandering back to camp. After lunch and a siesta, you may choose to take a boat trip and spot lechwe and elephant grazing the edges of the islands, whilst the sun sets across the water.
On another morning you might ride through clouds of bushman hair grass onto plains with huge fig trees. You might encounter giraffe or shyer antelope while passing through mopane woodlands. The pace increases as you break out onto the flood plains, perhaps disturbing a troop of baboons.
On some days you may splash through water on the vast open plains, home to wildebeest and zebra. The riding may be fast as you approach deep reedy areas full of bird life. After lunch you may choose to ride again, being met by the grooms as you pass the main tent and enjoying sundowners whilst the grooms take the horses back to the stables.
Accommodation is in classic style, spacious safari tents (both doubles and twin tents are available) with proper beds (cotton sheets, blankets and towels provided). Each tent has an en suite shower with hot and cold running water and flush loo. Centrally there is a large furnished mess tent and a plunge pool for hot afternoons (October to May).
There is also a honeymoon suite (available at a supplement) which has a bath on a raised platform, and a larger deck where private dinners can be served.
You may choose to sleep out under the stars on the treehouse platform. Mattresses are laid each with its own mosquito net strung overhead.
Open all year. You can arrive/depart on any day and stay for a minimum of three nights. The recommended stay is five to ten nights. You may also want to combine with a visit to Victoria Falls, Chobe or other game reserves.
Sample Itinerary for Macatoo
Select your preferred arrival date:
RIDE PRICE (7 nights) (shorter and longer stays are possible - please contact us for prices)
|Per person sharing|
|2019: 1 Jan - 31 Mar||$4,324.23|
|2019: 1 Apr - 30 Jun||$5,438.73|
|2019: 1 Jul - 31 Oct||$6,464.06|
|2019: 1 - 30 Nov||$5,438.73|
|2019: 1 - 31 Dec||$4,324.23|
|2020: 1 Jan - 31 Mar||$4,324.23|
|2020: 1 Apr - 30 Jun||$5,572.47|
|2020: 1 Jul - 31 Oct||$6,776.12|
|2020: 1 - 30 Nov||$5,572.47|
|2020: 1 - 31 Dec||$4,324.23|
10% Discount for a non-riding partner
INCLUDES Accommodation; full board; drinks; riding; other safari activities.
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT No single supplement if prepared to share, otherwise 50% of the ride price to guarantee a single tent (applies 01-April through to 30-November 2019 & 2020). During this time there is one tent which can be allocated to a single person without payment of a supplement - this tent will be strictly allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Once this tent has been allocated the supplement is payable to guarantee a single tent.
To guarantee a single tent to yourself why not consider visiting between 01-December through to 31-March 2019 or 2020? During this time there is no single supplement payable on a single tent.
GROUPS You can take exclusive use of camp during the period from 01-December 2018/2019 through to 31-March 2019/2020 if you have minimum of 8 guests staying 5 nights or more (subject to availability).
PAYABLE LOCALLY Tips.
NEAREST AIRPORT Maun.
TRANSFERS Shared air transfers from Maun to camp are $261.11 per person one way; from or to Kasane is $382.11 per person one way ** For stays of 7 nights there is a 50% discount on your flights between Maun and Macatoo and for stays of 10 nights or more your air charter flights are free **
Camp is in the middle of the Okavango Delta on the northern edge of the Kalahari desert in Botswana.
Floods normally arrive Apr/May and recede around October. Daytime temperatures are warm but evenings can be cold during their winter months. Unlikely to rain. November-March are hotter with possible thunderstorms.
The riding at Macatoo was beyond my expectations and the Okavango Delta was a paradise.
Richard, SomersetOverall rating: 5/5
Fast and fun riding in an area that is well populated with game including the Big Five.
Don't bring your favourite leather riding boots as you will probably get very wet wading and cantering through the flood waters!