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Run with the wildebeest. Splash through the wetlands. Canter across the open plains. It’s a safari like no other.
This epic adventure takes you to the heart of Botswana’s Okavango Delta, one of Africa’s great wildlife habitats. Home to elephant, hippo, leopard, lion, giraffe and wild dog, this is your chance to see some of the world’s most endangered species. And you’ll be riding right alongside them – on horseback.
Your days begin at sunrise, when the temperatures are cooler and the animals are most active. Your guide will decide the day’s route based on game sightings, water levels and guest preferences. One morning you could be tracking buffalo across the grassy plains. Another you could be watching a cackle of hyenas enjoy their prey.
You’ll return to camp for lunch and a leisurely afternoon. Your accommodation is a luxurious bush haven, set against the backdrop of the flood plains. Enjoy a dip in the plunge pool, take a siesta in a hammock, or grab a pair of binoculars and gaze across the delta. You never know what you might see.
Following afternoon tea, it’s time to saddle up once again. Now you’ll explore at a more gentle pace, taking the opportunity to watch, listen and learn from your guide. Your horse will graze happily as you observe the wildlife – whether it’s an elephant towering overhead, or a family of hippo snorting as they surface from the watery depths.
Just like everything else in the Okavango Delta, you’ll move to the rhythm of the seasons. The floods in April and May fill the Okavango River until it spreads across the floodplains. This adds to the fun, as riders enjoy ‘splashy’ canters through the reeds. During the dry season, the terrain is firm and dry, allowing you to venture further through the mopane woodlands.
Even non-riders will appreciate the majesty of Africa’s last Eden, and can fill their days with boat trips, makoro (canoe) trips and game drives.
This is truly the adventure of a lifetime.
The Macatoo horseback safari is for experienced riders only. You must be competent riding in an area of dangerous game, and be capable of controlling your horse at a fast canter over rough terrain.
The horses are a variety of breeds. There’s something to suit everyone and you’ll normally ride three to four different horses over a seven night stay. They are in excellent condition and are well-looked after. The horses are used to their environment and are experienced riding in the proximity of wild animals.
Because you often ride through water, synthetic or webbing bridles and good quality Wintec English GP saddles are typically used. You can request a South African trail saddle or Western saddle if you prefer, although they do not fit all the horses.
The Macatoo bush camp can accommodate a maximum of 16 guests (14 riding guests). Riders are usually split into smaller groups of around six to eight people.
You normally spend four to six hours in the saddle every day. The daily itinerary changes depending on the season, game sightings and guest preferences. An average day would be -
Each day you right out in different directions. That’s what makes this holiday so exciting – you never know what Mother Nature has in store.
One day you might follow buffalo tracks through the mosaic of palm islands, canter across the open plains with zebra and wildebeest, and trail shy antelope through the mopane woodlands. Another you might splash through the reeds with the birds, watch elephants quench their thirst at a watering hole, or dismount and enjoy a drink as the sun sets over the great African plains.
Experience the call of the wild from horseback – it's something you’ll never forget.
A far cry from your average bush camp.
Located next to the flood plains, every moment at Macatoo Camp is a potential wildlife watching opportunity.
You’ll be staying in your own safari tent – but not just any safari tent. You’ll have a proper bed adorned with fresh, cotton sheets, an en-suite shower room, flush toilet, and hot and cold water. Double and twin beds are available.
Each tent fits seamlessly with its natural surroundings and is designed to provide sweeping views across the landscape.
For added luxury, book the honeymoon suite. There’s a free-standing bath and a large deck where private dinners can be served.
For an authentic wilderness experience, try sleeping under the stars on the treehouse platform. Mattresses are laid out for guests, each with its own mosquito net strung overhead. Drift off to the nocturnal sounds of the Okavango Delta around you, where hyenas chatter and lions roar.
When you’re not riding, you can sunbathe next to the plunge pool, curl up with a book inside the central mess tent, or trade stories around the campfire. Candlelit dinners are served on the communal dining deck.
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)
|2020 Rates||Per person sharing|
|1 January - 31 March||$4,178.24|
|1 April - 30 June||$5,409.73|
|1 July - 31 October||$6,597.23|
|1 - 30 November||$5,409.73|
|1 - 31 December||$4,178.24|
|1 January - 31 March
|1 April - 14 June
|15 June - 14 October
|15 October - 30 November
|1 - 31 December
10% Discount for a non-riding partner
INCLUDES Accommodation; full board; drinks; riding; other safari activities.
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT There is no single supplement for stays between 1 December and 31 March.
Between 1 April and 30 November 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 a 50% supplement is payable to guarantee a single tent. There is no single supplement if you are willing to share.
PRIVATE GROUPS are welcome at any time and please call us to discuss group discounts. Between 1 December and 31 March if you are a group of 8 people and stay at least 5 nights then you can have exclusivity in camp.
PAYABLE LOCALLY Tips.
NEAREST AIRPORT Maun.
TRANSFERS Shared air transfers from Maun to camp are $257.61 per person one way; from or to Kasane is $376.98 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 **
The light aircraft transfer to camp departs Maun in the early afternoon after the arrival of the South African Airways and Air Botswana flights from Johannesburg. The return transfer from camp arrives into Maun in time for you to check in for the afternoon flights from Maun to Johannesburg. We arrange these light aircraft transfers for you.
International flights to Maun are via Johannesburg. We recommend you arrive into Johannesburg by c. 08:00 to allow time to check in for either the Air Botswana or South African Airways flight to Maun, both of which depart Johannesburg at c. 11:00/12.00. For your return flights, both Air Botswana and South African Airways depart Maun at c.14:00 which will get you back to Johannesburg in time for onward flights that evening.
We can also arrange transfers from or to other camps in Botswana.
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.
For more information on the weather patterns in the Delta, see this blog post that talks about the predictions for 2020 as well as giving an explanation of the various seasons.
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!