Horse Riding Safari on the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans (6 Days) | Discover Africa Safaris


Safari: Botswana

Horse Riding Safari on the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans (6 Days)

Saddle-up for a horseback riding adventure through the semi-arid thirstland of the Kalahari.
Our African Travel Expert

Alice Lombard

Out on the edge of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, in a luxury tented camp away from electricity, is the starting point for a unique horseback safari through the desert. The trail leads through ancient lake beds within the “land of a thousand islands”, past plains game, under the swoop of seasonal birds, and over a path travelled by the legendary David Livingstone.

Estimated cost per person for a 6-day safari like this, depending on the season. Can be customised based on your budget and requirements.
International flights not included.











Costing tip: When comparing with other companies, remember most of them only show the low season rate. How pricing works >

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What to Expect on This Safari

This popular itinerary can be customised to match your budget and travel dates by adding/removing a few days or selecting different lodges



Matching rider to horse

Upon your arrival at Maun Airport you’ll be welcomed and driven to Camp Kalahari on the edge of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans. Once you’ve settled into your luxury tent and start to enjoy the fact that there is no electricity at the camp, it’s time to soak up the atmosphere of tranquillity while you enjoy lunch or high tea.

In preparation for tomorrow’s horse ride in the Kalahari, late afternoon will be spent matching rider to horse. This is also an opportunity to get a feel for the kind of terrain you’ll be tackling in the morning. If you would like to spend a bit more time with the horses before the journey tomorrow, then you’re welcome to join the team after dinner while they kraal the horses for the night.

Meal: All meals and selected drinks

Transport: Included



First ride out

This morning calls for an early rise and shine followed by a light breakfast before setting out on your first ride on horseback.

On today’s ride you venture through the “land of a thousand islands”. Stranded on the ancient lakebed, these sand dunes covered in palm trees are one of the most beautiful and fascinating areas of the Botswana wilderness. At the height of the migration season, an abundance of zebra, wildebeest, hartebeest and ostrich roam the islands and grasslands, as well as the predators that follow. In the dry season the pans between the islands are great for a good ride, in the wetter months the pans flood and offer an equally enjoyable ride, only the area is filled with the most magnificent bird life.

By lunch-time you will be back at camp, satisfying the healthy appetite you worked up on the morning ride.

With no electricity, and the afternoon’s time on your hands, why not spend time at the pool, or under the shade of the camel thorn trees with a good book.

A late afternoon game drive gives you the opportunity to see the unique desert species of springbok, gemsbok, red hartebeest and the brown hyena. As the afternoon fades to night, out comes the game drive vehicle spotlight to help spot roaming nocturnal wildlife.

Meal: All meals and selected drinks

Transport: Included



Pack light

Seeing as you’ll be heading to a fly-camp today, another early morning start is necessary. Remember to pack your essentials for the next few days ahead.

By lunchtime you will reach the Green’s Baobab alongside the well-travelled Missionary Road. Here you can have a bite to eat and wait out the heat of the day. After both you and your horse have had a rest, the final stretch of the day’s horse riding will take you to Xau Xai Fly-Camp.

Dinner will be enjoyed outside under the Kalahari’s brilliant starry sky.

Meal: All meals and selected drinks

Transport: Included Overnight: Xau Xai Fly-Camp



Befriend a Meerkat

A day of both walking and riding lie ahead. You’ll make your way by horseback to a family of Meerkats. That’s right – meerkats. Although not tame, the curious creatures are used to the non-threatening presence of humans, thanks to a local, ongoing habituation programme. You may find a meerkat snuggled up to you on a cold winter morning, or using you as a lookout past as if you were a termite mound or tree.

It’s time to mount your horse once more and head down the well-worn trails that lead you to herds of resident zebra and large congregations of ostriches that are drawn to the area by the permanent waterholes.

At this point, it’s time to return to Xau Xai for lunch. A permanent waterhole close to the camp is a great place to spend the afternoon reflecting on the day’s adventure while looking for special bird species that can be found in the Kalahari.

Meal: All meals and selected drinks

Transport: Included



Begin at the beginning

After breakfast it’s time to pack your things, mount your horse and head back to Camp Kalahari. There are two possible routes for the journey ahead; either along the edge of the pans, or through the woodlands and open grasslands, where zebra and wildebeest graze.

Camp Kalahari welcomes you back to the lodge in time for lunch and a refreshing shower.

Meal: All meals and selected drinks

Transport: Included



End of the journey

After breakfast it’s time to leave the horses in the kraal while you head out on a game drive that takes you to a village of authentic bushmen. The elders of the community will greet you in a traditional manner and then, accompanied by men, women and children, you will be taken for a walk into the grasslands of the Kalahari. The experience will offer a glimpse into their past, and they will show you how they survived, using their knowledge of plants, animal behaviour and survival skills.

The unique cultural experience marks the end of the week’s adventure in the desert and you’ll be taken back to the lodge in time for your last lunch. After lunch it will be time to collect your luggage before being transferred back to Maun for your onward journey.

Please note that if you have a morning flight out of Maun, the visit to the bushmen won’t be possible.

Safari Map

This is where you'll travel on an 6-day safari like this

Horse Riding Safari on the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans (6 Days) safari map

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