Botswana is an iconic safari destination and the Okavango Delta should be on any safari-enthusiast's wish list. This region offers a plethora of experiences for all ages and preferences and some of the best wildlife viewing in the world.
Not only is the wildlife viewing from the back of a horse a complete joy, but it improves the entire experience. Since you are elevated, you can look at the animals on the same level and without any engine noise to scare them away. One gets so much closer to the wildlife than in a vehicle as the human scent and outline is masked by that of the horse. Horses can take you where vehicles cannot so the experience is altogether more off-piste, more adventurous and more immersive.
Okavango Horse Safaris are experts in providing intrepid riding explorations of the Delta and offer several options for the experienced rider, with five, seven or ten-day options. You spend the time riding around and between their two camps, exploring the varying ecosystems of the delta and watching the fantastic wildlife. There is also the opportunity to spend a night under the stars fly camping, as well as walking, game drives in vehicles and drifting along the waterways silently in a mokoro.
You rise before dawn for a light breakfast before embarking on an early morning ride to search for wildlife. Game viewing is best early in the morning and you may see herds of lechwe and zebra, reedbuck, or even a breeding herd of elephants. This part of the delta has lush green malapos that lead between palm-covered islands, broken up by wide open spaces perfect for exhilarating rides. There are also dense riverine forests and hippo pools.
After lunch in camp you can take an afternoon game drive for the chance to get some amazing photographs, maybe of cheetah, carmine bee eaters or buffalo. This is followed by sundowners and a night drive for a chance to see the nocturnal animals moving around, searching for food or meeting with other individuals. You end the day with a delicious three course meal under the stars.
The 30km ride northwest to Mokolowane camp moves through open floodplains and scattered islands and you have the opportunity to see a wide variety of wildlife. You arrive at the camp at sunset and enjoy stunning views over the floodplains, with vast open skies which make for great star gazing. The following day you can take a morning game drive around the Matsebe river system and may see elephant and baboon feasting on the Mokolowane palms on the scattered islands. There is also the opportunity to take peaceful mokoro journeys along the river in dugout canoes.
For those who are willing to forego the comforts of a permanent tented camp for a night or two, the experience more than rewards you for your adventurous nature! You will embark on a ride with your guide towards Beacon and Lion Islands; the route is criss-crossed with numerous game paths through a chain of rain pans. There are also forest and woodland cover offering food for elephant, kudu and giraffe which you may see on your ride.
Should the rain pans be flooded you will be likely to see zebra, wildebeest, buffalo and wonderful birdlife which you can spot in the afternoon on a bird walk, in addition to learning all about the plants and trees of the area. The fly camp is set up for you on your arrival and you are greeted with a three course bush meal before spending the night under the stars with nothing but the sounds of the bush around you.
Video and images kindly provided courtesy of Okavango Horse Safaris