Africa's ultra-luxury safari company

9 DAY OKAVANGO & KALAHARI DESERT RIDE

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Horseback safari riders in line

Two bull elephants are in a deadly battle. They separate, back up, and stare at each other with ears standing straight out, quivering with rage.

The big bull shakes his head, slaps his ears against his body, raises his tusks, screams, and charges from close range. Their skulls collide with an echoing “thwack” as the ground trembles.

The big bull’s tusks have deadly curves, and with a furious swipe, he impales the other bull’s shoulder. A deep, bloody gash and squeal of pain temporarily paralyzes the younger.

The bull relentlessly presses forward, pushing his rival back until he runs for tree cover, spins around for a quick look, flaps his ears, and trumpets before melting into the frightfully thick undergrowth. The big bull follows…

Are you prepared for the circle of life?

The Crème de la Crème of All International Rides

Exclusive Use

Horseback Safari in Botswana & the Kalahari, Mokoros Canoe Trips, and Walking Safaris

A horseback safari with David Foot, the best top-notch guide in the delta and desert.

The scale and magnificence of the Okavango Delta secured its position as one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Africa. The Okavango River is the 4th largest river in Africa, starting in Angola’s wet highlands during the long rains.

The Okavango flows south into Botswana, and because it doesn’t have an outlet to the sea, it discharges into the Okavango Delta and Kalahari Desert, turning swathes of remote desert into a vast wetland.

The Makgadikgadi salt pans boast the 2nd largest wildlife migration with over 20,000 zebras who take a week to cross the Kalahari Desert for the clear waters and lush green grass of the Okavango. This is one of Africa’s greatest concentrations of wildlife and includes over 600 recorded bird species.

You’ll experience it on horseback, unlike any other ride in the world!

  • Exclusive Use of a Helicopter Within Your Safari's Itinerary

    Your pilot’s extensive knowledge of the African bush will take you to extraordinary places that only a helicopter pilot can deliver. We salute Africa’s first bush pilots. They would appreciate our vision and version of their early air explorations and travel.
    Flying for a sundowner with Helicopter Horizons
  • ARE GAME DRIVES SAFE?

    Embark on an extraordinary journey into the heart of Africa. Discover the magic of the wild, the thrill of exploration, and the beauty of storytelling in one of the world’s most captivating locations. In the old days, you would never see a leopard this close to a vehicle. If you did catch a glimpse, it […]
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    Close encounter with a leopard on a game drive

    WHAT IS EXCLUSIVE USE ON SAFARI?

    On safari, exclusive use means security, discretion and gold old-fashioned fun. Your game drives, pilot and safari camps are exclusively for you.
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    Exclusive use pilot

    WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A LUXURY AND ULTRA-LUXURY SAFARI?

    In the heart of Africa’s untamed wilderness you will find a luxury safari experience that is different. Fly into top camps inside the parks for a high-end safari.
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    Romantic dinner at Kanga Camp waterhole

Itinerary in Detail

The First Day

The Okavango Delta

Elephants drinking in the delta

Fly into Maun Airport in Botswana (MUB) and be met by one of our specialist guides. They’ll handle your luggage and deliver you to Helicopter Horizons for a flight to Cha Cha Metsi Luxury Camp, which is exclusively yours. You’ll be greeted by your host and guide, David Foot.

David has ridden horseback through every valley of the Nyika National Park, across the Maasai Mara, the Okavango, Kalahari, and the Namib Desert. David’s passion is guiding on horseback and walking safaris so guests can fully immerse themselves in the African wilderness.

Once settled in, your safari begins with waiting horses. Mount up and ride before dinner, and relax by the campfire with sundowners as the sun sets.

(5 nights)
There is no set itinerary, as your safari depends on water levels and wildlife movements…
David Foot on horseback safari

A typical day starts with an early wake-up call and a light breakfast as dawn breaks. Mount up and spend the morning on horseback following ancient elephant trails in search of large varieties of wildlife and birds while cantering through the recently flooded plains.

Herds of Cape buffalo may be nearby, giraffes saunter to another tree to eat, and red lechwe antelope splash through the water alongside you while kudus peer out from the thickets. Return to camp for lunch and a siesta.

Perhaps you prefer sundowners to be from above every evening as the earth’s horizon curves beneath Africa’s paintbrush.

The sunset sings humans and other living creatures to sleep or to hunt.

Explore the Water Wilderness on Horseback

Mokoro Canoe Trips

Guest poling a mokoro

Between rides, mokoro canoe trips offer exceptional wildlife viewing. And you will be given lessons if you want to learn how to pole a mokoro. Or relax as your guide silently poles towards rare birds and wildlife in the traditional way of traversing this wondrous water land.

If you desire a swim in the Okavango, there are many unique places with clear water and no crocodiles.

Walking safaris with David, who is armed with a rifle, are available if you want to experience the bush more intimately and learn to track from him.

Pel's fishing owl

The Okavango is home to many rare birds, including Pel’s fishing owl, one of the most elusive and sought-after birds of the Okavango Delta. Their large, searching eyes are beautiful and don’t miss a thing.

For most twitchers, this bird is on the top of their bucket list and is considered by some to be the Holy Grail of rare birds.

Bird Watching

The Kalahari Desert

Jack's Camp guest tent with king size bed

In the heart of Botswana lies the captivating Makgadikgadi, the largest network of salt pans in the world. Burnished copper and gold grasslands in shimmering white expanses of salt and savannah are the essences of this part of the Kalahari Desert.

The Kalahari has some of the best riding country in Africa! Space and more space lead to endless horizons full of wildlife.

Experience a fantastic helicopter flight from the Delta to Jack’s Camp on a grassy knoll among an oasis of dignified desert palms and Kalahari acacia. You have exclusive use of this camp.

(3 nights)
Take to the skies by helicopter anytime and anywhere within your itinerary's location.

The Okavango supports the world’s largest remaining elephant population, and vast herds of zebra and wildebeest pass through the area, reaching their peak numbers early in the year. The flooded swamplands become an ideal hunting ground for predators like lions, cheetahs, and the fearsomely accomplished and endangered African wild dog. 

Rare desert-adapted species are often sighted, like the elusive brown hyena and aardwolf. Wake up to a steaming cup of coffee and light breakfast before heading out on horseback in search of one of the Kalahari’s most fascinating inhabitants, the meerkats.

After a fun visit with the little guys, mount up and follow well-worn trails that lead to black and white rhinos, sable antelope, and large flocks of ostriches. They are attracted to the area by permanent freshwater in hidden waterholes.

Return to camp for another beautiful evening under the Kalahari sky with a delicious dinner, and relax around the campfire to regale the day’s adventures.
Elephants facing off

Night game drives with a special spotlight look for nocturnal desert inhabitants such as aardvarks, bat-eared foxes, aardwolves, porcupines, honey badgers, or perhaps a black-maned Kalahari lion.

Cheetahs hunt almost exclusively during the day; however, they’ve been observed hunting at night especially during a full moon, as it illuminates their hunting ground and makes it possible to see their prey.

Night Game Drives

San Bushmen

Bushman archer

David Foot Horse Safaris has worked closely with the Zu’ Hoasi people of the Western Kalahari for many years. They are also known as the San people, the oldest tribe in the world today. It is a privilege to have four generations of bushmen families living at Jack’s Camp in Makgadikgadi.

Offering a window into the past, the bushmen will teach you how to survive in the harshest environments using their vast and ancient knowledge of plants, animal behaviors, and survival skills.

On arrival, the community elders greet you in their traditional manner, and you’ll have the rare opportunity to walk with them into the Kalahari.

They are well-known for their profound connection with the land, an intimate knowledge of the natural world, and the delicate balance they have maintained for millennia with the environment. The elders will point out distinct ecological characteristics of this area, its wildlife, and bird species.

Photographer in helicopter over Okavango Delta

Your helicopter pilot added 2 hours to your flight as he has an extraordinary air safari planned on your way out of Botswana.

The pilot will do a low-level flight over the Makgadikgadi to Kubu Island and then back to Maun along the Boteti River for your international flight home.

The Last Day

Extraordinary Air Safari

Requirements to Ride

Riders

  • Guests must be competent at ALL paces (walk, trot, canter, and gallop) and confident in keeping up with the group’s pace.  You’ll need to be riding fit and in good health to fully enjoy the bush riding experience, as long days (up to 6 hours) can be spent in the saddle.
  • Riders must be over 12 years old unless younger riders are highly confident, competent, and willing to spend long days in the saddle.
  • Each rider has a maximum weight limit of 95 kgs (210 pounds) in full riding gear.  Heavier experienced riders over this limit may be accepted at the company’s discretion.  They may be required to pay for a 2nd horse to alternate for the duration of the safari.

Non-Riders

  • Beginners cannot ride as they often give the horses mixed signals. This can lead to severe consequences in the bush.

If You Are a Non-Rider or Beginner, We Have Many Options for You

  1. Mokoros canoe trips.
  2. Swimming.
  3. Walking safaris with an armed guide.
  4. Hang out at camp, set up your tripod, and photograph the wildlife and birds around you.

Included

  • A helicopter’s “exclusive use” based on the itinerary.
  • Exclusive use of Cha Cha Metsi and Jack’s camps.
  • Everything on the itinerary.
  • Premium sundowners.
  • Bottled water.
  • David Foot as an exclusive guide.
  • Park & concession fees. Full board with select spirits.
  • A specialist guide or our safari nurse/guide.

Excluded

  • International flights, visas, covid tests, tips, incidentals, etc.
  • The safari nurse's professional fee is based on a sliding scale.
  • If you do not want exclusive use of the helicopter, Cha Cha Metsi and Jack's Camp we can book them on a shared basis.
  • Travel/health insurance.
Solo and groups of any size are encouraged to enquire.
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Our Safari Team are Professionals with 145 Years of Combined Safari Experience

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