Horseback Safari in Botswana

Written by Anna-Bet Stemmet

If there is one thing we try to do on all of our Ker & Downey® Africa Luxventure® Trips, it is to show our guests exciting ways to explore the great outdoors. Horseback safaris in Botswana are high on our list of must-do experiences for travellers from around the globe, and with good reason – it’s a fresh take on experiencing an African safari from a new vantage point. To give you a better idea of what you can expect when you set out on horseback on the vast plains of Botswana, we thought we’d share a rundown of some of the most frequently asked questions we get in this regard.

See two iconic Southern Africa destinations on our 8 day Botswana + Zambia Horseback Safari

What makes this an incredible experience

It’s a unique way to savour Botswana’s scenic beauty with an added touch of adventure and challenge. The flooding that occurs in the Okavango Delta each year leaves large parts inaccessible to vehicles, while on horseback you can explore beyond the 4×4 tracks. Additionally, the pace of an equestrian adventure is entirely up to you – if you are an advanced rider you have the opportunity to gallop at full tilt next to migrating zebras and giraffe; or you can choose to take it slow as you observe grazing buffalo and elephants congregating at the river banks. We can also vouch that there is nothing more adventurous than swimming through floodplains on the back of your horse on in the heat of Botswana’s summer months!

The most adventurous destinations to visit

The Okavango Delta and Makgadikgadi Salt Pans are the most popular destinations in Botswana for horseback safaris, and there are a number of luxury tented camps and mobile camps that provide excellent horse safaris and game viewing in these regions. If you are heading to Makgadikgadi we highly recommend staying at either Camp Kalahari or San Camp.

Photo credit | Macatoo Camp
“The Okavango Delta is one of the most popular destinations in Botswana for horseback safaris”

Photo credit | Macatoo Camp

The best time to go

This depends on how comfortable you are in the saddle, whether you’re willing to get a little wet on your adventure, and what kind of wildlife you want to encounter. Weather conditions also differ from one region to the next throughout the year, so there are quite a number of variables in this equation. In general, June to October is very popular. The flood season is then mostly over, and the terrain lush and fertile with plenty of wildlife about. Your best course of action is to get in touch with one of our expert Adventurist to guide you on the best time for a horseback safari in Botswana.

“The best time to go on a Botswana Horseback Safari depends on what you want to see and what type of adventure you are after.”

How experienced do you need to be?

This depends on the type of safari you have in mind. If you’re thinking along the lines of an all-day or multi-day horseback safari you have to be skilled enough to ride on different types of terrain.  As such, you need to be completely confident in the saddle. There are however certain camps, such as Jack’s Camp in the Makgadikgadi Pan, that offer shorter morning rides that are suitable for all ages and skill levels.

Here are a few rules of thumb when enquiring about a particular equine safari in Botswana:

  • Be completely honest about your riding ability.
  • Choose shorter treks if you are not confident of your ‘riding fitness’.
  • If your riding experience is limited to riding school lessons, try to fit in an outride or two before determining which length of horseback safari would be best.

“The key is to be completely honest about your riding ability.”

How do horses react around wildlife?

The horses used on African riding safaris are fully trained and completely comfortable in a wildlife setting. As such, they are unlikely to bolt when your group encounters wild animals unless you unsettle them with sudden movements. Always follow the lead of your guide in managing your mount when you’re out in the field.

“Always follow the lead of your guide in managing your mount when you’re out in the field “

How safe is a safari on horseback?

Horses are uniquely in tune with their environment and are very sensitive when it comes to sensing possible threats in the wild. The key to a safe Botswana horseback safari is to stay calm while on the back of your horse and to follow instructions given by your experienced guide.

If you choose an equine safari conducted by a known, reputable service provider you can rest assured that you will be accompanied by professional guides who know the horses, terrain and wildlife you are likely to encounter. As such, you will be safe if you stick to their riding guidelines and follow your guide’s lead at all times without straying from the track.

Zebra Migration, Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, Botswana

There you have it – a few of the most frequently asked questions we get regarding horseback safaris.

If you’d like to learn more about this exciting way to explore the fascinating reaches of this exciting safari destination, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our passionate Ker & Downey® Africa Adventurists. We’re happy to provide you with all the information you need.