This 7 night ride offers guests the same benefits of doing a mobile safari, but with the added attraction of more luxurious accommodation. The lodges are family-owned, private and exclusive, mostly with en-suite bathrooms and all have swimming pools. Only advanced English style riders may join this ride.

As you traverse the greater expanse of the Northern Tuli Game Reserve, there is the opportunity to enjoy sightings of animals such as elephant, leopard, lion, wild dog, hyena and cheetah as well as a huge range of bird species, antelope and smaller game. With no fences in the reserve, this is truly one of the wildest places in Africa. Currently there are five lodges used for this ride, as well as our very own ‘Out of Africa’ base camp: Two Mashatus.

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Day 1:
Collection on arrival at the Information desk at 8am at JHB International airport by Waterberg Shuttles. A drive of 5.5 hours takes you to Pontdrift border post where your horse safari guide will meet you. After the formalities of crossing the border you will be escorted in an open game drive vehicle to our reception area by the stables. After settling in and enjoying a refreshing lunch in the Lala Palm Rondavel, you’re off to meet the most important members of the team: the horses! You will then embark on a short introductory ride in the afternoon to make sure that you and your mount are suited. The ride is followed by sundowners at the stables before heading to the Two Mashatus Camp. A delicious evening meal follows, before retiring to the comfort of your tent to allow sounds of the bush serenade you to sleep.

Day 2:
A leisurely start today with tea or coffee in bed, followed by breakfast around the fire. Today's ride may take you in the direction of the Zederberg camp which has some open areas, perfect for faster canters and possibly some ditch jumping too. Hopefully you will see some of the elephants  that the area is known for. Lunch is at Two Mashatus and an afternoon by the pool. Later, you will head back to the stables for fresh horses and to look for logs pushed over by elephants to jump. After dinner at Two Mashatus, relax again and drift off to the sounds of the bush.

Day 3
After breakfast, you will head off on the ride to Rock Camp. This ride traverses hills and ridges and takes you to the most central parts of the game reserve. On the open plains there are good opportunities for fast canters, perhaps accompanied by zebra, wildebeest or eland. The lush vegetation close to the Majale River is browsed by a diversity of wildlife, so there is a good chance of excellent game-viewing in this area.
At Rock Camp, cold beverages await, and a good lunch. In the afternoon, enjoy the view over the African bush before tonight's game drive with Mashatu rangers in the hope of seeing some of the infamous cats that Mashatu is very proud of. Head back to camp before sunset for traditional sundowners, an excellent dinner and a good night’s sleep.

Day 4:
Today, a leisurely start, traversing the central game area of the reserve where you may see giraffe, eland or zebra.This ride passes also through an area of rocky cliffs, home to a resident leopard. Lunch is served back at Rock camp, and there is a chance to rest and possibly see local wildlife at the waterhole nearby. In the afternoon, it's back to the stables for fresh horses to ride along the banks of the Limpopo.

Day 5:
Today you head up north towards Naledi. You will wind your way through the hills with the chance to see some of the small five and maybe the ugly five, before arriving at the Lodge. Usually there is a game walk in the afternoon, and a lazy relaxed evening on the cool terrace overlooking the Jwala river while the cooks rustle up another delicious meal.

Day 6:
Another exciting morning’s ride along the Majale river in search of the abundant wildlife the area has to offer. You may find more logs knocked over by elephants to jump, then it's back to Two Mashatus for a relaxing afternoon on the cool deck with a dip in the pool...then the afternoon will bring a sundowner drive and hopefully some cats along the way too, before bed after a sumptuous meal.

Day 7:
After breakfast you head off towards Nels Vlei and the central game area, following the Limpopo River which always offers up some interesting and close encounters with elephant or other wildlife. After an enjoyable ride, you will arrive back at camp possibly in time for a complimentary massage. You may go for another ride, a sundowner or a game drive tonight depending on what you feel like.

Day 8:
After a final early morning ride of about 2 hours to the reception area, its time to pat your trusty steed goodbye. After a quick brunch and a refreshing shower, you head back to the Pontdrift border post and a sad farewell to your guides after an exhilarating week of fun, adventure and  wildlife sightings. A 5.5 hour drive takes you to Johannesburg International airport in time for the evening flight home.

 

The single supplement is 50% of the holiday price and only charged if riders are not willing to share.

Additional Information

• The meeting point is in Terminal A, counter A65-A67 at OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg
• Maximum of 8 guests and minimum of 2 guests
• Rate is inclusive of accommodation, riding, meals, teas and coffees, drinks, game drives (at least 2), bush walks and laundry. Only transfers,  tips and curios payable locally in cash.
• Elephant, lion, leopard, cheetah & wild dog country
• Non riders welcome (game drives, cycling and walking available)
• For experienced riders only
• Children aged 12 and over are permitted providing they are travelling with an adult and are very competent riders.

Why not spoil yourself with a few days on a tropical beach after your safari? We recommend one of our Mozambiquan Beach Extensions as an ideal way to round off a safari.

Reading List
We're avid readers here at Unicorn Trails and have selected several books connected to this ride. If you're interested in reading more about the area before you travel, or want to get into the cultural background, here are some suggestions that may inspire you. Click on the links for more information.

Land Mammals of South Africa – Smithers
Okavango - Sea of Land, Land of Water - Anthony Bannister
Birds of Southern Africa - Ken Newman
Kalahari - Life's Variety in Dune and Delta – Michael Main
No1 Ladies Detective Agency series - Alexander McCall Smith

Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.

Horses & Riding

The horses have been individually selected for their temperament and ride-ability. They have been carefully chosen from the various South African breeds which are well known for being of a tougher nature - able to cope under extreme conditions. These breeds include the Boerperd, the Basuto, Shire Cross Thoroughbreds, Appalosas, and the S.A. Warmblood. They range in size from 15h.h to 17 h.h, and are in an assortment of colours. The schooling concentrates on classical English style, although they neck rein when in the bush. They are schooled to very high level and respond easily and lightly to the aids. Australian stock saddles, South African Mcllelans are used. In addition a selection of English saddles are available for those who prefer. The riding is fast and exciting and at all paces, including a good fast gallop along sandy riverbeds, some jumps over fallen logs and steep descents. The terrain varies from sandy riverbeds, thick bush and rocky outcrops to vast open plains. Ideal for great riding!

Rider requirements

For Big Game safaris such as this riders should have a secure and independent seat and be in control of a horse at a walk, trot and canter. In addition riders should be fit enough to ride for 6 hours in a day and be able to trot and canter for 15 minute stretches. On this safari you will come face to face with Big Game such as elephant and buffalo which are present and riders should be able to beat a hasty retreat if necessary!

Children under the age of 16 years old are not permitted, unless they

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 15 st/209 lb/95 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

Two Mashatus: This is a semi-permanent camp situated close to the confluence of the Majale and Limpopo Rivers. There are large and comfortable A-frame tents on teak platforms which come complete with an ensuite enviro loo and shower under the stars with the view of the bush. There is a small plunge pool and a central rondavel for dining at mealtimes and a lounge with cosy sofas and hammocks.


The other camps on this ride are private family-run lodges. All have ensuite facilities and pools to relax by inbetween safari activities.


Two highly trained experienced bush chefs will look after your every need. Breakfast is a buffet of freshly baked muffins, cereals, toast and porridge. Lunch is a buffet and usually includes quiches, salads and fruit for dessert. Dinner is a 3 course meal served to you at the table, often under the canopy of stars! Vegetarians and other special diets are catered for.

Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.

Climate Summary

The best time to visit Botswana is from April to October generally when the days are sunny and warm (25 celsius). Evening temperatures however drop sharply. Game viewing is good all year round. Temperatures begin to climb mid to late September. The rainy season begins in November, peaks in January and ends in March/April. Summer months are September to April. The rains can start in October, with the occasional thunder shower. December to February are the wettest months.
Winter is May to the end of August, it does not rain at all in winter although evening and early mornings are cold. Temperature varies from 8 degrees C to 24 degrees C at midday.


Climate Chart


Health (ride specific)

Anti-malaria precautions are not essential for this area since there is a very low risk in the area. If you do choose to take them they should be commenced prior to arrival in Botswana, for further details please see your local doctor or pharmacist. There may be other health risks, please contact your doctor regarding up to date vaccination advice prior to leaving. Full information for health requirements for visitors is also available from the Medical Advisory Service for Travelers Abroad who can be reached on 0113 238 7575 or at www.masta.org

Film and Camera Equipment

There is electricity at the base camp of Two Mashatus, so equipment can be recharged there with appropriate adaptors. On the intervening nights there is no electricity, so bring any spare batteries you may need.

Packing List

We recommend the use of neutral-coloured clothing (khaki, brown, beige and green) that blends in with the bush (no brightly coloured, or white clothing)
•Suitable riding gear.
•Swimming costume.
•Jodhpurs or long trousers.
•Head lamp
•Camera, film, binoculars.
•Reading material.
•Lip balm
•Passport.
•Long sleeved shirts or T-shirts.
•Mosquito repellent.
•Walking shoes, hiking boots or ride/run boots.
•Half chaps recommended.
•Warm clothing (for winter, May to August).
•Sun block.
•Waterproof raincoat(for Summer, from November to March).
•Sun hat that stays on.

Any personal toiletries that you require must be taken with you. Laundry can be done in camp. All bedrolls are complete with sheets, duvet and towels. A medical kit and snake bite kit are provided at camp.
Recognised riding hats are compulsory for any person under the age of 21

Programmes

Set date departures - 8 days/7 nights, please see the website for more details. Please enquire if you have a non-set date departure in mind.

Departure Dates

2017: 3, 12 Feb; 14 May; 25 Jun; 26 Nov.

Pricing
No single supplement payable if willing to share with someone of same sex. Should you wish to book a single room, please see supplement price below.


No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
20178d/7n7double pp3,449
20178d/7n7single supplement unwilling to share1,119
20178d/7n7single supplement no sharer avaialble369
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
20178d/7n7double pp3,909
20178d/7n7single supplement unwilling to share1,269
20178d/7n7single supplement no sharer avaialble419
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
20178d/7n7double pp4,465
20178d/7n7single supplement unwilling to share1,449
20178d/7n7single supplement no sharer avaialble479
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
20178d/7n7double pp37,335
20178d/7n7single supplement unwilling to share12,119
20178d/7n7single supplement no sharer avaialble4,005
Wildlife

Game is plentiful including elephant, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, kudu, lechwe, reedbuck, bushbuck, steenbok, impala, roan antelope, duiker, waterbuck, tsesebe, bat-eared fox, sidestriped and black backed jackal, African wildcat, baboon, vervet monkey, honey badger, spotted hyena, mongoose, meerkat, warthog, tortoise and ostrich. Special nocturnal creatures – porcupine, aardwolf, aardvark, civet, genet, serval and spring hare. Water species – hippo, crocodile, cape clawless and spotted necked otter. Predators – leopard, lion, cheetah and wild dog. Full safety instructions will be given and followed whilst viewing game.

Other Activities

Non riders can be accommodated on this ride - they will have their own guide for vehicle, walking and cycling game drives.
For riders guided walks and/or game drives are also done every afternoon from the camps.

Other Information

Curios like T-shirts and caps small wooden animals etc are available to buy. Euros, pounds, USD or Rands are accepted. No credit cards - sorry!
Drinking Water - All water in the camps is filtered to the highest standards and is guaranteed perfectly safe for drinking

Other Country Information

Botswana is a landlocked country situated in southern Africa. The climate ranges from semi-arid to sub-tropical. The Kalahari Desert dominates southern and western Botswana; the extreme south-west experiences near desert conditions, while eastern Botswana, though prone to drought, has adequate rainfall to support arable farming.

Beyond the narrow eastern corridor where the majority of the population is concentrated, Botswana is a largely roadless wilderness of savannas, deserts, wetlands and salt pans. Wildlife and livestock can make driving hazardous so driving at night should be avioded.

Botswana is two hours ahead of GMT and they use the metric weights and measures system, so kilometres and kilograms instead of miles and pounds. There is approximately 1.6 kilometres in a mile and 2.2 pounds in a kilogram.

The international dialling code for Botswana is +267.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg (JNB)
Transfer:
A light aircraft transfer from JNB to Limpopo is available on Sundays or for a minimum of 6 riders (1 hour), otherwise a road transfer will take place (5 hrs).
2017: £420 per person return (by road £450 per car 1-3 people , £850 per bus 4-8 people )
Flight Guide:
London - Johannesburg return £500 - £750. Please see "getting there" for flight information
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