The Okavango Delta is a fascinating game-rich seasonal wetland system created by the Okavango River flowing into the bottom end of the African Rift Valley where it turns into a river delta. The Cha Cha Metsi camp is close to the Santantadibe River, a permanently flowing waterway, and surrounded by lagoons, floodplains and tree lined islands which offers a great base for riding, walking or canoeing by mokoro. This is an ideal destination for riders travelling with non-riders.

This "new to riding" camp is luxurious and intimate with a maximum of 12 guests including eight riders. A game viewing vehicle is available for non riders and riders can use this for night drives or to have a rest from riding occasionally and to explore further afield.
The camp is hosted by Clyde and Marieke Niven. Clyde is the grandson of Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, author of 'Jock of the Bushveld' - a highly recommended book if you have not already read it!

 

Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.

Review received from SY of Shah Alam on 25/06/2023

Ride Summary
What was your overall impression of the holiday
Overall impression
Unicorn Trails sales staff

Riding tour leader

Additional Comments
Horses and Tack

Additional Comments
Meals

Accommodation

Miscellaneous

Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
Was there anything you should have known and were not told? NO
Please give more details to explain your response:
What could we do to improve this ride?
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
6
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
It's a safari so there were long stops for photo taking. Good balance of walk, trot and canter
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
The horses and tack are good. Description of tour is accurate. Prompt response. Reliable operator
May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
YES
Any other comments:
Unicorn comments: Thank you for your ride feedback :)

There is no set itinerary for this ride, all riding is dependent on game movements, weather and the riders' interests. It is possible to ride on the arrival day if you arrive in camp by lunch time.

Typical Riding Day: 4 - 6 hours riding
Each day you will start with an early wake-up call before heading out on the horses at dawn. The game is most active during these early hours and you will head out in different directions in search of giraffe, buffalo, elephant and the numerous antelope and bird life that live on the delta. Exploring this wilderness land on horseback is exhilarating, a first encounter with elephants is especially thrilling, completely different from viewing in a vehicle.
Return to camp for lunch and a siesta in the shade, perhaps relax on your verandah while wildlife pass by your tent. In the afternoon you will head out again as the wildlife wakes up and starts to head out onto the floodplains in search of food. During your stay you may wish to swap your horse for a mokoro (dugout canoe) or take a walking safari one morning/afternoon to discover the petite and colourful reed frogs or learn more about tracks and the secrets of the bush.
Each evening you will enjoy a delicious meal before retiring to the comfort of your luxury tent.Occasionally guests (and horses) may wish to rest, which is the perfect opportunity for a tranquil ride in a mokoro, the traditional way of crossing the glittering, lily-lined lagoons and waterways. It is a chance too, to venture out on foot to appreciate the smaller creatures that inhabit the bush - or to learn some rudimentary tracking skills. No two days are the same, but every day is astonishing and it is a privilege to ride in this unique and untouched wilderness.

 Departure Day
If leaving by helicopter there is time for a final short ride before brunch, but if travelling by road you will head off after breakfast.

Cha Cha Metsi Combo 
This is 7 night safari providing an opportunity to experience riding out of a fixed camp along with some time in a traditional lightweight mobile camp.

Arrive at the Cha Cha Metsi camp and stay for a two nights, then move to a lightweight mobile camp for 3 nights before returning to Cha Cha Metsi for the last 2 nights of the safari. Available on set dates between April and November.
This is for experienced riders only and a minimum of two riders are required to confirm the departure.

The Okavango Delta Ride can be added on to a number of safaris including the Kalahari Zebra Migration ride or any Botswana/South Africa/Namibia riding holiday.

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.

 

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

A suitable, well cared for horse will be chosen from a stable of some 22 horses made up of cross breeds which include Shire/TB, Boerperd/TB, Friesian/BP, Arab crosses and Quarter horse crosses. They range in size from 14.3h to 16.2h. There is a choice of well fitted English (Wintec) saddles and trail saddles. Each saddle has specially designed holders to carry 2 water bottles per rider.

Guests are welcome to bring their own personal seat saver of choice. Lightweight riding helmets are compulsory for all children. Adults must adhere to the requirements of their insurance cover.


Rider requirements

For the safari riders should have a secure and independent seat and be in control of a horse at a walk, trot and canter and be able to gallop out of trouble. 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 and riders should be able to beat a hasty retreat if necessary!
Children are accepted but they must be strong, competent riders and over 12 years old. There is no adjustment in price for children.

Weight Limit

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

The camp is extremely comfortable: the covered seating and dining areas are decorated with antique furniture, whilst the bedroom tents are lightweight, with standing room and fully made up stretcher beds. The tents are all ensuite with running hot and cold water and flushing toilets. One tent (the honeymoon suite) has a bath. 

There is no single supplement for the first 2 riders in a group booking alone. After that the single supplement is applicable.

Meals are served around a table seated on chairs in the open. Food is cooked over a log fire often in front of the guests and is delicious: Standard light breakfast of cereals, fruit, toast. Healthy lunches with cold meats, cheeses and fresh salads. Three course dinner – wholesome safari food with soups, main courses and desserts. As we try to travel as light as possible, please let us know your drinks preference and approximate daily consumption before departure so we only have to carry what we need.


Vegetarian or other dietary requirements within reason can be accommodated with advance notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests before booking.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. NB: Be sure to check the COVID status of the country you plan to visit including entry procedures and requirements while travelling. Visa requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country. If travelling with children under 18-years-old be sure to check if an unabridged birth certificate is required.

Immigration arrival: Please make sure that your passport is stamped with a normal visitor’s visa for South Africa – NOT an “in-transit” stamp – as you will be entering South Africa. VISA: Please check if you are required to apply visas for both South Africa & Botswana (not applicable to UK, US citizens & Most EU countries – a visitor’s visa is given on arrival FOC). If one is required, it should be a multiple entry visa for RSA, as guests will be entering South Africa from Botswana, through customs and immigration to check-in for their outbound international flight. If guests are traveling with a child under the age of 18, there are strict entry requirements for children arriving from certain countries.

Please contact us should you require any further information on this. Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate should you need a visa. In the UK the British Foreign Office gives advice: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/botswana In the US: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Botswana.html In Canada: https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/botswana


Climate Summary

Summer months are September to April. October, November and February are the hottest months, with temperatures varying from 12 degrees C to 38 degrees C at midday.
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. No rain. Evening and early mornings are cold. Temperature varies from 8 degrees C to 24 degrees C at midday.
The flood waters (different from rain) tend to arrive in May and recede by end September. This can vary considerably from year to year and depends on the timing and amount of rain which falls 4 months earlier in the catchment area over Angola. There are also large flood plains after heavy summer rains so mokoros can be operational in December/January/February/March too. Again this is heavily dependent on local rainfall and nto as reliable as the flood waters.

Climate Chart

Health

COVID: Be sure to check the latest COVID regulations for travelling in any country you visit.

Malaria exists in the northern parts of Botswana including the Okavango Delta. Southern Botswana has a low risk Malaria and mosquitoes are prevalent. Anyone intending to camp or walk in the bush should be cautious of tick bites.

Health care in Botswana is good but medical facilities and communications are limited outside urban areas. For serious medical treatment, medical evacuation to the UK or South Africa may be necessary. Private hospitals will not treat patients unless you can pay and health care may be expensive. Outpatients must pay cash before receiving treatment. Emergency patients will only be accepted if you have full insurance cover.

Please refer to your country’s latest health guideline for travel in Botswana and contact your own GP for up to date advice on vaccinations and prophylaxis prior to travel.

Health (ride specific)

You should commence anti-malarial precautions before arrival, please see your doctor for details.

Electricity

In Botswana the standard voltage is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. You can use your electric appliances in Botswana, if the standard voltage in your country is in between 220 - 240 V (as is in the UK, Europe, Australia and most of Asia and Africa).

Mobile, WiFi and charging

There no is electricity on-site to charge video and camera equipment. Please take all batteries and and film you may need with you. Personal solar chargers are recommended for charging cameras. If you want to bring a GoPro please be advised that you will have to have permission from all other guests and guides that they are willing to be filmed.

Packing List

We recommend that you bring:
* A light-weight riding hat
* A shade hat with strap
* Light-weight riding shoes (2 pairs)
* Sunglasses on string, riding gloves and bandana
* Bush colour riding clothes (not white)
* Jodhpurs or long trousers and chaps (2 pairs)
* Long sleeved cotton shirts
* Jersey, fleece or multi- pocketed waistcoat
* Light weight waterproof windbreaker jacket
* 4 x sets of socks and underwear (we recommend unpadded cycling shorts for men)
* Shorts, T shirts, sarong, swimwear and sandals
* Sun block, lip salve, insect repellent
* Head Torch (compulsory)
* Waterproof camera
* Solar Charging Bank (to charge camera equipment as there is no electricity on this
safari)
* Binoculars
* A good book for lazy siestas

All clothing should be neutral colored to blend in with the bush (shades of khaki, brown, beige or green) and light weight cottons are advisable. Please take into consideration the time of year when you are travelling before making your final packing decisions.

Towels and other basic amenities are provided.

A first aid kit is available in camp but please make sure to bring any prescription medication with you. Please consult your doctor regarding anti-malarial advice and inoculations

We recommend that you wear your riding clothes and boots on the plane to Maun and bring your hat and washbag as hand luggage as luggage sometimes gets delayed.

Luggage is strictly limited to 15kgs per person, including hand luggage. All luggage should be in soft bags and we highly recommend these are waterproof as they are carried on a Mekoro Flotilla in to the Okavango Delta or in the low flood season by Pack Donkey. Additional bags can be stored, by arrangement, at your hosts' offices in Maun if need be. There will be limited opportunities to do laundry, washing powder is available but there is no ironing.

Saddlebags and water bottles are provided.

Programmes

Any day arrival and departure with a minimum stay of 3 nights. Open all year round.

Departure Dates

2024: Low Season Jan, Feb, Mar, Dec
2024: Mid Season Apr, May, Jun, Nov
2024: High season: July, Aug, Sep, Oct
2024 7n Combo Low Season: 13 Apr; 12 May; 22 June; 11 Nov;
2024 7n Combo High Season: 24 Aug; 9 Sept; 11 Oct

Pricing
A single room can be booked for no extra supplement when available.

The single supplement can be waived in mid and low seasons if willing to share.

No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
2024 - Low Season Per Night Dec/Jan/Feb/Marper night1double pp549
2024 - Low Season Per Night Dec/Jan/Feb/Marper night1Single supplement Jan - March109
2024 - Low Season Per Night Dec/Jan/Feb/Marper night1Single supplement December129
2024 - Mid Season Per Night April/May/June/Novper night1double pp715
2024 - Mid Season Per Night April/May/June/Novper night1single supplement169
2024 Cha Cha Metsi Combo low season8d/7n7double pp4,979
2024 Cha Cha Metsi Combo low season8d/7n7single supplement1,165
2024 - High Season Per Night July/Aug/Sept/Octper night1double pp809
2024 - High Season Per Night July/Aug/Sept/Octper night1single supplement299
2024 - High Season Per Night July/Aug/Sept/Octper night1non-rider sharing755
2024 Cha Cha Metsi Combo high season8d/7n7double pp5,675
2024 Cha Cha Metsi Combo high season8d/7n7single supplement1,455
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
2024 - Low Season Per Night Dec/Jan/Feb/Marper night1double pp649
2024 - Low Season Per Night Dec/Jan/Feb/Marper night1Single supplement Jan - March129
2024 - Low Season Per Night Dec/Jan/Feb/Marper night1Single supplement December149
2024 - Mid Season Per Night April/May/June/Novper night1double pp839
2024 - Mid Season Per Night April/May/June/Novper night1single supplement195
2024 Cha Cha Metsi Combo low season8d/7n7double pp5,805
2024 Cha Cha Metsi Combo low season8d/7n7single supplement1,355
2024 - High Season Per Night July/Aug/Sept/Octper night1double pp955
2024 - High Season Per Night July/Aug/Sept/Octper night1single supplement349
2024 - High Season Per Night July/Aug/Sept/Octper night1non-rider sharing875
2024 Cha Cha Metsi Combo high season8d/7n7double pp6,609
2024 Cha Cha Metsi Combo high season8d/7n7single supplement1,695
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description US $
2024 - Low Season Per Night Dec/Jan/Feb/Marper night1double pp725
2024 - Low Season Per Night Dec/Jan/Feb/Marper night1Single supplement Jan - March139
2024 - Low Season Per Night Dec/Jan/Feb/Marper night1Single supplement December159
2024 - Mid Season Per Night April/May/June/Novper night1double pp935
2024 - Mid Season Per Night April/May/June/Novper night1single supplement209
2024 Cha Cha Metsi Combo low season8d/7n7double pp6,545
2024 Cha Cha Metsi Combo low season8d/7n7single supplement1,469
2024 - High Season Per Night July/Aug/Sept/Octper night1double pp1,065
2024 - High Season Per Night July/Aug/Sept/Octper night1single supplement379
2024 - High Season Per Night July/Aug/Sept/Octper night1non-rider sharing949
2024 Cha Cha Metsi Combo high season8d/7n7double pp7,455
2024 Cha Cha Metsi Combo high season8d/7n7single supplement1,839
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
2024 - Low Season Per Night Dec/Jan/Feb/Marper night1double pp7,665
2024 - Low Season Per Night Dec/Jan/Feb/Marper night1Single supplement Jan - March1,505
2024 - Low Season Per Night Dec/Jan/Feb/Marper night1Single supplement December1,719
2024 - Mid Season Per Night April/May/June/Novper night1double pp9,925
2024 - Mid Season Per Night April/May/June/Novper night1single supplement2,259
2024 Cha Cha Metsi Combo low season8d/7n7double pp69,449
2024 Cha Cha Metsi Combo low season8d/7n7single supplement15,799
2024 - High Season Per Night July/Aug/Sept/Octper night1double pp11,299
2024 - High Season Per Night July/Aug/Sept/Octper night1single supplement4,085
2024 - High Season Per Night July/Aug/Sept/Octper night1non-rider sharing10,209
2024 Cha Cha Metsi Combo high season8d/7n7double pp79,095
2024 Cha Cha Metsi Combo high season8d/7n7single supplement19,779
Recommended Reading


Other Activities

Mokoro (canoe) rides, game walks, catch and release fishing.

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 blackbacked 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, spring hare; water species - hippo, crocodile, cape clawless and spotted necked otter; predators - leopard, lion, cheetah, wild dog.

Other Information

The Okavango Delta in north-west Botswana comprises permanent marshlands and seasonally flooded plains. It is one of the very few major interior delta systems that do not flow into a sea or ocean, with a wetland system that is almost intact. One of the unique characteristics of the site is that the annual flooding from the Okavango River arrives in the dry season, with the result that the native plants and animals have synchronized their biological cycles with these seasonal rains and floods. It is an exceptional example of the interaction between climatic, hydrological and biological processes. The Okavango Delta is home to some of the world’s most endangered species of large mammal, such as the cheetah, white rhinoceros, black rhinoceros, African wild dog and lion.
The camp's owners are committed to treading lightly on the earth and involve and benefit local communities. The operators work closely with the local community from the nearby historic Ditshiping Village. This is one of only two Bayei villages remaining in the Okavango Delta. Ditshiping is one of the six villages from where the operators select and sponsor students annually for a 12 month training course at either the South African College for Tourism or the SA Trackers Academy.

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):
Maun Airport, Botswana (MUB)
Transfer:
2024 Transfers per person each way: US$130 by road (2hrs) or US$500 by helicopter (20min)
Flight Guide:
London - Maun return from £840pp Please see "getting there" for flight information
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