Horseback Riding in Botswana

African Explorer


Horseback riding in South Africa and Botswana includes good riding on two private game reserves, fine accommodations and evening meals around the campfire, making for a genuinely unforgettable African experience.

Horizon Horseback’s permanent camp in South Africa is perched high in the bushveld above the Matlapeng valley, in the heart of the wooded mountains of the Waterberg. From this base you have close contact with zebra, giraffe, and a wide variety of antelope, and also are able to enjoy visits to the historic homestead and local Sotho village with its craft workshop.

Mashatu Game Reserve, located in the Tuli Block of Botswana, is known as “The Land of the Giants” for its baobab trees and elephant herds. This is an area of great diversity, magnificent vistas and land formations as ancient as time itself. It is also home to a multitude of wildlife species and remains untouched by the invasion of man. The riding trails cover both the riverine terrain and the true African mopane bushveld, including the famous sandstone formations of the Tuli.  The richness of the Mashatu horse safari experience is complemented by the prevalence of species such as lion, leopard, elephant and hyena, as well as cheetah, leopard, African wild dog, and a multitude of plains game like zebra, wildebeest and giraffe.

This is very comfortable camping with A-frame tents on raised decks with beds, sheets and duvets. At the permanent camps each tent has an ensuite bathroom area with hot water showers (water heated on the fire and placed in a 15 lt. camp shower when you are ready), running water and plumbed toilets. For one night on Day 4 you will be staying a luxury Lodge in South Africa.

Enjoy picnic lunches and evening meals cooked around the fire.

  • Overview:
    The horses in both locations have been individually selected for their temperament, carefully chosen from the various South African breeds which are well known for being of a tougher nature and able to cope under extreme conditions. These breeds include the Boerperd, Appaloosas, Warmblood, Thouroughbreds Arabian and Shire crosses. They range in size from 14.3hh to 17hh. McClellan Trail Saddles are used in both locations, which allow for comfort and airflow for the horses’ backs and padded seats and fenders for the riders’ comfort.
  • Equipment Required:
    Helmets are required, some available to borrow.
  • Horse Breeds:
    Beorperds, Warmbloods, Thoroughbred Cross, and Appaloosa
  • Trip Pace:
    Moderate to Fast
  • Tack:
    McClellan trail rider saddles
  • Weight limit:
    210 lbs

Johannesburg International Airport

Trip Itinerary

Day 1


Meet at OR Tambo at 10:30am and transfer to Camp Davidson in time for a late lunch. That afternoon you will be introduced to your safari horse. Your guides will ensure that you are matched to a horse that suits your ability and experience before heading off on your ride. This first introductory ride is a relaxed affair, giving riders the opportunity to settle into their new surroundings. Crossing the plains, enjoy your first close encounter with wildlife on horseback. A stunning lookout spot for sundowner drinks is a welcome moment to take in your first taste of Africa after a long journey. A three-course supper is served at Camp Davidson that evening.

Day 2


Today’s ride sets off from the high country overlooking a beautiful wilderness area to the east, and heads south, winding along the banks of Sunset Lake with its resident pod of hippos and the odd sly crocodile, followed by a visit to one of the Horizon dams for a swim with the horses before getting back to camp in time for lunch.  Guests can then relax by the pool, before a shorter afternoon ride.

Day 3


This ride heads south to the Game Conservancy which is home to the Bellevue Lodges. The ride traverses a wide wetland, home to reedbuck and grass owls, before entering dense woodland dotted with wild fig trees and large fruited bushwillows. Here it crosses the watershed and descends through open grasslands with sweeping views to the upper reaches of the Conservancy’s main water system. The route passes the favored habitat of waterbuck and Cape buffalo. The open plains that follow are aptly known as “Little Serengeti”; large herds of blesbok, eland, wildebeest and kudu are all on view, as are groups of elegant sable, swift red hartebeest and impressive journeys of giraffe and Cape buffalo. After a lunch at the lodge and a rest by the pool, the afternoon ride continues to explore this game rich area, closing with sundowners overlooking the African plains.

Day 4


A morning ride in search of buffalo before returning to the lodge for lunch and a chance to relax and enjoy this fabulous setting before riding back to the Horizon lodge where we the lodge for lunch and a chance to relax and enjoy this fabulous setting before riding back for a last night at Camp Davidson.

Day 5


Wake up early and depart the camp by 6am with a picnic for the road, our aim is to have you through the border by 9am aiming to arrive at Mashatu by 1pm in time for lunch and a chance to change before the afternoon ride to Tree Camp. This will be your first opportunity to experience the beauty of the Mashatu Game Reserve and view the wildlife on horseback. Mashatu Game Reserve is home to the largest herd of wild free-roaming elephants on private land in Africa, and, although not a guarantee, it is almost assured that there will be great viewing of these incredible creatures.

Day 6


A morning ride from Tree Camp exploring the center of the reserve and the game rich Pitsane river area, before arriving at Two Mashatus for lunch and a chance to relax by the pool.  That afternoon there is the option of another ride or a game drive in the Kgotla area with sundowners on the Mmagwa hills.

Day 7


Early morning start for a full morning ride from Two Mashatu,  that afternoon you will have the option of an afternoon ride, or bush walk or if available a game drive with Mashatu with a good chance of seeing the big cats (additional charge $65 pp) then back to Two Mashatus for your last night in Africa.

Day 8


A good long morning ride from Two Mashatus ending back at the stables in time for lunch and a shower before flying out of Mashatu at 2:30pm.

Itinerary Addendum

This itinerary is flexible. Changes may occur at the guides' discretion due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances.

Trip Map

Trip Dates & Pricing

Trips offered weekly from Friday-Friday from January through December

Pricing & Options

  • Base Price
  • $3,720High Season: May through November
  • Pricing Variation
  • $3,155Mid Season: March, April and December
  • $2,755Low Season: January and February
  • Transportation
  • $735Roundtrip transfer: arrive by 9:30am on Day 1 and transfer by road, return by charter flight on Day 8 for departures after 8pm
Additional Pricing Information:
Conservation fee of $30 is due onsite in Botswana. Insurance is required. Prices are based on the dollar/euro exchange and are subject to change. Ride price is set, guaranteed, and final at the time deposit is paid.  

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Contact Megan Barrett

I'm back from the African Explorer, the trip of a lifetime. Please pass my gratitude to everyone at Equitours for making it possible. I took well over 800 photos! Both our stationary stay in South Africa and the mobile safari in Botswana were outstanding. The  horses were AMAZING! I can't say enough. Thanks again.

Ed Goldberg