Browse the Itinerary for this Ride
You will be picked up at preferably Hoedspruit or possibly also Phalaborwa airport by the transfer service at an extra cost. A pick up from Johannesburg OR TAMBO direct can also be arranged,note that travelling time is 5 hours.
On arrival at camp sandwiches and afternoon tea and coffee awaits you. The team and your hosts are there to welcome you. They will introduce you to the safety procedures before going on your first riding safari. This orientation ride takes you through the area surrounding the camp as you unwind from your journey and forget yourself in the peace of the African bush. This is your chance to become accustomed to our horses and riding style. We might even see the first giraffes, zebras or whatever else is in the vicinity. Sundowners, looking out towards the Drakensberg Mountains, are a perfect prelude to the generous 3 course dinner, accompanied by hand-picked South African wines, which awaits you in our dining area, furnished with antique African art.
The first night, with all its fantastic sounds and noises, is probably the most exciting one. Accommodation for these first three nights is in old style safari tents with en-suite bathrooms, mounted on platforms above the Makhutswe River at the main camp.
You are woken with tea or coffee in the morning. After a light, continental breakfast the group will be ready to mount the horses and go on safari.
The weather will create the day, but typically the morning ride is 3-4 hours and the afternoon's is approximately 2 hours. After returning from the morning ride a big lunch will await you with homemade quiches, pizzas or pancakes, freshly homemade bread, different types of salads and greens, meats and cheeses.
After lunch the hardest time of the day has arrived, siesta. You can spend your well deserved rest in your room or at the swimming pool or may be you would like to improve your knowledge about Africa by reading one of the books provided in our library. Afternoon tea and coffee strengthen you for your next adventure. The afternoon ride ends at a beautiful sundowner spot where, drink in hand, you enjoy an often colorful sunset!
Another exciting day awaits you. The morning is similar to the second day, where you will go on outrides tracking animals, cantering alongside some plains game, crossing rivers and jumping some logs. After lunch, you are welcome to have a relaxing massage in the well prepared massage sala. You can also peruse the gift shop for clothing and accessories before the evening drive.
Waking to the rich colors of the sunrise it's time to get ready for a long ride. Entering the Makalali Private Game Reserve, dominated by huge open planes you might find yourself cantering next to giraffes, zebras or wildebeest. Spectacular views, over big distances show you the way to XiDulu, our camp for the next two nights.
XiDulu is built at the edge of a dam with a resident pod of hippos. Enjoy the game from the deck of your chalet or the viewing platform or even better whilst enjoying the infinity pool. XiDulu’s rooms are all equipped with inside and outside showers, baths, aircon and a big veranda. Elephants often come for a swim during the day, whilst at night lions and hyenas are often seen or heard near the camp.
The afternoon siesta is followed by a game drive. Your guide is a very well known tracker and guide who knows all the native stories about the bush and the wildlife. In an open top Land Rover he will follow the directions of the signs left by the big cats during the day. After a long slow Gin watching the sunset, the drive continues into the night where, with luck, some of the nocturnal wildlife will show its face. Bushbabies, owls, maybe even a leopard, will complete your day’s excitement.
Dinner is served in the dining area or outside around the fireplace, under the stars at the waters edge. The team in their usual fashion will be responsible for your culinary expereince at XiDulu.
Today you go exploring, cutting through the veldt at a canter, twisting and turning around the trees and your surefooted horse carries you nimbly through the undergrowth, changing direction as you guide his course, having just as much fun as you. Here and there a tree felled by an elephant, provides an irresistible jump. Or perhaps the eland or kudu, seeing us pass, fall in front of us to show us the best path. At the top of the hill you pause for thought, as mile after mile of unspoiled Africa stretches away before you.
The afternoon is open to either join another irresistible game drive or to go on another ride.
Today you set off toward a more northerly part of the reserve and the luxuries of Garonga safari camp. Tucked into the edge of a steep cliff, overlooking a tributary stream, Garonga is different again to what we have so far experienced. Fusing the familiar sight of the termite mound with the light, airy, feel of an old, colonial expedition, Garonga spoils you for tranquil relaxation. Owned and run by Bernardo Smith, the camp is particularly personal in its approach and your every desire can be catered for here. Our long ride this morning will have seen us cantering through the grassy plains and tracking over the hills and valleys that rise between the camps. Long hours in the saddle, over numerous days, mean that you will definitely have earned the right to spoil yourself with an aromatherapy treatment this afternoon. Or perhaps a long siesta and a strong sundowner is more to your taste! There is even a “bush bath” set in the veldt, in which you can wash away the smell of leather, up to your ears in bubbles, whilst listening to the sounds around you. Whatever helps you more, you are free to choose how you spend this afternoon before rejoining the party for another excellent meal.
Dinners are served as a group, where all guests of the lodge eat together, or individually, as a party in the torch lit boma.
After all that pampering yesterday afternoon, you are fit again for another full day ride. Today head out towards Garonga’s tree house. The route takes you over one of the highest points in the reserve: the view from this point is truly bird’s-eye and can only emphasize the sheer grandeur of the immense space around you. Literally coming off the top of the world, you are once more embraced by the bush as you venture deeper and deeper into the world you have just surveyed. Coming across a dam you watch some hippos cavorting in the water before you casually look up: waiting for you, half way up a Marula tree, the safari team. A true, old style picnic has been laid out for you on the deck, so you can continue watching life on the water from your eagle-eyed vantage point. Your horse waits patiently below, snacking on its own, natural picnic from the veldt, until you choose to head off, in pursuit once more of Africa’s finest.
Back after lunch you spend the afternoon relaxing or going on another game drive.
Whatever has thrilled you most so far can be tracked again this morning as you ride out with the sun on your backs to warm us, picnics in your saddle bags. Perhaps the elephants are snoozing in the river reeds, or a rhino is having a mud bath in one of the little waterholes.
With your return to camp you have ample time to gather your thoughts before embarking on the afternoon’s activity. Again, this is your choice – perhaps a bird walk appeals, another game drive to search for something not yet encountered or another relaxed afternoon by the pool.
Today promises to be another full day in the saddle as you make your way across the reserve for our return to the main camp. This is the longest ride of the week (approximately 7 hours); prepared with lunch packages in your saddlebags the backdrop of the Drakensberg Mountains makes this ride incredibly beautiful.
At home, the team eagerly awaits our exciting tales, which are the perfect accompaniment to one last, sad farewell sundowner on the open plain. The African fever is sure to have taken hold and the goodbye can be hard. But it mustn't be pre-empted, for there is one last sumptuous dinner to be enjoyed, when your host chooses something special – perhaps game fillets, such as Kudu or Eland – to crown the final evening.
An early wake up will get you on your horse quickly for a short, sporty ride before the transfer to the airport.
THIS ITINERARY IS FLEXIBLE. CHANGES MAY OCCUR DUE TO WEATHER OR OTHER UNFORESEEN CIRCUMSTANCES.