Arrival: Stable to Two Mashatus
Following a flight from OR Tambo Airport in South Africa to Limpopo Valley Airfield in the Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana, guests are received at the stables where they will enjoy a light lunch on the banks of the Limpopo River, receive a safety briefing and meet their horses.
The hosts takes great care to match horse to rider based on a guest’s riding experience and professed ability. However, before embarking on the safari, each guest will be given a simple riding test in order to ensure that they are suitably balanced in the saddle and are able to direct their horse in an independent manner. It is crucially important for the safety and enjoyment of the whole group that riders are at least intermediate riders. While the journey is not an endurance test, it does involve long hours in the saddle and, with the possibility of close encounters with elephant and the big cats, riders need to be able to gently and confidently control their mounts.
If at this point a rider is unsure of the suitability of their selected horse, a horse swap is possible. The herd is quite uniform, consisting of well schooled, forward going but calm horses. They are mostly boerperd, a South African breed particularly suited to this type of work.
The route on this afternoon is from the Stables to Two Mashatus, a distance of 11km. It follows the Limpopo River floodplains, with good opportunities for those first exciting encounters with elephant, giraffe, zebra, ostrich and wilderbeest. The route crosses close to a large wetland area which acts as a magnet for game and there is even a chance to come across bat eared fox, black backed jackal and spotted hyena. It then crosses the Majali River close to its confluence with the Limpopo, a favourite haunt of leopards and a resident pride of lion. Across an open plain the famous Two Mashatus Camp awaits.