Botswana has become one of the top safari destinations in Africa and this is due to the fact they have taken great measures in preserving the wild life in the country. The country is known to be one of the safest countries on the African continent and it is also known to have a flat landscape which is convenient for horse riding through most parts of the country. Although most of its land is flat, horse riding is not done everywhere and that is what we are going to look at in this article.
Horseback riding is one of the few activities that you ought to carry out when you visit Botswana as it will get you close to the animals and take you to all those places that cannot easily be visited. Botswana as a country has a lot of land that has been put aside to cater for the wild life and it being a country that has a low population, it is a very good place for tourists to go horse riding because of the un-spoilt wilderness and vast land that accommodates horse riding. There are majorly three places in Botswana where tourists can easily enjoy horseback riding and these include the Mashatu reserve, the Okavango Delta and the Makgadikgadi salt pans. They might not be the only ones but the largest herd of horses is within these destinations.
Horseback riding in Botswana is one of the many ways that you get to view the different animal species that are located within the country and some of the animal species that you will see when you go horseback riding through the country include lions, elephants, impalas, kudus, spotted hyenas, giraffes, African wild dogs, brown hyenas, crocodiles, buffalos, Zebras, hippos, meerkats and bird species which include the African finfoot, the white backed night heron, the pygmy goose, the rock pranticole, the lesser Jacana, the orange winged Pytilia, the African fish eagle, the African fish skimmer and many more other species. You will not find anyone in the town Centres riding horses and therefore you should prepare for the wild side of Botswana.
The Thamalakane River horse ride
The Thamalakane River is a wonderful place for tourists to go for a horse ride in Botswana. There was previously a drought that left the place very barren but after the River burst and spread out which caused some streams to flow throughout the woodlands that are located within around the Thamalakane River and this created a beautiful place for tourists to go for horse riding. You will ride around the area with water splashing off the hooves of the horses and you will also be able to enjoy the beautiful scenery that is provided by the bird species and butterflies. All in all it is a better way to explore the Thamalakane River and the surrounding areas.
Horse riding through the Tuli block
The Tuli block is located at the border of Botswana with other two countries that is Zimbabwe and South Africa. There are many small game reserves that are found in the Tuli block and its beautiful nature allows for tourists to easily ride through the block. Commonly known as the land of giants by the locals, the Tuli block has several horse ride routes that you can use and while horse riding, you will be rewarded with great views of large herds of elephants, the African wild cats, the unique vegetation found within the Tuli block and you get to also explore the Limpopo River while on horseback.
Horse riding through the Kalahari
The Kalahari horse ride is the fastest and easiest way that you can get through the desert and the heat that is experienced in that area. These normally take you through the central Kalahari Desert where you will you will get a close up of most of the animals that habitate within the Kalahari and some of the specials include the black maned lions, leopards, spotted hyenas, brown hyenas, kudus and many more others. The Kalahari rarely gets rainfall but it is better if you avoid the Kalahari storms while horse riding in the Kalahari.
Horse riding through the Okavango Delta
The Okavango delta is one of the top safari destinations in Botswana and one of the easiest ways to explore it is by horse riding. The horses are well trained and only those who have experience in riding are allowed to ride through the Delta. Horse riding through the Okavango Delta can be done all throughout the year although the horses are normally brought out during the wet season when the flood waters have reduced a little bit. You can start your morning in the Okavango Delta on a horse back exploring the delta as you follow animals around like elephants, giraffes, crocodiles in the River Okavango, kudus, zebras, enjoy watching the birds that habitate along the River banks and the numerous swamps that are located within the Delta. A horse ride will give you a close view of the hundreds of animals that are in the delta and therefore you should not throw away this chance when you get to Botswana for your safari.
Horse riding through the Makgadikgadi salt pans
The Makgadikgadi salt pans are one of the largest salt pans in the world and they were formed after the Makgadikgadi Lake dried up many years ago leaving behind the expansive pans. They are always generally dry throughout the year and get filled up with water during the dry season. Horse riding through the salt pans is an experience that you will not want to miss especially during the dry season because due to its expansive nature, you can get to ride through the pans at any speed that you want that is you can either canter or gallop around on your horse and some of the things that you will be rewarded with include following the meerkats that habitate within the pans, exploring the pans as they are best seen during the dry season, galloping to the baobab trees and watching the different animal species in the Makgadikgadi like the spotted and brown hyenas, lions, watch the annual zebra migration that is the second largest animal migration in Africa and view all the other wild life that is quite used at living in these semi desert conditions.
When it comes to horse riding, there are several routes that are used but we shall look at the most commonly used two horse riding routes by tourists. There are also many horse ride routes that you can use while in Botswana and these include the following:
The Limpopo valley horse ride route
The Limpopo valley horse ride route passes through the Mashatu game reserve which is located in the Tuli block. The horse ride through this route will give you a chance to discover the Mashatu game reserve and all that needs to be discovered especially if it is your first time to visit the reserve and remember that you will need an experienced tour guide to take you around.
The Macatoo horse ride route
The Macatoo horse ride route is located in the Okavango delta and is offered by the Macatoo camp. The route that is used is filled with a lot of wild animals like giraffes, buffalos, bird species along the Okavango River, elephants, wild dogs and many more others. Most of these horse ride routes are marked so that tourist do not get too close to the dangerous animals and tourists are urged not to go off track while horse riding.
Although previously horseback riding has been carried only in the Okavango Delta, it has spread out to the different places and horses have been trained to accommodate the ever increasing number of tourists who are interested in horseback riding. It is always difficult to tell when exactly one should go for a horseback riding safari because it all depends on the ever changing weather that is experienced in the country and that is why it is advisable for one to first and call and inquire about the horseback safari before taking on the journey. A horseback riding in safari is a full package of food and drinks, riding the horses through the various destinations, accommodation facilities and a provision of all the requirements needed for one to go for riding like a helmet and saddles.
Horseback riding in Botswana is mostly done by those are above twelve years and are quite good at rising horses an do not forgetting if they do not have any health issues and for those who do not know how to ride, there will be a trainer who will show you the ropes although you will not be allowed to ride through the different horse riding destinations. If you ever want to experience the wild from a different perspective, horseback riding is the answer and therefore grab a bag and go experience all this at a relatively low cost.