Luxurious Horse Safari Through The Kalahari Desert

6 Day Trip
Per Day Price Level $$$$
Per Day Budget $ 571
Per Day USD ranges:
$$$$ < $250
$$$$ $250-500
$$$$ $500-750
$$$$ $750+
  • Discover Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, the last remnant of Africa's largest lake deep in the heart of the Kalahari
  • Spend six days on an extraordinary horse safari through breathtaking landscapes from the luxurious tented Camp Kalahari. 
  • Travel across the Pans and pass giant baobabs unchanged for thousands of years. 
  • Ride along with thousands of zebra and wildebeest during the migration season; spend time with habituated meerkat families, as you walk with the San Bushmen, the first inhabitants of Africa.
  • Search for rare desert-adapted wildlife and for early stone age tools dotted across the landscape.
  • Ride deep into the Pans and sleep under the stars in the “great quiet”

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  • Itinerary Summary

    Day 1 : Arrival

    On arrival by air or road, you will be greeted by your host and guide and settled into Camp Kalahari, nestled amongst the acacias and Mokolwane palms of Brown Hyaena Island, on the edge of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, adjacent to the Makgadikgadi-Nxai Pans National Park, Botswana.

    It’s refreshingly simple, yet comfortable, with a traditionally built thatch library, living/dining area and a swimming pool for those hot Kalahari days. Camp Kalahari has 10 spacious Meru tents: 7 Twin tents, 2 Double tents and 1 Family tent consisting of 2 adjacent tents, accommodating 2 Guests in each with an inter-leading bathroom. All tents have en-suite outdoor bathrooms, flush loos, hot and cold running water, along with comfy beds, crunchy cotton sheets, stripy African blankets and hot water bottles in winter.

    Head off after tea in the beautiful afternoon light, for an introductory ride – primarily to match horse and rider and to provide the opportunity for guests to experience the beauty of this magical area. 
     
    Return to the camp for sundowners followed by dinner and to kraal (fenced area) the horses close by, before the lions of the Kalahari commence their nightly prowling.

    Accommodation: Luxury camping

    Meals: Lunch, Dinner

    Day 2 : Ride and Wildlife Spotting

    Up with the dawn, a light breakfast is followed by a long morning ride through the “land of a thousand islands”.  Stranded on the ancient lakebed, these sand dunes covered in palm trees are one of the most beautiful and fascinating areas of the Botswana wilderness.  At the height of the migration season, the islands and adjoining grasslands are awash with zebra, wildebeest, hartebeest and ostrich - and of course the attendant predators!  The white encrusted pans between the islands provides excellent going for the horses.  Return to the camp for lunch and rest through the heat of the day in the welcome shade of the camel thorn trees or cool off in the camp swimming pool.
     
    After tea, head off to see some unique desert species such as springbok, gemsbok, red hartebeest and the elusive brown hyaena; these consummate desert specialists survive in arid areas where both food and water are scarce. The brown hyaena is a timid nocturnal, solitary forager, rarely seen by humans, but in spite of this, they are very social animals living in clans of up to 10-12 hyaenas.
     
    Enjoy a night game drive back to camp, and with the aid of a spot light, look for nocturnal desert inhabitants such as aardvark, bat eared foxes, aardwolves, porcupine, honey badgers and perhaps even a black maned Kalahari Lion.
     
    Arrive at Camp Kalahari in time for dinner.

    Accommodation: Luxury Camping

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Day 3 : Ride to Xau Xai

    Today is a long ride eastwards to Xau Xai Fly Camp, so an early start is imperative.  Be sure to pack a few essentials for the next two days of adventure. The journey takes us away from the edge of the Pans and through the mopane and acacia woodlands interspersed with short grasslands allowing for lovely long canters.  Whilst the area is rich in birds of prey, bustards, korhaans and numerous other unusual dry woodland bird species; there is also a chance that we will sight kudu and the odd elephant bull.
     
    Passing by the massive Chapmans Baobab by lunchtime we reach the famous Greens Baobab proudly positioned alongside the well-travelled Missionary Road, traversed by David Livingstone on his journeys northwards.  The magnificent trunk of this ancient tree is scarred with the initials of early travellers dating back some 150 years thus providing a living testimony to the rich history of this area.  Break for lunch at the adjacent Gutsa Pan under a stand of palm trees where we may find Stone Age artefacts and the hunting blinds used over millennium by the Bushmen.
     
    Siesta through the midday heat and after tea, continue the journey on to Xau Xai Fly Camp.
     
    Camp will be made up of comfortable dome tents, a central mess tent, loos and bucket showers. Enjoy a long cool drink as you watch the sunset followed by dinner out under the magnificent Kalahari sky.

    Accommodation: Xau Xai Fly Camp

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Day 4 : Meerkats and Ancient Lakebed Ride

    Wake up to a steaming hot cup of coffee and a light breakfast, before heading off in search of some of the Kalahari’s most fascinating inhabitants, the meerkats.
     
    With our horses tethered we will proceed on foot in to the midst of the group. Due to an ongoing habituation programme by Uncharted Africa Safari co. it’s possible for us to get up close and personal with these captivating creatures. Remember, they are not tame – just used to our non-threatening presence.

    On chilly mornings, you might well find a meerkat snuggling up to you for warmth. Or, in the absence of a termite mound or tree, using your head as a sentry lookout post…
    By spending quality time with these incredibly social, superbly adapted animals, you will be able to see how they interact with each other and their environment. You also get the chance to see the desert through the eyes of a meerkat – which, despite the fact that it’s only a foot off the ground, is a pretty spectacular vantage point, and definitely one of the most special and memorable game experiences you will encounter in Botswana
     
    As the day warms up, leave the meerkats to continue foraging. Mount up and follow the well-worn trails that lead to the resident herds of zebra and large congregations of ostriches attracted to the area by permanent freshwater in hidden waterholes.
     
    Return to Xau Xai for lunch and a refreshing shower.

    Set off in the late afternoon for one of the greatest adventures imaginable - a ride straight out into the middle of the ancient lakebed! Eventually all that can be seen is the vast flatness stretching in every direction
     
    Watch the sun set and the stars rise. This is one of the only places in the world where the silence is so complete you can hear the blood circulating through your ears. There is not one visual landmark to be seen and one swiftly loses one’s sense of perspective - 16,000 square kilometres of baking soda void, are inhabited only by you and a few gazillion invisible brine shrimp! And it is here that we’ll make camp.  Sleeping on bedrolls under the silence of a star studded sky!
     

    Accommodation: Xau Xai Camp

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Day 5 : Ride Back to Camp Kalahari

    Wake up on the moon! As the dawn greets this extraordinary landscape and the last of the stars disappear, head homewards directly across the Pans to Camp Kalahari, we may be lucky enough to see the unusual sight of ostrich deep in the Pans and then from a great distance the famous Chapman’s Baobab. Also known as the Seven Sisters, and acknowledged to be one of the largest trees in Africa, measuring 25metres around its girth, this great baobab was also the campsite of early explorers like Livingstone and Selous when they pioneered the area.

    We arrive back at camp for a late lunch and a well earned rest. In the late afternoon we may go for a gentle walk and as the sun dips below the horizon and the last light fades, we will be sure to dwell on these amazing past few days.  Incredible scenery, memorable wildlife encounters and above all superb riding!

    Accommodation: Kalahari Camp

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Day 6 : Departure

    The horses are loaded early and trucked to their home base in Maun.  A non-riding day commences with an early morning walk with Zu/’hoasi Bushmen trackers.

    Uncharted Africa has pioneered and passionately supported cultural tourism in Botswana since the company’s inception. They have been working closely with the Zu/’hoasi people of the Western Kalahari for many years and are privileged to have a small group of these extraordinary men to guide Guests on a morning’s walking safari. Offering a window into the past, they teach us how they have survived in this harshest of environments, using their vast and ancient knowledge of plants, animal behaviour and survival skills.

    Time for one more lunch before you bid farewell to Camp Kalahari and are transferred to the aiport to catch your return flights.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

  • Duration
    6 days
    Difficulty
    Easy
    Primary Activities
    Horse Back Safari
    No. of travellers
    Min. 2
    Other Activities
    None
    Children Allowed
    Yes
  • Comfort
    Learn more
    Super luxury

    Our highest-end category of accommodation, Super Luxury is defined by top quality customer service and premium amenities. Hotels in this exclusive category include the Aman resorts, Oberoi Vilas hotels, and certain independent purveyors.

    Luxury

    Luxury Hotels meet the standards of most well-known 5-star hotel brands around the world, and include premium accommodations and amenities. In some cases our Luxury category overlaps with the "boutique" hotels, many of which are equally luxurious and accommodating.

    Boutique

    Boutique hotels are typically smaller, or independently owned hotels that offer top-end service and amenities equivalent to luxury providers. Boutique hotels often differentiate themselves from bigger hotel brands through their unique character, location, or history.

    Glamping

    Glamping (short for “glamorous camping”) and lodges denotes outdoor-focused accommodations that combine the best of nature with a designer / comfort angle in mind, so customers can get the best of both worlds.

    Camping

    Camping refers to a wide range of tented accommodation, which will most likely apply to outdoor / adventure trips like trekking, hiking, etc.

    Others

  • Price Details (per person)

    High Season Dec to Dec $ 3,425 $ 571 per day
    High Season Jan to Oct $ 3,425 $ 571 per day

    * All Prices are per person based on double occupancy. Some savings may be available for larger groups.

Cost Includes
  •  Airport transfers
  • All activities in the itinerary
  • All meals
Cost Excludes
  • Any internal flights
Day 1 : Arrival

On arrival by air or road, you will be greeted by your host and guide and settled into Camp Kalahari, nestled amongst the acacias and Mokolwane palms of Brown Hyaena Island, on the edge of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, adjacent to the Makgadikgadi-Nxai Pans National Park, Botswana.

It’s refreshingly simple, yet comfortable, with a traditionally built thatch library, living/dining area and a swimming pool for those hot Kalahari days. Camp Kalahari has 10 spacious Meru tents: 7 Twin tents, 2 Double tents and 1 Family tent consisting of 2 adjacent tents, accommodating 2 Guests in each with an inter-leading bathroom. All tents have en-suite outdoor bathrooms, flush loos, hot and cold running water, along with comfy beds, crunchy cotton sheets, stripy African blankets and hot water bottles in winter.

Head off after tea in the beautiful afternoon light, for an introductory ride – primarily to match horse and rider and to provide the opportunity for guests to experience the beauty of this magical area. 
 
Return to the camp for sundowners followed by dinner and to kraal (fenced area) the horses close by, before the lions of the Kalahari commence their nightly prowling.

Accommodation: Luxury camping
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 2 : Ride and Wildlife Spotting

Up with the dawn, a light breakfast is followed by a long morning ride through the “land of a thousand islands”.  Stranded on the ancient lakebed, these sand dunes covered in palm trees are one of the most beautiful and fascinating areas of the Botswana wilderness.  At the height of the migration season, the islands and adjoining grasslands are awash with zebra, wildebeest, hartebeest and ostrich - and of course the attendant predators!  The white encrusted pans between the islands provides excellent going for the horses.  Return to the camp for lunch and rest through the heat of the day in the welcome shade of the camel thorn trees or cool off in the camp swimming pool.
 
After tea, head off to see some unique desert species such as springbok, gemsbok, red hartebeest and the elusive brown hyaena; these consummate desert specialists survive in arid areas where both food and water are scarce. The brown hyaena is a timid nocturnal, solitary forager, rarely seen by humans, but in spite of this, they are very social animals living in clans of up to 10-12 hyaenas.
 
Enjoy a night game drive back to camp, and with the aid of a spot light, look for nocturnal desert inhabitants such as aardvark, bat eared foxes, aardwolves, porcupine, honey badgers and perhaps even a black maned Kalahari Lion.
 
Arrive at Camp Kalahari in time for dinner.

Accommodation: Luxury Camping
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3 : Ride to Xau Xai

Today is a long ride eastwards to Xau Xai Fly Camp, so an early start is imperative.  Be sure to pack a few essentials for the next two days of adventure. The journey takes us away from the edge of the Pans and through the mopane and acacia woodlands interspersed with short grasslands allowing for lovely long canters.  Whilst the area is rich in birds of prey, bustards, korhaans and numerous other unusual dry woodland bird species; there is also a chance that we will sight kudu and the odd elephant bull.
 
Passing by the massive Chapmans Baobab by lunchtime we reach the famous Greens Baobab proudly positioned alongside the well-travelled Missionary Road, traversed by David Livingstone on his journeys northwards.  The magnificent trunk of this ancient tree is scarred with the initials of early travellers dating back some 150 years thus providing a living testimony to the rich history of this area.  Break for lunch at the adjacent Gutsa Pan under a stand of palm trees where we may find Stone Age artefacts and the hunting blinds used over millennium by the Bushmen.
 
Siesta through the midday heat and after tea, continue the journey on to Xau Xai Fly Camp.
 
Camp will be made up of comfortable dome tents, a central mess tent, loos and bucket showers. Enjoy a long cool drink as you watch the sunset followed by dinner out under the magnificent Kalahari sky.

Accommodation: Xau Xai Fly Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4 : Meerkats and Ancient Lakebed Ride

Wake up to a steaming hot cup of coffee and a light breakfast, before heading off in search of some of the Kalahari’s most fascinating inhabitants, the meerkats.
 
With our horses tethered we will proceed on foot in to the midst of the group. Due to an ongoing habituation programme by Uncharted Africa Safari co. it’s possible for us to get up close and personal with these captivating creatures. Remember, they are not tame – just used to our non-threatening presence.

On chilly mornings, you might well find a meerkat snuggling up to you for warmth. Or, in the absence of a termite mound or tree, using your head as a sentry lookout post…
By spending quality time with these incredibly social, superbly adapted animals, you will be able to see how they interact with each other and their environment. You also get the chance to see the desert through the eyes of a meerkat – which, despite the fact that it’s only a foot off the ground, is a pretty spectacular vantage point, and definitely one of the most special and memorable game experiences you will encounter in Botswana
 
As the day warms up, leave the meerkats to continue foraging. Mount up and follow the well-worn trails that lead to the resident herds of zebra and large congregations of ostriches attracted to the area by permanent freshwater in hidden waterholes.
 
Return to Xau Xai for lunch and a refreshing shower.

Set off in the late afternoon for one of the greatest adventures imaginable - a ride straight out into the middle of the ancient lakebed! Eventually all that can be seen is the vast flatness stretching in every direction
 
Watch the sun set and the stars rise. This is one of the only places in the world where the silence is so complete you can hear the blood circulating through your ears. There is not one visual landmark to be seen and one swiftly loses one’s sense of perspective - 16,000 square kilometres of baking soda void, are inhabited only by you and a few gazillion invisible brine shrimp! And it is here that we’ll make camp.  Sleeping on bedrolls under the silence of a star studded sky!
 
Accommodation: Xau Xai Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5 : Ride Back to Camp Kalahari

Wake up on the moon! As the dawn greets this extraordinary landscape and the last of the stars disappear, head homewards directly across the Pans to Camp Kalahari, we may be lucky enough to see the unusual sight of ostrich deep in the Pans and then from a great distance the famous Chapman’s Baobab. Also known as the Seven Sisters, and acknowledged to be one of the largest trees in Africa, measuring 25metres around its girth, this great baobab was also the campsite of early explorers like Livingstone and Selous when they pioneered the area.

We arrive back at camp for a late lunch and a well earned rest. In the late afternoon we may go for a gentle walk and as the sun dips below the horizon and the last light fades, we will be sure to dwell on these amazing past few days.  Incredible scenery, memorable wildlife encounters and above all superb riding!

Accommodation: Kalahari Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6 : Departure

The horses are loaded early and trucked to their home base in Maun.  A non-riding day commences with an early morning walk with Zu/’hoasi Bushmen trackers.

Uncharted Africa has pioneered and passionately supported cultural tourism in Botswana since the company’s inception. They have been working closely with the Zu/’hoasi people of the Western Kalahari for many years and are privileged to have a small group of these extraordinary men to guide Guests on a morning’s walking safari. Offering a window into the past, they teach us how they have survived in this harshest of environments, using their vast and ancient knowledge of plants, animal behaviour and survival skills.

Time for one more lunch before you bid farewell to Camp Kalahari and are transferred to the aiport to catch your return flights.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Cost of the entire itinerary

High Season Dec to Dec $ 3,425 $ 571 per day
High Season Jan to Oct $ 3,425 $ 571 per day
Months not available Nov to Nov
Cost Includes
  •  Airport transfers
  • All activities in the itinerary
  • All meals
Cost Excludes
  • Any internal flights
Climate

Visas, Travel Documents and Special Permits

Some nationalities require visas. When entering Botswana each visitor is given an entry visa valid for the length of your stay. 

Physical Fitness/Skills

You should be fit for riding as long as 6 hours. Please discuss with us whether a child has the appropriate riding capabilities.

Immunizations / Medical Requirements

Although there are no specific requirements with regard to vaccinations, each visitor should check with their local doctor at home and follow the advice accordingly.  This should include anti malaria cover even though Botswana is a low risk area.
 
Light weight riding helmets are compulsory for all children and for adults must be worn within the requirements of your insurance cover.  Adults riding without helmets do so at their own risk and the company cannot be held responsible for any injuries sustained.

Recommended Packing List

For riding:


  • Riding Helmet:  light weight ventilated of good quality is recommended.  Insurance regulations insist on this requirement whilst on horseback.
  • Riding gear:  Jodphurs / Long trousers.  Half chaps
  • Riding footwear:  these should be comfortable and easy to walk in if required.
  • Socks – several pairs
  • Riding gloves
  • Long sleeved collared shirts in neutral bush colours
  • Buff / bandana (to protect face and neck from sun and dust).
  • Light weight warm fleece or jacket
  • Lightweight waterproof windbreaker jacket
  • Dark sunglasses on a string
  • Underwear
  • Bum bag / Waist pouch to carry lip balm, suncream, small camera and extra batteries and memory card

                                               
 Other:

 

  • Torch – head torch is recommended
  • Small lightweight binoculars
  • Camera with battery charging equipment, spare batteries and memory cards
  • Broad brimmed sunhat (for when not riding)
  • Layers: Cotton long and short sleeved T shirts, Shorts, Cotton trousers, Sarong and bathing costume, Comfortable sleepwear according to the season (tracksuit recommended for winter months), woollen beanie and gloves
  • Footwear:  flip flops, closed shoes/ boots for around the camp
  • Sunblock, insect repellent, lip salve, personal medication, personal toiletries
  • Reading material
  • Passport, Insurance and Medical details
Meals provided

The ride caters for any dietary requirements and provides full English and continental breakfast, light lunches and three course dinners with tea and coffee throughout the day.

Other useful tips

Batteries are not easily available in this region, please bring and a universal adaptor is handy.

Operator ID

3931

Operator Profile

The glorious wilderness of Africa has been home to this intrepid husband and wife horse-safari experts for 50 years, and their wish is you fall in love with it the way they did. Watch wild animals roam in the millions on the vast plains under a magnificent African sky. Enter the magical world and interact with the Bushmen under the expert care of these consummate professionals. For the non-riders among you, they will organize special walking and bird-watching tours as well.

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Luxurious Horse Safari Through The Kalahari Desert