Explorer Safari

Waterberg/Mashatu South Africa: (IT-BORT05E)
URL: http://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/south_african_explorer_horse_safari.aspx

Introduction
Waterberg/Mashatu South Africa
This exciting combination horse riding safari showcases two amazing countries of Southern Africa: Botswana and South Africa!

Here is a great affordable African safari opportunity, giving international horse lovers a chance to explore the rugged central highlands of the Waterberg mountain range of South Africa and the vast Mashatu Game Reserve of Botswana's Tuli Block, known as the "Land of the Giants," due to the large presence of the "giant" wildlife: The African Elephant, the Lion, the Giraffe, the Eland, the Ostrich, the Kori Bustard, and the iconic Mashatu aka Baobab Tree! Spend four nights at the brand new safari camp that has been built high up in the bushveld above the Matlapeng Valley before transferring over the Pont Drift border and the mighty Limpopo River into Botswana for a turn at camping in lion and elephant country!

In the late 19th century Ted Davidson, one of the first members of the pioneering Baber family to settle in the Waterberg, was a young man trading by ox wagon to remote cattle outposts of a young ranching area. Living in the Waterberg meant a life by the campfire! Triple B Ranch has captured this early camp atmosphere in their re-creation of Camp Davidson, and this is where your African horseback adventure begins. The wilderness here soon becomes a great stepping stone to your next adventure; the second half of your safari takes you north, into the Limpopo Valley in the Tuli Block in Botswana. The riding trails here cover both the riverine terrain and the mopane bushveld, including the stunning sandstone formations of the Tuli. The area is famous for its elephant herds, but you should also see many sprightly species of antelope both small and large, skittish zebra herds, roaming wildebeest (gnus), skulking hyena, lounging lions, mischievous baboons, vervet monkeys, lurking crocodiles and water monitors, and it is possible (but a sometimes a bit harder) to find the leopard, cheetah, and wild dogs here as well!

Both camps provide high quality tent accommodations with comfy cots complete with pillows and linens and raised securely off the ground on wooden platforms. Each tent has a private en-suite bathroom (with plumbing). The food is plentiful and delicious, the drinks are merry, and the hospitality is superb! The guides are knowledgeable locals who love to share their passion for horses and their countryside with you!

Accomodation

Accommodations
This is a wilderness ride, so nights will be spent in different locations.

Description
You will be staying at Camp Davidson for 4 nights and Mashatu for 3 nights in deluxe bush camps. Both locations offer 5 spacious and comfortable A-frame tents all built on raised decks equipped with beds, sheets, and duvets, making for very comfortable camping. 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) and jug and basin hand wash facilities. There are flushing toilets at Camp Davidson in South Africa, whereas in Botswana toilets are long drop eco toilets.  Solar lights and lanterns are used at both locations as there is no electricity. Laundry services are available at both sites (air dry). There is a limited WiFi and cell service in both locations. If you want to buy a local sim on arrival the one to buy would be MTN. Unwind relaxing by the pool after a long day's ride.


Night 1 - 4: Camp Davidson

A re-creation of the original Camp Davidson has recently been built high in the bushveld above the Matlapeng valley by our long time partners at Triple B Ranch. It offers the opportunity to explore on horseback from a secure base camp nestled in the heart of the wooded mountains and commands a wonderful panoramic view of the central highlands of the Waterberg range, while overlooking the picturesque Sunset Lake at the eastern boundary of the ranch property. Stay in decked canvas tents nestled amongst the sandstone ridges overlooking grassy valleys. Each tent is appointed as it would have been in Ted’s day with classic items that would have been essential to the traveler accustomed to regular nights in the bush.


Night 5 - 7: Two Mashatus Camp

The Two Mashatus camps are nestled in the shade of a centurion Mashatu tree, two traditionally built Lala palm rondavels serve as dining area and lounge. Accommodation is in big A-frame walk-in tents pitched on teak platforms, with en-suite enviro drop toilet and hot water shower. Each tent is private and positioned in the shade of a tree with a small deck area on which to relax during the afternoons.

Room Occupancy
Triple occupancy is possible.
If you are willing to share, the single supplement fee does not apply.


Meals
All meals are included from lunch on Day 1 to brunch on your last day. Two highly trained experienced bush chefs will look after your every need. Breakfast is buffet of cereals, toast, muffins, or porridge. Lunch is a buffet usually quiches, salads, fruits, and dessert. Dinner is a 3 course meal served to you at the table, often under the canopy of stars! All water in the camp is filtered to the highest standards and is guaranteed perfectly safe for drinking. All drinks are included with your tour.

Please also advise us if any guests will be celebrating a birthday or special occasion, that you may want us to be aware of to help plan something special!

Dietary Restrictions
We can cater to dietary restrictions if given prior notice.


This trip includes some wine with dinner and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding


Riding Experience
Guests must be experienced riders. They must ride regularly (at least once or twice a week) and be comfortable at posting trot, light seat canter and gallop as well as being able to do small jumps should they have to. They must be able to control a horse independently of the group at all paces.
On arrival in Botswana, you will be asked to do a simple independent riding test. The guides in South Africa will be able to assess your riding skills and will advise on your suitability to ride in Botswana. Should they deem you not able to ride in Botswana you will stay at the lodge for the three days and carry on with the safari riding.

Horses
All of the horses have been individually selected for their temperament and "ride-ability" on safari. They are from the various South African breeds, which are well known for being of a hardy nature and able to cope under extreme conditions. These breeds include the Boerperd (the SA version of a Mustang!), Shire X Thoroughbreds, Appaloosas, and the South African Warmbloods. They range in size from 14.3hh to 17 hh. Their schooling generally concentrates on English style, although the horses neck rein when in the bush. They respond easily and lightly to the aids.
Our safari horses have been hand selected for their endurance, courage and responsiveness.
Our philosophy has entailed managing our horses as a free roaming herd within large tracts of natural pasture, rather than in stables or paddocks. Our horses are at ease with each other and within their environment, which generates calm and contented natures. As a result, we can offer our guests responsive, subtle and honest rides.

Tack
Saddles are South African McClellan’s, a cavalry saddle designed for long hours of riding, they offer particular comfort and airflow for the horses back and padded seats and fenders for the rider's comfort.

Guides & Safety
Guides leading the safari have many years’ experience and most have grown up in the area and know the bush like the back of their hand. Our guides have either professional or assistant guiding licenses with the Botswana Qualifications Authority. They are qualified to use firearms and qualified in first aid.
All rides are conducted by two experienced professional guides. The lead guide is armed with a rifle and a bull whip. All management staff and guides do regular first aid training with a specialized doctor for remote areas. The lead guide has a local phone and a radio for use in emergencies.

Hard Hat
Hard hats are compulsory and you will not be able to ride without one. We can provide helmets (limited quantities), but suggest that clients bring their own. We do not provide half chaps but might have the odd pair should clients need.

Non-Riders
Non-riders are welcome on this trip. One very good option is to relax by the pool with a good book taking in Africa. For the more active there are excursions available at additional fees. South African Excursions include, guided hike, ziplining, elephant riding, local town and township visit and big five game drives. Whilst in Botswana, non-riders can do a morning guided bush walk, or cycle (min 2 pax). Afternoons in Botswana will be a drive to camp on the first day, a guided walk with the group on the second day a full Mashatu game drive and on the last afternoon.

Itinerary

Sample Itinerary - subject to changes
Combining Camp Davidson, Waterberg, South Africa & Mashatu Game Reserve, Tuli Block, Botswana

Day 1
Guests will be met at Johannesburg International Airport and transferred to Camp Davidson in time for a late lunch. That afternoon you will be introduced to your safari horse. We will ensure that you are matched with a horse to suit your ability and experience before heading off on your ride. On route through the Matlapeng reserve, the ride will pass “Red Dam” where you are likely to encounter our pod of resident hippo, you will then ride to a stunning lookout spot for sundowner drinks before returning to Camp Davidson.

Day 2
A day of exploration in the reserve, tracking giraffe, zebra, eland, wildebeest, kudu and impala. We pass “Sunset Lake: where resident fish eagles and Spur-Winged geese are often spotted and its shallow banks give us a great opportunity for some great photo opportunities catering through the water. We return to camp in time for lunch and a chance to relax by the pool. The afternoon ride takes us on a ride with a good chance of more hippo viewing and some nice long canters. That evening there is the option of a night sky safari with local a astronomer, who will guide you through the constellations. The absence of light pollution enables us an incredible chance to view some of the amazing wonders of the universe.

Day 3
A morning ride with a chance to track game, enjoy some of our jumping lanes and finish off with a swim with the horses in one of many reserve lakes before returning to camp for a large and lazy lunch. After lunch we depart for a game drive in a ‘Big Five’ private game reserve, with a chance to see rhino, lion, elephant, buffalo and leopard.

Day 4
A full day ride west of camp takes you to a neighboring game reserve. This ride offers lovely long canters on sandy tracks and great game viewing opportunities on large plains populated by wildebeest, hartebeest, sable, eland and blesbok among others. Then it’s on to the historic Baber homestead for lunch by the poolside. That afternoon riders return to camp via the local Sotho village and visit Beadle, a craft workshop on Triple B Ranch which has a community upliftment project since 1998. The crafters specialize in beautiful handmade beadwork and leather products including riding chaps. We finish the day with sundowners at a favorite lookout spot and return to the tranquility of the Camp Davidson where dinner is served under the stars.

Day 5
We leave camp early and riders mount for a last ride through the reserve, soaking up the early morning sights and sounds of the African bush to the lodge. Guests depart from the lodge by 9.30 and are transferred to Botswana. Once at the stables an introductory afternoon ride will familiarize riders with their horses for this leg of the safari, arriving at the Two Mashatus camp in time to freshen up before supper.

Day 6
An early wake-up call with tea/ coffee brought to your tent, followed by breakfast around the campfire. We make an early start each day to enjoy the freshness of the morning and to maximize game-viewing opportunities. The group is given the choice of a longer morning ride and an afternoon guided walk, or two shorter rides. Undoubtedly the large herds of elephant for which the Tuli is renowned will be encountered, as well as many different species of antelope. Giraffe, zebra, bat-eared fox, jackal, hyena and possibly even lion, leopard, wild dog and cheetah can be seen. You will arrive back at Two Mashatus camp in time for lunch and a cooling afternoon in the shady camp or lazing by the pool. That afternoon the group has the choice of an afternoon ride or guided walk along the Limpopo River, enjoying the rich birdlife, spotting crocodile in the pools and learning about the magnificent trees lining the banks.

Day 7
Ride out following the movements of wildlife in the area. The tempo of the rides is always varied and depending on the terrain, there are opportunities to enjoy the spirit and fitness of the horses at a faster pace. The afternoon brings a chance to enjoy a Mashatu game drive. Mashatu is famous for big cat sightings and this is definitely a wonderful opportunity for keen photographers to capture sightings of lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena and elephant.

Day 8
After a last morning ride back to the stables there is time for a quick shower and brunch at the reception area before flying back to Johannesburg International.

NOTE: The itinerary may change depending on the weather at the time and other local conditions.

----------------------------------------

What do non-riders do?
In South African an accompanying non rider can enjoy onsite bush walks and a variety of excursions such as, guided hike pp $30pp, elephant riding $100, local town and township visit $20pp, big five game drives $40pp.


Rates and Dates for Explorer Safari

Rates include:

Accommodations at Camp Davidson (4 nights) and Mashatu (3 nights) in deluxe bush camps, all meals and drinks, game drives and bush walks, laundry, 7 riding days.

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionGBP ~US$
    A
    20198 day Safari, AP (High)£2065$2770
    • Single supplement£1035$1390
  • B
    20198 day Safari, AP (Low)£1715$2300
    • Single supplement£860$1155
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.34

Rates Note:

Only road transfer available from December to February

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Rates Note:

Only road transfer available from December to February


Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionGBP~US$
2019 Road and Air transfer, pp, roundtrip £ 340 $460

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2019 06/21 - 06/28 8d / 7n 8 day Safari, AP (High) 2 /8 Expired
A 2019 06/28 - 07/05 8d / 7n 8 day Safari, AP (High) 2 /8 Expired
A 2019 07/05 - 07/12 8d / 7n 8 day Safari, AP (High) 2 /8 Expired
A 2019 07/12 - 07/19 8d / 7n 8 day Safari, AP (High) 2 /8 Expired
A 2019 07/19 - 07/26 8d / 7n 8 day Safari, AP (High) 2 /8 Expired
A 2019 07/26 - 08/02 8d / 7n 8 day Safari, AP (High) 2 /8 Expired
A 2019 08/02 - 08/09 8d / 7n 8 day Safari, AP (High) 2 /8 Expired
A 2019 08/09 - 08/16 8d / 7n 8 day Safari, AP (High) 2 /8 Expired
A 2019 08/16 - 08/23 8d / 7n 8 day Safari, AP (High) 2 /8 Expired
A 2019 08/23 - 08/30 8d / 7n 8 day Safari, AP (High) 2 /8 Reserve
A 2019 08/30 - 09/06 8d / 7n 8 day Safari, AP (High) 2 /8 Sold Out
A 2019 09/06 - 09/13 8d / 7n 8 day Safari, AP (High) 2 /8 Reserve
A 2019 09/13 - 09/20 8d / 7n 8 day Safari, AP (High) 2 /8 Sold Out
A 2019 09/20 - 09/27 8d / 7n 8 day Safari, AP (High) 2 /8 Reserve
A 2019 09/27 - 10/04 8d / 7n 8 day Safari, AP (High) 2 /8 Sold Out
A 2019 10/04 - 10/11 8d / 7n 8 day Safari, AP (High) 2 /8 Reserve
A 2019 10/11 - 10/18 8d / 7n 8 day Safari, AP (High) 2 /8 Sold Out
A 2019 10/18 - 10/25 8d / 7n 8 day Safari, AP (High) 2 /8 Sold Out
A 2019 10/25 - 11/01 8d / 7n 8 day Safari, AP (High) 2 /8 Reserve
A 2019 11/01 - 11/08 8d / 7n 8 day Safari, AP (High) 2 /8 Reserve
A 2019 11/08 - 11/15 8d / 7n 8 day Safari, AP (High) 2 /8 Reserve
A 2019 11/15 - 11/22 8d / 7n 8 day Safari, AP (High) 2 /8 Reserve
A 2019 11/22 - 11/29 8d / 7n 8 day Safari, AP (High) 2 /8 Reserve
A 2019 11/29 - 12/06 8d / 7n 8 day Safari, AP (High) 2 /8 Reserve
A 2019 12/06 - 12/13 8d / 7n 8 day Safari, AP (High) 2 /8 Reserve
A 2019 12/13 - 12/20 8d / 7n 8 day Safari, AP (High) 2 /8 Reserve
A 2019 12/20 - 12/27 8d / 7n 8 day Safari, AP (High) 2 /8 Reserve
A 2019 12/27 - 01/03 8d / 7n 8 day Safari, AP (High) 2 /8 Reserve

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Tourism levy, gratuities (payable only in cash)

Other Info
Meeting: Camp Davidson
Airport: O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB)
Transfer: O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB)

Climate:
                                            Polokwane area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

84

84

82

79

75

70

70

75

80

82

83

84

Average Low Temperature (°F)

63

62

60

54

47

41

41

45

51

56

59

62

Average High Temperature (°C)

29

29

28

26

24

21

21

24

27

28

28

29

Average Low Temperature (°C)

17

17

16

12

8

5

5

7

11

13

15

17

Average Precipitation (days of rain)

10

8

8

6

1

0

0

0

1

6

10

11

Source: NOAA


Seasons
The climate over most of Southern Africa is temperate. Hot, dry conditions are usually encountered in the Tuli region. Heavy summer thunderstorms of short duration in the late afternoon and evening may be experienced. Rainfall occurs mostly during the summer months (October - March).

Summer (December to February)
The temperatures are high and there is a lot of humidity in the air. The chances of convectional thunderstorms are great. Some of the summer migrant birds begin to arrive. The characteristic call of the Red-chested Cuckoo rings out clearly, heralding the approach of better times for all. Once good rains have fallen, the small, drab, but extremely vocal Monotonous Lark keeps the bush awake day and night with its irritating call, as they perch on every treetop.
Kudus calve and there is a good chance of seeing late Impala lambs, tottering along on spindly, wobbling legs behind their mothers. Due to the heat, the animals wisely begin to seek shade before 8 o’clock in the morning, only becoming active again in the late afternoon, just prior to sunset. Tropical thunderstorms are a regular afternoon feature and there is a high probability of flooded rivers to add some excitement to game drives.

Autumn (March to May)
The transition from summer to winter occurs rapidly in the Limpopo Valley. Finally the searing heat of summer begins to abate and there is less likelihood of rain. This is a truly splendid time of the year. It is now Autumn and the daily temperatures are most pleasant with balmy days and nights. Temperatures begin to drop rapidly after sunset and both evening and morning game drives require warmer clothing. Although chilly in the morning, the days are clear and pleasant with crisp blue skies. Now that the rains are over, the veldt begins to dry out and game begins to congregate around the major watercourses, such as the Limpopo and associated wetlands, as well as the artificial waterholes scattered throughout the reserve.
A few late Kudu calves may make a bemused appearance in the beginning of March. Large nursery herds of gawky Impala young are found, kept under some control by the watchful eyes of their mothers.
The bush is still dense, but the bright shades of green are starting to become duller as the year progresses. As the vegetation begins to thin, the elusive leopard is more frequently seen. Lions, which dispersed with the game during the wet season, now begin to concentrate their activities in the central area of Mashatu.

Winter (June to August)
Winter is now upon us and has spread its chilly grip on Mashatu. The days are still good, with crisp mornings. The nights can be very cold.
Most of the natural pans and pools have now completely dried up. Elephant and a host of other species begin to frequent the artificial waterholes at both Main and Tent Camps, which makes for exciting mealtime viewing. Predator sightings are good at this time of the year, due to the thinned out vegetation and concentrations of game, cheetah however are scarce. In general the game is more active later into the day.
This is also a favorable time to visit the archaeological site at the Motloutse River. The summer vegetation has disappeared and a host of interesting features are now visible.
Towards the end of winter, the floodplains and grasslands adjacent to the Limpopo are very dry and barren. The bush has become harsh and almost inhospitable, with absolutely no groundcover, only dust and rocks visible for kilometers. The veldt has all the typical winter hues of brown and red, as the Mopane leaves start turning. The weather is fine with temperatures increasing slightly. The early mornings and evenings being not as cold as in June or July. August is a showy month, with respect to sunsets. Due to the very dry conditions, large quantities of dust is taken up into the air, giving rise to spectacular pyrotechnic displays as the sun sinks below the horizon.

Spring (September to November)
The bush is still very dry, a condition exacerbated by winds, which blow from August through to October. Temperatures begin to steadily increase and conditions are becoming desperate for many of the herbivores. This is due to sub region frontal systems touching on the Limpopo Valley, bringing superheated air into the region. There may be an occasional tropical thunderstorm, but this early rain is sucked up like a sponge by the barren earth. This welcome water is however not enough, and seldom results in a notable floral display. Many trees begin to blossom, in anticipation of the rapidly approaching summer. The vibrant hues of the blossoms enliven the bush, providing a bountiful treat for baboons and other hungry inhabitants of the bush, all of whom have struggled through the lean winter months. Temperatures begin to creep upwards and game drives are once again early morning and late afternoon affairs, as a wise means of avoiding the debilitating midday heat.
Predators have a field day, as many of the game are weak and tend to restrict their activities to the area close to the waterholes. The lack of dense vegetation and the dry powdery soil make tracking lion and leopard an easier task and often result in exceptional sightings. Elephant listlessly wait out the dry season, moving from waterhole to waterhole, where they take full advantage, wallowing and drinking for hours. They will feed on the surrounding vegetation, moving into the bush on feeding forays when temperatures have dropped sufficiently for them to forage out of the protective shade. It is also at this time that eland begin to calve.

What To Bring:
Bags have to be soft-sided and weight is limited to 15kg per bag plus 6kg hang luggage. You will be provided with a water bottle for your safari.

- Hard hats are mandatory (we can provide one if needed)
- Comfortable riding attire
- Boots and chaps
- Bum bag
- Swimsuit
- Lightweight long-sleeved shirt
- Raincoat (October- April)
- Body warmer (May- August)
- Fleece for chilly evenings if coming in winter
- Sunscreen (30 or higher) and sun hat
- Lipbalm
- Photographic device: camera, phone, Go-pro etc. Bring enough memory sticks and batteries as there is nowhere to purchase nearby. Batteries and phones can be charged at camp.
- A good book
- Any personal medication you need for the duration of your safari.