Horseback riding in Waterberg/Mashatu, South Africa

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- African Explorer Horse Safari
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Horseback riding vacations in South Africa, Waterberg/Mashatu

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Equestrian tours in South Africa, Waterberg/Mashatu
African Explorer Horse Safari


Itinerary for African Explorer Horse Safari




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

NOTE: Please note that due to changes in weather and other unforeseen events, the itinerary and accommodation used may change at the last minute.

Day 1 (Friday): Arrival
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. This first introductory ride is a relaxed affair, giving riders the opportunity to settle into their new surroundings. Crossing the plains, enjoy your first close encounter with wildlife on horseback: ostrich, impala, zebra, kudu, eland, giraffe, warthog and jackal are all frequently seen in the open bushveld.
A stunning lookout spot for sundowner drinks is a welcome moment to take in your first taste of Africa after a long journey. A three course supper is served at Camp Davidson that evening.
Meals included: Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Camp Davidson


Day 2 (Saturday): South African Game Ride
Today’s ride sets off from the high country overlooking a beautiful wilderness area to the east, and heads south, winding along the banks of Sunset Lake with its resident pod of hippos and the odd sly crocodile, before trekking upstream to an adjoining reserve. The lake itself is rich in birdlife, including the impressive Fish Eagles, dainty Dabchicks, elegant Jacanas and a variety of geese. Later, riding through the open savannah, wildebeest and zebra can be encountered. The riding is varied, from canters along sandy tracks to winding through rocky outcrops and densely wooded areas. The ride then crosses the reserve and returns to Camp Davidson in time for lunch. Guests can then relax by the pool, before a shorter afternoon ride.
In the evening there is the option of a night sky safari with a local astronomer, Dr Calcott, who will guide you through the amazing constellations (subject to weather conditions and availability - Additional cost R300 pp, Min. 4 pax). The absence of light pollution enables us an incredible chance to view some of the amazing wonders of the universe.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Camp Davidson


Day 3 (Sunday): Game Ride, Jumping & Swimming with the Horses
Setting off in a westerly direction, this ride tracks past a brown hyena den, skirts past the upper reaches of the Horizon dam before crossing a wide grassy valley. At one point, the ride enters into dense woodland, home to shy species such as kudu, bushbuck and Vervet monkeys. Emerging from the woods, the horses have a chance to stretch their legs along open sandy tracks. Finally the ride swings back to the
north, through mixed bushveld and fascinating rock formations.
Two highlights of this ride are the jumping lanes and the chance for riders to swim their horses bareback in the Horizon dam next to the main lodge. For many guests, this is an exhilarating and unforgettable experience. Once dried off and back in the saddle, the ride climb back up to Camp Davidson is particularly intriguing, as it follows a mountain pass cut through boulders and outcrops.
After lunch, enjoy a sundowner ride across the plains on the reserve. We are very fortunate to have a large herd zebra. Over the years, the herd has become quite habituated to the horses and it is now possible to ride really close and experience being part of the zebra herd. A wonderful way to watch the foals frollick.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Camp Davidson


Day 4 (Monday): Camp Davidson to Bellevue Plains Lodge
We will pack up and leave Camp Davidson after breakfast, and go to Bellevue Plains Lodge. The bags will go ahead whilst we make our way to the Lodge.
Having left Camp Davidson for the final time, this ride heads south to the Game Conservancy. The ride traverses a wide wetland, home to reedbuck and grass owls, before entering dense woodland dotted with wild fig trees and large fruited bush willows. Here it crosses the watershed and descends through open grasslands with sweeping views to the upper reaches of the
Conservancy’s main water system. The route passes the favored habitat of waterbuck and Cape buffalo. The open plains that follow are aptly known as “Little Serengeti”; large herds of blesbuck, eland, wildebeest and kudu are all on view, as are groups of elegant sable, swift red hartebeest and impressive journeys of giraffe and Cape buffalo.
After a lunch at the lodge and a rest by the pool, the afternoon ride continues to explore this game rich area, closing with sundowners overlooking the African plains.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Bellevue Plains Lodge


Day 5 (Tuesday): Transfer to Botswana
We depart the lodge early and enjoy an exhilarating ride back to the Horizon Lodge in time to change before departing for Botswana at 09:30 am.
We arrive in Botswana in time for a light lunch. Enjoy an introductory ride to check you are suited to your horse, before embarking on your first ride out to our Two Mashatus Camp. This will be your first opportunity to experience the beauty of the Mashatu Game Reserve and view the wildlife on horseback. Mashatu Game Reserve is home to the largest herd of wild free-roaming elephants on private land in Africa, and, although not a guarantee, it is almost assured that there will be great viewing of these incredible creatures.
As evening falls at Two Mashatus Camp, relax in the cool of the thatched lounge and dining areas, before enjoying a three-course dinner.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Two Mashatus Camp


Day 6 (Wednesday): Game Ride & Optional Game Drive
Sunrise, the dawn chorus and tea or coffee which is brought to your tent, sounds the start of your first day. After breakfast, it’s time to mount and depart from the dense woodland that hugs the Limpopo River and head towards the rocky hills that delineate the edges of the great river valley. As the ride traverses the heartland of Mashatu, you will encounter plentiful game: plains game, many giraffe and herds of elephants.
You will arrive back at Two Mashatus Camp in time for lunch and a cooling afternoon rest in the shady camp or lazing by the pool. That afternoon the group has the choice of an afternoon ride or a game drive to the south western side of the reserve. This is an area not reached on horseback during the African Explorer safari. It is rich in game with a resident pride of lion. The highlight of the drive is a sundowner in the ancient landscape of rock formations or the Mmamagwa hills, which vast vistas into the setting sun.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Two Mashatus Camp


Day 7 (Thursday): Morning Ride & Bush Walk
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.
The afternoon brings a chance to again choose between another ride or a bush walk in the northern area of Mashatu Game Reserve and enjoy the rich birdlife, spot crocodile in the pools and learn about the magnificent trees lining the banks.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Two Mashatus Camp


Day 8 (Friday): Departure
The last ride in the Limpopo Valley is a great opportunity to take one last picture of elephants and enjoy a long and winding canter through the scattered Mustard bush with your guides.
Arriving back at the stables and reception mid-morning, there is plenty of time for a quick shower, before saying farewell to safari companions and new found friends. Transfer back to Johannesburg International Airport.
Meals included: Brunch

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February 2022 Itinerary - subject to changes

As of January 10th 2022, the Pont Drift border remains firmly closed so for February (and possibly March) this program will run as below. 

Day 1: Arrival
Meet at OR Tambo airport at 11:15 am and transfer to Camp Davidson in time for a late Lunch.
Meals included: Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Camp Davidson


Day 2: Safari Ride & Vaalwater Visit
Ride from Camp Davidson with a lunch time visit to Vaalwater for some retail therapy bushveld style and a PCR test (R750 pp).  
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Camp Davidson


Day 3: Dam Ride
Morning ride followed by a visit to one of the local dams for a swim with the horses before getting back to camp.  That afternoon we pack an overnight bag and head to Savannah lodge based on the other side of the reserve arriving in time for sundowners.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Savannah lodge


Day 4: Last Ride in South Africa
A morning ride from Savannah lodge in search of buffalo returning to the lodge for lunch and a chance to relax and enjoy this fabulous setting before riding back to the lodge where we say our goodbye to our horses before heading up to camp for a last night at Camp Davidson.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Camp Davidson


Day 5: Transfer to Botswana
Wake up early and depart the camp by 6 am with a picnic for the road. Our aim is to have you through the border by 9am, aiming to arrive at Mashatu by 1 pm in time for lunch and a chance to change before the afternoon ride.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Two Mashatus Camp


Day 6: Botswana Safari Ride & Kgtola
During the morning ride, we will call in at the airstrip for a PCR test (BWP1800) before returning to Two Mashatus for lunch and a chance to relax by the pool. 
That afternoon there is the option of another ride or a game drive in the Kgotla area with sundowners on the Mmagwa hills. 
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Two Mashatus Camp


Day 7: Two Mashatus to Tree Camp
In the morning, ride from Two Mashatus to the wonderful Tree Camp. After lunch, you will have the option of a bush walk or if available a game drive with a good chance of seeing the big cats (additional charge $65 pp).  Then back to Tree camp for a night under the stars.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Tree Camp


Day 8: Departure
A Full ride in the center of the reserve and then coming down the game rich Pitsane river area. We should be arriving back at the stables in time for lunch and a shower before flying out of Mashatu at 2:30 pm.  The Flight will fly into Lanseria airport where a driver will meet clients and take them to ORTambo for onward flights home.

Please note that the Mashatu area game drive is no longer guaranteed and is subject to availability with a $65 pp surcharge. However the game drive at the Kgotla is still an option and is included in the price.



Special Itinerary - subject to changes

NOTE: Please note that due to changes in weather and other unforeseen events, the itinerary and accommodation used may change at the last minute.

Day 1 (Friday): Arrival
Guests will be met at Johannesburg International Airport and transferred to Camp Davidson in time for a late lunch. That afternoon enjoy an introductory ride in the game reserve, with sundowner served at one of our picturesque hippo dams.
Meals included: Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Camp Davidson or Triple B Ranch


Day 2 (Saturday): Ride to Tree Camp
Depart the Waterberg base at about 6:30 am aiming to be at the border by 8:30 am and at the stables in time for lunch and a pre safari briefing. That afternoon enjoy an introductory ride to check you are suited to your horse, before embarking on your first ride out to our Tree Camp. This will be your first opportunity to experience the beauty of the Mashatu Game Reserve and view the wildlife on horseback. Mashatu Game Reserve is home to the largest herd of wild free-roaming elephants on private land in Africa, and, although not a guarantee, it is almost assured that there will be great viewing of these incredible creatures. 
Later that afternoon, enjoy your first Mashatu game drive exploring the area along the West of the Matabole River returning to Tree Camp for sundowner on the deck. Dinner is served in the on the deck under the branches, overlooking the Majale river.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Tree Camp


Day 3 (Sunday): Tree Camp to Kgotla
Our safari passes through the centre of Mashatu to the ancient rock formations synonymous with the Limpopo Valley. Giant Baobab trees continue to scatter the landscape as they have for centuries. Whilst riding alongside the banks of the Motloutse River, discover the old Leadwood ‘The Kgotla’ (or enclosure used for the traditional law court of a Botswana village). This open-air enclosure forms the perfect, secure camp for the night.
In the afternoon, we search for the area’s resident lion on a game drive and draw the day’s adventures to a close with sundowner at the ancient “Amphitheatre” rocks.
Back at the Kgotla, dinner is enjoyed around a large log fire. The night is spent with a ceiling of stars and Africa’s nighttime melody to sing you to sleep; a veraciously rare experience which is just about as far away from city life and the modern world as anyone can imagine.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Kgotla


Day 4 (Monday): Rock Formations
Today, we visit the sandstone formations, including the famed Solomon’s Wall, one of the numerous dolomite dykes in the area. Some of the oldest civilizations in southern Africa settled in this valley. Archaeological evidence in the area includes middle and late stone age tools, rock art and the legendary Mapungubwe Dynasty. Mapungubwe means “Place of the Jackal” in the Venda language and this dynasty existed around 1220 AD. The Mapungubwe topography itself is ancient and timeless, and combined with marvelous wildlife sightings, it makes for an incredible riding experience.
This afternoon enjoy the option of a game drive and for the most visually stunning and ethereal sundowner, visit the Mmamagwa hills. A short climb up the sandstone ridge, brings us to the site of the Mmamagwa Ruins, which is of a similar period to Mapungubwe (13 century). To date these ruins have not been excavated and have been left alone. It is conceivable that similar treasures to those found at Mapungubwe could be buried here. After a short climb, enjoy sundowner beneath a beautiful baobab tree with a breath-taking view of the area.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Kgotla


Day 5 (Tuesday): Western Mashatu
The safari roves through the open bush from the western side of Mashatu; winding along ancient trails, stamped into the soil by centuries of migrating elephants, enjoying wonderfully long canters.  
After an exhilarating ride through this timeless countryside, a relaxing lunch in the eaves of the Tree Camp is very welcomed.  Later that afternoon, your guide will take you on a guided bush walk along the bank of the Majele River.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Tree Camp


Day 6 (Wednesday): Pitsane River Valley
This morning, we get up early and depart the camp at about 5:30 am and drive through to the PCR testing station. We then return to camp after the test, in time to start the morning ride. The ride roams through the Pitsane River Valley. The river is fed by a spring high in the hills and its regular watering holes attract the wildlife, guaranteeing excellent sightings. The area is steeped in history: the Zeederberg Trail, a stagecoach line that connected the towns of the Transvaal (South Africa) to the newly forged settlements of southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), once traversed theses open plains. The coaches would ford the Limpopo River before trailing the Pitsane River into Zimbabwe. En route there was an old British supply post, Bryce’s Store, which was destroyed here in a skirmish between British and Boer soldiers during the Boer war in 1899. Today bullets, buckles and other remains can be found in the rubble around the store. Our days journey comes to a close at Two Mashatu camp, where there is opportunity to relax by the swimming pool.
That afternoon there is te option of an afternoon ride or a guided bush walk to one of the nearby koppies for sundowners. As evening falls at Two Mashatu Camp, relax in the Lala palm rondavel lounge and dining areas.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Two Mashatu Camp


Day 7 (Thursday): Farewell to Limpopo Valley
Enjoy your last ride in the Limpopo Valley. This is a great opportunity to take one last picture of elephants and enjoy a long and winding canter through the scattered mustard bush back to the stables. Arriving back at the stables and reception mid morning, there is plenty of time for a hot shower and a tasty brunch, before saying farewell to Botswana and returning to South Africa, arriving in time for sundowners and dinner.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Camp Davidson


Day 8 (Friday): Departure
Enjoy a full morning of riding in the game reserve after the ride you have the opportunity to swim with your horses in the stunning Dam. You then have time for a shower and lunch before departing the lodge to be back at the airport between 4 and 5 pm in time for flights home.
Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch

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Non-Riders
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.
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African Explorer Horse Safari
Tour Code: IT-BORT05E
8 days / 7 nights ~$3,180.00
Dates : Available all Year

Trip Rating :
Difficulty : Riding Level
Riding Level Explained
ABeginner
Beginner A rider who has limited experience, is unable to post the trot and does not canter.
BNovice
Novice A rider who is capable of mounting and dismounting unassisted, capable of applying basic aids, comfortable and in control at the walk, moderate length posting trots, and short canters.
CIntermediate
Intermediate A rider who has a firm seat, is confident and in control at all paces (including posting trots, two point canters and gallops), but does not ride regularly.
D Strong Intermediate
Strong Intermediate An intermediate rider who is currently riding regularly and is comfortable in the saddle for at least 6 hours per day.
EAdvanced
All of the above, plus an independent seat, soft hands, and capable of handlinga spirited horse in open country.
Lodging: Standard
Lodging Level Explained
   
= Facilities in lodges, estancias, haciendas, resorts, etc.
   
Basic lodging - some with shared bathroom facilities, usually no AC or room service.
Regular standard room - usually with private bath.
 Accommodations with superior comforts.
   
 = Trips with nights in tent camps. Sometimes the first and last night are in hotels.
   
Basic tent camping - everyone helps out with camp chores.
Regular standard with some camp amenities and camp cook.
Camping facilities with superior comforts like camp shower, bathroom facility..
   
 = Trips that combine nights in hotels and camping.
   
Basic accommodation and basic camping facilities can be expected.
Regular standard with some nicer amenities.
Only assigned to hotel and camping facilities with superior comforts.

Online Reservation

Check here for details and availability
Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
D 2022 01/07 - 01/14 8d / 7n 8 day trip - Special Program 2 /10 Expired
D 2022 01/14 - 01/21 8d / 7n 8 day trip - Special Program 2 /10 Expired
D 2022 01/21 - 01/28 8d / 7n 8 day trip - Special Program 2 /10 Reserve
C 2022 01/28 - 02/04 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (Low) 2 /10 Reserve
C 2022 02/04 - 02/11 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (Low) 2 /10 Reserve
C 2022 02/11 - 02/18 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (Low) 2 /10 Reserve
C 2022 02/18 - 02/25 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (Low) 2 /10 Reserve
C 2022 02/25 - 03/04 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (Low) 2 /10 Reserve
B 2022 03/04 - 03/11 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (Mid) 2 /10 Reserve
B 2022 03/11 - 03/18 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (Mid) 2 /10 Reserve
B 2022 03/18 - 03/25 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (Mid) 2 /10 Reserve
B 2022 03/25 - 04/01 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (Mid) 2 /10 Reserve
B 2022 04/01 - 04/08 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (Mid) 2 /10 Reserve
B 2022 04/08 - 04/15 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (Mid) 2 /10 Reserve
B 2022 04/15 - 04/22 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (Mid) 2 /10 Reserve
B 2022 04/22 - 04/29 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (Mid) 2 /10 Reserve
B 2022 04/29 - 05/06 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (Mid) 2 /10 Reserve
B 2022 05/06 - 05/13 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (Mid) 2 /10 Reserve
B 2022 05/13 - 05/20 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (Mid) 2 /10 Reserve
B 2022 05/20 - 05/27 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (Mid) 2 /10 Reserve
B 2022 05/27 - 06/03 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (Mid) 2 /10 Reserve
B 2022 06/03 - 06/10 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (Mid) 2 /10 Reserve
B 2022 06/10 - 06/17 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (Mid) 2 /10 Reserve
B 2022 06/17 - 06/24 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (Mid) 2 /10 Reserve
B 2022 06/24 - 07/01 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (Mid) 2 /10 Reserve
A 2022 07/01 - 07/08 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (High) 2 /10 Reserve
A 2022 07/08 - 07/15 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (High) 2 /10 Reserve
A 2022 07/15 - 07/22 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (High) 2 /10 Reserve
A 2022 07/22 - 07/29 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (High) 2 /10 Reserve
A 2022 07/29 - 08/05 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (High) 2 /10 Reserve
A 2022 08/05 - 08/12 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (High) 2 /10 Reserve
A 2022 08/12 - 08/19 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (High) 2 /10 Reserve
A 2022 08/19 - 08/26 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (High) 2 /10 Reserve
A 2022 08/26 - 09/02 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (High) 2 /10 Reserve
A 2022 09/02 - 09/09 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (High) 2 /10 Reserve
A 2022 09/09 - 09/16 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (High) 2 /10 Reserve
A 2022 09/16 - 09/23 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (High) 2 /10 Reserve
A 2022 09/23 - 09/30 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (High) 2 /10 Reserve
A 2022 09/30 - 10/07 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (High) 2 /10 Reserve
A 2022 10/07 - 10/14 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (High) 2 /10 Reserve
A 2022 10/14 - 10/21 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (High) 2 /10 Reserve
A 2022 10/21 - 10/28 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (High) 2 /10 Reserve
A 2022 10/28 - 11/04 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (High) 2 /10 Reserve
A 2022 11/04 - 11/11 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (High) 2 /10 Reserve
A 2022 11/11 - 11/18 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (High) 2 /10 Reserve
A 2022 11/18 - 11/25 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (High) 2 /10 Reserve
A 2022 11/25 - 12/02 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (High) 2 /10 Reserve
C 2022 12/02 - 12/09 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (Low) 2 /10 Reserve
C 2022 12/09 - 12/16 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (Low) 2 /10 Reserve
C 2022 12/16 - 12/23 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (Low) 2 /10 Reserve
C 2022 12/23 - 12/30 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (Low) 2 /10 Reserve
Introduction
Day to Day Itinerary
Rates | Dates
Accommodation
Tack: South African Mcllelans
Horses: Boerperd,Warmblood thoroughbred, Appal...
Pace: A fast challenging ride with gallops, ...
Walk, Trot, Canter, Gallop, Jumps
Airport: O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB)
Location on Google Map
Image Gallery
Image Slide Show
Customer Trip Rating
Climate
What To Bring
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