Okavango Macatoo Safari

Okavango Delta Botswana: (IT-BORT02)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/botswana_botswana_macatoo.aspx

Okavango Delta Botswana

A complete connection with natural Africa...

The Okavango Delta, created by the flood waters of the Okavango, is so large it can be spotted from deep space like a giant sprawling hand, bringing relief to the otherwise hot and dry region of Botswana. Little-known to the outside world until a few decades ago, this secluded 17,000 square km labyrinth of lagoons, channels, floodplains and palm fringed islands forms one of the most beautiful and pristine wildlife reserves on the Earth. Home to a kaleidoscope of almost every creature in Africa, the impressive Okavango Delta transcends the rules of mother nature by lying in the heart of the scorched drylands of the Kalahari. Trapped in the parched sands of the desert, it is a magnet for the wildlife who depend on the delta's life giving waters. More than 400 species of resident and migrant birds, lions, elephant, hyenas, wild dog, buffalo, hippo and crocodiles congregate with a variety of antelope and smaller mammals, like warthog, mongoose, genets, monkeys and bush babies.

The horseback riding safaris are based on the western side of the Delta and the luxury safari camp stands proudly on a palm fringed island, surrounded by infinite grassy plains, punctuated with water meadows and seasonal lagoons. Intimate and cozy, the camp's attention to detail and comfort allows you to relax and enjoy yourself within the wilds of Botswana. With a great love for the wilderness, your host orchestrates this exciting adventure by drawing on his years of experience and implementing an interactive approach to each of their horseback safaris. Each day, while the brilliant sun rises over the floodplains, you will watch the wildlife shed its misty morning shroud and become bursting with life.  The bush will continuously shift and transform as you ride from island to island. The aim is for rider, horse and game to become one as we ride with a herd of giraffe or zebra across the plains, track elephant or buffalo from island to island. Be part of this unique herd, cantering and splashing through lagoons of the Okavango Delta with lechwe or simply watch the setting sun whilst listening to the calls of lion and hyena.


The classic Hemmingway style camp provides you with the creature comforts of a modern lifestyle whilst allowing you to experience the wild beauty of the African bush.

The safari camp is situated on the western side of the Okavango Delta. The camp features large, walk-in, twin bedded tents, each with their own en-suite shower and toilet. Centrally there is a large furnished mess tent and tucked away a private pool. On the longer safaris guests have the opportunity to experience the thrill of riding out to a mobile fly-camp. There is a daily laundry service except at the fly-camp.


Whether you are traveling alone, as a couple or as part of a larger group, your time spent around the camp fire, drinking sun downers on the deck, or dining al fresco will mean you are sure to acquire new friends during your stay.
Prior to your early morning ride you will be woken just before dawn by a tent lady bearing gifts of tea or coffee, and there will be time for a slice of home made toast or a bowl of fruit before you set off.  On your return, late in the morning, you may wish to have a quick shower before indulging in Lydia's mouth-watering array of lunchtime fare.

A siesta now beckons, whilst the sun is at its strongest, but sunbathing by the plunge pool, a good book, sorting through your photos or watching the wildlife on the plains in front of the camp are popular alternatives.
Tea is served prior to your evening ride or drive, and on your return there is time for a sun downer and shower before dinner is announced. The menu is varied and excellent, accompanied by attentive staff and a good selection of South African wines. Much time is spent re-living the events of the day, with the occasional myth creeping in too!

Sleeping tent

The electricity in camp is supplied by a generator that runs for approximately 5 hours a day.  There are no power points in the tents and the lights run off solar powered batteries. There are power points (electrical outlets) available in the mess tent for charging batteries etc.


Horses include a variety of Thoroughbreds, Namibian Hanovarians, Arabs and Kalahari-Arabs crosses, ranging from 14 - 16.2 hands (140-165cm). There is a choice of English and Western style trail saddles, each with their own water bottle.

We spend 4 to 6 hours a day in the saddle with groups of no more than 7 guests.

You will need to feel confident about keeping up with the group at all times, capable of riding competently at all paces, must be able to rise to the trot and control your horse at the canter in open lands. You may be required to gallop out of potential troubled situations, so we CANNOT take beginners!! Riders should be aged 12 years and over and anyone over 60 needs to be riding fit and strong. There is a maximum weight limit of 15 stone, 210lbs or 95kgs. If you are over this (95 - 100 kg), you may still be considered, but only if you are an advanced rider and be body proportionate to the weight. Everyone is required to complete our riding questionnaire.
Anyone 100 kg and over will not be permitted to ride - only non-riding activities will be available.

Many insurance companies will not insure your holiday unless you are wearing a hard hat or safety helmet whilst in the saddle. It is your responsibility to provide your own properly fitted hard hat or safety helmet. We cannot accept any liability whatsoever for head injuries sustained as a result of ignoring this advice!

For this ride you will have to provide proof of medical and emergency evacuation insurance.

Game List

From horseback or camp we normally see:

Elephant, Giraffe, Zebra, Buffalo, Lion, Blue Wildebeest, Spotted Hyena, Tsessebe, Reedbuck, Red Lechwe, Impala, Kudu, Jackal, Baboon, Vervet Monkey, Warthog, Mongoose, Steenbok, Spring Hare, Porcupine and Crocodile.

Sometimes we see:

Roan Antelope, Duiker, Hippo, Bushbuck, Wild Dog, Leopard, Cheetah, Wildcat, Serval, Genet, Ostrich, Honey Badger, Pangolin, Python and Aardwolf.


The main attraction of the safari is the joy of riding good horses over superb country, with just about every landscape dotted with game. The riding is varied, sometimes quietly walking, stalking big game and admiring the bird life, sometimes cantering through the water-meadows alongside galloping giraffe and lechwe. The 4x4s are used for night drives, spotting the nocturnal species and for close up photography of kills and predators. When the water levels permit, we also go out in boats to put another perspective on the game. Our safari team is inspired each day by the beautiful surroundings to provide the best safari experience possible for our guests. We are enormously privileged to have a huge unspoilt wilderness in which to run our safaris. The Okavango Delta is an intriguing phenomena, with ever changing landscapes due to the seasonal flood waters coming through from Angola. The movement of the game, the dramatic seasonal changes in the flora and the varying interests of our guests ensures that no two safaris are the same, each one is unique. The safari is exciting but not strenuous, aimed to be a relaxing, intriguing and fun vacation.

On horseback in the delta with Hidden Trails

Example 8 Day Itinerary

Day 1:
On arrival in Maun you will be met at the airport by a member of our team and then transferred from Maun to Macatoo camp.  The transfer will be a short game-viewing air adventure in a Cessna 206 from Maun (or from Kasane), giving you a bird's eye view of the Okavango Delta. Macatoo camp, that overlooks a seasonal flood plain lagoon, is a short game drive or (depending on the time of year) an exciting boat ride from the airstrip. You will be greeted by the Macatoo Mamas who sing their traditional songs of welcome. After a refreshing drink you will be shown to your secluded and very luxurious tents, complete with toilet and washing facilities. Your private verandah overlooks a seasonal floodplain, home to baboon, hyena and elephant. Drinks are on tap, cake and biscuits are there for the taking and we trust you will already feel relaxed and at home. After a look around and lunch under the trees, there is usually time for a siesta before tea, and the evening ride where you can get to know your horse. You return to camp for a hot shower and candle-lit safari supper. 

Day 2:
Wake up with a cup of tea or coffee in bed, followed by a light breakfast with homemade toast and muesli, then a ride out from camp to stretch our legs and explore. Depending on the season this may involve some galloping, (or even swimming) through the flood waters or pushing-on through seas of tall grass following giraffe, zebra, antelope, elephant, buffalo; whatever's out there. Back to camp for another brilliant lunch outside with the guides, if you're lucky it might be our famous chicken pie, and there's usually some wine to encourage a little nap before tea. The evening ride is deliberately slower-paced for safety reasons and it's a good opportunity to ask questions and take photographs. Leopard sightings are not infrequent, the bird-life is some of the best in the world and towards sunset there is often elephant or hippo interaction to enjoy. A sundowner gin and tonic can be enjoyed out in the bush before riding back to camp to freshen up. There's no guarantee that dinner is always eaten in the same place...

Day 3: Wake up as normal with freshly-brewed coffee or tea and depending on your whim, either ride out again (perhaps to find the rare semi-aquatic antelope, the red lechwe), or join one of our guided walks, game drives or perhaps a spot of fishing for bream from the boat? The riders and non-riders can meet up for a delicious champagne breakfast under one of the large baobab trees. After lunch take the opportunity to relax and either swim in the pool or sort out your digital photos. Homemade tea and cake is followed by the sunset ride, exploring the lower flood plains where elephant often gather at a pool. As dusk closes in, it is fascinating to watch them interact in the wild, and being on horseback brings you that much closer.

Day 4:
We ride through different country, making our way through clouds of bushman hair grass to plains dotted with fig trees. We might encounter giraffe or shyer antelope while passing through mophane woodlands. Our pace increases as we break out onto the flood plains, often disturbing troops of baboons. Return to camp for an afternoon of leisure, or the possibility of hiring a helicopter for an hour to gain access to remote and otherwise totally inaccessible parts of the delta with spectacular photographic results. Finish off the day with a spot-lit night drive.

Day 5:
This morning we ride deeper into the heart of the delta, without returning to Macatoo. After six hours in the saddle, on reaching another river system we find our fly camp already set up - our home for the night. While the horses take a well-earned rest in the shade, our afternoon may be spent swimming or walking. Fires are lit at night, creating a strong human presence to keep marauding animals away from the horses. Night watches are fun and guests usually join in. To camp out so freely in the Okavango bush like this is a wonderful experience and one that few people experience. Fly camp is basic but very beautiful as you can see from the photos and, of course, we do our best to provide excellent food, a comfy bed and hot water for the bucket showers after a long day's riding.

Day 6:
Having helped to keep watch under the stars, the next morning we splash through water on the vast open plains, home to blue wildebeeste and Burchell's zebra. The riding may be fast as we approach deep reedy areas full of bird life open-billed storks, squawker herons, slatey egrets, cattle egrets, pygmy Egyptian geese and many more. After our night at fly camp, we return to Macatoo along the myriad of waterways lined with large trees.

Day 7:
Your last full day's riding in this magical place takes you cantering through the shallow flood plains, admiring the deeper pools of lilies. Here, the Cape buffalo can gather in large numbers (anything between a dozen and 2000 individuals) and we have to creep up on them using the islands as cover. The evening offers a last quiet ride with memorable smells of wild sage and the warm African dust as the sun goes down on your chilled Savannah Dry or Sauvignon Blanc. Your farewell dinner will be a memorable one with another surprise location in store.

Day 8:
Sadly, it's time for your last wake-up. For your final ride, we will go along some of the high palm islands which offer great sweeping views of the Delta plains. We'll maybe take a final exhilarating gallop and run with the game before returning to camp, lunch and perhaps a few tears as you say goodbye to your favourite horse and we send you off on your next adventure. But don't worry, now you know where we are; and you won't be the first guests to come back year after year!!

NOTE: This is only a sample itinerary and is subject to change! This itinerary only serves as a guide; all scenarios are dependent on the season and levels of the Okavango flood. At times it may not be possible to go on fly camps and during cooler months one longer ride may replace the normal morning and evening rides. We reserve the right to alter the itinerary in any way and leaves this to the discretion of the guides. Local weather conditions may also affect game movements.

Rates and Dates for Okavango Macatoo Safari

Rates include:

Accommodations, all meals and local beverages, riding and non-activities, and 14% Gov't VAT.

Packages and Options

  • SeasonYearDescriptionGBP ~US$
    20238 day trip, AP - Peak£6090$7190
    • Daily rate, dbl, pp£870$1030
  • B
    20238 day trip, AP - Mid£5680$6705
    • Daily rate, dbl, pp£710$840
  • C
    20238 day trip, AP - Low£3815$4505
    • Daily rate, dbl, pp£545$645
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.18
Minimum Deposit: ~$2,500.00 per person

Rates Note:

7 night safaris include riding to a second “fly” camp. Flycamping is not possible from Nov to Feb.
Minimum stay of 3 nights.

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Rates Note:

7 night safaris include riding to a second “fly” camp. Flycamping is not possible from Nov to Feb.
Minimum stay of 3 nights.

Transfer and Other Charges:

2023 Charter flight Maun to Macatoo Camp, each way, per person £ 225 $270
2023 Charter flight Kasane to Macatoo Camp, each way, per person £ 315 $375
2023 Single supplement +50% £ 0 $0

Season Seasons  Min / MaxReserve
C 2023 01/01 - 03/31 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP - Low 2 /12 Reserve
B 2023 04/01 - 06/14 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP - Mid 2 /12 Reserve
A 2023 06/15 - 10/14 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP - Peak 2 /12 Reserve
B 2023 10/15 - 11/30 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP - Mid 2 /12 Reserve
C 2023 12/01 - 12/31 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP - Low 2 /12 Reserve

Dates Note:
We try to be flexible with departure dates so please ask for availability and we shall do our best to offer the most suitable dates for you. Arrival can be any time of the week.

Rates do not include:

Visas, travel and medical insurance, charter flight from Maun or Kasane and return. Gratuities.

Other Info
Meeting: Abu Camp
Airport: Maun, Kasane
Transfer: Maun (charter flight) usually in at 11:40am, out at 3pm. You can also arrive via Kasane.


Due to many variables such as weather, water level and game, many people wonder when the best time to go is. Please see detailed climate information below to give you an idea of what time of year may be best for you, or what to usually expect on the time frame you have chosen.

March / April

Weather: Warm / hot during the day – pleasantly warm at night. Small possibility of rain. Bush is green and lush – grass tall and green.
Day: 25°-35°C Night: 10°-20°C
Plenty of rain pools left over from the rainy season – but the floodwater is unlikely to be within riding distance of the camp.
Because of the rain and waterholes, the game is dispersed all over the country – so not concentrated in herds yet. Possible still to see the plains game: zebra, wildebeest, impala etc as well as elephant, maybe buffalo and cats.
Lightweight riding gear, a raincoat and swimmers.


Weather: Cooler at night, but still pleasantly warm during the day. Very unlikely to rain. Bush still green but grass getting shorter.
Day: 20°-30°C Night: 5°-10°C
The Okavango annual floodwaters normally arrive in May or June – so are within riding distance for a couple of weeks before they actually reach camp. The floodwaters bring long shallow water canters on the floodplains and deeper channels to cross. As water levels rise, motorboat replaces vehicle game drives and mekoros are also in use into November.
When the water arrives initially the birdlife is great as they feed off the shallow water areas. Game comes to drink from the water, with the buffalo and lechwe moving in as the water levels increase. However, there is a lot of water – so much of the game is still dispersed.
Clothing: A splash proof jacket, a fleece/sweater for evenings and one pair of long rubber riding boots plus one other pair of riding footwear and swimmers. 

June / July / August

Weather: This is our winter and can be chilly in the early morning and evenings – warm in the middle of the day. Bush getting drier except around the edges of the islands where the green shoots start to come through.
Day: 20°-25°C Night: 3°-5°C
The water is at its highest levels, so plenty around to ride through and go boating on either in the motor boat or mokoro (canoe).
Large herds of lechwe forming in the wetlands and perhaps hippo and crocodile in the area. Good potential for buffalo sightings with impala, tsessebe, kudu etc moving inland on islands.
Splash proof jacket, a warm fleece/sweater for evenings and 1pr long rubber riding boots plus one other pair of riding footwear.

September / October

Weather: Winter is over and it gets progressively hotter building up to the first rains, which clear the hazy days and the skies are big and beautiful. Trees come into flower and then leaves go green and fruits grow. Evenings are warm and the plunge pool gets a lot of use! Bush is dry and grass short.
Day: 30-45°C Night: 15°-25°C
The floodwater normally stays around the camp area until October – but this, of course, depends on how big the flood was to start with. As the floodplain water recedes, drinking pools of water remain – hopefully until the next rains come!
The game now tends to concentrate as the water sources lessen – often big herds of buffalo, elephant and with shorter grass more plains game can be seen. More likely to see wild dog as well as the cats who favor dry savannah such as cheetah. Young giraffe and lechwe; hyenas more evident cooling off in the pools.
Clothing: Lightweight riding gear, a fleece/sweater and swimmers.

November / December / January

Weather: The rainy season is any time from November – but impossible to say exactly when and how much. Normally the rain comes for an hour or so every day and then often goes away for a week or more before it rains again. It is warm to sticky hot before the rain and cooler after each rain. Bush turns green with the rains and many of the trees and flowers come into bloom while the sunsets become increasingly dramatic. Temperature: Day: 30°-40°C Night: 15°-20°C
Depending on the flood level, there will be some water around with the rain topping up the pools.
Very good until the first rain when it disperses again – the young antelope are born at this time and are very entertaining to watch.
Lightweight riding gear, a raincoat and swimmers

What To Bring: The luggage is limited to 20kgs (26lbs) per person, including hand luggage, in soft bags on the light aircraft into the Delta. Extra luggage can be stored in our Maun office.

All clothing should be neutral colored to blend in with the bush (Preferably shades of khaki, brown, beige or green). Please AVOID wearing WHITE.  Light weight cottons are advisable. Please take into consideration when you are coming as the weather does vary, check the climate for the time of year. We recommend that you bring your riding clothes, boots, helmet on the plane with you as carry on as luggage sometimes gets delayed!!

Please note that insurance companies may only cover you if you wear a properly fitted recognized riding helmet. We do not provide any so please bring your own!

Macatoo provide a complimentary laundry service, although for hygiene reasons we do not wash underwear. Washing powder will be provided in your room for this purpose. Towels are provided. Basic first aid kit is available in camp but please make sure to bring any prescription medication with you. Please consult your doctor regarding anti-malarial and inoculations!

We recommend that you bring:    
*A light-weight riding hat    
*A shade hat with strap    
*Two pairs of light-weight riding shoes    
*Sunglasses on string, riding gloves and bandana    
*Bush colour riding clothes (not white):    
*Jodhpurs or long trousers and chaps (2 pairs)    
*Long sleeved cotton shirts    
*Jersey, fleece or multi- pocketed waistcoat    
*Light weight waterproof windbreaker jacket    
*Four pairs sock and underwear (we recommend unpadded cycling shorts for men)    
*Shorts, T shirts, sarong, swimwear and sandals    
*Sun block, lip salve, insect repellant    
*Torch and binoculars    
*Waterproof camera, or a waterproof bag to encase it in!