Okavango Macatoo Safari

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

Okavango Delta Botswana
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.


This is a stationary ride, with all nights spent at our main camp.

At Macatoo camp, our guests are accommodated in 8 large and airy tents that blend seamlessly into their natural surroundings while still providing a luxurious, but authentic bush haven in which to relax. Each tent is set on its own large, raised platform, offering panoramic views of a flood plain that can be enjoyed from the bed or deck. A variety of sleeping configurations offer flexible accommodation to suit every need. Each tent has its own toilets and shower.
The newly-built honeymoon tent for couples celebrating any special occasion, has an additional deck for private dining as well as a raised double tub bath offering a view of the floodplain.
The ‘family and friends suite' comprises two tents, directly linked by a raised walkway and viewing deck above ground, which provides direct, easy access for parents, children and single travellers who are anxious about sleeping alone.

Between rides and activities, our swimming pool deck has a number of sun beds on which guests can read, relax and soak up the sun. As it also commands a wonderful view of the vast flood plain in front of camp, it is the perfect spot to view birds and game (don’t forget your binoculars). Elephants and giraffe often come very close to the deck and the pool doubles as a popular watering hole for passing families of baboons.

Well-lit pathways link all our communal tent and dining deck, pool and guest accommodation. A fire burns in front of the communal tent, whatever the time of year, around which we gather to eat under the sun and stars, drink fresh coffee and fine wines and swap stories of the day.

A short drive away, and at the top of a long, sturdy ladder is our magical tree platform where we enjoy lunches, drinks and even the occasional sleepover under the African night sky.

There is a daily laundry service.

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 communal tent for charging batteries etc.

Note that there is no cell phone connectivity at Macatoo and that we have a limited internet connection for operational use only. We also have a satellite phone available for emergencies.

All meals are included in your package from dinner on Day 1 to lunch on the last day.

The menu is varied and excellent, accompanied by attentive staff and a good selection of South African wines.

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 our mouth-watering array of lunchtime fare.
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.


Our horses are as well looked after as our guests. Each horse – they are all boys – is recognised and appreciated for his unique ability and personality and every effort is made to match him with the most suitable rider. Our guests rotate between two or three horses during their time with us to ensure that each animal is given time to recover between rides. We have Thoroughbreds, Namibian Hanoverians, Percherons and Kalahari-Arab crossbreeds ranging between 14hh and 18hh (140-180cm).
With nearly 50 horses in the barn, all schooled and well-mannered, we are able to ensure every one is fully fit and rested with downtime out in the paddocks to give our guests the best possible ride.
One of the most popular spectacles is the sight of the resting horses galloping home from their mobile paddocks each afternoon.

With nearly 50 horses in the barn, all schooled and well-mannered, we are able to ensure every one is fully fit and rested with downtime out in the paddocks to give our guests the best possible ride.

One of the most popular spectacles at Macatoo is the sight of the resting horses galloping home from their mobile paddocks each afternoon.

Riding Gear
There is a choice of English and Western style trail saddles, each with their own water bottle.

Riding Pace & Experience
The pace of riding is varied; in between fast and thrilling gallops alongside giraffe, zebra and buck, in water and on land, we quietly stalk bigger game such as buffalo and elephant and take time to indulge in some of the best bird watching in the world.
In order to ensure the safest and most enjoyable horseback adventure for everyone, riders must be riding fit and confident at all paces. Days in the saddle can be long, and daytime temperatures can vary, so it is worth the effort to arrive prepared. We usually spend 4 to 6 hours a day in the saddle.
You will need to feel confident about keeping up with the group at all times, capable of riding competently at all paces, 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.
If you are not riding regularly we strongly recommend that you get in practice before joining us on safari. It will be at the discretion of the company whether less experienced riders will be permitted to ride, taking into consideration their safety and enjoyment and that of the group as a whole. We reserve the right to prevent any client from riding if we feel they do not fulfil the minimum competence level detailed above.

Riding Group
We take a maximum of 8 people in each riding group to ensure the best possible standards of safety and enjoyment.

Weight Limit
There is a maximum weight limit of 210lbs or 95kgs. If you are over this (95 - 100 kg), you may still be considered, but only if you are an advanced rider with height proportionate to your weight.
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. Please ensure your policy covers you for horse riding.



Sample Itinerary - subject to changes

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.

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. During cooler months one longer ride may replace the normal morning and evening rides

Day 1: Arrival
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 or 208 from Maun (or from Kasane), giving you a bird's eye view of the Okavango Delta. A safari vehicle will be waiting for you at the
camp’s airstrip for the 45-minute game drive – or an exciting boat ride (depending on the time of year) - into Macatoo Camp where staff will greet you with a welcome drink.
After settling into your tent, you will be offered afternoon tea and homemade cake during a briefing from your guide before heading to the barn for a ride. The pace of the evening rides are deliberately slower giving you the time to enjoy the sunsets and make the most of the photo opportunities offered by the birdlife and game. After a hot shower and change, drinks and snacks are served in the comfortable mess tent ahead of a candlelit dinner by the fire.
Meals included: Dinner
Overnight at Macatoo Camp

Day 2: Safari Rides

Macatoo’s cheerful “tent ladies” will provide a gentle wake-up call along with your choice of tea, coffee and rusks that are served to you in bed. A light breakfast is set up around the campfire ahead of the first long ride of the holiday. Depending on the season, the morning ride may involve some galloping across dried flood plains, swimming through flood waters or pushing-on through seas of tall grass to watch giraffe, zebra, antelope, elephant, buffalo - whatever is out there.
A hearty lunch is served every day – you will need it after all those miles in the saddle – the chicken pie is a firm favourite and wine is always offered to encourage a little nap before tea and the evening ride. Sun downers are often enjoyed out in the bush before heading back to camp to freshen up.
Dinner is always a great occasion at Macatoo, but there is no guarantee that it is always eaten in the same place...
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Macatoo Camp

Day 3: Safari Rides
After listening to the dawn chorus over tea, coffee and rusks in bed, you will have shaken off any first day riding nerves and be eager to get back on a horse. Heading off in a new direction, the landscape will be quite different to yesterday, offering fresh game viewing possibilities. You will be feeling more confident with the ‘going’ and we can speed up the pace a bit – keeping up with some of the large moving animals, such as giraffe or zebra.
After lunch, the camp pool is an ideal place to cool down, or stretch the muscles that are feeling the effects of the time in the saddle. The deck is a great place to soak up some sun, read and doze, but keep your binoculars and cameras handy as zebra, buck and elephant frequently pass in front of camp. 
After some lovely homemade cakes or scones, evening rides can be swapped for some sunset fishing from boats, or from the banks of pools where hippos wallow. A game drive, accompanied walk or boat rides – depending on the time of year – are also available for those wanting time away from the horses or for non-riding partners and guests.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Macatoo Camp

Day 4: Safari Rides
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 mopane woodlands. Our pace increases as we break out onto the flood plains, often disturbing troops of baboons. Return to the camp for an afternoon
spent at 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 night drive by spotlight, where the resident clan of hyena are often spotted. Bushbabies leap from branch to branch through the terminalia and acacia trees – only seen by the brights of their eyes. If lucky, the spotlight will pick up the glint of a leopard’s sultry stare. If we find lion on the drive or know where they are – perhaps we might have seen them earlier from horseback (and avoided them!) – we can spend quite some time watching them from the safety and comfort of the vehicle, over snacks and drinks, as they wake up from their long afternoon rest, groom each other, and prepare for a night of hunting. It is always such a highlight of the holiday to see a big cat – we will have lots to talk about around the dinner table that night.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Macatoo Camp

Day 5: Safari Rides
This morning we ride deeper into the heart of the delta, to corners of the wilderness where vehicles simply cannot reach. We cross high palm islands which offer great sweeping views of the Delta plains. Riders may have joined non-riding friends and family for a walk, drive or boat ride – but all guests will reunite for an unexpected champagne meal under a large baobab tree to swap ‘survivor’ stories from the morning.
By now, you will have settled into the wonderful rhythm of camp where great adventure, creature comforts and downtime are combined to provide a break. After tea and a gentle sunset ride, you may find yourself at our fabulous tree house where you will have the option to spend the night out, sleeping high up in the tree canopy under the African night sky.
From there, it is fascinating to watch and listen as the birds and animals prepare for night – by roosting, travelling or preparing to hunt. The barking of baboons and calling lions provide an unforgettable soundtrack to a night out under the stars. Your guides will stay too, providing great company and peace of mind – for many guests, this is a real highlight of a holiday to Macatoo.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Macatoo Camp or Tree House

Day 6: Safari Rides
After waking up in the treetops, you are whizzed back to camp by vehicle to change before riding off into new terrain. By now, you will have seen most of Africa’s Big Five and riding alongside moving giraffe, antelope and zebras will have become a thrilling, almost daily activity. Make the most of a bush breakfast, or lunch out in the bush and savour the sights and sounds around you.
An afternoon by the pool sees many guests desperately trying to even up their ‘farmer’s tans’! You may feel torn over how to spend one of your final sunset outings. After last night’s treetop sleepover, a prompt bedtime will most likely to be the most popular after dinner activity, as we save our energy for the last full day and night.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Macatoo Camp

Day 7: Safari Rides
Don’t forget your pocket camera today, but store it carefully because things could get rather wet! We will explore the shallow and deeper flood plains; they look so pretty, scattered with flowering lilies. The reflection of the trees – and your horse – will provide great images to capture. Many of our horses love to eat the lilies as they wade –sometimes swim – through the water. Here, the Cape buffalo can gather in large numbers (anything between a dozen and 2000 at a time). We have to creep up on them using the islands as cover. You will be keen to review your pictures after lunch, but don’t forget to re-charge your cameras in the mess tent!
The evening offers the choice of a game drive, fishing or a last quiet evening ride with the by-now familiar smell of wild sage and the warm African dust as the sun goes down, transforming the skyline into a cocktail of oranges and reds.
Dinner will be a memorable one perhaps with another surprise location in store…
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Macatoo Camp

Day 8: Last Ride & Departure 
The dawn call of the African Fish Eagle has, by now, become as familiar as the morning alarm at home. The delivery of tea or coffee in bed heralds the start of your last morning in camp and you will be anxious to make the most of your final ride. We stay quite close to home, splashing through water on the vast open plains, home to blue wildebeest and Burchell's zebra. The riding pace will be deliberately quite fast as we cram as much fun as possible into the final hours – be prepared to get wet as we approach deep reedy areas full of bird life including open-billed storks, squacco herons, slaty egrets and egyptian geese. You will return to Macatoo along the myriad of waterways lined with large trees, before arriving back at the barn where you say a sad farewell to your horse.
There will be just enough time to shower, change and pack before the game drive to the airstrip, carrying a picnic lunch to tide you over until your return to the real world. Don’t worry, you can always come back – so many of our guests do!
Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch

Non Riding Activities
An African safari adventure does not have to involve horses and we can easily cater for non-riding spouses, partners, friends and children. Indeed, many of our riding guests like to have time away from the saddle and take advantage of the wide range of other activities on offer.

Game drives offer the opportunity to track and photograph birds and big game in stunning settings. Going out in our open top safari vehicles at dawn or dusk provide the best chances of seeing wildlife on the move, hunting, feeding, drinking or roosting.

The arrival of the floods, usually around May, brings with it the unique chance to explore the Delta by water, on a motorboat, and Macatoo has its own jetty. Many guests are lucky enough to arrive in camp from the airstrip by boat.
The mokoro, a traditional dugout canoe which is navigated through the waters by a skilled poler, offers the most romantic way to view the Delta at this special time of year. The tranquillity and silence of the journey enables guests to feel at one with nature and see at close quarters how the animals and birds adapt to their ever-changing environment.

Fishing, from boat or land, is a hugely popular pastime with both riding and non-riding guests. We have access to a wide range of beautiful fishing spots where guests cast between water lilies and wallowing hippos. The challenge is not only to get a fish to bite, but land it before it is snatched from the line by swooping fish eagles and kingfishers.

But perhaps it is only from the air that one can really appreciate the diversity and vastness of the Okavango Delta. Helicopter flights, which take off and land in front of camp, offer not only the chance to see vast herds of elephant an buffalo but a bird’s-eye view of the entire eco-system and a better understanding of this unique miracle of nature.

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

Minimum Deposit: ~$2,500.00 per person

Rates Note:

Shorter stays possible with minimum stay of 3 nights.

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Rates Note:

Shorter stays possible with 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
2023 Non-riders get 10% off £ 0 $0

Season Seasons  Min / MaxReserve
C 2023 01/01 - 03/31 8d / 7n 8 day trip - Low 2 /12 Reserve
B 2023 04/01 - 06/14 8d / 7n 8 day trip - Mid 2 /12 Reserve
A 2023 06/15 - 10/14 8d / 7n 8 day trip - Peak 2 /12 Reserve
B 2023 10/15 - 11/30 8d / 7n 8 day trip - Mid 2 /12 Reserve
C 2023 12/01 - 12/31 8d / 7n 8 day trip - 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: Macatoo Camp
Airport: Maun
Transfer: Maun or Kasane airports

                                                Maun area














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Source: NOAA

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.

January / February
Weather: Warm / hot during the day with morning rides in a breeze – pleasantly warm at night. Small possibility of rain. Bush is green and lush – grass tall and green.
Temperature: Day: temps can reach 35°-45°C in the middle of the day / Night: 10°-20°C
Water: Rain pools in the Mopane forests and on the open plains – but floodwater unlikely at this time.
Game: Cats around and plains game such as zebra, wildebeest, impala and kudu. Nomadic bull elephants and birds in breeding plumage.
Clothing: Lightweight riding gear, a raincoat and swimwear.

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.
Temperature: Day: 25°-35°C / Night: 10°-20°C
Water: Plenty of rain pools left over from the rainy season – but the floodwater is unlikely to be within riding distance of the camp.
Game: 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.
Clothing: Lightweight riding gear, a raincoat and swimwear.

Weather: Cooler at night, but still pleasantly warm during the day. Very unlikely to rain. Bush still green but grass getting shorter.
Temperature: Day: 20°-30°C / Night: 5°-10°C
Water: 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.
Game: 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 swimwear. 

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.
Temperature: Day: 20°-25°C / Night: 3°-5°C
Water: 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).
Game: 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.
Clothing: Splash proof jacket, a warm fleece/sweater for evenings and 1 pair of 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.
Temperature: Day: 30-45°C Night: 15°-25°C
Water: 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!
Game: 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 swimwear.

November / December
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
Water: Depending on the flood level, there will be some water around with the rain topping up the pools.
Game: Very good until the first rain when it disperses again – the young antelope are born at this time and are very entertaining to watch.
Clothing: Lightweight riding gear, a raincoat and swimwear.

What To Bring:
The luggage is strictly limited to 20 kgs (26 lbs) per person, including hand luggage, carried in soft bags on the light aircraft into the Delta. Extra luggage can be stored in our Maun office.
For safety and logistical reasons all bags must be soft sided and easily manageable with a maximum dimension of 35cm x 70cm. Hard suitcases and bags with wheels or frames will not be able to fit into the aircrafts resulting in clients having to repack before they are able to fly.

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!