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Botswana’s salt pans by horseback

Beautiful scenery, desert adapted wildlife and comfortable camps in the Kalahari Desert and the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans. Join our horseback safari for 3 nights at our fixed based camp and 2 nights at a mobile fly camp.

Just saddle up and set off along the shoreline following in the footsteps of the early explorers.

  • Kalahari Desert
  • Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, Nxai National Park
  • 6 days/5 nights

Highlights of the Horseback safari

The remains of an ancient lake now form the Makgadikgadi Pans. Depending on your travel dates, we either go straight into the heart of the pans or ride along the edge of the grass plains…

Camp Kalahari on Brown Hyena Island right on the edge of the salt pans. Traditional, relaxed and family-friendly, an eclectic mix of original African textiles, colonial antiques, Moroccan Kilims and four poster beds.

Saddle up and head to Xau Xai fly camp. Ride through woodlands and grasslands a bird rich area with bustards and korhaans. A basic affair with comfortable dome tents.

  • the best places to see the last migrations of zebra and wildebeest in southern Africa
  • get up close and personal with a local little gang of friendly meerkats
  • walk with Bushmen and learn about their ancient culture
  • siestas and pool

Best time to go on a horseback safari

The safari is available on 2 set departure dates, monthly throughout the year with distinct differences between the wet and the dry rides:

  • May to October – Dry season rides across the pans, good for quad biking across the expanse of the pans, stargazing – watch the planetarium show with horizon-to-horizon stars
  • End of October to April – wet season rides 

If you love horse riding you’ll love this safari.

ItineraryFrom $3250

Day 1 - Arrive at Camp Kalahari Day 1 - Arrive at Camp Kalahari

You're met on arrival by David Food, your guide and host for the riding safari. take a dip in the pool. Afternoon tea followed by your first ride aimed at matching rider with horse. Back to camp.

Day 2 - Makgadikgadi Salt Pans Day 2 - Makgadikgadi Salt Pans

Breakfast, long morning ride through 'Land of a thousand islands', lake bed, sand dunes and palm trees. return to camp for lunch. Afrternoon/evening game drives to see unique desert species.

Day 3 - Makgadikgadi Salt Pans Day 3 - Makgadikgadi Salt Pans

Long ride east to Xau Xai fly camp through mopane and acacia woodlands with long canters, rich in bird life. Lunch under Green's Baobab. Siesta, sundowners and dinner.

Day 4 - Makgadikgadi Salt Pans Day 4 - Makgadikgadi Salt Pans

Coffee, breakfast and back in the saddle in search of the meerkats. Spend quality time with these sociable creatures before heading back to camp for lunch. Ride late afternoon to the ancient lakebed.

Day 5 - Camp Kalahari Day 5 - Camp Kalahari

Ride the Pans to Camp Kalahari - look out for ostrich and the Chapman's Baobab with its 25m girth! Shower and lunch at the camp, great scenery, wildlife and riding.

Day 6 - Departure Day 6 - Departure

After breakfast drive to the traditional bushman village. Walk into the bush with the bushmen and learn about their Kalahari lifestyle. Camp Kalahari for lunch and to pack for your onward journey.

View full digital itinerary here
Useful info Tips and notesHow to get thereWildlife

Tips and notes

The Horseback safari includes:

  • 3 nights at Camp Kalahari all inclusive with all meals selected drinks, guide and activities
  • 2 nights in a mobile camp on the Makgadikgadi Pans all meals, drinks and guided activities
  • On arrival riders will have an introductory ride in the beautiful afternoon light to match up the horses with their riders.
  • As an alternative to the 5 night trail you could choose to just spend a few nights at Camp Kalahari with the option to ride if you wish.

A 3 night ride is also available contact the Zambezi Specialist for details.

The Safari is suitable for intermediate to experienced riders.

Children must be 12yrs or older and extremely confident and competent riders.

The trip excludes:

  • International and regional scheduled flight from Maun to Kalahari return
  • tips, insurances and items of a personal nature.


  • View the amusing meerkats
  • Bushmen
  • Unique desert wildlife
  • Visit to Chapman’s Baobab, campsite of Livingstone & Selous: one of the three largest and oldest trees in Africa
  • Enjoy a night game drive to spot nocturnal desert inhabitants – porcupine, honey badgers, aardvark, bat eared foxes, aardwolves and perhaps even a black maned Kalahari Lion
  • look out for Stone Age artefacts
  • sleeping on a bedroll under a star studded sky
  • drive to the traditionally built Bushmen village, meet the elders of the community in a traditional manner
  • walk out into the bush with the men, women and children to offer an insight into the Kalahari, the Bushmen and their way of life.

How to get there

Start at Johannesburg then on to Maun, Botswana for transfer by light aircraft to camp. You’ll be met by your and guide and host David Foot.



These charismatic creatures are found in the Kalahari and Namib Deserts then further afield into Mozambique and Zimbabwe. They’re very sociable living in “clans”, “mobs” or “gangs” of 20 to 50 individuals. They take turns at sentry and baby sitting duties. Despite their slim and slender size powerful claws make them excellent diggers. They live mostly on insects, spiders and scorpions.

Let the Zambezi team help you

We're well established "can-do" professionals for whom Africa is home turf offering unrivalled local connections on the ground supported by a wider network closer to you.

We're on hand to help wherever you are. Just drop a note right here...

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