Botswana Saddle and Paddle
Makgadikgadi Pans, Maun & Linyanti
This unique and adventurous safari takes in the very best of Botswana. Starting with a wild horseback adventure in the Makgadikgadi, ending with a canoeing expedition through the freshly flowing Selinda Spillway. It's a one of a kind in Botswana.
At a Glance
Adventurous safari on horseback and canoe
Riding on the Makgadikgadi Pans is nothing short of magical
Exciting way of viewing Africa’s incredible scenery and wildlife
Sleep out under the stars
Take a relaxed sunset cruise down Thamalakane River
Meet our specialists
We design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itinerary is a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something completely bespoke to you. Call us on (858) 523-9000 to start planning your vacation.
Your exciting ten night safari starts with an exploration of the magical landscape of the Makgadikgadi Pans. A 40-minute flight from Maun takes you southwards, to the edges of the salt pans, formed millions of years ago by the drying of the super lakes which used to exist here, and whose presence can be found even today. Your home for the first few nights is Camp Kalahari, an authentic little camp right on the fringes of the Pans, with far-reaching views right across to the horizon. Here you will meet your guide, David Foot, a renowned and highly experienced guide with experience all over Africa. The camp has a wonderful outlook, and en-suite Meru style safari tents. There’s a comfortable mess tent and a pool to cool off during those hot Kalahari afternoons. Camp Kalahari has a lot of the unique character of its sister camp Jack's, but more of a traditional bush camp atmosphere.
Your days will be spent riding in the early morning and the late afternoon – when the weather is coolest and the horses can be more active. Ride through the “land of a thousand islands”, sand dunes covered in palm trees encircled by the white-encrusted salt pans, a great spot for a gentle canter! You can spot some of the desert species including springbok, gemsbok, red hartebeest and the shy brown hyena. The afternoon light is stunning, and your afternoon rides end back at the camp as the twilight falls – enjoy sundowners around the fire before a delicious dinner.
After a few nights at Camp Kalahari, the ride heads out eastwards to the fly camp, after an early morning start. Your route passes through the mopane and acacia woodlands which fringe the pans, through short grasslands and onwards to Green's Baobab. After a light lunch and a siesta, your path continues to Xau Xia fly camp, your home for the next two nights. This little camp is totally mobile, comprised of comfortable dome tents and a central mess tent – your evening is spent under the stars hearing the sounds of the Kalahari night build as the night draws in. Your rides from Xau Xai are exhilarating, passing by waterholes teeming with ostrich and zebra. You will have the chance to visit the resident meercats habituated to humans and fascinating to watch – in the cool of the morning you may even have a meercat snuggling up to you for warmth!
Your second fly camp night is spent in the most spectacular location – you will ride straight into the center of the ancient lake-bed, with just the horizon stretching for miles and miles. As the sun sets and the moon rises, you make camp – comfortable bedrolls under the stars!
Returning to Camp Kalahari, you will spend one final magical night in the Makgadikgadi before departing for the second part of your adventure, the exciting Selinda Canoe Trail! A flight over the southern reaches of the Okavango Delta takes you to the scenic Selinda Reserve – the Spillway itself can be seen from the plane! On arrival you’ll be transferred – a leisurely 3 hour game drive – to the start of the canoe trail. Here you will be given a safety briefing and then the adventure begins! In comfortable 18 foot Canadian canoes, you will be guided through the waters, a gentle afternoon paddle, to your first camp.
The Selinda Canoe Trail is a fascinating experience – guided by your guide and his back up team, you will explore the reaches of the Selinda Spillway – dry for so long, but now flowing strongly. Regular stops for walks along the banks of the spillway are a feature, and you will camp en route, in comfortable dome tents which have been set up by the camp crew, who paddle on ahead. Your route takes you all through the Selinda Spillway, a magnificently diverse water-course with a rich abundance of wildlife and birdlife – hippos, elephant, even lion and leopard can be spotted, as well as plains game such as zebra and impala. Each campsite is different – some are on the banks of the spillway, others are on small palm tree islands – and each is totally individual, although you can expect the same high levels of service and delicious meals!
After a wonderful few days exploring this remote and pristine corner of Botswana, you will depart from the Selinda Airstrip and head back to Maun, refreshed and relaxed after a wonderful Botswana exploration!
Location & Directions
Makgadikgadi Pans, Maun & Linyanti
When to go
Botswana’s winter is May to October when the weather is hot during the day (not stiflingly hot) and cold at night. Botswana's summer months (November to April) can be hot and humid and there is a chance of rain. Botswana has one rainy season which runs between mid-December and runs through to mid-March.