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8 Days African Explorer Horseback Safari in South Africa and Botswana

Big Five Safari South Africa and Botswana

This listing has one of the 10 most popular offers available in Africa & the Middle East

Experience this horse riding safari package which offers the exciting chance to spot various wildlife on your saddle. Traverse around Matlapeng Reserve in South Africa, and Mashatu Game Reserve in Botswana by riding a horse that suits your skill and experience. You will also enjoy bush walks and game drives during your journey with a chance to spot the famous Big Five.


  • Starting point and ending point: O. R. Tambo International Airport (JNB)
  • Main wildlife to be viewed: hippo, giraffe, zebra, eland, wildebeest, kudu, impala, the big five, rhino, lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, bat-eared fox, jackal, hyena, wild dog, cheetah, birdlife, and crocodile
  • Vaccines needed: tetanus (recommended)


  • Visit to Mashatu Game Reserve
  • Excursion to Beadle craft workshop
  • Horse riding safari in Matlapeng Reserve
  • Game drive in a ‘Big Five’ private game reserve
  • 7 nights’ accommodation
  • Daily meals

Skill level

  • Intermediate
  • Advanced


8 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: English
The maximum participants in the group is 10
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Horizon Horseback’s Camp Davidson

Horizon Horseback’s Camp Davidson is perched high in the bushveld above the Matlapeng Valley. It offers the opportunity to explore from a base camp nestled in the heart of the wooded mountains of the Waterberg. The camp commands a wonderful panoramic view of the central highlands of the Waterberg massif while overlooking the picturesque Sunset Lake at the eastern boundary of Triple B Ranch.

Two Mashatus camp

Two Mashatus camp offers A-frame tents with beds, sheets, and duvets this is very comfortable camping. Each tent has an en-suite bathroom with flush toilets and hot water showers (water heated on the fire and placed in a 15-liter camp shower when you are ready).



Day 1: O. R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) - Matlapeng Reserve

You will make your way to the information desk in the arrivals at O. R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) hall you will then be met at 10:30. The driver will have a sign saying Horizon Horseback welcomes African Explorer guests. You will be driven to Camp Davidson arriving in time for a late lunch.

That afternoon, you will be introduced to your safari horse. You will be matched with a horse that suits your ability and experience before heading off on your ride. En route through the Matlapeng Reserve, the ride will pass “Red Dam” where you are likely to encounter the pod of resident hippo, you will then ride to a stunning lookout spot for sundowner drinks before returning to Camp Davidson.

Day 2: Matlapeng Reserve

A day of exploration in the reserve, tracking giraffe, zebra, eland, wildebeest, kudu, and impala. You'll pass “Sunset Lake" where resident fish eagles and spur-winged geese are often spotted and its shallow banks give us a great opportunity for some great photo opportunities catering through the water. You'll return to camp in time for lunch and a chance to relax by the pool.

The afternoon ride takes you on a ride with a good chance of more hippo viewing and some nice long canters. That evening, there is the option of a night sky safari with local astronomer Dr. Philip Calcott, who will guide you through the constellations. The absence of light pollution enables you an incredible chance to view some of the amazing wonders of the universe.

Day 3: Matlapeng Reserve

A morning ride with a chance to track game, enjoy some of our jumping lanes and finish off with a swim with the horses in one of many reserve lakes before returning to camp for a large and lazy lunch. After lunch, you'll depart for a game drive in a ‘Big Five’ private game reserve, with a chance to see rhino, lion, elephant, buffalo, and leopard.

Day 4: Matlapeng Reserve - Sotho village - Matlapeng Reserve

After breakfast it’s a short ride to the Horizon lodge before departing at 09:30, arriving in Botswana in time for a late lunch before the riding test and afternoon ride. A full day ride west of camp takes you to a neighboring game reserve. This ride offers lovely long canters on sandy tracks and great game viewing opportunities on large plains populated by wildebeest, hartebeest, sable, eland, and blesbok among others. Then you'll stop at the historic Baber homestead for lunch by the poolside.

That afternoon, riders return to camp via the local Sotho village and visit Beadle, a craft workshop on Triple B Ranch which has a community upliftment project since 1998.

The crafters specialize in beautiful handmade beadwork and leather products including riding chaps. You'll finish the day with sundowners at a favorite lookout spot and return to the tranquility of the Camp Davidson where dinner is served under the stars.

Day 5: Matlapeng Reserve - Mashatu Game Reserve

You'll leave camp early and riders mount for the last ride through the reserve, soaking up the early morning sights and sounds of the African bush to the Horizon Lodge. Guests depart from the lodge by 09:30 and are transferred to Limpopo Horse Safaris in Botswana. Once at the stables, an introductory afternoon ride will familiarize riders with their horses for this leg of the safari, arriving at the Two Mashatus Camp in time to freshen up before supper.

Day 6: Mashatu Game Reserve

An early wake-up call with tea / coffee brought to your tent, followed by breakfast around the campfire. You'll make an early start each day to enjoy the freshness of the morning and to maximize game-viewing opportunities. The group is given the choice of a long morning ride and an afternoon guided walk or two short rides.

Undoubtedly the large herds of elephant for which the Tuli is renowned will be encountered, as well as many different species of antelope. giraffe, zebra, bat-eared fox, jackal, hyena and possibly lion, leopard, wild dog, and cheetah can be seen.

You will arrive back at Two Mashatus Camp in time for lunch and a cooling afternoon in the shady camp or lazing by the pool. That afternoon, the group have the choice of an afternoon ride or guided walk along the Limpopo River, enjoying the rich birdlife, spotting crocodile in the pools, and learning about the magnificent trees lining the banks.

Day 7: Mashatu Game Reserve

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 at a faster pace. The afternoon brings a chance to enjoy a Mashatu game drive. Mashatu is famous for big cat sightings and this is definitely a wonderful opportunity for keen photographers to capture sightings of lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena, and elephant.

Day 8: Mashatu Game Reserve - O. R. Tambo International Airport (JNB)

After the last morning ride, you'll go back to the stables where there is time for a quick shower and brunch at the reception area before heading back to Johannesburg International.

Note: Please be aware that due to changes in weather and other unforeseen events the itinerary may be changed at the last minute.

The horses

The horses in both locations have been selected for their temperament and ride ability. They have been carefully chosen from the various South African breeds, which are well known for being of a tougher nature - able to cope with extreme conditions.

These breeds include the Boerperd, Shire Cross Thoroughbreds, Appaloosa’s, and the S.A. Warmblood. They range in size from 14.3h. to 17h. Saddles are South African McClellan’s, a cavalry saddle designed for long hours of riding, they offer particular comfort and airflow for the horses back and padded seats and fenders for the riders comfort.

Included excursions

You will visit Beadle, a craft workshop on Triple B Ranch on day 4.


During this safari, you will visit Matlapeng Reserve in South Africa and Mashatu Game Reserve in Botswana.

Mashatu Game Reserve

This is an area of great diversity, magnificent vistas, ancient civilizations and dramatic rock formations bordered by the great Limpopo River in the south. Aptly named the “Land of the Giants” for its baobab studded plains and large herds of elephant. The land remains largely untouched by man and is home to a wide variety of wildlife species including lion, cheetah, leopard, African wild dog, and a multitude of plains game like zebra, wildebeest, and giraffe, as well as over 350 species of birds.


The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Drinks

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

Below are the activities for non-riders:

  • Additional Mashatu game drive (50 USD per person)
  • Big Five game drives (40 USD per person).
  • Bush walks, cycling, or hide visit (60 USD per person)
  • Guided hike (30 USD per person)
  • Local town and township visit (20 USD per person)

What's included

  • 7 nights’ accommodation
  • Bush walks
  • Daily meals
  • Drinks
  • Game drives (unless labeled as optional)
  • Horse riding safari
  • Laundry
  • Teas / coffees

What's not included

  • Transports
  • Tourism levy
  • Park fees

How to get there

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at O. R. Tambo International Airport (JNB).

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 20% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 60 days before arrival.

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