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Saddle and Paddle

Riding ability: (?)

Suitable for: non-riders families

Saddle and Paddle

This is a safari combining 5 nights on the Makgadikgadi Pans Ride followed by a night or two on the Thalamakane River Ride and then a 3 night canoe trail on the Selinda Spillway. A very adventurous and exciting safari....

Replicate the safari experience of old and canoe some 45 kms along the Selinda Spillway through one of Botswana's richest wildlife areas. Paddle through this wild country with no other souls to be seen except your safari companions. Keep a wary eye on the resident hippos, stop to track on foot vast herds of buffalo or old bull elephants, and enjoy rich birdlife.

Three nights camping in a simple, comfortable camp that moves with you is put up by the safari support staff wherever you find yourself at the end of the day.

In 2009 and 2010 the high waters flowing through northern Botswana's Okavango Delta caused the Selinda Spillway to flow in a way that it has not done for nearly three decades! This remarkable event provided the unique opportunity for us to canoe this incredible water system, thus replicating the safari experiences of old; camping along the banks of the river at the end of the day, wherever we find ourselves. The Selinda Canoe trail combines 4 thrilling days of adventure, adrenalin and action.

The distance from one end of the canoe trail to the other is roughly 45 km. It is a wildlife experience like no other as we witness elephant herds splashing and mudbathing along the banks; buffalo, giraffe and sable antelope amongst some of the many species that come down to drink; wild dog have been known to swim the Spillway in front of the canoes and lion and leopard have also been sighted. The Selinda also hosts some 300 bird species making it a twitcher's paradise.

In addition to canoeing, there will also be an opportunity to walk. Should we happen upon any unusual wildlife activity at any time, the canoes can be beached along the banks allowing us a chance to investigate and follow the clues through the nearby bush.

Water and light snacks will be provided throughout the day to keep your energy levels up!

Please note: This safari comprises of all the best bits of three different safaris. Typically it will consist of 5 nights of the Makgadikgadi Pans Ride, followed by one or two nights on the Thamalakane River Ride and then 3 nights on the Selinda Canoe Trail. For the itineraries for the former two rides, pleaase see their relevant sections on the website. The itinerary for the Selinda Canoe Trail is as follows:

 Day One:

Your arrival by light aircraft into the Selinda reserve offers a bird's eye view of what lies ahead for the next few days. The flight takes you over the Linyanti Marsh where off to the west the spillway itself can be seen meandering its way through the flood plains and mopane woodlands. Elephant and hippo feeding deep into the marsh are a common sight.

horse riding holiday in botswana

A driver and a 4x4 safari vehicle will be at the Selinda airstrip to greet you and take you on a 3 hour drive to the starting point of where the actual canoe trail begins. The drive follows the old tsetse fly control cut line passing through miles of mopane woodland interspersed with pans which attract the elephant and buffalo as they quench their thirst. The vastness and wildness of this country soon becomes apparent!

Without warning the waters of the spillway suddenly open up before you - indeed a refreshing sight after the hot, dry drive. You are now truly deep in the wilds of the Botswana bush!

A full safety briefing and demonstration on the handling of the canoes follows before setting off with your guide for a gentle late afternoon paddle taking you to your first camp. A dedicated support team who move ahead daily by canoe to set up camp will be on hand to greet us. The comfortable camp consists of small dome tents with made up bed rolls and a bucket shower and long drop toilet.

Day Two:

An early wake up call followed by a hearty breakfast sees us heading out in the canoes for a full day of paddling. As the day warms up each bend in the river offers a host of surprises including the likelihood of elephants coming down to drink. A game walk on foot is a distinct possibilty should we encounter buffalo or sable or hear the alarm calls of animals in the surrounding bush. A delicious lunch will be taken in the heat of the day with a cooling swim for those who wish, before paddling on into the late afternoon to our next campsite further along the spillway. After a delicious home cooked dinner out under a starlit sky we drift into a tired but contented sleep with the nocturnal calls of peeping frogs, roaring lions and thehyena's whooping punctuating the deep silence. A truly magical African safari experience.

Day Three:

Another early start is necessary with another full day of paddling ahead. It is on this day that we truly notice the diversity of this magnificent water course. Gliding ever closer to the Selinda itself, the Spillway takes on new identity with the water levels slowly dropping before suddenly rising again as we reach the confluence of the Kwando River backing up westwards. A rich abundance of wildlife and birdlife becomes apparent with pods of hippos wallowing in the deep pools and flocks of jacunas, herons and plovers littering the river banks. After another sumptous lunch we finally arrive at the last campsite which has been exquisitely sited on a small palm tree island. Yet another delicious dinner prepared infront of us on the coals of the fire.

Day Four:

A slightly more leisurely start with either a long morning walk or shorter paddle before returning to camp for a final brunch and transfer by vehicle to the Selinda airstrip. A treasure trove of souvenirs to take away with us - exquisite memories of Africa!

horse riding holiday in botswana

2012 prices:

9 nights, full board, £3280pp

10 nights, full board, £3525pp

11 nights, full board, £3775pp

2012 dates:

28th May - 6th June (9 nights)

5th - 15th July and 4th - 14th August (10 nights)

21st September - 2nd October (11 nights)

Single Supplement: £95 per night for Makgadikgadi Pans. Between April & October £60 per night for Thamalakane Ride. Not payable if willing to share

Includes: All food and drinks

Not Included: Flights and Travel Insurance, local gratuities

Meeting Point: Maun Airport

Indicative flight price: London to Maun £840 - £950pp return depending on time of year

Transfers: £210 pp one way from Maun to Tsigaro (Pans). £330 pp one way from Tsigaro to Selinda. £165 pp one way from Selinda to Maun.

No of hours in the saddle: 4 - 7

Max Weight: 95kg

Group Size: maximum 8

Suitable for non-riders: No

Additional Information: For fly camping on the Pans and the Selinda Canoe trail, smaller overnight bags are recommended.

Call us on +44 (0)1225 000000 or email contact@redlandsequestrian.com to check the ride availability and dates, once we have confirmed availability you can download and fill in a booking form:

Each rider in the party must also complete a riding ability questionnaire before we can complete the final confirmation of your holiday booking.

Accepted Payment Types