Set Departure

Ride Botswana

Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, Botswana

Giddy Up Makgadikgadi

The remote and mysterious Makgadikgadi Pans are a place to feel gloriously free. Early explorers such as David Livingstone and Frederick Courtney Selous ventured this way and the extraordinary landscape, with the Pans disappearing into the distant heat haze, has barely changed since.

Legendary horseback safari guide David Foot has teamed up with Uncharted Africa co. to create a variety of horse-riding safaris through this mysterious landscape. Three, five and seven night itineraries are available in both the dry and the green season.

This five night example ride follows the meandering shoreline of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans’ ancient lake bed and combines three nights at Camp Kalahari, a delightfully relaxed traditional tented safari camp on one of the palm thronged islands, with two nights fly camping out on the Pans under the stars. You will interact with the fascinating Zu/’Hoasi Bushmen and ride amongst desert adapted wildlife including meerkat clans, brown hyenas, and aardwolves. At the height of the migration season, the grasslands are awash with zebra, wildebeest, hartebeest, and ostrich – and of course the attendant predators!

This special and relatively unknown area of Botswana is the perfect ground for exhilarating riding though a timeless, surreal and stunningly beautiful landscape.

You will love

  • Surreal scenery with palm tree islands & salt pans
  • Bushmen cultural experience
  • Uber stylish camps
  • Deserted adapted wildlife
  • Exhilarating gallops across the pans


This itinerary is based on the 5-day Kalahari Ride during dry season. Other available adventures include shorter/longer rides, alternative accommodation and green season departures. Please enquire.


On arrival by air or road, you will be greeted by your host and guide David Foot and settled into Camp Kalahari on the edge of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans. Head off after tea in the beautiful afternoon light, for an introductory ride – primarily to match horse and rider but also your first opportunity to experience the beauty of this magical area.


Up with the dawn, a light breakfast is followed by a long morning ride through the “land of a thousand islands”. Stranded on the ancient lakebed, these sand dunes covered in palm trees are one of the most beautiful and fascinating areas of the Botswana wilderness. Return to the camp for lunch and rest through the heat of the day or cool off in the swimming pool. After tea, head back out on horseback, then enjoy a night game drive to see the Kalahari’s elusive nocturnal creatures.


Today is a long ride eastwards to Xau Xai Fly Camp away from the edge of the pans and through the mopane and acacia woodlands interspersed with short grasslands allowing for lovely long canters. By lunchtime reach the famous Green’s Baobab visited by David Livingstone and scarred with the initials of early travellers. Siesta through the midday heat then continue to arrive at Xau Xai Fly Camp in time to enjoy a long cool drink as you watch the sunset. Dine out under the magnificent Kalahari sky. The camp will be made up of comfortable dome tents, a central mess tent, loos and bucket showers.


Head off on foot in search of the Kalahari’s habituated meerkats. Remember, they are not tame – just used to a handful of human’s non-threatening presence. As the day warms up, mount up and ride among resident herds of zebra and large congregations of ostriches. Set off in the late afternoon to a ride straight out into the middle of the ancient lakebed where there is not one visual landmark to be seen. Here you will sleep on a simple bedroll under the silence of a star studded sky!


As the dawn greets this extraordinary landscape head directly across the pans to Camp Kalahari. Out here the horses love the space and the salt crust and despite the distance travelled they will be raring to go. Afternoon at leisure in at Camp Kalahari.


After breakfast, drive through the bush to the traditionally built Bushmen village where the community gathers during the day. A strong relationship with the Zu/’hoasi people of the Western Kalahari developed over many years presents the opportunity to understand how they have survived in this harshest of environments, using their vast and ancient knowledge of plants, animal behaviour and survival skills. Enjoy a relaxed lunch at Camp Kalahari before you continue with your onward travels or begin your journey home.

Please Note:

This itinerary is an outline of the activities offered. The order in which the activities are experienced may vary depending on weather and/or other factors. Please note that guests with an early morning departure may not be able to do the final morning’s activity.


Choose between Camp Kalahari or Jack's Camp

Camp Kalahari – Makgadikgadi Pans

Camp Kalahari lies nestled amongst the acacias on the edge of a vast salt pan, adjacent to the Makgadikgadi National Park. Operated by the same family for five generations, it offers a return to the traditional safari style of the original explorers, allowing guests to experience the Makgadikgadi in an affordable yet authentic way. Read More

Jack’s Camp – Makgadikgadi Pans

Jack’s Camp is located on a private concession amid the desert ecosystems and moon-like landscapes of Makgadikgadi Pans, Botswana. Sited on the original spot chosen by Jack Bousfield in the 1960's, it has ten exquisite tents, a library and a giant canvas pavilion that houses its own Natural History Museum. Read More


5 nights / 6 days

5 nights / 6 days

Please enquire for pricing

Please enquire for pricing

Minimum 2 | maximum 8 riders.
Larger groups on request.
3, 5 or 7 night itineraries available.
Private, tailormade departures happily arranged.
Opportunity to stay at either Camp Kalahari or Jack’s Camp.
Rides operate year-round with both green season & dry season safaris available. Please enquire so we can advise re: seasonal weather, water levels and game.

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