Okavango Horse Safaris, heaven on earth…


I’ve just got back from a fabulous few weeks in Botswana, with PJ & Barney at Okavango Horse Safaris, this is my 5th visit too them & it still remains my ultimate holiday destination & to me a little piece of paradise or indeed a slice of heaven on earth.

Barney is a passionate horse woman & she has developed a ma
gnificent herd of over 60 horses over the past 20 years, ranging from pure bred arabians & ex racehorses from Zimbabwe, through to Boerperds (a south african breed) & her own homebreed horses by her beautiful American Saddlebred Stallion Lamu. There literally is a horse (well more then 1) for everyone.
When not busy working the horses graze freely in the grassy molapos surrounding their island home, carefully watched & tended by Barney’s excellent team of dedicated grooms. Watching a herd 60 strong swim & wade out to their grazing in the early morning light truly is a most magical sight. Even more extra-ordinary though is watching in the orange glow of the setting sun through the amazing light created by the dust disturbed by so many hooves as they take themselves to their stalls every evening. At times you wonder how they don’t collide & how they all end up exactly where they are meant to be appears an amazing feat to the casual by-stander.
Her husband PJ is a born explorer & nothing makes him happier (well apart from fishing) then sharing his love & passion for the delta & its animals with his guests.
Okavango Horse Safaris is situated in the heart of the okavango delta in Botswana (southern africa). The holy grail of horse riding safaris around the world. It is said in the hunting circles of England, amongst the racehorse fraternity of ireland, polo players of australia & endurance riders of America that riding in the delta is the bee’s knees. It offers the perfect blend of well oiled steeds, “garden of eden” wildlife & a turn of speed that guaranteed to turn your knuckles white.
Your holiday starts with a fantastic journey into camp, arriving from your international flight into the tiny Maun international airport, usually the first thing to hit you is the stifling heat of the desert air, its then time to catch a very small plane, followed by a helicopter & head off into the delta. As you land on the back of the island at Kujwana (which means baby hippo) you are greeted by some of the team, be it Person, Sarah, Debbie or indeed PJ & Barney themselves, usually there’s a dog not too far behind…
After a warm welcome & briefing you don’t have to wait long before you get a chance to try one of Barney’s beautiful horses, as you head out for a late afternoon ride, which gives you a small taste of what is to come. Heading home in the setting sun & back to a camp fire & if there are brits around a good strong Gin & Tonic before a delicious 3 course dinner. The delta really was made for horses (trust me I walked 160Km through it with PJ and a group of crazy tourist & its much more comfortable on horseback!!), from wading through the malopos to crossing some of the mighty sand tongues, following ancient elephant trails through mopani forests, to galloping alongside giraffe & zebra, there really is no riding or indeed safari experience like it. The following days become a blur of warm hospitality, excellent riding & phenomenal animal encounters, it becomes easy to forget the outside world exists as you wrap yourself in the warm cocoon that PJ, Barney & the team create in this truly magical place. Sadly reality re-asserts itself with a bump as your trip comes to its end, but like most of the guests that have experienced Okavango Horse Safaris, it never really is good bye, just, so long until next time, because I can guarantee you will want to return again & again.
It really is a trip of a lifetime, if you are interested have a look at their website: http:www.okavangohorse.com you wouldn’t be disappointed.
With Love
Fiona & Jasper



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