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My African Horse Safari Adventure!

Back in the midst of lockdown I entered an instagram competition with @africanhorsesafaris without giving it much thought... like no one actually wins these things right?!


WRONG!!! I won $2,000 off a trip to Botswana!!!



Fast forward nearly 2 years and at the beginning of July 2023 we were finally setting off for my ride on the wild side! Hubby who is a non-rider also got to come along and was left in charge of my camera for much of the trip as my bulky DSLR and zoom lens were too much to take for our zoomy canters!


Day 1 - we flew overnight Heathrow to Johanesburg, nearly missed our connection to Maun - here insues a mad dash around Joburg airport, skipping the passport queue (thank you kind people!) to be told the flight was already closed when we got to the check-in desk! Mild heartattack moment, then turns out the lady at the desk clicked the wrong passengers on her screen *eye roll* and we actually had half an hour still to go to clear security and board so all was not lost!


We arrived in Maun and were met in arrivals by a lovely guy from the company that our helicopter transfer was with! Yes you read that right - we helicoptered into camp!!! The views over the delta were amazing and the elephant spotting from up high just incredible!!


We arrived at camp Cha Cha Metsi mid afternoon, just enough time to have a look around, ditch the bags in the tent and get changed ready for the evening's game viewing!



At around 4pm we headed to the dining tent for a delcious snack and a cool drink before heading out to meet my pony, the little quaterhorse 'Mafuta'.

The evening ride is the shorter of the 2 rides each day as the horses need to be safely home and tucked up in bed by the time the sun has set and it's pretty dark in the bush by around 6.30pm.


We saw buffalo, giraffe, elephant, zebra, wilderbeast and so many antelope! What a first ride!!!


Then it was back to camp for a quick shower while I waited for the driving team to get back (being in the jeep they can be out a little later and get to stop for sundowners!) then a delicious 3 corse dinner was served! The food at camp was AMAZING!!! The chef super talented and we did not have anything that could even be described as average!!


Day 2 - my goodness it gets cold at night and takes a while to warm up! We were up at 6am with the sun and wrapped up warm ready to head out on my first big ride!!



And what a ride it was!!! We saw so many animals!! It was just nonstop!!! We got to have a few little canters, wade through the river, got startled by a Reed Buck (the phesants of the bush that lay hiding in the reeds until you are next to them and only when you are almost on top of them decide to dart out and spook the ponies!!) and nearly ran over a couple of Pumbas!!


By about 9am the sun was out and the day was warm!


We got back to camp around 12ish and chilled out for bit with a beer and a book until it was time for lunch! (Another stunning meal!) I then had a little siesta before the evening ride which was a quick couple of hours pottering close to camp :)


On returning from the evening ride I ran myself a bubble bath (yes - A BUBBLE BATH in the bush!!) before dinner and drinks!


Day 3 - instead of going for the morning ride, me and the hubby opted for a Mokoro (an african gondola) trip so Willy (Andy's guide in the jeep) drove us to the local village where we picked up our Mokoro captain(?) and headed to the river for a beautiful serene few hours on the water. After an hour we got out of the boat for a bit of a leg stretch and a drink of water only to spot an elephant on the opposite bank! We quickly got back in the boat and headed over to check it out! We hopped back out of the boat and were able to walk within a couple of feet of two lovely bulls!!!

After the boat trip back we hopped back in the jeep and more elephants were right in our path on the way back to the village! At one point we were surrounded!!


A stop for a coffee in the bush on the way back and then it was back to camp ready for lunch and a chill!


In the evening I went back out on Mafuta for a little ride around before dinner. After the guides had dropped my back we could hear a very angry elephant which sounded very close while I was having my shower! We found out the next day that a very angry bull had charged the guides on the way back to the stables and there had been a frantic gallop all the way home! I was pretty glad it happened once I was safely back in camp!!!


Day 4 - the wind was awful!! Unfortunately it did not warm up and the wind (which had kept me awake all night) was relentless!


The plan had been that hubby would go on a walking safari, with the owner of the camp meeting him at the end to set up a bush breakfast and we would ride out and all meet up there to have coffee and bacon sandwiches in the bush! However, everyone was so cold and it was blowing an absolute gale that this plan had to be abandoned and we were all back at camp early to try and warm up and seek shelter!


Instead of the evening ride, I opted to go out in the jeep for sundowners and have a little G&T while watching the sunset at a wateringhole!



Day 5 - and it's our day to depart! I managed to get in a final 1.5 hour ride before we needed to leave which ended with the same breeding herd of elephants that had been involved in the previous chase basically blocking our way into camp!

It was the first and only time it all got a bit hairy and the guide had his 'blank' out ready to make some noise should it all kick off! Thankfully they moved on enough for me to make it back in time for breakfast! Then, just as we were loading our bags into the jeep to head the airport, our tent was surrounded by them! They were perfectly happy for us to get pretty close for some pictures (turns out it is just the ponies that upset them, not humans on foot!) and watch them all crashing about and munching on the trees overhanging our tent! They had the tiniest cutest little baby with them!!!


Day 5-8 - we then had three nights up at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge in Zimbabwe where we did a Zambezi sunset cruise with free flowing wine, a walking tour of the falls and a Boma dinner (basically a massive buffet style dinner in a tent with lots of singing/dancing/drumming throughout!)!


Our final day there was a super chilled one before the nealry 24 hour journey home! I spent the day reading my book and drinking G&T by the pool before an eary evening massage at their stunning spa!


WHAT A TRIP!!!

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