The Macatoo horseback safari camp is just outside of the Moremi Game Reserve in the Okavango Delta. The flight from Maun (where I landed on Air Botswana coming from Johannesburg, S. Africa) to the Macatoo camp airstrip was about 35 minutes in a small single engine plane. We were low enough to spot animals along the way. Once on the ground, the drive to camp was another 30 minutes.
The Macatoo camp, run by African Horseback Safaris was exactly what I had hoped it would be; pure fun, wonderful rides, and great dinners. The tents were comfortable, each with a propane water heater and a flushing toilet, not exactly roughing it.
The rides were like nothing I have done before, through deep water, cantering across flood plains, and mingling with game. There is no better way to get close to the animals than on horseback. You can quietly observe the animals without the annoying jeep. The rides in the morning lasted about 4 hours, then a break for lunch, then an evening ride from 5 pm to 7 pm, and dinner at 8 pm. The dinners were parties every night, all of us gathered around a large table.
Every ride took is in a different direction, from plains, to marshes to forests. One day we came upon a journey (or tower) of giraffes and walked along with them. We stopped for a break of apples under a large baobab tree. Elephants were everywhere, and see saw them on horseback every day.
Macatoo will take guests out in a game viewing vehicle, and we did that to watch the lions, and on the evening of my birthday. Because the camp is not within the game reserve, night driving is allowed. The evening of my birthday, we drove to a tree platform for a champagne toast. As we climbed the ladder we heard a leopard call, and it sounded very close. I was hoping to see a leopard in the trees that evening, but instead we watched a herd of elephants emerge from the trees across the water, and followed their splashing as they crossed, passing nearly underneath us.
On my last day at the camp and during the morning ride, we passed the enclosure where the horses spend their days. At night they are all in the barn, but during the day they are allowed into a pasture accompanied by armed guards. Only once did a lion attempt to crash the horse pasture. That last morning Bongwe showed us where an elephant had died the previous year. Other elephants came and scattered the bones around. The tusks are still there.
The website for Macatoo camp is http://www.africanhorseback.com/