Activities and Services
There is no better way to savour the Okavango Delta and experience its unparalleled wildlife population than on horseback. The annual flooding of the area leaves vast swathes of the Delta inaccessible to vehicles, making horses the most natural and exciting means to explore.
The pace of riding is varied; in between fast and thrilling gallops alongside giraffe, zebra and buck, in water and on land, we quietly stalk bigger game such as buffalo and elephant and take time to indulge in some of the best bird watching in the world.
Experienced guides are full of fascinating stories about the ever-changing landscape, its trees and plants, and have an incredible ability to spot even the best-camouflaged wildlife. The horses also have finely-tuned senses - keep an eye on their ears to see where animals are hiding. Once comfortable, they calmly drop their heads to graze, sending a signal to other animals in the area to relax and go about their normal daily routines.
In order to ensure the safest and most enjoyable horseback adventure for everyone, riders must be riding fit and confident at all paces. Days in the saddle can be long, and daytime temperatures can vary, so it is worth the effort to arrive prepared.
Game viewing and Bird Watching
Situated in the south-west of the Delta, the concession provides a varied and stunning scenery in which to ride. More than 380 species of bird have made their home in the Delta and large mammals are plentiful. Each species has its own habitat preference, either the seasonally inundated floodplains, channels and palm islands to the east and north and dryer, wooded Kalahari sandveld to the west and south.
The Delta boasts a massive elephant population that roams throughout the area, along with large herds of buffalo. Red lechwe, common reedbuck and hippo are most populous in the floodplains, lagoons and channels. Dryland species such as zebra, impala, blue wildebeest and giraffe are commonly found on the sandveld areas; warthog, tsessebe and kudu travel widely. Carnivore sightings occur regularly, mostly commonly are lion and spotted hyena, but leopard sightings are seen regularly and wild dog packs regularly ‘den’ near Macatoo.
An African safari adventure at Macatoo does not have to involve horses and they can easily cater for non-riding spouses, partners, friends and children. Indeed, many of the riding guests like to have time away from the saddle and take advantage of the wide range of other activities on offer.
Game drives offer the opportunity to track and photograph birds and big game in stunning settings. Going out in open top safari vehicles at dawn or dusk provide the best chances of seeing wildlife on the move, hunting, feeding, drinking or roosting.
The arrival of the annual floods brings with it the unique chance to explore the Delta by water, on a motorboat, and Macatoo camp has its own jetty. Many guests are lucky enough to arrive in camp from the airstrip by boat.
The mokoro, a traditional dugout canoe which is navigated through the waters by a skilled poler, offers the most romantic way to view the Delta. The tranquillity and silence of the journey enables guests to feel at one with nature and observe at close quarters how the animals and birds adapt to their ever-changing environment.
Fishing, from boat or land, is a hugely popular pastime with both riding and non-riding guests. Macatoo has access to a wide range of beautiful fishing spots where guests cast between water lilies and wallowing hippos. The challenge is not only to get a fish to bite, but land it before it is snatched from the line by swooping fish eagles and kingfishers.
But perhaps it is only from the air that one can really appreciate the diversity and vastness of the Okavango Delta. Helicopter flights, which take off and land in front of camp, offer not only the chance to see vast herds of elephant and buffalo but a bird’s-eye view of the entire eco-system and a better understanding of this unique miracle of nature.