The Thamalakane River Ride operates from the Royal Tree Lodge, a small intimate lodge with luxurious tented accommodation.
Nestled in 400 acres of riverine trees and acacia woodland on the edge of the Thamalakane River, it is only a short drive from Maun and yet it feels deep in the heart of the bush. There are ten stylishly appointed en suite safari tents and two honeymoon chalets. A swimming pool to cool off in during the heat of the day and surrounding sun deck are discreetly adjacent to the main area.
A surprisingly large variety of wildlife roams the reserve including giraffe, zebra, kudu, eland, oryx, springbok and other species. The different habitats in the reserve encourage prolific birdlife from water birds to the dry woodland Kalahari species.
From US$435 per person per night
On arrival in Maun a short road transfer takes you to the Royal Tree Lodge.
Once settled into your comfortable accommodation and having had lunch or afternoon tea you will join your guide for a safety briefing before being introduced to the horses.
As the day cools down we set off for a fun afternoon ride around the environs of the reserve where the wildlife is wonderfully relaxed in the presence of the horses allowing for close encounters and great photographic opportunities.
We arrive back before dark and enjoy a sundowner at the lodge followed by a delicious dinner.
Up with the dawn and breakfast before mounting up for an all day ride to explore further afield, hopefully reaching the “junction” where the Thamalakane River splits into two – the Nhabe heading west to Lake Ngami and the Boteti heading east to the Makgadikgadi.
These rivers were the lifeline that allowed the early explorers, hunters and traders to penetrate deep into this area with David Livingstone being the first European to see the famous Lake Ngami having spent many thirsty days crossing the Kalahari before reaching the Boteti.
Picnic lunch is in the shade of the evergreen mangosteen trees and for some there may be a temptation to have a swim.
The river will guide us home and if the water levels are low enough we may cross the river and ride back on the north bank looking out for the resident hippos as they become more active with the setting sun.
The traditional way of travelling through the Okavango Delta is by mokoro – a wooden dug out canoe. The flat bottom allows the mokoro to cross the shallow seasonal floodplains and explore the interlinking channels between the numerous islands of this magical water wilderness.
Today you will be driven to the Boro Village deep in the delta where a mokoro guide will spend the day poling you silently through the crystal clear waters. This is a beautiful and tranquil way to view the delta’s wildlife and birdlife.
After a delicious picnic lunch on a remote island you will return to the lodge for a short evening ride.
A beautiful and tranquil way to view the delta's wildlife and birdlife
Heading down river we will ride for a couple of hours before stopping for a morning tea or coffee and climbing onto a boat for a long cruise down the Thamalakane River and into the Boteti River taking a picnic lunch with us.
After lunch we return to the lodge by boat and then mid afternoon you will hop on either a fixed wing light aircraft or an helicopter for an evening scenic flight over the Okavango Delta with the possibility of spotting a large variety of wildlife.
This unusual perspective will provide some wonderful photographic opportunities as well as giving you a greater understanding of this extraordinary wetland deep in the Kalahari Desert.
A last early morning ride through the reserve followed by a welcome hearty breakfast before heading on to your next destination.