Africa & the Middle East

Journey's Beyond the Ordinary

written by | Posted on July 1st, 2011

Deeper Africa also offers a wide variety of adventure tours in destinations like Uganda, where visitors will observe gorillas in the wild; enjoy mountain expeditions; view the big cats of the Maasai Mara; and take bush plane safaris into remote nooks in Kenya and Tanzania.

If Botswana beckons, extreme adventure seekers will find a novel way of exploring its remote areas with African Horseback Safaris. This atypical company offers an uncommon, singular and thrilling way to explore the bush and its marvels: astride thoroughbreds, Namibian Hanoverian and Kalahari-Arab crossbreed horses specifically bred for this type of adventure.

Based in Botswana, African Horseback Safaris has a long relationship with American travel agents. Americans, incidentally, are but a fraction of the horse and adventure lovers who consider this trek one of the most popular adventures in Africa. As a result, this safari will provide plenty of bragging rights.

Reaching Macatoo, African Horseback Safaris’ base camp on the western side of the Okavango Delta isn’t easy, but the rewards are intense. This is one of the largest inland deltas in the world, a 6,500-sq.-mile labyrinth of channels, palm-fringed islands and floodplains with more than 400 species of migrant birds. There are buffalo, hippos, crocodiles, lions, elephants, hyenas and other types of wild game to be studied and admired up close.

The joy of riding a sturdy horse over primordial landscape while crossing meadows full of giraffes, zebras and buffalos is an experience not soon to be forgotten.

African Horseback Safaris has a stable of 40 steeds, and riders can choose English or trail saddles, while its qualified guides offer a native perspective and informative narrative to the adventure.

Rates range from about $580 to $650 pp depending on the season. This does not include visas (which are essential when traveling to Botswana), international airfares and charter flights from Maun—Botswana’s gateway to the delta—to Macatoo. The flight from Maun to Macatoo Camp costs approximately $265.

If riding a horse through the bush isn’t your cup of tea, then Abercrombie & Kent offers one of the most strenuous treks in its climb to Mt. Kilimanjaro. Abercrombie & Kent specializes in custom trips for those who shrug off churches and museums and overcrowded cities as being too humdrum and mundane.

“The Mt. Kilimanjaro trek is our most popular extreme adventure this year,” says Jean Fawcett, Abercrombie & Kent’s representative for media relations. “While it is one of those ‘bucket list’ trips, the fact that it is not a technical climb makes it more accessible from teenagers to people in their 70s. We hear from guests that it’s a memorable way to celebrate a milestone birthday or to spend quality time with loved ones. We’ve had a number of fathers and sons on this journey. Yet, about one in four of our guests travels solo. We find that adventure travel is a natural fit for solo travelers, as the quest promotes camaraderie, encouraging one to reach the summit.”

The adventure lasts seven days and runs from $7,155 pp dbl. There are two climbs scheduled in September and November this year and additional climbs (April, May, September and October) are slated for 2012. The rate does not include international airfare.

This is a trip that requires good physical stamina, an unparalleled sense of adventure and a great desire to admire marvelous scenery, as the ascent attains the summit by the Lemosho Route, the least traveled approach. The climb begins at Lemosho Glades, an area rich in wildlife. Guides will explain the flora and wildlife at every step of the mountain.

The reward?

An astonishing view of the African continent from Uhuru Peak, 19,325 ft. above sea level.

On the other side of the coin, Abercrombie & Kent is offering trips in September and November sure to captivate desert off-road racing enthusiasts.

Labeled The Desert Road Rally, the 7-day adventure allows participants to navigate modern, 4WD vehicles along the sands of the Moroccan desert, where camels cross from oasis to kasbah delivering essential goods to remote outposts.

This is an exciting trek that allows travelers to follow the “Road of a Thousand Kasbahs” and experience life in a private desert camp. Adventurers will drive through stunning landscape and plow through sand dunes that push the limits of 4WD vehicles. There are two persons in each vehicle; one navigates while the other drives. The trip ends in Marrakech, where lodgings have been reserved in a five-star hotel for relaxation and recuperation.