Horseback is the ideal way to get to know this incredible country in all its upspoilt beauty and on this trail you will have the opportunity to ride through two distinctive regions of this vast wilderness; to the South and the West of the country. While trekking along the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro you will see much more than you ever would imagine. Explore the African savannah with animals roaming freely and the Masai herding their livestock close by.
You are taken through enchanting and constantly changing sceneries. Pass lush river valleys and meet the local tribal people – Chagga farmers who have populated the slopes of this mountain long before the explorers arrived.
Accommodation at the farm base is in comfortable rooms and out on the trail you can experience the delights of a private mobile tented camp with V frame en-suite tents and a hot camp shower every night. Eat under the famous African night sky and sit around the campfire after a full day of riding. This trail offers a really off-the-beaten-track experience immersed in the culture and natural beauty of wild Tanzania.
Your hosts are both veterinarians and ensure the condition of the horses even in the challenging conditions in the bush, are superb. They are very welcoming and their home is a farm environment with many dogs, cats, geese, chickens, peacocks, and a little further stables for horses, a donkey, some pigs and cattle. All the animals are very friendly and welcome a pat or scratch behind the ear!
**Please note there are compulsory conservancy fees for this ride - please see prices and dates tab**
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Pick-up from Kilimanjaro Airport and transfer to Makoa Farm. If you arrive early enough, you can meet the horses, choose one for your safari and begin an introductory ride, exploring the plantation and getting to know your horse.
The day begins with tea or coffee served on the farmhouse veranda with a breathtaking view of Kilimanjaro. Then we head out on horseback for a half day’s exploration of the area. Farming in Africa may be a little different from what you are used to. The 358-acre farm consists of coffee and other crops but also has natural bush and grasslands with a great amount of river frontage. It is bordered along 2 sides by the lovely Makoa river and Kikafu river. We ride through the plantation and along natural grassland and bush areas.
In addition to the expected farm animals like cattle, horses, pigs, chicken and geese, the area is also inhabited by a variety of wild creatures, most obvious the noisy ones such as Sykes monkeys, yellow baboons, and vervet monkeys. There are also small, mostly nocturnal game like duiker, bush pig, jackal, serval, genet and civet cat, aardvark, even striped and occasionally spotted hyena and leopard. However, these animals are rather shy and very difficult to spot. We stop for a walk to the Makoa-River waterfall for an unusual wildlife viewing –a colony of rare mountain fruit bats in a cave below the waterfall. You may also see one of the shy, very impressive monitor lizards that live nearby. Lunch will be taken at the farmhouse.
In the afternoon we will introduce you to the numerous Makoa-residents: Makoa is heaven for many domesticated and wild animals, some of which where brought to our veterinary clinic when injured or orphaned. Those who could not be re-introduced into the wild, due to injuries, live with us and play an important role of animal ambassadors to enable local children a “hands-on”-experience on animals for a deeper understanding of nature and conservation. Most of the animals are very close to humans and they believe that all the visitors are here to give them a scratch behind their ears...
After breakfast we will transfer to West Kilimanjaro. We will find the horses at the meeting point and start the ride from there. Our journey leads us through a mixture of open savannah with patches of thorn bush and we will encounter our first plains game along the way. Later we will arrive at our mobile camp at "Mgunga" (Kiswahili for the Acacia tree). Settle into your comfortable spacious tents, equipped with beds and bed linen with en-suite wash basin and WC, together with the traditional bush shower which is filled with hot water by the crew every night. After dinner, adjourn to the campfire and marvel at the enormous night sky before retiring for the night to fall asleep to the sounds of the African night.
A full day of riding in the West Kilimanjaro Wilderness/Enduimet Wildlife Management Area. This area is usually populated by elephant, zebra, wildebeest and many other antelope (Thompson and Grant, Impala and the impressively large Eland) with occasionally buffalo too. Your picnic will have been laid out under a shady tree, providing a panoramic view over rolling grassland and bush, Mt. Meru to one side, Kilimanjaro behind you and the mountains Longido and Namanga to the other side. If we are lucky there might even be an elephant here watching us during our break. Our private mobile camp might be set in the shade of an ancient African tree with stunning views of Mt. Meru (whether or not we change the camp's location is largely determined by the movements of game).
Should you wish to see another aspect of this area, in the late afternoon we will drive in a 4x4 to the home of a Masai family where we can meet the women and children and take the opportunity to learn about their daily life. By the time we return to camp it will be dark and there is a good chance we might meet some nocturnal animals on our way back.
Wake up with the birds to begin another day of game viewing. Today we will explore the euphorbia forests, a favourite area for elephant and very shy antelope that browse and doze there during the day. After lunch we head east and ride along the edge of Kilimanjaro National Park. The montane forest of the park provides dense cover for the animals - a lush world of exotic scenery. There is the opportunity for great canters as well as the slow riding required to spot the shy black and white Colobus monkeys. The forest
is populated by a wide range of (mostly secretive) animals which is evidenced by the multitude of tracks and signs can be seen along this route. We will arrive at our mobile camp, on the boundary of this beautiful forest in the late afternoon just in time for a sundowner drink, followed by a hot shower and a delicious meal.
Despite the raucous calls of the Colobus monkeys and birdsong waking you early, today we have a later, more relaxed breakfast to give the sun the chance to burn off the dew. Our next trek is too steep and slippery if the grass is wet. Late morning we mount our horses again and ride south, further circumventing this impressive mountain. We leave the Kilimanjaro forest and head into the mainly eucalyptus forest run by the Tanzanian Forestry Department. This day offers a wonderful insight into the Chagga lifestyle and culture and soon the first villages and smallholder farms appear. The Chagga tribe populated the slopes of Kilimanjaro and successfully farmed here, long before any explorers reached this area.
In the afternoon we will arrive at our camp overlooking a small private forest reserve on a flower and coffee farm. We will exchange horses for the 4x4 again to explore a swamp a little further away. This is another beautiful place to enjoy a sunset drink as the loud chattering of innumerable birds returning to the swamp to roost for the night.
If you are interested to learn where the flowers for your flower arrangements at home come from, now is your chance. The farm manager will take you on a guided tour around this beautiful farm.
After breakfast we continue on our way through villages, small holdings, banana and coffee plantations interspersed with beautiful valleys. If the path proves too slippery or stony we will dismount to lead the horses through these river valleys. We will no doubt be accompanied by chattering locals who take a keen interest in our horses and guests.
Later in the day we will pay a visit to Tom, the 170yr old giant Aldabran tortoise. Tom is the mascot for the farm where he lives and could tell many stories, if only he could talk. Instead he will demand his extra banana ration. From there our safari continues for another hour, partly through coffee plantations offering the possibility of good canters. We will pass over the old Kikafu Bridge and soon cross another river bringing us back to Makoa Farm. Hopefully you will be rewarded with a beautiful view of Mt. Kilimanjaro in it's lush environment and later watch bush babies visiting you while sitting on the veranda with your sunset drink.
Depending on your departure time there are various activities to choose from. Maybe a morning ride around the farm to neighbouring flower plantations or a nearby river? Alternatively you might enjoy spending your day with our rescued wild animals whilst learning about the conservation work of Kilimanjaro Animal Centre For Rescue, Education And Wildlife (C.R.E.W.) Join part of the daily routine of our enrichment and training programme to encourage the natural behaviour of our rescued wild animals. Meet the Serval Cat, Sykes monkey, Vervet monkey, Long Crested Eagle, Vereaux Eagle Owl, Side- striped Jackal, Secretary Bird, Grey's Duiker, Bush pig, Warthog, Pelican, Marabou Stork and more! Due to rescue as release each visit may be different.
For the more adventurous there is the monkey nature trail walk, river waterfall hike or a visit to the Mountain Fruit Bat cave. Alternatively you may want to simply relax, put your feet up and watch the many colours of Mt. Kilimanjaro. This is often the time for planning the next safari! It is also time to say goodbye to new friends and horses.
Later you will transfer to the airport or start your ongoing safari.
PLEASE NOTE: All guests are required to take out full medical and travel insurance including Flying Doctors Membership, details (e.g. membership number, emergency phone numbers) of which must be submitted prior to arrival. Please bear in mind that most insurance only cover you if a helmet was worn, in case of an injury. You can book a membership with the Flying-Doctor-Service (from 15 USD to 50 USD depending on stay) through the internet: www.flyingdoctorsafrica.org (we are within the 500 km from Nairobi Wilson Airport).
Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.
The horses are mainly warmblood and range from 14.3 to 16hh. There are 16 well schooled horses to choose from. They are all ridden in bitless bridles and with long reins. They are very responsive to neck reining and weight shifts. There are trail and treeless saddles available, the saddle type is matched to the horse to ensure a correct fit. The horses are all in excellent health and very well schooled.
The owners are both veterinarians and ensure the best health care round the clock! The riding can be at all paces including a good gallop on an airstrip. In the game area most game viewing is at a walk and canters are along sandy tracks to avoid the holes. The group can decide for an early ride, snack in between and back in camp for late lunch, siesta afterwards with an evening walk following OR extended breakfast, morning ride, picnic in forest, but without siesta, afternoon ride, back in camp in evening. The total riding hours will not change.
For this safari riders should have a secure and independent seat and be in control of a horse at all paces. In addition riders should be fit enough to ride for 6 hours in a day and be able to trot and canter for 15 minute stretches. On this safari you will come face to face with big game such as elephant and buffalo and riders should be able to beat a hasty retreat if necessary!
The weight limit for this ride is 15 st/209 lb/95 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
Coffee Plantation Accommodation. At the farm there are 2 large chalets with beautiful views of the snow capped Mount Kilimanjaro from private balconies. There is also a family cottage and large guest room in the main farm house. All rooms have en-suite hot showers, a basin and a toilet. Meals at the farm are taken on a large netted veranda with views of Kilimanjaro. There is a large living room with a fire lit every night in the colder months. Your hosts are very welcoming and are helpful with requests for unusual items. At lunch time a vehicle usually meets the ride and brings a full cooked lunch with table and chairs but on occasional long days a simple saddle bag picnic with sandwiches is the order of the day.
Safari Accommodation: The tented accommodation are V framed walk-in tents, large enough to stand up in and equipped with beds, mattresses, sheets and duvets. Each tent accommodates 2 people either as a double or twin and has en-suite bathroom facilities. Soap and towels are provided.
Single dome tents are also provided for those wishing to avoid the single supplement charge. These tents are still spacious enough to fit in a bed, bedside table and enough comfortable space for luggage and moving around but the bathroom facilities will be erected separately next to the tent (instead of en-suite).
There may be a dining tent enclosed with fly netting and a roof for shade where necessary, or weather permitting the meals are at the table under the stars. There is a full service from aperitifs to a four course dinner served at the table. There will be a camp fire in the evenings. Torches are provided to make your way around the camp sites at night.
Single supplement: there is no single supplement charge for riders happy to share accommodation and if a sharer can be found or for riders staying in single dome tents (see above). A single supplement charge is payable for riders wishing to secure a larger V frame double tent.
**Although torches can be provided there will be only the “normal” ones. We recommend that riders take head torches as this will be make it more convenient.
Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.
Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. If Visa’s are required the requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country. Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate on request.
You should have a valid passport and visa when visiting Tanzania. You can obtain visas at Tanzanian diplomatic missions or on arrival.
The British High Commission in Tanzania is at Umoja House, Garden Avenue, PO Box 9200, Dar es Salaam. Tel: (255) (22) 211 0101. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Tanzania High Commission in the U.K is at 3 Stratford Place,London, WIC 1AS. Tel: 0207 569 1470. Email: email@example.com
The Foreign and commonwealth office gives travel advice on www.fco.gov.uk or on 0207 008 0232/0233
Short rains in October/November, long rains from the end of March through to 1st half of June.
Cold season June/July/August, very pleasant riding weather with temperatures around 25C during the day. Temperature drops in the evening, requiring a fleece.
In the summer temperature goes up around 35C in the day, dry heat.
Before leaving the UK, you should take medical advice on appropriate anti-malaria medication and on arrival in Tanzania, ensure you take precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes. Please ask your G.P for advice.
For up to date information on specific health concerns please contact the Medical Advisors For Travellers Abroad. Their website can be found at www.masta.org. You can also check the Department of Healths website at www.dh.gov.uk.
Malaria prophylaxis. Diptheria, Tetanus, Polio, Hepatitis A&B, Typhoid and Meningitis advisable.
With effect from Monday 21st January 2008 all passengers travelling to Tanzania will be required to produce a valid yellow fever certificate upon arrival in any entry point (all borders points, sea ports and international airports)in Tanzania (whether coming from an infected area or not). All current and prospective passengers must carry a valid yellow fever certificate if travelling to Tanzania. The vaccination needs to be administered at least 10 days before travel to Tanzania.
Voltage is the same as in the UK and most appliances such as battery chargers for videos, hair dryers etc. can be plugged in with appropriate adapters. These are available for purchase at most airports and travel shops.
Make sure that you buy plenty of film and spare batteries in the UK before you travel as they are not readily available in Tanzania.
There is electricity available at the farm to re-charge digital camera's and batteries, although this will not be available at the camps along the way.
You need a riding helmet or a broad rimmed hat which must stay on firmly and sunglasses with string.
Khaki, green and bush colours; please avoid wearing white as this scares wildlife or black as it tends to attract insects.
At least 2 pairs of riding trousers/jodhpurs, half or full leather chaps are recommended, riding gloves, jersey, warm jacket (May-August), shorts, long sleeves shirts, T-shirts, raincoat (seasonal), sunblock, insect repellent, antihistamine cream/pills, head torch, camera, plenty of film and batteries, binoculars, indispensable bumbag, 1 pair of lightweight riding boots and 1 pair of trainers/shoes to wear when not riding.
Film, camera and binoculars on a strong shoulder strap, preferably in a (waterproof) pouch to be secured to belt.
Torches are provided to make your way around the camp sites at night.**Although torches can be provided there will be only the “normal” ones. We recommend that riders take head torches as this will be make it more convenient.
This is an 8 days/7 nights programme with 7 days riding available on set departure dates for this trail which are shared with the alternative itineraries in Tanzania. Please contact us as further dates may be available for groups of two or more and tailor-made itineraries can also be arranged.
2019: 12, 26 Jan; 9, 15 Feb; 2, 16 Mar; 12, 27 Jul; 10, 24 Aug; 7, 21 Sept; 5, 19 Oct; 8, 23 Nov; 20, 29 Dec
David Read has written some interesting books on his life in Tanzania and about the Masai culture. See; 'Waters of Sanjan', 'Barefoot over the Serengeti' and 'Beating about the Bush'.
A range of interesting and inspiring equestrian travel books can be purchased from www.horsetravelbooks.com (part of the Long Rider’s Guild)
The landscape and scenery are as diverse as they are enchanting. Much of the Coffee Plantation farmland is devoted to conservation, bordered by two rivers, each filled with towering trees - a habitat the owners are committed to preserving. The birdlife is phenomenal, monkeys, small antelope and nocturnal game abound, and are frequently seen and heard.
In the safari areas you there are amongst others large herds of elephants, buffalo, zebra, giraffe and hundreds of different antelope types.
All guests are required to take out full medical and travel insurance including Flying Doctors Membership, details (e.g. membership number, emergency phone numbers) of which must be submitted prior to arrival.
Please check to see if your travel insurance includes Flying Doctor Membership. If it does not then you can book a membership with the Flying-Doctor-Service by visiting http://www.flyingdoctorsafrica.org/ (the farm is within the 500 km from Nairobi Wilson Airport).
Tanzania was a German colony from the 1880s until 1919, when it became a British trust territory until 1961. Julius Nyerere became Minister of British-administered Tanganyika in 1960, and continued as Prime Minister when Tanganyika became independent in 1961. Tanganyika and the neighbouring Zanzibar merged to form the nation of Tanzania in 1964. Nyerere introduced African socialism, or Ujamaa, which emphasized justice and equality, but proved economically disastrous, leading to food shortages as collective farms failed.
Though it remains one of the poorest and most corupt countries in the world, with many of its people living below the World Bank poverty line, it has had some success in wooing donors and investors and is slowly progressing towards a more stable economic structure.
It also has one of the largest, wildest animal populations in the world including wildebeest, monkey, antelope, lion, cheetah, crocodile, gazelle and flamingo.
Tanzania is three hours ahead of GMT and they use the metric weights and measures system, so kilometres and kilograms instead of miles and pounds. There is approximately 1.6 kilometres in a mile and 2.2 pounds in a kilogram.
The international dialling code is +255.