Safaris on horseback are the ultimate in horse riding holidays. Not only do these experiences include all the adventure and luxury of a traditional safari holiday, but by being on horseback one truly becomes part of the environment. We believe that there is no greater way to experience the plains of Kenya, the flood waters of Botswana or the bushveld of South Africa than on the back of a horse. Indeed, our rides take place off the tourist track where you can really be submerged into the African way of life, sometimes not seeing anyone else apart from your small riding group.
The horse keeps its own senses tuned for wildlife, and by looking in the direction of its ears, many well camouflaged animals are revealed. Once comfortable, a horse will drop its head and graze, signalling all the other grazing animals in the area to relax too. In this fashion one can happily drift along with the animals observing them as they go about their normal daily routines. The safari guides on our rides are the best in the business, knowing by the impression of a paw print or a battered looking tree that there is game in the area. Rides also have a back-up guide and both will delight in teaching you about the area and the animals and vegetation that can be found there.
When riding in areas with big game such as lion, elephant, buffalo, black rhino and leopard one should be a confident rider with a secure seat however we have safaris for all levels from complete beginners and many are suitable for non-riders and families too. As well as first-class riding, some of our safaris offer guided walks, game drives or mokoro (canoe) rides. Many of them have swimming pools too which are perfect for a post-lunch rest whilst listening to monkeys squabbling in the trees above.
Accommodation ranges from luxury eco-lodges to 5* canvas tents - these tents have to be seen to be believed; they house proper beds with luxury cotton sheets, clothing storage, dressing tables and mirrors, en-suites with hot running water and showers and usually a glorious sun deck outside, complete with wooden furniture. Imagine being woken up with a hot cup of coffee and plate of biscuits delivered straight to your tent, what a perfect way to start the day! Even on 'fly-camps' - a remote 'basic' camp and a must-do on any horse riding safari - you'll be presented with camp beds, mosquito nets, private wash stands and bush toilets. The food on safari is equally delightful, usually 3 or 4 courses with wine to compliment. There may also be a few surpises thrown in here and there (think spectacular sundowners!) but we won't spoil that for you!
Just as with Northern Africa, flying to to Southern Africa from Europe has benefits too. Why not take an evening flight departure. You can dine, sleep overnight and then disembarque to eat breakfast in Africa the next day with no jet lag. Some of our safaris are really off the beaten track and extra light aircraft flights or drives are needed to reach camp. We can, however, confirm that these are experiences and mini-safaris in themselves with both pilots and drivers having fantastic knowledge and pointing out animals on the way.
Most of our safaris on horseback are, as you would expect, in Africa. However we also have a horseback safari in Brazil where the wildlife is completely different but no less extraordinary.
You've either never ridden or may have had a few lessons. You may be able to trot or ride out at a walk.
You've mastered the basic aids in walk, trot and canter. You're confident on a well-schooled horse in walk, rising trot (posting), and for short periods of canter in a school or outside.
You're a secure rider on a well-schooled horse at all paces including cantering in open country. You're happy to ride for several hours and may have some jumping experience.
You're an experienced rider, confident and relaxed on horseback. You ride regularly, have an independent seat and soft hands. You're capable of handling a spirited horse in open country and are happy to jump. You have experience of riding a variety of horses.
Does not wish to ride.
A little different from home, there may be language barriers or different ways of doing things, still quite comfortable, may be unpredictable parts or some rugged terrain.
Different accommodations, attitudes or methods of riding are used to normal riding at home, may have challenging terrain, long days or itinerary changes, may involve camping or not so comfortable accommodation. An appetite for exploration and new experiences required.
Extreme adventure, very challenging terrain and possible extreme or fast changing weather requiring adaptation of the itinerary, must be very flexible, good humoured and fit.
All round fun riding holiday with game viewing, rides over varied terrain, polocross and swimming with a superb selection of horses. Everyone will enjoy this one!
2019 High Season: 16-23 Feb; 20-26 Apr; 1 Jul-6 Jan 2020.
2020 Low Season: 6 Jan - 14 Feb; 1 Mar - 4 Apr; 20 Apr - 10 Jul
2020 High Season: 15 - 28 Feb; 4 - 19 Apr; 11 Jul - 4 Jan 2021
Trip Length: As desired although a minimum stay of three nights applies throughout the year
Approximate riding time per day: 4 - 6 hours but very flexible
Meeting point: Johannesburg International Airport (O R Tambo Airport), South Africa (JNB)
Riding Ability Required: All levels.
Usual Group Size: 1-12
Transfer: 2019: £90 each way
2020: £98 each way.
Departures are at set times and take 3hrs.
Arrival: 10.30 transfer from JNB (arrive by 09.30).
Departure: 14.00 transfer from the ranch (flights to be booked after 8pm).
Alternative/private transfers can be arranged, see below itinerary.
Situated in the rolling hills of KwaZuluNatal province this five star lodge offers beautiful Arab horses, magnificent accommodation and excellent food. Plentiful plains game on the reserve. Suitable for beginners.
2019: All year round, any day arrival or departure.
(High Season 01 Jan - 30 Apr, 01 July - 31 Dec 2019)
Trip Length: Any length stay
Approximate riding time per day: 1-4 hours
Meeting point: Johannesburg (JNB)
Riding Ability Required: From beginner on can be accommodated, experienced riders are separated.
Usual Group Size: 1-6
Transfer: 2019: From Johannesburg R5200 per vehicle for 1-2 people, R5600 per vehicle for 3-6 people, approx. 5 hours. From Durban R4500 per vehicle for 1-3 people, approx. 4 hours. All prices each way. Please arrive before midday for transfers