Have you always wanted to track the Big Five in Africa’s prime wildlife hotspots? Dreamt of sighting some of the planet’s most amazing animals up close and in their natural habitat? Going on safari is at the top of many people’s travel wish lists, but bumping around in a 4×4 isn’t for everyone.
There is an alternative for African luxury holiday aficionados that’s catching on and offers a more natural way of exploring the African bush without exhaust fumes: riding safaris. No matter whether you’re an expert rider, someone who hasn’t done ridden horseback for a while, or a complete beginner, experienced tour operators such as Exsus will organize everything and make you feel at home atop a horse, tracking herds of giraffe, rhino or elephants.
1. Experienced horseback riders
For serious equestrians, eager to taste the dust flying from the hooves of African game, there are a few great options. At Kenya’s Offbeat Riding Safaris, expect the thrill of the chase alongside their 30 years of experience to make for an unforgettable holiday. Botswana’s Okavango Horse Safaris also organize exciting itineraries for experienced horse riders.
To expand your itinerary, you might want to include a scenic trot along the sandy beaches of Kenya or try your hand at a game of polo.
2. Mixed ability riding levels
If you or other members of your party are comfortable on horseback, but don’t want to spend all day in the saddle, try a standard safari holiday. Select a lodge that offers a couple of hours on horseback during your stay.
Ants Hill and Ants Nest are good for groups who are all anxious to join in, but are of mixed riding abilities. Both locations overlook a watering hole where those who are looking for a more relaxed experience will be able to spot African wildlife from the comfort of the lodge. The reserve here is free of malaria. Ants Nest is situated further down the hillside and offers a large pool, making this a great choice for family groups.
3. Riders and non-riders
Some Tanzanian lodges, including the manor house of Sasakwa Lodge, are perfectly set up for horse riders and non-riders. A handful of Kenyan safari lodges such as rustic Borana, the luxurious Ol Donyo Lodge and the tented Lewa Safari Camp are also ideal choices for mixed interest groups and are set in beautiful locations within private land.
At all of these locations, you can opt to spend as much or as little time horseback riding as you like. The non-riders in the group can spend their time seeking out wildlife from four wheels. These lodges, set in a private game reserve, are well-equipped to provide for experienced equestrians and novices riders. They’ll organize stealthy tracking through the bush, a gallop on horseback alongside giraffe, an amble through the plains, or a more relaxed sunset stroll. So, perhaps even the most nervous members of the family might be tempted to give a horseback riding vacation a go!
This is a guest post by Alexandra Matts.