by Matthew Sterne
on December 8, 2015
5 min read

Giddyup!

It was Winston Churchill who said that the back of a horse is the greatest seat you will ever have. This is useful to remember when you’re looking for a front row seat at one of the greatest shows on earth – your African safari.

Riding:  The art of keeping a horse between you and the ground.

There are many ways to experience an African safari – the traditional game drives, the popular bush walks, even aerial tours which take you up over the plains. There is, however, something intimate, something wonderfully intuitive about experiencing a safari on horseback. While most horseback safaris do not require great equestrian prowess, a healthy love of riding is encouraged.

Where to go for some of Africa’s best horse safaris:

 Cape Winelands – South Africa

We begin in the Cape Winelands, where the wine is as good as the views, and the views are spectacular. Paradise Stables in Franschhoek offers guests a chance to ride through one of the most scenic areas of South Africa on purebred Arabian horses. It’s a bit like losing yourself in a Thomas Cole painting, complete with trusty steed and fiery sunset. Beginners are welcome to go on any of the rides – including a simple tour through the scenic estate and wine tasting on horseback.

Garden Route – South Africa

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve is situated half an hour outside of Hermanus, on the fynbos and forest clad hills, overlooking the whale-watching haven of Walker bay and Gansbaai. Now, picture whale-watching from the back of a horse, cantering through the waves or gently trotting on the sand. The  2500-hectare Grootbos Nature Reserve offers riders majestic ocean views and unrivalled bush rides, where the magic of the South African landscape can be truly appreciated. Experience the beauty of the fynbos from horseback, surrounded by flora and fauna unique to the mountains of the Cape Coast.

Mpumalanga – South Africa

Horse Whispers in Hazyview, is located in the picturesque Lowveld Mountain Range. Prepare to embrace your inner pioneer with a horseback cattle drive! For the more sedate, there are luxurious sundowner rides. The real high point is the Elephant Encounter Trail, where riders can venture into the bush and seek out the six majestic African Elephants that make their home in the surrounds.

Botswana

African Horseback Safaris in the Okavango Delta gives you the chance to explore the largest inland delta in the world, from the perch of a thoroughbred Namibian Hanoverian or Kalahari-Arab crossbreed. Qualified guides will share their extensive knowledge of this wilderness, using the horses to bring you closer to the birds, game and nature. At Macatoo Camp, there’s a horse for all shapes and sizes and everyone is encouraged to ride.

Q: What do you call pony with a sore throat?
A: A little hoarse.

Zambia

Now, imagine exploring the Zambian wilds, riding up on the banks of the Zambezi river, just above the breathtaking Victoria Falls, tracking game through uncharted terrain. Situated in the Victoria Falls National Park, Zambezi Horse Trails offers exactly this. From non-riders to seasoned horse-lovers, all are encouraged to take part. You’ll be able to track elephant and other game in the shady banks of the river, ride within feet of shy kudu and canter through open bushveld.

Mozambique

If you thought Mozambique was all white sands, azure waters and island living… you thought right. However, at Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort in the Bazaruto Archipelago you can live out the classic movie fantasy which has you riding through the cool blue surf on the back of a carefully selected Boerperd. Early morning rides allow you to explore the forests and dunes of the archipelago’s island in peace, getting closer than you’ve ever imagined. The stable manager also conducts basic riding lessons for guests looking for instruction.

Q: What is the best type of story to tell a runaway horse?
A: A tale of WHOA

East Africa

The Chyulu Hills in South East Kenya is a limitless expanse, rich with game and rugged, diverse vegetation. The smart folks at Ol Donyo Lodge knew that this was the ideal location for a spot of horseplay. This area has been quoted to be “the best horse riding country in Africa”, which simply means you need to get there, get on a horse and get your safari on. In our opinion, there’s no better way to experience the Kenyan wilderness.

We’ve reached the grassy plains of Tanzania and the crème de la crème of lodges within the Serengeti – Singita Grumeti. The Singita Grumeti Reserves Equestrian Centre means that riders can enjoy the thrill and adventure of cantering out onto the plateau among the wildlife which make their home in the great Serengeti. Singita offers equestrian safaris over multiple days or out rides just for the day. The packages  are flexible and cater to the individual needs of each rider. The 2-8 day riding safaris which branch out between Singita Sasakwa Lodge, Singita Explore and Singita Faru Faru Lodge are flexible and cater to the individual needs of each rider. The pace is fast and the riding hard – this is not for the novice rider. This is the equestrian experience, not to be missed.


NOW quit horsing around! Let Rhino Africa tailor-make your African holiday of a lifetime to suit your budget, needs and style. One of our experienced consultants will give you all the inside information to ensure you get the best experience possible. Contact us today and let’s start planning!