Riding Safaris

Why riding safaris?

When you’re in a vehicle, however open it might be, there’s always something that keeps you a little apart from the wildlife. On horseback however, you’re right in the thick of the action- instead of watching the bush, you’re part of it, cantering beside a tower of giraffe or galloping alongside a dazzle of zebra. On a riding safari you’ll hear the sounds of the birds calling in the bush, see the tracks of the animals in the dust, and explore the places that 4 wheel drives just can’t reach.

Can I go on a riding safari if I’m a novice?

If you’re a beginner, there are some wonderful options available. We’d recommend basing yourself in a lodge, so you can try a morning or afternoon riding safari to see if it’s for you, rather than committing to days on end.  What’s essential is that you’re open about your riding experience, so we can match you with a horse and experience that suits your ability. There are some fantastic lodges in both Kenya and South Africa where you can try this- we recently visited a South African lodge that caters to absolute beginners and former Olympians!

I’m a very experienced rider- what would you recommend?

Many of the lodges we work with have excellent horses, with hosts and owners who are often very experienced riders themselves, and can certainly offer a challenging ride, even if it’s just for the day. For something longer, and a serious adventure, we’d recommend a multi-day riding safari. You need to be experienced enough to ride out of trouble, and be happy spending a good chunk of every day in the saddle.   There are some fantastic rides through Botswana’s Okavango Delta and in the Chyulu Hills Kenya that are perfectly suited to experience riders who are regularly on horseback.

Not everyone in my party wants to ride.

This is a situation where a lodge-based riding safari works well.  On mobile riding safaris most of the day is spent on the hoof (often six or seven hours in one day), but when you’re in a safari lodge it possible to split your group so that riders can ride, and the rest of your party can join other guests in game drives, walking safaris, or any other adventures that going on!

I want to bring my children on a riding safari- is this possible?

Very much so! Again, this can work best when you’re able to base yourselves in a lodge and do short morning or afternoon rides from there.  Particularly if your children get tired out, or distracted easily, it means that they can do a game drive or swim the rest of the time. Family friendly riding works particularly well on Kenya’s Laikipia Plateau, or in South Africa, which also has some malaria-free options if you’re travelling with younger children.   Older children (normally from 12-16 upwards) can join some of the longer mobile safaris if their riding ability permits.

Are riding safaris the only option for riding in Africa?

No! If you’re not confident enough to ride where there might be large wildlife, or simply want to take things at a gentler pace, there are numerous options. You can ride through the desert in Namibia, through vineyards in South Africa’s Winelands  (by far the most civilised way to do wine-tasting in our opinion), play polo on the Garden Route, or even go for a little potter on the Kenyan coast.

Can I combine a riding safari with other activities?

Yes! Each of our trips is tailor-made, so as long as it’s physically possible, we can arrange any combination of activities you like!

To discuss which riding safari would work best for you, contact our Africa experts for advice.

Have a question?

Ask the Africa Experts