A hosted riding safari – Q & A with Alice Gully

May 25th 2017  |  Riding Safaris, Travel  |  by  Alice Gully
Alice Gully on a family ride at Ant's Nest, South Africa

Joining a hosted riding safari can be a great way to experience Africa in a completely hassle-free way. If you’re travelling alone, are embarking on an African safari for the first time, or simply don’t want to think about anything other than enjoying every moment in the wilderness it’s something to consider. A number of safaris lend themselves to this type of travel, and riding safaris in particular work very well with a host. Aardvark Safaris co-owner Alice Gully has lead several riding safaris and we asked her about her experiences.

What qualifies you to host a riding safari?

Alice competing on horse (grey thoroughbred) Floyd at Floors Castle, Scotland

Alice competing with Floyd at Floors Castle, Scotland

There are lots of things I think you need to host a happy trip. I ride and compete so I immediately have a shared interest with the guests joining me. I’ve also spent over 17 years organising all types of safari holidays so I know inside-out how a safari works, which I think is really important. Having hosted riding safaris in Zimbabwe, I am used to the worries that may arise and can iron them out very quickly.

Have you ever been a riding safari guide yourself?

Alice Gully riding a horse jumping a log in Kenya

Alice riding on safari in Kenya

I spent two years working for a riding safari operation in Zimbabwe before I started work as a tour operator. I skippered catamarans on Lake Kariba as well so have experience from that too. In the past I have worked as both host and back up guide on riding safaris in Africa.

How does having a host work?

Alice Gully and friends on safari

Alice in the Makgadikgadi salt pans, Botswana

I am there to make sure everyone has the perfect holiday. I join the group at the airport before the international flight to Africa so you can sit back and relax from then on. I’m on hand to help with everything from making sure everyone has the type of horse they feel comfortable with, to how much to tip, to making sure you’ve a cold drink at the end of the day.

What was the last ride you hosted?

Alice Gully as a riding safari host with Wait A Little, South Africa

Riding safari guide Rusty Steel and Alice hosting a ride with Wait A Little, South Africa

I hosted a riding safari in South Africa with Wait a Little Safaris last May. There were seven in the group, three who knew each other a little before we left, and four who came independently. We had a wonderful time and several of the group have been on holiday together since.

Do you have any hosted rides coming up?

Riding amongst antelope herd, Safaris Unlimited, Kenya

Riding amongst antelope herd, Masai Mara, Kenya, with Safaris Unlimited

Yes, I’m heading to Kenya in October 2018 where I’ll be hosting a 7 day Masai Mara riding safari alongside Safaris Unlimited. It will be a seven day safari, enjoying superb game viewing in one of Africa’s most famous wildlife areas riding alongside wildebeest, zebra, giraffe and gazelle.

Riding with buffalo in the Masai Mara, Kenya with Safaris Unlimited

A hosted riding safari in the Masai Mara, Kenya with Safaris Unlimited

There is also the chance to spot elephant and buffalo too. Riding from camp to camp on well-schooled horses, with supremely knowledgeable guides, will be a truly unforgettable experience. I can’t wait!

If I don’t want a hosted trip, can you advise on which sort of riding safari holiday I’ll enjoy most

Gully family riding at Ant's Nest, Waterberg, South Africa

Riding with the family at Ant’s Nest, South Africa

Absolutely. I’ve ridden all over Africa – sometimes on my own, with my not-so-horsy husband, and with my young daughters. I love chatting about the different types of riding safari on offer and take great pride in matching riders with their perfect holiday. Riding safaris are generally owner-run so I can describe the characters who will be your hosts and guides so you get a good idea of what to expect and give several options for the style of African riding holiday to suit you.

As you can see there are a few variables to consider when choosing the right African riding safaris for you. For a hosted riding safari get in touch with us either on the phone, meet face to face, email or live chat and let us help you choose. Aardvark Safaris have large depth of knowledge when it comes to riding safaris – chat to Alice, Francis, Lucinda and Jo. We have ridden with them all, slept in the beds, eaten the food and met the guides!

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