Instead of a multi-day riding safari, take lodge based day rides

August 29th 2018  |  Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Riding Safaris, Travel  |  by  Alice Gully
Lodge based day rides: riding safaris lady and horse galloping in Namibia's desert at full pelt

Exploring the African wilderness on horseback is a magical experience.  No vehicle, no noise – just you and your horse crossing the landscape.  If you are an accomplished rider, you may already have done a multi-day riding safari, covering many miles while following the wildlife.  It’s an exhilarating option and deservedly at the top of many safari wish lists.  Don’t discount, though, the pleasure of riding for just a few hours while on safari.  It’s perfect if you are travelling with riders of mixed abilities or if you want a taste of riding before committing to a longer riding safari.

There are plenty of camps and lodges offering a range of riding experiences that don’t involve donning your jodhpurs for days on end.  Here is just a limited selection:

Ant’s Nest and Hill, South Africa

– Old favourites and among the best, these two lodges based in South Africa’s Malaria-free Waterberg will accommodate riders of all abilities.  Whether you want to potter round the lodge or go for a speedy two hour ride, there’s a horse here for you.

Meeting a zebra at Ants Nest lodge based day rides

Meeting a zebra at Ant’s Nest, South Africa

Riders with sable antelope at Ants Nest lodge based day rides

Riders with sable antelope at Ant’s Nest, South Africa

Ol Donyo Lodge, Kenya

– Wedged between Tsavo East and Amboseli National Parks in the heart of the Chyulu Hills this is a place of timeless wild beauty. Rich in wildlife as well as culture and scenery it’s fabulous riding country.  Intermediates and above can ride for two to four hours seeking out giraffe and elephant, while novices can enjoy a gentle ride to explore the open plains.

Stables and groom at Ol Donyo Lodge, Kenya lodge based day rides

Stables and groom at Ol Donyo Lodge, Chyulu Hills, Kenya

Jack’s Camp and San Camp, Botswana

– Botswana is traditionally the preserve of the full-on riding safari but these two legendary camps in the Makgadikgadi Pans provide the setting for glorious riding.  All levels of rider can take to horseback to roam this extraordinary landscape looking for zebra, wildebeest, springbok and a variety of desert adapted species.

Cantering group of 5 riders on the salt pans, Makgadikgadi, Botswana lodge based day rides

Cantering on the salt pans, Makgadikgadi, Botswana, Jack’s Camp and San Camp with Ride Botswana

Tswalu, South Africa

– The spectacular Kalahari setting and experienced staff combine to create some wonderful riding.  There are horses to accommodate riders of all levels of experience, and youngsters are particularly welcome; pony-mad children can spend a whole day at the stables if they wish.  The scenery is breath-taking and likely animal encounters include mountain zebra, kudu, hartebeest and buffalo.

Family ride out at Tswalu, South Africa lodge based day rides

Family ride out at Tswalu, South Africa

Mozambique Horse Safaris, Mozambique

– If your safari includes northern Mozambique and you fancy an equestrian outing then a horseback swim with Mozambique Horse Safaris would be one for the list.  After a ride along the beach both horse and rider can enjoy a wallow in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.

Swimming with the horses in northern Mozambique, Mozambique Horse Safari lodge based day rides

Swimming with the horses in northern Mozambique, Mozambique Horse Safaris

Ol Malo, Kenya

– If you want a variety of four legged conveyances then this super family run lodge in northern Kenya fits the bill.  Guided rides on sure-footed bush ponies will satisfy horse riders of all levels and once you’ve ticked that box how about exploring on a camel?  Full of character these ‘ships of the desert’ offer a totally different perspective as you ‘rock’ gently through the bush.

Ride a camel in Lakipia, northern Kenya, Ol Malo lodge based day rides

Ride a camel in Laikipia, northern Kenya, Ol Malo

Any questions on riding in Africa?

If you’ve got this far and not found an answer to a question you have that we should have included, please ask in the comments section below, or pop us an email. We’ll be sure to reply and may amend the article to include our answer.

What next?

We would be delighted to help you plan a holiday, or answer any questions if you’re at an earlier stage. Our team of experts have travelled widely throughout Africa. They can offer expert advice on every type of safari from family and beach holidays to riding and primate safaris.  If you would like to talk to someone who has been there and done it, please just send us an email or give us a call.

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