Which Mobile Riding Safari Is For You?
A Round Up Of Four Of The Best Riding Safaris
What comes to mind when you think of a classic African riding safari? Maybe it’s galloping across the open plains of the Masai Mara? Or perhaps swimming your horse through a tributary of the mighty Okavango Delta? Whatever you imagine, there is an African riding holiday to match it.
Wildlife viewing on horseback is in a league of its own, allowing exploration of areas inaccessible to vehicles and keeping you (literally) off the beaten track. It’s incredibly exhilarating too, as you move with the wildlife alert to the reactions of your horse and the smells of the African bush.
Classic riding safaris traditionally involve travelling from one place to the next on horseback, either in a private group or with a maximum of eight like-minded riders on set dates throughout the year.
Here are some of my favourite African mobile riding safaris:
Safaris Unlimited, Kenya
Husband and wife team Gordie and Felicia Church lead magnificent rides through Kenya’s Masai Mara. The Church family pioneered mobile riding safaris in Kenya and Gordie and his team now take guests on unforgettable rides through stunning scenery and incredible wildlife. Although some scheduled itineraries are offered here, it’s the wonderful private trips that keep Gordie booked up well in advance.
• Private riding safaris designed around guests’ wishes
• Fabulous riding through the Masai Mara and the opportunity to ride alongside the wildebeest migration
• Classic mobile safari utilising traditional canvas tents
• Exquisite food
• Top notch personal service
Wait a Little, South Africa
Originally from Germany, Gerti and Philip Kusseler set up Wait a Little in the Karongwe Private Game Reserve, bordering South Africa’s famous Kruger National Park, in 1998.
Gerti’s dressage background ensures beautifully schooled horses and Philip’s guiding is superb – he’s one of only a handful of guides to hold South Africa’s highest field guide qualification. The wildlife in the area is exceptional and years of patient training means the safari horses are calm just metres away from big game.
• Exhilarating riding in Big Five country (the safari Big 5 is lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo)
• Three riding safari itineraries to choose from, ranging in length from six to ten days
• Some of the best schooled safari horses in Africa
• Very close sightings of big game
• Varied accommodation ranging from cozy lodges to a night under the stars
Okavango Horse Safaris, Botswana
This lovely operation deep in Botswana’s Okavango Delta is one of the most sought-after riding safaris in Africa. Owned by PJ and Barney Bestelink, rides here run for five, seven or ten nights over breathtaking scenery which is home to an extraordinary range of wildlife. Safaris move between two glorious camps and a wonderfully romantic fly camp [Editor’s note: a ‘fly camp’ is a simple camp set up just for the night, named after the times people slept under just a fly-sheet].
• Riding through one of the most iconic landscapes in Africa
• Small group size, generally limited to eight riders.
• A string of around 60 fit, happy horses cared for by Barney’s highly experienced team
• Superb wildlife sightings including elephant, giraffe, hippo and buffalo
• Non-riders are welcome.
Horizon Horseback Mashatu, Botswana
Ride through the vast Mashatu Game Reserve tucked against Botswana’s border with South Africa. This old landscape is Africa at its most wild and the terrain offers great ground for fast riding.
The mobile Tuli Safari ride runs on set dates between April and October and covers around 120 miles over the course of a week with riders overnighting in a combination of a luxury tented camp, mobile tented camps and nights under the stars. Horses here are among the best in Africa having benefited from expert schooling by owners experienced in eventing, point to pointing, and teaching.
• Elephant, lion, leopard, cheetah and wild dog country
• Maximum group size of eight riders
• The chance to ride along the banks of the famous Limpopo River
• Good galloping stretches alongside plains game
• Two nights sleeping in the open in an old tribal court
• Remote location ensures a great riding safari well off the beaten track
To see more photos, travel tips, riding holiday destination ideas, detailed riding safari itineraries, and more, have a look at our riding safaris page.