Riding Safaris for all
Alice Gully from Aardvark’s Scotland office revisits Kenya where she finds a lodge that caters to both horse lovers and those, like her husband, not so keen.
We have had a busy year organising riding safaris, with both single travellers (mainly female) and large groups heading out to the Masai Mara in Kenya or to Botswana’s Okavango Delta. As well as trips like these which are for the experienced rider only, we are often asked to plan a vacation where one or two members of the party ride well but where others don’t want to have anything to do with a horse.
On a recent trip to Kenya, I found Borana Lodge to be the perfect ranch that offers a bit of everything for everyone. This wonderfully comfortable property lies at the base of Mount Kenya in the Laikipia area (see Victoria’s article on page xx), and next to the famous Lewa Conservancy which is packed with game including rhino, rare sitatunga antelope, lion and cheetah.
As well as game viewing activities from vehicles and on foot, Borana has some excellent horses. These are split into two groups, with those at the ‘top’ stables being well schooled, responsive and exciting – sure to surprise any guest thinking that horse back vacations offer only plodding dobbins. In fact, many experienced riders come to Borana for a thrilling riding vacation. The land is varied and interesting, the views are breath taking and the game encounters are regular enough to keep the adrenaline pumping. There are rocky outcrops to negotiate and flat stretches for gallops. On longer riding safaris guests can visit the far extremities of the ranch and stay overnight in simple bush camps. Because you don’t have to be tied into a week long riding safari here, you have the opportunity to take days off from riding and explore the ranch by other means
The ‘bottom’ stables house a number of bush ponies which are a mother’s dream for children, and great for the less experienced rider. They are sure footed and safe and take guests on short rides around the ranch.
Away from the horses, Borana offers walking, game drives on the neighboring Lewa ranch, trout fishing on Mount Kenya, picnics and sundowners, camel trekking and mountain biking.
I am married to a horse phobe, but even Jim found there was plenty to do for the non rider without feeling that he was settling for second best to accommodate a riding wife. If there really is such a thing as a lodge that can keep everyone happy, I think Borana comes pretty close.