Riding Safaris - Questions and Answers
Q: I used to ride a lot but haven't done much riding for years, will I be ok?
A: Some riding holidays in Africa are only suitable for experienced and fit riders while others would suit less experienced and “rusty” riders or even people who have never ridden before. With our in depth knowledge we can advise which holiday will suit your riding ability and requirements.
Q: Is riding in Africa safe?
A: All the camps/lodges that we use are run by experienced guides and horse handlers who regard safety as the most important factor. We do recommend that you are honest about your riding ability and fitness so that you are matched with a horse suited to your capability. We also recommend, for your own protection, that you wear a hard hat.
Q: I am an experienced rider and I don't want to be held back by beginners
A: We can plan riding safaris which are geared to experienced riders. You will ride a well schooled horse and will have the opportunity for plenty of fast riding and many hours in the saddle. Past guests on our riding holidays include international event riders and point to point jockeys, who have all found it an exhilarating experience.
Q: I've been on a riding holiday before and the horses were slow, old, badly treated, (or all of these)
A: We have experienced all of the rides we offer and have a close relationship with the owners of the camps/lodges, so we know the horses are well cared for. We only offer riding holidays where we are sure that the horses are well treated and that they get plenty to eat. Aardvark Safaris are keen supporters of the International League for the Protection of Horses and take the welfare of horses very seriously. For each destination we can tell you exactly what kind of riding to expect and the breed and size of the horses. Our aim is to find the riding safari that most closely matches your riding ability and requirements, so that you come back having had an enjoyable and exhilarating holiday.
Q: Aren't riding holidays in Africa expensive?
A: Not necessarily. A week's riding holiday can be no more expensive than an equivalent beach / skiing holiday. The price you pay in the UK before you travel will normally include all your flights, transfers, accommodation, activities and some drinks, so there will be very few extras on arrival to pay for in Africa.
Q: What about my partner, he/she doesn't ride?
A: Charlotte and Alice both have non horsey husbands and have successfully put holidays together to keep riding and non riding parties happy. Some of our rides are suitable for beginners or novices; however if your partner really doesn't want to ride then we can guide you to places where there will be lots of other things to do such as game drives, walking and fishing to name a few.
Q. Is there a minimum or a maximum age limit for a riding safari?
A. There is no official minimum or maximum age for any riding safari; however different operators will have different rules. Faster rides generally specify a minimum age of 12. There is no maximum age as long as riders are happy to gallop out of trouble, should it be required. On the quieter rides the age and proficiency of riders is less critical.
Q. Can we combine a riding safari as a small part of a longer trip to Africa?
A. Yes, you can choose to do exactly what you want; two weeks solid riding with no interruptions; ride for a week and then spend a week on the beach; or just ride once on holiday and see other safari locations and islands in the Indian Ocean. We tailor make each and every holiday to your requirements.
Q. There will be a few of us; can we arrange a private holiday where we don’t have to be a part of another group?
A. Private riding safaris are one of the most enjoyable ways of seeing the African wilderness. Private groups of four people or more are very popular and we can advise you to which areas and times of year work best.
Q. Am I safe to travel on my own and if I do will there be a heavy single supplement?
A. Most of our rides welcome single travellers and there are often other like-minded single travellers on the same trip so you are made to feel very welcome. If you are willing to share accommodation no single supplement is charged.
Q. What sort of tack will be used?
A. Each riding operation uses a combination of tack – you should expect to see English, trail saddles, McClellan saddles and Australian stock saddles. Most horses are ridden in snaffle bridles.