Get active riding
Riding safaris are a wonderful way to view Africa’s scenery and wildlife. Experienced riders can enjoy exhilarating safaris, riding at speed alongside plains wildlife or quietly tracking elephant and buffalo. For the less experienced who would still like some riding during a safari, there are plenty of options for shorter, gentler rides. Children can be accommodated as well, with a handful of lodges stabling ponies to suit all abilities. Mixed groups of non-riders and riders can work too, with several riding-safari operators providing varied activities including wildlife drives and bush walks for non-riding partners and family.
Riding safaris spanning several days can cover significant distances over remote regions, often accessing wilderness areas impenetrable to vehicles. Fly camping under the stars, miles from civilisation, with horses contentedly snoozing on their picket lines, is one of Africa’s very special pleasures. Shorter rides can be anything from a morning riding out into the bush with a picnic lunch to an hour or two exploring closer to the lodge.
Probably more important with a riding safari than any other type of safari is that you are matched with the right operator for your experience and wishes. There’s nothing worse than feeling held back if you are experienced or over-horsed if you are a novice. Our team have tried all the riding safaris we offer and can advise on all the details but here’s a summary of what to expect in each country.
Botswana – Africa’s finest safari destination is at its best on a horse. The Okavango Delta is a highlight, with reed-lined shallows to splash through and spectacular wildlife at every turn. Botswana’s other riding opportunities include the Tuli Block along the Limpopo River, famous for huge herds of elephants, and the drum-flat Makgadikgadi salt pans on the Kalahari’s edge.
South Africa – The varied landscapes of South Africa are matched by a wide range of riding opportunities. Stay north to ride with iconic wildlife on the edge of the Kruger or head to the Waterberg for malaria-free family friendly options. Go south to amble amongst the fynbos of Hermanus, spotting whales from the saddle or ride between vineyards on a Winelands tour.
Kenya – This is epic riding country, with the Masai Mara perhaps the ultimate adventure where experts can enjoy adrenaline fuelled, multi-day safaris at Safaris Unlimited and Offbeat Safaris. The characterful lodges in Laikipia like Borana riding will please all-comers while expeditions into the beautiful Chyulu Hills are open to intermediates and above at Ol Donyo.
Tanzania – Safaris here explore the Serengeti, Lake Natron and the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. Different rides require different levels of experience so there is something for everyone to enjoy in one of Africa’s finest wildlife destinations.
Namibia – A riding safari is the one of the best ways to explore the vast parts of Namibia few travellers ever see. There are multi-day journeys through the Fish River Canyon, across Damaraland and the wild landscape of the Skeleton Coast – it’s spectacular, adventurous riding.
Mozambique – The dazzling Indian Ocean coast and the untouched charm of small, friendly fishing villages provide the setting for riding in Mozambique. Rides out of the coastal town of Vilanculos can last one day or several, exploring deserted beaches and inland lakes.
Any questions about riding safaris 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.
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 Alice who has been there and done it, please just send us an email or give us a call.