Riding safaris for all abilities

April 25th 2024  |   Riding Safaris, Unique Experiences  |  by   Lucinda Crawford
Riding safaris for all abilities

Without a doubt riding in Africa is a wonderful way to see the landscape and wildlife. There are many options for the more experienced rider to seek their thrill, but what to do if not everyone in your family shares your love of horses and riding? Can you find a happy mix to accommodate both the rider and non-rider? You can, and there are probably many more options than you’d think.

Our top tips on choosing the best riding safari for you

Experienced riders

Keen riders will love exploring the Okavango Delta where among the impressive list of wildlife are lion, buffalo, elephant, wild dog and hippo. You need to be a good rider here but that’s no barrier to a family travelling together, as non-riders at camps like African Horseback Safaris are brilliantly accommodated and can enjoy wildlife drives, boat trips, fishing and even helicopter flights.  It’s perfectly possible to meet up with riders during the day to share lunch or a sundowner. In fact, many of the riding guests will take a day off from the saddle to enjoy some of these other activities.  

African Horseback Safari

Riding across the Okavango Delta with African Horseback Safaris

A ride through the Masai Mara is a must for experienced riders. A truly unforgettable experience as you camp in various spots in the conservancies surrounding the prolific national park, with your horse metres away from the tent, as well as masses of wildlife of all shapes and sizes. Offbeat Riding Safaris and Safaris Unlimited both offer epic Mara rides of a lifetime.  

Riding with Safaris Unlimited through the Masai Mara

Riding with Safaris Unlimited through the Masai Mara

Cantering along with the Drakensberg Mountains as the backdrop, discovering the Big Five as your ride progresses is a thrill like no other. Wait a Little operates set departure rides throughout the year, just outside the Kruger National Park specifically for the more adventurous. 

Riding safari in South Africa

Riding safari with Wait A Little

Intermediate riders

There are so many options open to families, or couples, who ride to an intermediate standard, and just as many places that will cater to the non-equestrians too.Kenya has lots of choices with lodges like Borana, Sosian, El Karama, Ol Malo and Lewa Wilderness all offering part-day rides alongside a host of other activities including exploring the bush on camels or on foot with Samburu guides, wildlife drives, fishing and playing in waterfalls and rivers. These camps and lodges make it easy to ride among the iconic East African wildlife, while other family members, or non-horsey other halves, enjoy the traditional wildlife viewing and meet up throughout the day for bush meals and sundowners. They also encourage non-riders to give it a go if they fancy it, so perhaps by the end of your trip, the whole family may be sharing the experience of exploring the bush together on horseback. 

Camel walk at Ol Malo

Camel walk at Ol Malo

Camp Kalahari and Jack’s Camp offer riding in the unique landscape of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans in Botswana, which is suitable for all abilities. Explore the vast open landscapes and spot desert-adapted wildlife, whilst taking in the stillness and serene quiet of the untouched and pristine savanna islands. For the more experienced intermediate rider you can choose a multi-day fly camping experience allowing you to linger longer and marvel at the moon-like landscape of the pans.  

Riding across Makgadikgadi with Camp Kalahari

Riding with zebra at Camp Kalahari

Beginner riders

South Africa has a great variety of family riding safaris for the novice, nervous or even first timers.  Aardvark Safaris’ favourites are Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill where the fun factor is off the chart. The horses are excellent, the hospitality generous, and there’s plenty to do as well as just the riding.  Another lovely option is Tswalu the Motse in the Kalahari where there’s good, gentle riding along the semi-desert tracks. It’s an exquisitely comfortable spot perfect for those seeking a little more luxury. Or how about exploring The Winelands by horseback, properties like Boschendal are an excellent option if you wish to experience this region using a different mode of transport. 

South Africa riding safari

Riding at Ant’s Hill

Africa is an epic destination for riders of all abilities and viewing wildlife from the back of a horse has to be one the most incredible adventures you can experience. Take a look at our selection of riding itineraries for further inspiration. 

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 and can offer expert advice on every type of safari from family and beach holidays to horseback and primate safaris. Lucinda, Jo, Alice and Francis are all avid riders and have been out on many of the riding safaris we offer and would be delighted to help you plan your trip, send us an email or give us a call. 


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