Riding safaris for beginners
Although some riding safari options require that you are an expert rider, proficient at all paces, there are plenty of others where children, beginner or novice riders can enjoy a riding safari experience. Here’s our pick of some of the best African riding safaris for groups travelling with riders of with different levels of experience.
South Africa has perhaps the greatest variety, from exhilarating riding in the Kruger National Park to beach rides and gymkhana games. Head to the malaria-free Waterberg region and you’ll find Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill, and Horizon Horseback Safaris offering a wonderful range of riding safari options. Family favourite Ant’s has around 90 horses from fabulous children’s ponies to feisty Thoroughbreds. Basic lessons are available for non-riders and some guests even learn to ride and gain confidence here.
Horizon Horseback Safaris also offer riding holidays for the less experienced. There are no dangerous animals on the ‘home reserve’ and the plains game is incredibly calm here, allowing safe animal encounters on horseback for those without the experience to take the longer, faster multi-day rides.
There are some fun options in the South African Cape too. Grootbos offers glorious riding around the reserve and since there’s no dangerous wildlife here riding really is suitable for all levels. There is a good selection of horses and ponies to choose from and the panoramic views of the mountains and sea make this a magical riding experience.
A little further down the Cape coast, luxury hotel Kurland also has a stable of horses and ponies.
The breathtakingly beautiful scenery at Tswalu is enough to inspire anyone to explore on horseback. There are mounts to suit all abilities and experienced equestrian guides will ensure everyone can enjoy riding through the grassy plains and rolling dunes in this corner of the Kalahari.
Kenya is another country offering a good range of riding safaris. It’s famous for fast paced riding through the Masai Mara but there are still plenty of riding holidays for the less experienced. Borana Lodge has three different stables housing its horses, with one offering ‘patent safety’ horses ideal for children and novice riders. These steady animals will carry guests on the plains where they can ride among giraffe, impala and zebra, experiencing what it’s like to get up close and personal with African wildlife. Lewa Wilderness is another good choice if you are travelling with novice riders and want a steady ride for an hour or so.
Making friends at Borana Lodge
Ol Malo is another where you can take a gentle ride into the African bush from the lodge. Some experience is necessary here as you might encounter elephant while riding but the pace is gentle so suitable to those more comfortable at walk and trot.
Because the wide open desert landscape lends itself to faster riding, most riding holidays in Namibia tend to be for experienced riders. But Desert Homestead is famous for its guided trails into the Namib desert. Riders go out at first light or close to sunset when the colours of this ancient landscape are at their most striking. Beginners are just as welcome to join in the fun as experienced riders.
Several beach lodges on the Mozambique coast offer riding, and for those with a little experience Mozambique Horse Safaris organise tailored riding holidays along the southern coastline around Vilanculos and on the gorgeous Benguerra Island.
Our team of specialists has travelled widely throughout Africa and the Indian Ocean and can offer expert advice on planning every type of safari from family and beach holidays to riding and primate safaris. Do get in touch – chatting to people in person, by phone or email is what we do best. We listen, we explain, we answer all sorts of questions even those you didn’t know to ask, and finally we make suggestions. Whether this is your first time to Africa or your twenty first, we have a team standing by to help make the planning easy and the journey the best ever. Please get in touch whatever stage you’re at.