‘Riding Safaris’ – myths busted

May 23rd 2022  |   Unique Experiences, Miscellaneous  |  by   Jo Ainscough
‘Riding Safaris’ – myths busted

Riding safaris are a popular and exciting way of viewing Africa’s incredible scenery and wildlife; here we explore and explain some of the common misconceptions surrounding a riding safari.

Myth: I have to be a good rider to go on a riding safari
Fact: While experienced riders can enjoy exhilarating safaris riding at speed alongside plains wildlife, we also offer more gentle riding experiences for children and novice riders. Many camps and lodges offer riding as an activity with gentle rides into the African bush at a pace suitable to those more comfortable at walk and trot. Borana Lodge offers ‘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.

Read more about novice horse riding safaris in our Riding Safaris For Beginners article.

children on riding safari

Children enjoying a riding safari at Tswalu The Motse in South Africa

Myth: The horses and tack are in poor condition
Fact: In all of our riding safari camps and lodges top priority is given to the care and well-being of the horses. In fact the horses are looked after just as well as the guests! The tack used is carefully chosen ensuring the best equipment for the job. Every effort is made to fit the right saddle and bridle for both horse and rider to ensure the horse’s comfort, as well as yours.


Top quality tack to ensure comfort for horse and rider

Myth: The horses aren’t very forward
Fact: The quality of the horses is the key ingredient of any riding safari. Safari horses are selected across a wide range of breeds to suit the requirements of novice to expert rider and for their endurance, courage and responsiveness. The horses are schooled and well mannered, every effort is made to match with the most suitable rider. With a string of horses to choose from camps can ensure that each horse is fully fit and rested with downtime out in the paddocks to give the best possible ride.

A number of years ago the riding safari operators’ stories about their favourite horses struck a chord with many of our riding clients. Read more here

Group of riders galloping across the pan in Botswana

A fast ride across the Makgadikgadi Pans in Botswana

Myth: You won’t get as close to wildlife as you would in a vehicle
Fact: There are many advantages to viewing wildlife from a horse. Riding safaris enables getting off the beaten track to areas often inaccessible by vehicle. Unlike a vehicle a horse is not restricted to roads or tracks, or hindered by trees and shrubs, enabling access to secluded areas and more intimate wildlife encounters. Wildlife trusts horses and riders are seen as an extension of the horse. You may be surprised how comfortable wildlife is as riders approach.

viewing rhino up close on horseback

Wildlife is comfortable with horses up close at Ants Hill, South Africa 

Myth: You have to travel as part of a group   
Fact: Our riding safaris offer rides for individuals, couples or in small groups that rarely exceed 10 riders (most are less than this). All rides welcome single travellers and, with a love of horses in common, everyone is made to feel welcome. We are able to arrange private riding safaris for small groups of friends.

Group of riders in the sunset in the Okavango Delta

A sunset ride in the Okavango Delta

Myth: I can’t go because the rest of my family don’t ride    
Fact: Many of our riding safaris offer rides for beginners or novices, however if your companions really aren’t interested, we can recommend places with lots of other things to do like fishing or walking while you enjoy your time riding. My colleague Alice has travelled on riding safaris with her non-horsey husband and he typically felt he’d had the better time each day – a measure of how well riding safari operators host the non-riding spouse or family member.

Read our article “Can you do a riding safari if not everyone in the family wants to ride?” 

Horses with a groom

Happy horses with their groom at Ol Donyo Lodge, Kenya where non riders can take part in mountain biking and walking safaris.

What Next?

If this article has inspired you to find our more, we would be delighted to help plan your perfect horse riding safari.

If this is your first riding trip a great place to start is to read our “start planning your riding safari” article. Many of our team have ridden extensively in Africa and would be delighted to help plan the best riding safari for you, your family or group.

Do get in touch – chatting to people 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. If 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.

One response to “‘Riding Safaris’ – myths busted”

  1. Belinda Olds Da Costa Lopes says:

    I have done a horse ride in a place called Mukivisi Woodlands in Harare, Zimbabwe. It’s a small park with quite a lot of animals. So enjoyed going to places that you don’t normally see from viewing platform or walking (when walking you have to stay on the paths).

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