A horseback safari in Africa is so much more than a ride through the bush – it's a unique and all-encompassing wildlife safari experience for both novice and expert riders and for both the young and young at heart. On horseback, the African landscape embraces you wholeheartedly and offers a glimpse into the tranquil yet unrelenting world of the continent's wildlife.
When imagining a safari to Africa, most travellers conjure visions of olive-green Land Rovers trundling across plains of waving grass. Or perhaps hot-air balloons that are floating silently above the massed herds of the Serengeti. But the thunder of hooves of a stallion cantering across shimmering salt pans? Unlikely.
And yet Africa is one of the world's premier destinations for horseback adventures, blending world-class guides with charming wilderness camps and, of course, the chance to spot the Big 5 from the saddle. If you love adding a bit more adventure to your holiday, a horseback safari in Africa is for you.
This difference between a typical safari and an African horse safari is simple. There's no longer the hum of an engine or predictable acceleration of a pedal to the floor. Instead, you get to blend into the bush, almost like you're one with the wildlife. And besides it being a far "greener" way to explore the wild, you're no longer a mere observer of wildlife but truly experience their circle of life.
If you're after sheer immersion in nature with the ultimate adrenaline rush, a horseback safari in Africa is the way to go.
Horseback safaris are becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to other forms of safaris, and many would not head out into the African wilderness any other way! Here are some of our favourite places that offer horseback safaris in Africa.
A horseback safari in South Africa is one of the best ways to experience the country. Because the landscapes vary so greatly, you’ll never get bored! Besides, it’s much more enjoyable to explore South Africa with the wind in your hair and nothing blocking your view. Here are our favourite places for a horseback safari.
The 2,500-hectare Grootbos Garden Lodge has its own stable yard with 20 well-trained horses. Experienced horse riding instructors lead tours that cater to all experience levels. Ride through the Cape fynbos on an African horse safari and take in the mountain and sea views. You can also enjoy a three-hour horse riding beach excursion to Walker Bay Nature Reserve and meander through dune fynbos to the beach to gallop or canter by the waves.
Hog Hollow Country Lodge also offers the best way to explore the diverse landscape of the Tsitsikamma Mountains on South Africa's Garden Route on horseback or in the comfort of a horse-drawn carriage. At the same time, they support rescue horses that help township children rebuild trust.
Botlierskop Game Reserve spoils travellers for choice with their luxurious accommodation in the Garden Route. Here, travellers can enjoy an exciting horseback safari and escape to the majestic mountain valleys and beautiful fynbos for a one, two or three-hour horse ride.
The wine-making town of Stellenbosch offers excellent wines and spectacular views too. And at Rhebokskloof Wine Estate, you can go on a horseback adventure through the wine valley, and it's close to the town's luxurious accommodation
The Vrede en Lust Estate, nestled at the foothills of the Simonsberg in South Africa's most celebrated Franschhoek wine valley, has more than enough to keep you busy. However, it's also great to take a horse ride along the vineyards and get a full view of the estate with Cape Winelands Riding.
Sleepy Hollow Horse Riding School, established in 1975, is the oldest equestrian school in the Noordhoek Valley and allows you to explore why locals are in no hurry to see the end of a typically glorious Cape Town day. Truly, there's no better place to go on a horseback safari in South Africa.
Beach outrides are facilitated in groups of no more than six, with guides leading hooves and humans among indigenous vegetation and fynbos, through wetland, among heaped dunes and along 8km of pristine white wild beach.
A horseback safari in Botswana is the best way to quietly immerse yourself in the vast wilderness this country is renowned for. Plus, this will allow you to admire the many wildlife calling Botswana home from a different perspective.
Mashatu Lodge operates within the Mashatu Game Reserve in Botswana and is the perfect destination for a horse safari in Africa. The terrain is great for riding, with natural ditches and logs to jump over, providing an exhilarating ride and making for the perfect horseback safari experience in Botswana. Regular game sightings include elephants, big cats, antelopes, African wild dogs, jackals, bat-eared foxes, giraffes and the occasional canter with zebras and wildebeest across the plains.
Macatoo Camp in the Okavango Delta and Moremi Region also allows you to explore the largest inland delta in the world from the perch of a thoroughbred Namibian Hanoverian or Kalahari-Arab crossbreed. Qualified guides will share their extensive knowledge of this wilderness, and you'll get to ride up close to the birdlife, game and nature.
In East Africa, there's never a shortage of wildlife to see. And a horseback safari in Kenya is undoubtedly one of the best ways to experience these iconic landscapes and the diversity of big and small game.
Offbeat Safaris allow you to explore the Maasai Mara's iconic plains on horseback and enjoy exciting wildlife encounters. The exceptional guiding and small group numbers guarantee a highly personalised and exclusive experience amid some of the world's most famous natural beauty.
Zimbabwe is full of dramatic landscapes, endless skies and rich and varied culture. And if you want to experience this in a more immersive way, a horseback safari in Zimbabwe is the answer.
With Ride Zimbabwe, you can discover a captivating country of untamed beauty, thriving wildlife and authentic people. With expert guides and horses, this is an experience with wildlife like never before. Wander alongside the wild animals of Hwange National Park, travel with the sun and hear the drumming of hooves meandering through the land.
Zambia might be best known as the “Birthplace of the Walking Safari”. However, a horseback safari in Zambia should not be overlooked!
Chundukwa River Lodge in Zambia offers short hour-and-a-half rides to half-day and multi-day bespoke rides along the Zambezi River. There's a large stable yard on-site with horses for all levels of riders in the stables.
Never-ending desert, glittering salt pans, a shipwreck graveyard... There's just nothing like Namibia's rugged terrains. And a horseback safari in Namibia is the best way to experience it all!
The Namibia Horse Safari Company specialises in semi-participatory safaris – where you saddle and groom your own horse – across a variety of Namibia's most spectacular landscapes.
If you dream of cantering along white-sand beaches, swimming in blue seas and enjoying the warm hospitality of island life, look no further than a horseback safari in Mozambique.
Mozambique Horse Safari is a family-run organisation with a strong sense of personal pride taken to ensure their riding experiences become treasured memories.
What are you waiting for? We bet you can already feel the wind in your hair as you breathe in the fresh African air. Contact our Travel Experts to plan your horseback safari in Africa today! As the World’s Best Safari Company, you can rest assured that you’re dealing with the best in the biz. Giddy-up – we’ll see you in Africa!