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A horseback safari in Africa is so much more than a ride through the bush - it is a completely 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 up visions of olive-green Land Rovers trundling noisily across plains of waving grass, or perhaps hot-air balloons floating silently above the massed herds of the Serengeti. But the thunder of hooves and heavy breathing of a stallion cantering across shimmering salt pans? Unlikely.
And yet Africa is proving itself to be 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.
This difference between a typical safari and a horseback safari is simple: There’s no longer the grind of a Land Rover engine under you or the predictable acceleration of a pedal to the floor. And besides it being a far “greener” way to explore the wild, you are no longer a mere observer of wildlife, but truly experience their circle of life.
If you are after sheer immersion in nature with the ultimate adrenaline rush, a horseback safari in Africa is the way to go.
Horseback safaris are becoming more and more popular as an alternative to other forms of safaris, and there are many who would not head out into the African wilderness any other way! Here are some of our favourite places that offer horseback safaris in Africa.
Mashatu Lodge operates within the Mashatu Game Reserve in Botswana. The area is perfect for riding; natural ditches and logs to jump over provide an exhilarating ride and makes for the perfect horseback safari experience in Botswana. Regular game sightings include elephants, cats, antelopes, wild dogs, jackals, bat-eared foxes, giraffe and the occasional canter with zebras and wildebeest across the plains.
Macatoo Camp in the Okavango Delta and Moremi Region also gives you the chance 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.
Offbeat Safaris allow you to explore the Maasai Mara's iconic plains on horseback and enjoy exciting wildlife encounters. Experience new, different perspectives of the Mara's famed wildlife from the saddle. 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 a rich and varied culture. With Ride Zimbabwe, you get to 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.
Chundukwa River Lodge in Zambia offers short hour and a half hour 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.
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 wild and rugged terrains.
Mozambique Horse Safari is a family-run organisation, with a strong sense of personal pride taken to ensure their riding experiences become treasured memories. If you dream of cantering along white-sand beaches, swimming in blue seas and enjoying the warm hospitality of island life, look no further.
The wine-making town of Stellenbosch offers not just great wines but spectacular views too. And The Homestead at Oldenberg Vineyards has plenty of horseback options in close vicinity 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, but 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 gives you the opportunity 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 safari on horseback in South Africa than this.
Beach outrides are facilitated in groups no larger than 6, with guides leading hooves and humans among indigenous vegetation and fynbos, through wetland, among heaped sand dunes and along 8km of pristine white wild beach.
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 and take in the mountain and sea views. You can also enjoy a 3-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; whilst supporting rescue horses who help township children rebuild trust.
Elsewhere, 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 1, 2 or 3-hour horse ride.
Fancy this one-of-a-kind adventure? Then saddle up and book your dream African getaway with one of our Travel Experts today.
Our favourite tours showcasing the best of Horseback Safaris
A selection of our favourite places for Horseback Safaris
Accommodations for every kind of traveller
Safari lodge | Chyulu Hills National Park
Lodge | Grootbos Nature Reserve
Safari lodge | Grumeti Game Reserve
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