The best parks, reserves and destinations in Africa for a horseback safari
Horseback safaris offer unique and exciting ways to experience an African safari. Most African safari experiences are enjoyed in the traditional and classic way, from open safari vehicles. Horseback safaris offer a completely new perspective and allow you to explore the wilderness as early travelers and trekkers once did. Being on horseback also allows you to get closer to game species than you would from a safari vehicle.
There are a host of destinations in Africa where you can experience a safari on horseback, from the vast Masai Mara in Kenya, to the remote Kalahari desert, to the magical Wateberg in South Africa. These destinations cater for everyone from experienced riders to beginners and young children. Your horseback safari will be an experience you will never forget.
Ant’s Nest Reserve is a private game reserve, situated in the wonderful wilderness of South Africa‘s Waterberg. The 5000-hectare property is made up of a range of habitat types that are home to an exceptional diversity of wildlife species, including rhino, buffalo, wildebeest, giraffe, jackal, hyena and eland, to name a few. Ant’s is famous for its exceptional horse-riding safaris, and can accommodate riders of all levels of experience- lessons are even available for beginners. The rides are led by experienced guides, and guests can expect thrillingly close encounters with game species, as the horses at Ant’s are trained to be accustomed to wildlife.
Tswalu Kalahari Reserve is South Africa‘s largest private game reserve. Set among the remote savannah plains and semi-arid grasslands of the Kalahari desert, the reserve abounds with a diversity of flora and fauna. Here you will find the magnificent black-maned Kalahari lion, the critically endangered desert black rhino, the fascinating pangolin, and around 240 species of birds. Explore the stunning desert and mountain landscapes on horseback. Tswalu‘s horseback safaris cater for riders of all levels of experience, and are also suitable for children. The staff can even arrange a day of activity at the stable for kids.
The Victoria Falls are famous worldwide- these spectacular falls take your breath away as they thunder into the gorge below. However, many people are unaware that the surrounding national park is also home to an abundance of wildlife species, including the famous African Big 5. These trails meander through the National Park, allowing you to encounter the wildlife species and enjoy stunning views of Falls from horseback. Choose between two-hour or half-day trails; pony rides are also available for children. A unique option is the horse-drawn carriage rides on offer, which transport you back to a bygone era.
The Masai Mara in Kenya is one of Africa’s premier safari destinations. The wide open plains are home to an incredible diversity of wildlife species, including the Big 5. The Mara is also well-known for its superb abundance of predator species. You can now explore the Mara wilderness from horseback, with experienced riders navigating the rivers and ravines of this beautiful park, while novices and beginners enjoy gentler rides over the open plains. The rides start from various camps within the park, with duration varying according to the experience of the rider. Tailor-made multi-day riding safaris can also be arranged.
The Kruger National Park of South Africa, and its surrounding reserves, are iconic safari and wildlife destinations. This region is known for being one of the world’s richest regions in terms of biodiversity. On these horseback safari tours, guests are taken on an unforgettable adventure through the Selwane Nature Reserve, which is situated just outside the Kruger National Park in the Letaba Valley. The tours are available as multi-day itineraries and include rustic yet comfortable accommodation, and delicious meals. The longer itineraries also include a “sleep-out” under the stars on one night- a truly magical experience. The tours are suitable for families with children, as well as novice riders, as the reserve is not home to larger predators. Those wishing to encounter the Kruger’s famous predators and larger game can choose the longer itineraries, which include open-vehicle game drives.
Botswana‘s Mashatu Game Reserve is found in the country’s Tuli area, a vast, wild and beautiful wilderness. This area is known as the “Land of the Giants”, so called because it is home to several “giant species”. Ancient baobabs and massive Nyala trees dot the landscape, while enormous elephants and majestic lions roam the plains. A couple of exciting horseback safari tour options are available here: the classic Tuli 7-night Horseback Safari spends 7 nights exploring the area, and includes two nights under the stars. The African Explorer Horseback Tour is also a 7-night safari- this tour visits the magical Waterberg in South Africa as well.