Horseback Safaris in East Africa
Observing animals on horseback safaris takes game viewing to a new level. The proximity you are able to get to the animals is incredible; with only the sound of hooves and no vehicle noise the wildlife are undisturbed by your presence, making for an unforgettable experience. Riding amongst herds of wild animals will awaken your senses like nothing else.
This blog has been written for people looking to experience horse riding in Africa, whether as a solely horseback safari experience or as part of a traditional safari involving game drives. We share with you, in the first installment of our equestrian blog series, the top locations and camps offering horseback safaris in Kenya and Tanzania. Let’s find out more.
Horseback Safaris in Kenya
Kenya is home to both luxury lodges with all the bells and whistles, as well as mobile tented camps that offer down to earth, authentic, under canvas environments. Some camps and lodges are dedicated entirely to horse riding, offering multi-day riding safaris aimed at experienced riders; those happy in the saddle for days on end and who want to focus their whole safari trip on horse riding. Many lodges also offer riding as an optional activity alongside game drives and walking safaris; making them great options for those who only want to ride once or twice, or are traveling with a non-rider.
Offbeat Safaris is one of our Kenyan partners who offer multi-day mobile tented riding safaris, which are run on a scheduled basis with a maximum of 12 per safari. These can be arranged on a bespoke basis for those travelling with friends or family, or for those simply after a more exclusive experience. These mobile horseback safaris are operated in the Masai Mara, Amboseli and Laikipia, with fantastic wildlife in each area.
Your mobile safari tent will have a proper camp bed, mattress and full linen, as well as an en-suite long drop toilet, with hot showers on request. All meals are made fresh, perfect for a day in the saddle, starting with a full English breakfast, followed by a light lunch, and finishing with a delicious 3 course dinner. Your bread is baked daily and you will even have ice cubes in your well-deserved sun-downer G&T! We mean it when we say well-deserved, as you will be in the saddle between 4 to 6 hours a day! Alongside their mobile safari, Offbeat also have a camp in Laikipia where you can do horse riding along with camel treks, walking, fishing, kayaking and game drives -perfect if you are looking for a mix of experiences. Combine a riding safari with time in Laikipia or even in Offbeat’s Masai Mara Camp for an all-encompassing Kenyan safari experience.
For those after top end luxury, Ride Kenya operates horse safaris out of three luxury camps in Kenya: Ol Donyo Lodge in the Chyulu Hills, which is part of National Geographic’s ‘Unique Lodges of the World’ portfolio, and Mara Plains and Mara Expeditions Camp in the Masai Mara. These three properties are part of Great Plains Conservation, who operate high end camps with conservation at its core. At Ol Donyo those of all abilities are able to go horse riding, however at Mara Plains and Expeditions Camps you must have previous experience. For families, friends or couples travelling where only one is a horse-rider, Ol Donyo Lodge offers an enormous number of other activities including game drives, bush walks, mountain biking, hiking, tracking, photographic hides, conservation outreach programmes, and sleep outs on private ‘starbeds’. Truly something for everyone! Ride Kenya prides themselves on their well-mannered herd; each mount has been carefully selected for their temperament, is well schooled and used to the African Bush environment and the wildlife.
Horseback Safaris in Tanzania
Over in Tanzania, Kaskazi Safaris also offer day riding safaris, for all ages and abilities, from Arusha. Arusha is where almost all northern Tanzania safaris start and finish, so these day rides can be easily incorporated into an itinerary. Kaskazi also offer multiday riding safaris, staying in mobile tented camps, with three itineraries to choose from: Serengeti migration ride (8 night), Kilimanjaro elephant ride (7 nights) and Natron flamingo ride (8 nights). The Serengeti ride follows the Great Wildebeest Migration; to ride along side these herds is simply incredible. The Kilimanjaro ride spends a few days tracking elephant and spotting other big game, with great views of Mount Kilimanjaro. Lastly, the Lake Natron ride is more about scenery than big game, though there are of course plenty of flamingos.
When to go?
Kenya and Tanzania have long safari seasons. April and May are a time of long rains and not ideal for mobile tented safaris, while November is a time of short rains (often a daily short burst of rain). Outside these months the weather in fine, with summer being a lot hotter, which is something to consider if you don’t fare will in the heat. Additionally, if you are keen to ride alongside the wildebeest migration then it is best to visit Kenya between July and September. In Tanzania, the Kaskazi Serengeti migration horse safari runs in February and March, when the wildebeest are on the southern plains of the Serengeti, in the Ndutu region.
Where to rest your legs after?
Alongside horse-safaris, both Kenya and Tanzania have many beautiful safari camps and lodges of varying styles, price and location. You can easily combine a horse-riding safari in Kenya and then head to Tanzania for a few days of game driving. Alternatively, after those days in the saddle you may be keen for some time on beach – the Kenyan coastline and Zanzibar are the perfect antidote for sore muscles, where white sandy beaches and azure seas await. If the beach isn’t for you, take the direct flight from Nairobi to Victoria Falls – the options really are endless! So if you are interested in a horse riding safari adventure in Africa, contact us today.