There are few greater thrills than exploring the African bush on horseback. It’s a surreal way to experience the sights, sounds, and serenity of the bush, but more than that, you’ll be able to get very close to the wildlife that would otherwise avoid loud vehicles. Here are 3 recommended horseback safaris in South Africa:
Big 5 Safari with Wait A Little
If you’re looking for a Big 5 adventure like no other, Wait A Little offers highly personalized and specialized horse riding safaris for experienced riders in the Karongwe Private Game Reserve, close to the famous Kruger National Park. With years of experience, the horses are able to keep calm at even a few metres away from big game. A high standard of riding and small groups of only 7 guests ensures each person receives individual attention, up close game sightings, and sporty riding.
The Big 5 Safari is the most popular of Wait A Little’s 3 horseback tours, which range from 5 to 10 days long and cover 35 000ha of African wilderness. The 7 night Big 5 Safari starts with 3 nights at Wait A Little main camp, which offers a selection of tented camps overlooking the river and a garden rondavel. On day 4, guests ride to Beacon Rock, a sleep out camp on top of a rock formation with spectacular sunrise views. The next 2 nights are spent at XiDulu Private Camp in the Greater Makalali Game Reserve. XiDulu is only used by its owners and Wait A Little guests. XiDulu is situated on a large dam and guests can spot the resident hippos from the infinity pool and viewing decks of the camp’s main area.
Pakamisa Private Game Reserve
Pakamisa Private Game Reserve is a luxury 4-star lodge in Mkuze, KwaZulu-Natal, where regal Arabian Horses will take you on a thrilling safari through the bush. The malaria-free reserve has no predators, creating a safe environment for adults and children to enjoy horse rides and other outdoor activities like bush walks, archery, and air rifle and clay target shooting.
Pakamisa Lodge consists of luxury suites with a spacious bedroom, separate lounge area, elegant bathroom, and private veranda overlooking the beautiful Pongola valley. Breakfast and dinner is served in the El Prado restaurant, while lunch can be enjoyed in the restaurant, at the pool, or in the bush.
African Explorer Safari
The African Explorer Safari is an 8 night horse riding adventure across 2 countries. The journey begins at Camp Davidson in the Waterberg region of South Africa where riders will have the chance to sight rhino and buffalo with Horizon Horseback. The next 4 days takes place with Limpopo Horse Safaris in Botswana, where guests can complete their Big 5 game viewing with potential sightings of elephant, lion, and leopard. The African Explorer Safari is offered on fixed dates from February to November.
Horizon Horseback’s Camp Davidson is a base camp built high in the bushveld above the Matlapeng valley, with panoramic views of the Waterberg Mountains and Sunset Lake. Depending on the season, the Botswana part of the safari can be done either as a mobile camping safari using 2 wilderness camps and The Two Mashatu camp, or as a static camp that makes full use of the comforts provided at The Two Mashatus camp. The Two Mashatus camp accommodation consists of large A-frame tents on teak platforms, with an en-suite toilet and hot water shower.
Once you’ve enjoyed an up close wildlife safari on horseback, you’ll never ride in a game vehicle again!
Marcel Van de Ghinste is a Director at TravelGround.