Exploring the Wild: Horseback Riding Safaris in Africa

Published: 1 September 2023

“Going on safari” is exciting, but what about going on a “horseback safari” in Africa? It takes on a whole new dimension to immersive vacations as you combine the thrill of exploration with the tranquility of being in harmony with nature.

But before you count yourself out of this adventure as you’re a non-rider, I’d like you to know that all of the destinations featured below cater to all abilities. Whether it’s literally you’re first time saddling up, or if you’re the seasoned rider in the family, these horseback safaris are for everyone - grandparents included!

Join myself, Kirsty Gordon and the Anywhere in Africa Safaris team as we take you through some of our tried-tested-and-trotted establishments that specialize in horseback safaris across various parts of Africa. Saddle up and together, let's embark on an unforgettable journey through the wilderness, discovering the wonders of the continent.

1. Kenya’s Great Plains Conservation Horseback Safaris

Image showing horseback riding safari in Kenya at Great Plains Conservation | Anywhere in Africa Safaris
Image credit: Great Plains Conservation

Great Plains Conservation offers an extraordinary horseback safari experience. Nestled within the magnificent landscapes of the Olare Motorogi Conservancy, this establishment provides an intimate encounter with wildlife and an opportunity to engage with the rich Maasai culture. As you traverse the plains, you'll witness herds of wildebeest, zebras, elephants, and giraffes, among other incredible creatures. The expert guides ensure your safety and help you explore this mesmerizing ecosystem while providing fascinating insights into the region's wildlife.

2. Botswana’s Okavango Horse Safaris

Image showing horseback riding safari in Botswana's Okavango Delta | Anywhere in Africa Safaris
Image Credit: Ride Botswana

Venture into the heart of Botswana's Okavango Delta on horseback and experience a unique perspective on this UNESCO World Heritage Site, allowing you to traverse the Delta's crystal-clear waterways and enchanting floodplains on horseback. Witness an abundance of wildlife, including elephants, buffalo, lions, and countless bird species. The experienced guides tailor the rides to suit your skill level, ensuring that riders of all abilities can partake in this extraordinary adventure.

3. Botswana’s Makgadikgadi Salt Pans Horseback Safaris

Image showing horseback riding safari in Makgadikgadi Salt Pans in Botswana | Anywhere in Africa Safaris
Image Credit: Ride Botswana

Situated in the vast wilderness of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans in Botswana, discover an unforgettable equestrian safari experience. Explore the mesmerizing lunar-like landscape as you canter through the salt pans and vast grasslands. Encounter wildlife such as zebras, wildebeest, and the unique desert-adapted species. The knowledgeable local guides share their expertise on the region's wildlife and cultural heritage, making each ride both informative and captivating - not to mention, all the pinch-me-quick is-this-even-real moments?!

4. South Africa’s Waterberg Region Horseback Safaris

Image showing horseback riding safari in South Africa's Waterberg Region | Anywhere in Africa Safaris
Image Credit: The Ant Collection

Located in the scenic Waterberg Biosphere Reserve of South Africa, you’ll find heaven for horse lovers. We work alongside one of the earliest pioneers when it comes to horseback safaris in this area who have a herd of over 90 horses living blissfully in this private game reserve. With this in mind, rest assured a horseback safari here caters to riders of all abilities and interests. Explore the diverse landscapes of the Waterberg, from rugged mountains to open plains, while encountering an array of wildlife, including antelope, giraffes, and rhinos. The comfortable lodges and warm hospitality create a memorable experience both in and out of the saddle.

5. Namibia’s Sossusvlei and Etosha National Park Horseback Safaris

Image showing horseback riding in Namibia | Anywhere in Africa Safaris

Namibia, known for its vast deserts, rugged mountains, and remarkable wildlife, presents a captivating backdrop for horseback safaris. Traverse the expansive deserts of Sossusvlei, witness the dramatic landscapes of Damaraland, or explore the iconic Etosha National Park on horseback - yes, you can see them all! Encounter desert-adapted elephants, giraffes, antelopes, and a variety of bird species. The local guides ensure a safe and enriching experience, combining thrilling rides with fascinating insights into Namibia's unique ecosystem

6. Horseback Riding the Indian Ocean Islands

Image showing horseback riding on honeymoon Indian Ocean Island | Anywhere in Africa Safaris

Imagine galloping along pristine beaches, the sounds of your horse's hooves through the sand, and witnessing breathtaking ocean views. Whether you choose to explore the idyllic islands of Seychelles, Mauritius, or Zanzibar, Anywhere in Africa Safari can arrange a personalized horseback experience, tailoring it to your preferences and skill level. Discover the islands' rich cultural heritage, encounter local wildlife, and immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty of these island paradises. (FYI: This is the most romantic activity we can think of if you’re opting for a getaway or Honeymoon).

Why Just Safari? When You Can Horseback Safari Too?

Image showing horseback riding safari in Southern Africa

Whether you choose to gallop across the Kenyan savannah, ride through the Okavango Delta's waterways, explore the vast salt pans of Botswana, or traverse the picturesque landscapes of the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve, each destination mentioned in this blog offers a unique and unforgettable adventure. So, saddle up and discover the wonders of Africa from the back of a noble steed - an experience that will leave an indelible mark on your soul.

…And Why Trust Anywhere in Africa Safaris With Arranging a Horseback Safari?

Image showing CEO Kirsty Gordon on horseback riding safari | Anywhere in Africa Safaris
Image Credit: Kirsty Gordon

It’s simple. Our Founder and CEO, Kirsty Gordon, loves horseback safaris, but she’s also been riding horses since she was 7 years old, before starting to compete at the tender age of 8 years old. Kirsty grew up in George along South Africa’s Garden Route, where there are so many incredible horseback adventures for children and families (but that’s for another blog in the future).

Initially, she did everything from showjumping, dressage, equestrian, x-country and polo cross, but at the age of 16, she started focusing on 3-day eventing and received her Provincial Colors as a Junior rider, and later on as an Adult rider.

In 2006 Kirsty had the incredible opportunity to be sponsored by Jane Holderness Roddam in the UK (at the time she was Chairman of British Eventing) who sponsored one of her incredible horses – Tigers Eye – to try and qualify to ride for South Africa in the Beijing Olympics. During her sponsored years, Kirsty had the most amazing time competing in the UK against the best riders in the world.

Sadly, due to a fall and slipping 2 disks in her back, Kirsty’s Olympic dream ended which meant that she couldn’t be the first South African 3 Day event rider to compete in the Olympics since sanctions had been lifted. But luckily for us, this prompted a change of career paths and a return to her homeland, where Kirsty started Anywhere in Africa Safaris.

For more information on any of the above horseback riding safaris, please do get in touch with us for an obligation-free consultation where we can discuss your budget, bucket lists and much more. 

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