Imagine being out in the wilds of Africa, away from the sound of engines and far from any roads. You see a herd of zebras in the distance and move toward them at a gentle gait—not on your own feet, but carried by a horse who knows the savanna and is comfortable helping you explore it.
From this high vantage point, you look down at the waving grass and spot a small gazelle. The gazelle continues grazing, unconcerned by the presence of another herbivore—your horse. The zebras seem not to care, either, content to let you watch as their foals gambol playfully in the grass.
A horse safari is a classic way to see Africa. It immerses you in the wild, giving you a true sense of connection to your surroundings.
Preparing for a Horse Safari
Whether you are an experienced rider or a total beginner, options abound for exploring Africa by horse.
Many places offer short excursions for beginner and novice riders. A single outing by horse can offer a totally different perspective on the landscape and wildlife. For this type of outing, you don’t need to pack special clothes or do a lot of advance preparation. Your guide will give you instructions on handling the horse and provide anything you might need.
Intermediate and advanced riders have the option of multi-day safaris that take place completely on horseback, or include a mix of horseback, game drives, and even canoe trips and boat cruises. Multi-day horse safaris may be based at a lodge, allowing you to explore a different nearby area each day. Or you can go on a point-to-point safari, starting at one location and stopping each night at a different lodge or campsite on your way to your final destination.
For these more intensive horse safaris, you will answer questions about your experience with horses and your comfort level with riding prior to embarking on your safari. Your lodge or guide will match you with a horse based on your answers, then take you out on a short ride your first day to see how well you work together. If you’re not comfortable with the horse, you’ll be paired with on that is more suitable.
More experienced riders will want to pack their own riding clothing, such as chaps, gloves, boots, and riding hat or helmet.