Summer is a time for planned getaways, vacations, and down time. The warm weather can quickly shift to unbearable temperatures, and we, as equestrians, look for relief from our outdoor sport and seek travel and vacation time away from our barns.
Every now and then people plan for a vacation of a lifetime. Known as a bucket list trip, one destination I have heard recommended countless of times is going on an African Safari. As animal and nature lovers, who can think of anything more ideal for the equestrian traveler than spending a week or more in the African bush encountering large animals and game in their natural habitat? Now think if you could experience that horseback.
When I think about a horseback African safari my first thought is, “What happens when you get too close to…” really any wild African animal. What happens if the elephant charges, or the lioness decides you are too close to her cubs? Just like any good trail boss the African safari horses are brave, bold, know how to stand their ground, and they also know how to protect their riders and herd. Of course there are high risks when you venture out into the African bush looking to encounter wild lions, elephants, rhinos, zebras and giraffes, but for many, the memories and the experience outweigh the risks.
How does one start to plan such a trip? There are a number of organized horseback safari companies and camps for travelers to research. One of the best ways to start planning is pinpointing your top destinations. Horseback safaris are offered in notorious locations such as Kenya, Botswana, Eswatini, South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and more. Working with a travel agent gives you the support you need while making sure you are prepared for this kind of trip. And you don’t have to be a seasoned world traveler to jump on a plane and land in a country that is so far away and wild such as Africa.
Finding a trusted travel agent takes away a lot of the research and a good agent can provide a few different options based on the experience you want to have. Travel agents also organize trips through trustworthy operations and companies so you don’t have to worry if you are in good hands.
Many horseback safari groups can offer luxury resorts, but others provide an experience that takes you deep into the heart of Africa where sleeping under the stars of the African sky, and listening to the roar of lions in the distance, the singing of hyenas, and the hums of the African bush are all around you. Dinner by candlelight followed by libations over campfire provide the utmost connection between man and nature. And if the African stars will keep you from closing your eyes at night you can opt to sleep under a canvas tent to bring you to your most relaxed state while still in the heart of the African bush.
There are options to venture out on weeklong riding safaris where guides will lead you from one camp to the next, immersing you into the wild and natural African landscape. As mentioned, the horses are bombproof, so carrying a camera and dropping the reins to capture the beautiful African sunset is a possibility, while also having enough horse to gallop through the African Grasslands next to zebras and giraffes.
Aside from riding along wild game, being able to experience African culture and native tribes is a huge benefit. African Horse Safaris guide services offer a full cultural experience. According to their website, https://africanhorsesafaris.com, their Kenya trip allows travelers to experience “Kenya’s vibrant, colorful and fascinating culture.” They offer opportunities to “relish the most outstanding game viewing opportunities that Africa has to offer, with the fascinating traditional culture of the Maasai tribe. As a break from the saddle, they offer a visit with the Maasai Boma and travelers can learn from the famous Maasai warriors. The Maasai warriors will show you the traditions of their people and how they manage living and herding cattle in a Big 5 landscape.” African Horse Safaris’ Kenya trip also helps fund black and white rhino protection programs and help act as a reason to keep fighting for their conservation.
Whether an African safari is on your bucket list or you have been on a safari but plan to return to experience one horseback, this kind of destination and experience is ideal for any animal lover, especially equestrians. Plan to stay at a luxury resort that offers a one day horseback safari excursion, or seek a weeklong horseback safari camping trip that will unplug you from the rest of the world. A quick google search can help you decide what kind of experience you want to plan and the top destinations in Africa to travel, while also finding a trusted travel agent.