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Do you dream of galloping over endless savannas with herds of zebra and giraffe? Have you always imagined yourself riding alongside the giant tuskers in East Africa or getting nose to nose with a rhino? A horse safari may be the best way to explore incredible landscapes and get up close to Africa’s wildlife. But there’s also so much more! Africa is hot, and even our winter days are usually warm and sunny. There is nothing quite like having a lunchtime dip in the pool, or watching the sunset shimmer over a dam with a gin and tonic in hand. Besides, swimming on horseback that is!

For most horses on our safari rides, a dip in the cool water is their favorite part of the day! They love to splash, play, paw and even roll before wading in for a swim. Slipping off the tack and riding bareback into the water brings back so many childhood memories. And the feeling of weightlessness as they glide through the water is magic. There is always a sense of anticipation as you ride into the swirling brown water, and even knowing there are no crocodiles or hippos, there are always a few shrieks as bits of twigs or grass touch someone’s legs. Swimming on horseback is an amazing experience, but horseback swimming while being watched by zebra, giraffe or even rhinos is bucket-list worthy!

Indulge in the extraordinary as you discover these top destinations for swimming on horseback in Africa. Each destination offers a unique blend of adventure, luxury, and the unparalleled thrill of experiencing Africa from the saddle. If you’re eager to try out swimming with horses, here’s a list of our favorite places to swim and safari on horseback in Africa.

Here are Some of the Best Safaris for Swimming with Horses

1. Horse Safari along the River Nile in Uganda

From working farmland to lush, green rainforest, culture-rich villages and rushing river rapids, Uganda is as diverse as it is beautiful. Our seven night trail rides offer a completely immersive expereince in rural Africa. From scenic walks along the banks of the river, to forging a path through the forests in search of rare monkeys, to fast canters along the red clay roads, it’s equestrian heaven!  A horse riding holiday at the source of the world’s longest river is an incredible experience in itself, but just when you thought a horse safari along the banks of Nile River couldn’t get any better, you find yourself waist deep, your horseback swimming through the crystal clear waters, with the sound of the rapids thundering in the distance. Swimming with horses in Uganda is an experience that can’t be missed!

Swimming on horseback in the River Nile, Uganda

2. A horseriding holiday at Horizon Horseback

Located within a vast wilderness, brimming with wildlife, Horizon lodge is an incredible location for an unforgettable horseback safari for all levels of horse riders (even beginners can get a taste of the magic riding with wildlife!). Come alone, as a couple or bring the entire family. If you’re up for the adventure, follow the pristine sandy tracks for some good long canters and ride across varied terrain for excellent game viewing from the saddle. On warm summer days, ride right down to the gorgeous, tree-lined dam where you can have a splashy canter along the shore or strip your horse of its tack and wade into the cool waters for a horseback swim. You might even spot a herd of curious giraffes on the waters edge coming to join the fun, a bucket-list swim for sure!

Swimming on horseback at Horizon Lodge, South Africa

3. Swimming on horseback at Ants Nest & Ants Hill

Situated in South Africa’s Waterberg area, you’ll find some of Africa’s best safaris for swimming with horses at the Ant Reserve. This precious place has two family friendly lodges with not one – but five dams on the reserve, all perfect for a post-ride or lunchtime swim on horseback. After a morning in the saddle, you’ll arrive at your picnic spot, set up under the shade of the trees. Stripping off the tack, it’s always a race to see who can get in the water first! Better yet, at golden hour, in the warm summer evenings after an afternoon ride, strip off and jump right in. Even the kids can head out for a swim (we’re not sure if the adults or the kids enjoy it more!). After your swim, slip your horses bridle off and let them wander back to the lodge while you enjoy a refreshing gin and tonic by the water.

Swimming on horsback at Ant’s Nest & Ant’s Hill, South Africa

4. Living the African Dream in South Africa

As an equestrian volunteer in South Africa, you can experience the beautiful way of life in South Africa while learning about horse management, the local wildlife and of course, doing lots of epic riding. After returning to the stables from a trail ride or a jumping lesson, it will be time to head to the dam. Stop by the stables to pull off your horses tack, hop on bareback and then wade into the cool waters. We’re never quite sure who has more fun, the volunteers or the horses! With volunteers staying for 2 – 12 weeks, there are plenty of chances to swim on horseback. Keep your eyes peeled, you might find yourself swimming with horses while being watched by antelope or zebra.

Swimming on horseback on our equestrian working holiday in South Africa

5. WILD CARD: Splashy Canters in the the Okavango Delta

Craving splashy canters in an area that is a haven for wildlife? Look no further than the vast Okavango Delta! Between June and October each year, the delta fills with water from the Zambezi River. Being one of the only water sources in an arid country, the Delta is a haven for wildlife. Well know for being an incredible safari destination, our horse safaris in the Delta cater for both experienced horse riders and non-riding partners. Offering tailor-made safaris, non-riders (and riders wanting a break from the saddle) can head on on game drives, on walking safaris or explore the “Venice of Africa” on a traditional Mokoro (local canoe).  With the higher water levels, much of this Eden is only accessible by horseback. Plus, splashy canters through the shallow waters leaves everyone grinning from ear to ear! We have some amazing horse safaris in the Okavango Delta, including 3 lodge based rides at Kujwana Camp, Macatoo Camp and Cha Cha Metsi which are perfect for riders and non-riding partners. We also have 2 more adventurous rides where you can experience the magic of fly camping in the Okavango Delta with your horses tethered nearby.

Splashy canters on safari in the Okavango Delta, Botswana

6. WILD CARD: Crossing the Mara River in the Masai Mara

Looking for a real adventure swimming with horses? On safari in Kenya, guides will help you cross the mighty Mara river, following the same routes as herds of bellowing wildebeest – Keeping a close eye out for crocodiles and hippos. It’s exhilarating and is sure to get the blood pumping! Your guides know exactly which routes to take, crossing the river in areas they know are shallow. They make plenty of noise before crossing, often snapping the whip, making the same sound as a gunshot which usually scares off any curious creatures. Even so, it’s quite a relief to get to the other side, until you need to do it all again the next day. We have two phenomenal safaris in the Masai Mara – The ultimate glamping safari in the Mara with Gordie Chruch, and the thrilling Masai Mara horse safari with Offbeat Safaris.

Crossing the Mara River on a horse safari in the Masai Mara, Kenya

Experience Swimming on Horseback in Africa

If you’re looking for the ultimate safari where you can swim on horseback, check out our collection here.

Ready to tick swimming on horseback from your bucket list? Get in touch with us if you’re looking to go on a horse riding holiday or chat to one of our horse safari experts.