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By embarking on a horse safari with a cause, you are truly immersed in Africa whilst also contributing to the preservation and future prosperity of these extraordinary landscapes.

Horse safaris transport our guests into the heart of Africa’s remotest regions. The areas we ride in are home to an array of spectacular wildlife, from majestic elephants to elusive leopards, existing in these incredible eco-systems bursting with life. These rides often traverse through rural communities where traditional ways of life still exist, and sustainable tourism plays a crucial role in conservation efforts and supporting local communities and economies. Until you ride through these vast, rugged terrains, the raw connection with nature can’t be described until you experience it for yourself. Only then will you know which horse safari is right for you.

Horse safaris in Africa are an eco-friendly way to positively impact the areas we ride in

The African Horse Safaris Foundation

We started African Horse Safaris, with a genuine desire to leave a positive impact on the environments and communities that we have been lucky enough to visit over the past 8 years. Our horse safaris not only offer a truly sustainable eco-travel approach from horseback, but have also been actively preserving the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Africa through our fundraising work.

Two years ago, our Foundation was set up by a group of passionate travellers, horse riders and conservationists with the intention to protect these pristine areas and the wildlife living there. African Horse Safaris Foundation donates a portion of every horse safari booking towards vital conservation projects, community development initiatives, and cultural preservation efforts. Our goal is to make a lasting difference in the areas we travel within. The positive benefits of eco-travel have the power to protect the natural beauty and biodiversity of Africa’s landscapes for future generations.

How Horse Safaris Help Local Communities in Africa

Travel has an incredibly powerful role to play in transforming the lives of not just the guests experiencing the magic of Africa, but the chance to make a real difference at grassroots levels by supporting communities that see the value in protecting the wilderness; at the same time the wildlife acts as a resource to provide economic benefit to the community.

Most of the guides, camp staff and cooks are from the local communities. The operators not only educated them on the ground, but also send many of their teams to guide and hospitality schools, opportunities they might never have had before. Mobile Clinics, schools and community gardens are a huge part of sustainable tourism in Africa, and all benefit the local communities. Guests have the chance to visit these and contribute directly, if they wish to.

1. Equine Tourism: Safeguarding Wildlife and Cultures

Equine Tourism is a major employer in many of the areas we are lucky enough to visit – by investing in local communities tourism creates a positive impact through job creation which generates economic benefits to the local community. Horse safari’s impact on local communities create many opportunities, whereby locals have access to better lives, finding work and being able to support their families. There are many educational and health-care programmes established by the tourism operators to give back to these communities, often in dire need of these services and resources.
African Horse Safaris are Leading the way in preserving wildlife and culture through equine tourism

From the endless dunes of the Namib Desert to the open plains of Kenya, our horse safaris cover a wide range of magnificent ecosystems and showcase the incredible wildlife that call these places home. Whether it’s providing supplementary feeding for the mysterious and hardy wild horses during times of drought or nurturing black rhino populations at Borana Lodge in Kenya, our ongoing commitment is to support some of the continent’s most critical charity work.

2. Protecting the Wild Horses of Namibia

The Namibia Wild Horses Foundation is just one of the projects helped by the African Horse Safaris Foundation. While the horses roam freely, they are not officially recognised as wildlife and as such are not supported by the Nature Conservation Ordinance. However, through pressure from the Wild Horses Foundation, the horses have received recognition as a national treasure.
Just this past May, Isabel set off with 9 other adventurous souls on a 10–day charity ride across the Namib Desert with the goal to raise awareness for the iconic Wild Horses of the Namib who need our support to survive.

Donations raised through horse safaris are used for the benefit of the wild horses – this may include equipment necessary for maintenance of the water supply as well as population monitoring, nutritional supplements and fodder in severe droughts to help preserve these incredible wild horses for generations to come.

African Horse Safaris Foundation works to save the Wild Horses of Namibia – Image Credit Teagan Cunniffe and Isabel Juby

3. Rhino conservation at Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill in South Africa

Staying at Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill bush homes in the Waterberg region is more than just a thrilling horseback adventure—it’s a chance to make a real difference in rhino conservation.
Besides going on incredible horse safaris, guests get to anti-poaching rides, participate in game capture exercises, and contribute to the ‘rhino conservation fee,’ playing a vital role in safeguarding these majestic creatures. On May 29th, 2024, we proudly handed over our Foundation’s second donation to the Waterberg Rhino UK charity, a crucial step in protecting one of the last strongholds for rhinos on our planet.

When you embark on a riding holiday at Ant’s Nest, you’re not just exploring the African bush on horseback; you’re actively participating in conservation. Riding out with our passionate guides, you’ll experience the magic of Africa up close, from herds of zebras to towering giraffes. But the highlight is undoubtedly the rhinos, who might even approach you with curious wonder. It’s a profound moment, realizing that your presence here helps protect these incredible animals.

The rhinos require constant monitoring, and horses are perfect for reaching areas where vehicles can’t go. For every guest, there is a rhino conservation levy that goes directly into protecting these incredible creatures. On top of that, a portion of your booking supports the African Horse Safaris Foundation, which backs various conservation projects including Waterberg Rhino UK. Some guests even join exclusive conservation rides like Ride for Rhinos or the Game Census, raising funds for anti-poaching patrols and cutting-edge surveillance technology. Through these efforts, we’re not only protecting wildlife but also empowering local communities and fostering long-term conservation values.

Raising funds for initiatives like 24/7 anti-poaching patrols and innovative advanced surveillance technology, we’re not just safeguarding wildlife; we’re actively empowering local communities and instilling conservation values for the future.

The Waterberg Rhinos UK charity protects the endangered rhinos in South Africa – Photo Credit Teagan Cunniffe & Andrew Yates

4. Borana Community Empowerment

A horse riding holiday at Borana Lodge in Kenya is not only a luxury adventure holiday, but a life-changing experience for both travellers and the environment.

In a landmark move for conservation, the Borana Conservancy together with its neighbour, the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, dropped the fence separating the two properties to form 93,000 acres of prime black rhino habitat – this act was for the benefit of the critically endangered black rhino. Initially home to 21 black rhinos, the combined efforts have seen the population grow to over 250 individual rhinos – a monumental success for conservation in Africa and proof that when we all work together huge strides for our planet are possible!.

Guests staying at Borana Lodge contribute to the conservation of black rhinos and support community development initiatives, with over 20% of each rider’s stay going directly into conservation management. The resident rhinos are vigilantly protected by dedicated ranger teams. Guests can see rhinos on horseback, or head out on foot with the anti-poaching team to see what incredible work the team does. This is in huge part due to Borana’s community-focused conservation efforts, along with the dedicated team of over 130 male and female rangers that are all employed locally. This policy encourages local communities to see the value in rhino conservation, one of Borana Conservancy’s key principles. Borana Conservancy is proud to report zero poaching incidents since 2014.

Through the Borana Education Support Programme, the lodge also invests in educational infrastructure and scholarships, nurturing future conservationists from the community. From funding conservation management to providing essential healthcare services through mobile clinics, every guest at Borana Lodge becomes a guardian of Africa’s wildlife and communities. This support also extends to the education programme which employs 11 teachers, funds 59 bursaries and supports the infrastructure development of 10 primary and secondary schools.

As is still all too common in many of these communities, the majority of locals do not have adequate access to basic health care, with some people ( including the elderly, pregnant woman and children) having to travel extremely long distances to receive any form of simple medical care or sanitation. The Borana Mobile Clinic has been providing basic health care, health lectures, HIV Aids awareness, antenatal advice, child immunization programmes and family planning to Borana’s neighbouring communities. Borana Conservancy also provides fresh water at each of our gatehouses for collection from community members.

Borana has a dedicated team of over 130 male and female rangers that are all employed locally – Photo Credit Borana Lodge

5. Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust

The Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust has spent the last 15 years working with local communities to focus on conserving habitats, finding scientific wildlife management solutions and improving wildlife and stock health through screening and prevention of transboundary animal diseases. Headed up by our longtime partner, Alison Baker of Zambezi Horse Trails, IMPI mounted anti-poaching unit works closely with the Wildlife Trust. During a horse safari with Alison and her team, guests are able to visit the Trust and explore the stunning Zambezi and Victoria Falls National Parks on horseback.

Guests interested in learning more about conservation can join the anti-poaching unit out on patrol and get first-hand experience of what it takes to protect these wild places. Each day the anti-poaching team heads out on horseback for up to 8 hours, keeping a close eye out for snares and signs of poachers. They use science-led mobile apps to monitor the area and keep in contact with other anti-poaching units. While these rides can be slower paced than the normal safari rides, guests often get caught up in the art of tracking, and it’s a rewarding experience knowing that you’re riding with purpose.

It’s not only the anti-poaching patrols that are so important in this area. As the horseback safaris go far off the beaten track, even a scenic trail ride acts a deterrent to poachers. Riding through the reserves and along the gorge overlooking the Zambezi River offers guests some incredible views from horseback, and seeing wildlife such as elephants, giraffes and large herds of buffalo are common.

For each guest doing our 3-5 night horse safaris around Victoria Falls, we include a visit to the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust so they can see it firsthand. Fundraising has enabled the running of a High-Care rehabilitation center for rescued animals until they can be safely released back into the wild. The laboratory is one of the only wildlife veterinary laboratories in the region and acts as a forensic laboratory for suspected poaching and trafficking victims. It also brings local school children to the centre and sets up environmental clubs to get students interested in conservation from an early age. By teaching kids about the wildlife on their doorstep and showing them how important it is to protect them provides invaluable experience to these children who will learn the value of the wildlife and environment.

The Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust works with local communities to focus on conserving habitats – Photo Credit Vitoria Falls Wildife Trust & IMPI

Eco-Friendly Travel: Horse Safaris Leading the Way

Choosing to go on a horse-riding holiday to these destinations is not only a bucket-list adventure, but a transformative experience for both travellers and the environment. We always encourage our guests to be mindful of their environmental footprint and to engage respectfully with local cultures during their time in Africa. When travelling, it’s very often the simple actions such as watching water usage, buying crafts from local artisans, and learning about the conservation challenges of the regions visited, that can significantly enhance the positive impact of their ethical travels.

And remember, every time you choose to go on safari with African Horse Safaris, a portion of your ride goes towards the conservation of these rich natural resources to leave a legacy that truly makes a difference. So why not ride for conservation and be a part of something truly extraordinary – Book your African Horse Safari today.

You can also show your support by donating to the African Horse Safari Foundation. We can continue our work to leave a lasting legacy with your safari adventure and protect these incredible animals and so much more.

This blog was written by Tara McGovern

Ready to tick horseback riding off 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.