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Any horse riding adventure in Africa will, without doubt, be epic. However, there are some rides that should really be classed, not only as adventures, but epic expeditions. Expect thrilling riding over ever-changing terrain, long hours in the saddle and a new four-legged equine team.

An increasing number of intrepid equestrian adventurers are adding an African horse safari to their ultimate bucket list. For experienced riders, dreaming of following in the hoof-beats of the original explorers, there is no better way to experience the magic of Africa than on horseback. Imagine exhilarating treks over vast distances with the chance of riding alongside Africa’s unique wildlife. These epic adventures offer long, exciting days in the saddle covering some of Africa’s most untouched and challenging landscapes and testing your riding ability.

Exploring on horseback means you can ride in areas where no vehicles can reach, and often where few people have seen. The sense of achievement at the end of the riding holiday is indescribable – knowing you and your horse have covered an incredible distance together as team. Besides the adventure-of-a-lifetime, your horse will be your new best friend, and it is not uncommon that tears have been shed on the departure day.

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6 nights: From USD $5840 pp sharing

Borana & Lewa Luxury Trail Ride – Kenya

  • 6 / 7 Nights
  • Kenya
  • Wildlife & Scenery Focused Safari
This extraordinary journey promises an exhilarating fusion of equestrian adventure, luxury accommodation and breathtaking landscapes.
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Horse riding Swakopmund

10 nights: GBP £5350 pp sharing

Skeleton Coast & Damaraland Ride

  • 10 Nights
  • Namibia
  • Scenery Focused Horse Safari
Embark on a challenging and awe-inspiring horseback adventure to discover two of the most remote areas on the planet.
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Horse riding Holiday in Morocco following the coastal trail

7 nights: From EUR €1137 pp sharing

Essaouira Coastal Trail Ride

  • 7 Nights
  • Morocco
  • Scenery Focused Horse Safari
From the exotic argan forests to the endless beaches, the exhilaration of riding Moroccan coast is second to none.
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Horse riding in Morocco

7 nights: From EUR €1683 pp sharing

Horses, Dunes & Nomads in Morocco

  • 7 Nights
  • Morocco
  • Scenery Focused Horse Safari
Set out on horseback into the depths of the Sahara Desert where you'll be immersed in this unique nomadic culture.
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Safari horses cantering in Serengeti

8 nights: From USD $6560 pp sharing

Serengeti Migration Horse Safari

  • 8 nights
  • Tanzania
  • Wildlife & Scenery Focused Safari
A true “Out of Africa” experience where you'll ride the endless plains of the Serengeti alongside herds of wildebeest.
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Cha Cha Metsi Buffalos

8 nights: From USD $7465 pp sharing

Desert & Delta Horse Safari – Ultimate Botswana

  • 8 Nights
  • Botswana
  • Wildlife & Scenery Focused Safari
The ultimate Botswana horse safari combining two unique landscapes - the Okavango Delta and Kalahari Desert.
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Horse Riding in the Okavango Delta

7 nights: From USD $4955 pp sharing

Mobile Fly Camping – Okavango Delta Horse Safari

  • 7 Nights
  • Botswana
  • Wildlife Focused Horse Safari
Set off on an environmentally conscious journey to explore the untouched splendor of the Okavango Delta on horseback.
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10 nights: GBP £5800 pp sharing

The Namib Desert Ride

  • 10 Nights
  • Namibia
  • Scenery Focused Horse Safari
These true adventures take you through some of the most unique and breathtaking desert landscapes on earth.
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10 nights: From GBP £5800 pp sharing

The Wild Horses Ride in Namibia

  • 10 Nights
  • Namibia
  • Scenery Focused Horse Safari
This is an adventure like no other: ride across the iconic dune sea of the Namib Desert in search of the desert horses.
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Horse riders galloping in the Namib Desert

What makes a horseback expedition special?

Venturing into the wilderness with just the essentials, your horses and companions, brings home what is important in life. The feeling of freedom is addictive and life-changing. A horse riding expedition is all about the personal journey you make and gives you an incredible sense of achievement and the satisfaction of overcoming challenges and pushing your own limits.

As a small group, riding over vast distances, with no one else around for miles, the bonds you form with your fellow intrepid travellers, guide, crew and horses is something truly special. You become like a family and often these bonds last a lifetime – with strangers becoming friends around the campfire. Many of our riders have met up again, year after year for similar horseback adventures.

The horses used for these expedition rides are specifically chosen for their willing temperaments, endless endurance and comfortable paces.  Between safaris, the horses stay fresh, healthy and fit living out in thousands of hectares of natural bush in a natural herd environment. Day after day of galloping over endless open plains and traversing over tough obstacles forms a strong bond between horse and rider. Each rider is well-matched with their steed and through the course of your horse riding holiday, you’ll inevitably fall in love with your equine partner. Many a returning adventurer has dreamed of taking their horse home with them! (And legend has it this has happened a couple of times!)

Horse safari in Namibia
Horse safari and tent in the Masai Mara

Accommodation on mobile horse safaris

These longer horse riding holidays allow riders to discover a simpler way of life in harmony with nature. Each day is different to the one before, and you are more likely to see hoof prints than tyre tracks. These mobile horse safaris operate with a support crew who move and set up camp in a new location either everyday or every other day. Your belongings will be transported on the back of a pack donkey, poled down a river in a traditional canoe or driven from point to point in an old Land Rover, depending on the location of your trail ride.

The mobile camps allow you to cover more territory and have more opportunities to encounter wildlife on horseback. Some of these camps consist of canvas or dome tents set up by the crew with comfortable camp cots. In others, your cot will be set-up in the open with nothing above you but a sea of stars. Evenings are spent relaxing around the fire while the crew prepare sumptuous meals on the hot coals. At night, riders snuggle up in their tents or on stretchers, falling asleep to the night-time chorus with horses tethered nearby.

While these adventure trail rides are not quite as luxurious as many lodge-based rides, there is no compromise on the dining experience, in fact somehow food tastes even better made on the open fire. The camp chefs are excellent at whisking up delicious meals cooked over the hot coals or open flames – flavours that belong in Africa and linger in your memories long after you get home.

Horse Riding in Namibia
Horse riding in the Masai Mara with Offbeat Riding Safaris

Where are these riding adventures?

A horseback adventure in Namibia is the ultimate trail ride – rugged, remote landscapes that few people have ever seen. Gallop across endless sandy plains, ride through meandering riverbeds in search of the elusive desert elephants or uncover the secrets of the mysterious Skeleton Coast.  Accommodation is not 5-star, but 5 billion star, as you fall asleep on your stretcher under the stars, with your horses tethered nearby.  This is for the riders who long to get off the beaten track and find a true sense of freedom in the African wilderness.

For those who crave that Out of Africa feeling, very few places can compare with a horse riding adventure in Tanzania or Kenya. This is where horse safaris originated, when explorers of old wanted to share the magic of the Mara plains, teeming with wildebeest, zebra and gazelle. Ride along ancient elephant paths in the shadows of Mt Kilimanjaro or follow the migration in the open plains of the Serengeti. As you fall asleep in the white canvas tent, listening to the night sounds, it is as if you have been transported back in time.

There is also no better way to explore the Okavango Delta and the Makgadikgadi Pans in Botswana than on horseback. Ride where vehicles cannot venture, cantering through the water channels alongside giraffe and waterbuck. Find untouched islands in the watery oasis and watch herds of elephants come to drink as your horse munches on the long pale grass. Let your inner cowboy loose as you gallop across the open white salt pans and find silence in the endless nothingness.  If you are seeking true adventure, then an epic horseback expedition is perfect for you.

FAQs

What makes it an expedition and not just a trail ride?

Our epic expedition rides are only for riders with intermediate plus or advanced riding levels. These horse safaris cover challenging terrains and demand a higher general fitness level. You’ll cover up to 60km a day and spend up to hours in the saddle.  Riders should be comfortable riding at a fast pace over varied terrain and confident in handling horses in challenging conditions. You might need to dismount and lead your horse over difficult paths and mount up from the ground or a handy rock. They might be our most challenging rides, but they are also the most addictive!

What types of challenging terrains can I expect?

These expedition rides often navigate through rugged mountains, deep sand dunes, dense forests and rocky trails. Expect steep ascents and descents, river crossings, and diverse landscapes that demand good riding fitness, soft hands, exceptional balance and a sense of adventure.

How physically demanding are expedition rides?

Expedition rides can be physically demanding, requiring riders to have exceptional stamina and strength. Long hours in the saddle, challenging terrain, and unpredictable weather conditions contribute to the physical demands but also make the rides more rewarding for the adventurous equestrian.

What safety measures are in place for expedition rides?

Safety is paramount, and operators of expedition rides will have thorough safety briefings, well-trained horses, and experienced guides. It is essential that all riders meet the riding requirements. Emergency protocols are in place, and the guides are all trained for human and equestrian first-aid. While serious accidents are rare, medical evacuation will be arranged if necessary, either by road or helicopter. 

What specific riding skills are required for an expedition ride?

Riders should have intermediate plus to advanced riding skills, including the ability to navigate challenging terrain, manage horses in unpredictable situations, and maintain control during various gaits. You will need to be able to post in the trot for up to 15 minutes and do a 2-point canter for up to 5 minutes at at time. Riding in a group and responding to the guidance of experienced guides are also essential. Western riders are required to do some English riding so they are able to adapt to the way the horses are trained and ridden. 

How do I prepare for an expedition ride?

Spend as much time in the saddle as possible! We cannot stress the importance of coming riding fit for our longer, more demanding trails. Practice riding out in open countryside over uneven terrain and doing small obstacle courses help to give you good balance in the saddle. Doing other exercises like walking, hiking and yoga are also valuable for fitness, endurance and flexibility.

What saddles do they use for trail rides?

In most cases, the saddles are custom-made trail saddles that are well-fitted to the horses and designed with the comfort of the horses and riders in mind. In Kenya and Tanzania, the saddles are generally well-fitting English GP saddles, and they’ll come with a seat-saver to extra comfort. 

What should I wear for an expedition ride?

As with all our horse safaris, we’ll send you a detailed packing list. We recommend wearing riding gear that is comfortable so that you avoid chaffing. Packing layers that can be removed or added as the weather changes is important. Long-sleeved shirts protect you from the sun, and a buff or scarf helps with dust when out on the trail. Make sure your riding boots are comfortable, worn in and have good grip, both for riding and walking.

LEARN MORE ABOUT AFRICAN HORSE SAFARIS

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