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.

Many of our horse-riding holidays give you the chance to see animals on horseback. But this selection of horse safaris focuses on areas that offer some of the most incredible wildlife sightings known to man. On a horse safari, you go from being a spectator to an active part of the landscape and nature. On horseback, riders can get off-the-beaten-track, following trails made by the herds of elephant into wilderness areas that very few humans have seen. Riding through areas inaccessible to vehicles allows some exciting and intimate wildlife sightings, whether it is your first or hundredth safari experience.

There are few things more adrenaline-inducing than cantering over the grass plains, only to be joined by a herd of zebra who have decided to take up the pace! You never forget your first elephant encounter on horseback. There is something indescribably thrilling about creeping up towards a herd of elephants, with only the soft tread of your horse’s hooves interrupting your appreciation. It is a privilege to be in their presence, watching them feed and interact. It is amusing, and a little disconcerting, when you find your horse is more interested in grabbing a few mouthfuls of grass, than in the gentle giants in front of him. And many riders become mesmerized by the sight of a tower of giraffe in the tall thorn trees. Your heart slows as you get to watch their incredibly long tongues dart through the leaves and their bright eyes gawk down at you. Being on horseback is a truly unique way to view wildlife!

Click Here For More Info About our Wildlife Focused Horse Safaris

Wildlife Focused Horse Riding Tours

Two horseriders galloping through water

12 Nights: From £3 045 pps

WILDLIFE AND WAVES – TULI HORSE SAFARI & THE WILD COAST

WILDLIFE AND WAVES – TULI HORSE SAFARI & THE WILD COAST

12 Nights

South Africa & Botswana

Scenery & Wildlife Focused Horse Safari

For intrepid travellers, this is a combination of incredible horseback game viewing and endless deserted beaches.

Horse riding with elephant in Zimbabwe

7 Nights: From $3 850 pps

Horseback safari in the heart of Hwange

Horseback safari in the heart of Hwange

7 Nights

Zimbabwe

Wildlife Focused Horse Safari

An exciting horse safari in one of Zimbabwe's premier wildlife reserves, off the beaten track and into wild Africa!

Okavango Delta horse riding with hippos

10 Nights: From $6 725 pps

Botswana & Victoria Falls Combination Safari

Botswana & Victoria Falls Combination Safari

10 Nights

Various

Wildlife & Scenery Focused Safari

The ultimate horseback adventure - Desert, delta, waterfalls and wildlife.

Safari horses cantering in Serengeti

8 Nights: From $6 795 pps

Serengeti migration horse safari

Serengeti migration horse safari

8 nights

Tanzania

Wildlife & Scenery Focused Safari

A true “Out of Africa” experience – riding the endless plains of the Serengeti.

Antelope and horses galloping in the water

1 Night: From £580 pps

Kujwana Camp – Okavango Delta Horse Safari

Kujwana Camp – Okavango Delta Horse Safari

5 - 10 Nights

Botswana

Wildlife & Scenery Focused Safari

Experience the original Okavango Delta Horse Safari with two exclusive camps

Horseback riders and zebra herd with palm trees

8 Nights: From $5 810 pps

Desert and Delta – Ultimate Botswana

Desert and Delta – Ultimate Botswana

8 Nights

Botswana

Wildlife & Scenery Focused Safari

The ultimate Botswana horse safari combining two unique landscapes - the Okavango Delta and the Kalahari Desert

Horse riding with giraffe

1 Night: From £295 pps

Riding at Ant’s Hill and Ant’s Nest

Riding at Ant’s Hill and Ant’s Nest

TAILOR MADE

South Africa

Wildlife & Scenery Focused Horse Safari

Excellent riding, luxury accommodation, spectacular sundowners and great game viewing.

1 Night: From £164 pps

Horse Riding Holiday in The Waterberg

Horse Riding Holiday in The Waterberg

TAILOR MADE

South Africa

Scenery & Wildlife Focused Horse Safari

Nestled in the depths of the stunning Waterberg region, this is the ideal family horse safari experience.

6 Nights: $7 240 pps

The Masai Mara with Gordie Church

The Masai Mara with Gordie Church

6 - 9 Nights

Kenya

Wildlife & Scenery Focused Safari

Join the legendary Gordie Church for an unforgettable ride across the Masai Mara.

7 Nights: From $6 500 pps

Laikipia Horse Riding Safari in Kenya

Laikipia Horse Riding Safari in Kenya

7 Nights

Kenya

Wildlife Focused Horse Safari

Enjoy exclusive and spectacular game viewing without another tourist in sight.

1 Night: From $750 pps

Chyulu Hills – Ol Donyo Lodge

Chyulu Hills – Ol Donyo Lodge

TAILOR MADE

Kenya

Wildlife Focused Safari

Horse riding in some of Kenya's most spectacular landscapes

Horse riders with Zebra

7 Nights: From $3 730 pps

Mobile Fly Camping – Okavango Delta Horse Safari

Mobile Fly Camping – Okavango Delta Horse Safari

5 - 7 Nights

Botswana

Wildlife Focused Horse Safari

Get back to nature on our new Okavango Delta horse safari with a fly-camping experience.

Horse riding with elephants

1 Night: From £485 pps

Macatoo – Okavango Delta Horse Safari

Macatoo – Okavango Delta Horse Safari

Minimum 3 Nights

Botswana

Wildlife Focused Horse Safari

There is no better way to absorb the spectacular sights and sounds of the Okavango Delta in Botswana.

5 Nights: From $4 425 pps

Kalahari and Makgadikgadi Salt Pans Ride

Kalahari and Makgadikgadi Salt Pans Ride

5 Nights

Botswana

Wildlife & Scenery Focused Safari

Ride across the striking Makgadikgadi Salt Flats and Kalahari Desert.

Zebra encounter on horseback

7 Nights: From £1 660 pps

South Africa & Botswana Combination Horse Safari

South Africa & Botswana Combination Horse Safari

7 Nights

South Africa & Botswana

Wildlife Focused Horse Safari

Combine riding in both South Africa & Botswana for a real African adventure.

Horses splashing in river

3 Nights: From $1 450 pps

Zambezi Horse Safari in Victoria Falls

Zambezi Horse Safari in Victoria Falls

3 - 4 Nights

Zimbabwe

Scenery & Wildlife Focused Horse Safari

Follow in the footsteps of the great David Livingstone

Game viewing on horseback

The guides are extremely knowledgeable with well-trained eyes, but often they will take their cues from their horses. Game viewing on horseback gives riders an advantage as the horses will often sense wildlife before their riders, giving away their presence with pricked ears. Most of the horses live out and are completely habituated to wildlife. Likewise, the wildlife often does not see horse riders as a threat, so riders can have very intimate experiences, even with large animals such as elephant and rhino. Plains game such as zebra, wildebeest and antelope accept horses into their herd and will peacefully graze with riders just a few meters away. Giraffe, elephant and buffalo often pay little notice to horse riders, and you can watch them in fascination while the animals contentedly graze or bathe. Rhinos are often extremely curious about the horses, allowing some unforgettable close encounters.

Safety on a horseback safari

While there is always some risk when out on safari, the guests’ safety is paramount, and all our operators have an excellent safety record. The risk is kept exceptionally low with expert guides and exceptional horses. For any rides where you might come across big game, we only take intermediate plus riders and up – meaning they have been riding for many years and are well-balanced in the saddle. Our safari operators have been riding in these areas for many years and know the land like the back of their hands. The guides are highly trained, most of them with at least 10 years of horse safari guiding experience before becoming a head guide. Their bush experience, teamed with incredible lead horses, means they are experts at reading animals’ body language and negotiating the wilderness. They know when to move away and when to stand their ground when it comes to larger animals.

Riders can come across predators while out riding but they very rarely pose a threat to the horses. Horses are large and fairly unnatural prey for big cats, plus they have odd-smelling humans on them. When big cats are spotted, riders come together as a group. The cats usually get intimidated or get bored and wander off to find a nearby tree to snooze under. Guides also carry a bullwhip, this makes a sound like a gunshot when it is cracked and scares off anything too inquisitive.

Accommodation on your horse safari

Most horse safaris can be classed as either lodge-based or trail-based rides. The benefit of lodge-based horse riding holidays is that they offer brilliant horse riding and a variety of other wildlife activities such as game drives and nature walks. This means that they offer a great safari experience for riders and non-riders alike. Trail-based horse safaris are for the more adventurous and experienced horse riders, covering more ground and offering a true wilderness experience. Many of these rides offer varied accommodations along the route, from treetop sleepouts to more permanent tented camps. Others offer mobile camping in remote wilderness areas or sleeping out on stretchers under the stars.

There are very few places on earth where you’ll see more wildlife than humans. Whether you opt for the more experiential based trail rides or the more luxury lodge-based rides, you have the rarity of being in places very few people get to experience. These are purposely built with horse enthusiasts in mind, catering for small, intimate groups of like-minded travellers. Based in private concessions or reserves, they have unique rights to be able to explore the wilderness on horseback, guided walks, and safari vehicles.

Famous places to see wildlife on horseback

Historically the Okavango Delta has been the main area for horseback safaris in Botswana. Known as the river that never reaches the sea, the immense inland delta is perfect for exhilarating splashy canters alongside the wildlife. It is one of Africa’s unique treasures and is one of the most important and beautiful wildlife sanctuaries on the continent. The Tuli Block is known for its dramatic landscapes, huge baobabs, and large herds of elephants. Riding along the ancient elephant trails offers some great game viewing from horseback. The Makgadikgadi Salt Pans is home to a variety of desert adapted wildlife. In summer months, the pans fill up with water attract the second largest migration of zebra and wildebeest. And in the dry winter months, the open salt pans create the perfect natural racetrack for adrenaline inducing gallops.

Zimbabwe is remerging as an incredible wildlife safari destination with some fabulous rides available. Follow in the footsteps of David Livingston and explore the great Zambezi area on horseback, or venture deep into the heart of Hwange National Park. Hwange is famous for its large herds of elephants, vast open vleis and stunning birdlife – Just a short hop from Victoria Falls, a week here is perfectly combined with a few nights visiting the great waterfall.

South Africa offers some fantastic horse riding with scenic landscapes, endless beaches, and many private game reserves rich with wildlife. Some of these reserves have large numbers of plains game such as giraffe, zebra, wildebeest and antelope which means that children and less experienced riders can get their first experience of a horseback safari. Other reserves close to the Kruger National Park are home to the Big 5 and offers some exciting wildlife sightings on horseback such as rhino, elephant, buffalo and even lion.

East Africa is vastly different to Southern Africa, with seemingly endless savannahs creating an Eden for wildlife. Far from civilization, the sense of space and freedom is overwhelming. In Northern Tanzania, head out on a horseback safari, riding alongside towers of giraffe in the shadows of Mt Kilimanjaro. For the intrepid riders, take on the vast Serengeti, galloping across this beautiful wilderness area, and possibly witnessing the great migration on horseback. The horseback safaris in Kenya are operated in the most game-rich wilderness locations on the continent, in some of the largest unfenced expanses in Africa. These areas offer great diversity in wildlife species, birdlife and scenery. Horse riding in the Masai Mara is a journey-of-a-lifetime, taking in the wonders of the African bush and all its wildlife, from towering giraffe and enormous elephant, to millions of wildebeest during the annual migration. Ol Donyo and Borana Lodge take you through incredible scenic areas, and offer brilliant game viewing from horseback, including riding with some of the largest tuskers known to man.

Wildlife out of the saddle

When not exploring on horseback, you can head out for informative and exciting game drives. These are perfect for epic wildlife photography and for late evening excursions to see the more elusive nocturnal animals. You can also join your guide on foot to hone your tracking skills and see the lives of the smaller creatures and unique flora. Some safari destinations offer unique wildlife viewing such as paddling down the “Venice of Africa” in the Okavango Delta, Hot Air Balloon flights over the Masai Mara or quad biking in the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans. Not to mention the tradition of sundowner drinks, always taken in the most scenic spot – nothing quite beats sipping that well deserve gin and tonic as you watch the sky turn pink and gold.

FAQ

What kind of horses are used for safaris?

There is a variety of horses used for safaris, from trusted Fresians, resilient Arab crosses, fast and agile Thoroughbreds, fun Apoloosas, speedy Boerperds as well as a few reliable children’s ponies. More important than breed is personality, and all horses and ponies are brilliantly suited to being in the bush. Living at close quarters with wild animals, all the horses are familiar with being amongst big game, have great endurance and are evenly tempered.

How experienced do you need to be for a horse safari?

Whether you have been horse riding since you could walk, or are new to the sport, there are many brilliant options for all levels and even some perfect family horse riding holidays. For less experienced riders we recommend safaris in areas giving a more laidback introduction to horse safari, riding with giraffe, zebra and many antelope species. For the more advanced riders, there are some fast-paced rides over varied terrain that makes for some thrilling time in the saddle. When riding in areas where you may encounter big game such as lion, elephant and buffaloes, you will need to be well balanced in the saddle and able to react to all eventualities, even galloping out of trouble if required.

Can non-riding partners go on a horse safari?

Yes! Most lodge-based horseback vacations can easily cater for families, couples, or groups of friends. Even on some of our trail rides, non-riding guests can head off on safari in an open vehicle while riders saddle up. Sometimes even riding guests like to have a break from the saddle and join the non-riders for other exciting safari activities.

Which horse safari is the best to see rhino?

The family-friendly Ants Reserve and our Big 5 Horse Safari in South Africa offer great opportunities to see rhinos from horseback. The animals have a unique relationship as most of the horses have seen the rhinos since they were foals. They are often very curious about each other and riders can get fairly close for incredible encounters.

Can I go on a wildlife horse safari with children?

For younger children, we recommend riding in areas that only have plains game such as giraffe, zebra and antelope. Many children fall even more in love with horse riding when they experience the thrill of seeing wildlife from the back of their favourite safari horse. For experienced child riders above 12 years old, they may be allowed to ride in areas with big game, but we will need to be sure of their riding ability beforehand.