Horizon Lodge Riding Holiday

5 nights: From GBP £1240 pp sharing

RIDE AMONG HERDS OF GIRAFFE, ZEBRA AND ANTELOPE IN SOUTH AFRICA

Nestled in the depths of the stunning Waterberg region, Horizon offers an unforgettable horse safari for solo travellers, families and friends craving adventure.

Exploring the wonderful ranch where Horizon Lodge is based and the neighbouring reserves, makes for some superb riding, with big open plains filled with game such as zebra, giraffe, hippo, jackal, hartebeest, impala, kudu and baboon. With no set itinerary, your riding holiday is fully flexible, and you can enjoy some of the other riding activities Horizon Lodge has to offer. Ride through pristine wilderness and take your horses swimming in the dam, try your hand at Polocrosse – an extremely addictive game which combines both polo and lacrosse disciplines or take some of the talented horses round the small cross country course.

Each day is organised to suit you and you will ride in small groups, with those of similar experience, to allow for some exhilarating and faster paced riding should you wish. And for those less experienced, it’s a brilliant place to build up your confidence in the saddle.

Quietly approaching a wallowing hippo or grazing giraffe, is a truly unrivalled experience and something you will never forget. The beauty of a riding holiday at Horizon there is that there is no ‘potentially dangerous’ wildlife and thus they welcome riders of all abilities. However, for the more experienced, there is plenty of fast-paced exploration.

DATES AND RATES

Open all year round. Minimum stay 3 nights, but we recommend staying longer. You can add on an extra night or two at Camp Davidson at the beginning and end of your stay if you wish. As a family-friendly lodge, children’s rates are available.

2024 RATES

LUXURY/GARDEN CHALET SHARING OR STANDARD ROOM SINGLE


Low Season: January, February 2024

5 nights: GBP £1240 per person + transfers

7 nights: GBP £1736 per person + transfers


Mid Season: March, April, May, June 2024

5 nights: GBP £1365 per person + transfers

7 nights: GBP £1911 per person + transfers


High Season: July, August, September, October, November, December 2024

5 nights: GBP £1605 per person + transfers

7 nights: GBP £2247 per person + transfers

EXTRAS – SUBJECT TO CHANGE

TRANSFERS (Subject to change)

Shared road transfers: £138 per person one way

Private road transfers: £324 for the car one way

INCLUDES & EXCLUDES

Includes

  • Accommodation
  • All meals and drinks
  • Expert guiding
  • Trail riding on well trained and responsive horses
  • Mounted games
  • Horseback swims
  • Guided educational walks
  • Use of bicycles
  • Volleyball court and other games
  • Unique flexibility

Excludes

  • International flights to Johannesburg
  • Visas
  • Comprehensive Travel & Medical Insurance
  • Transfers between Johannesburg & Horizon Lodge
  • Gratuities for camp staff and guides
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Additional activities such as Big 5 Game Drives, Elephant interaction etc.

QUICK FACTS

Location: Waterberg, South Africa
Airport: OR Tambo (Johannesburg) International Airport
Month: Open All Year

Duration: 5 - 10 Nights

Tailor-made

Group Size: Max 8
Skill Level: All Riding Abilities
Weight Limit: 85kg / 188lbs
Accommodation: Lodge
VIEW GALLERY
5 nights: From GBP £1240 pp sharing

SUITABLE RIDING LEVELS

  • Beginner
  • Novice
  • Intermediate
  • Intermediate Plus
  • Advanced
WHAT RIDING LEVEL AM I?

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Getting to experience the unrivalled magic of riding alongside wildlife such as antelope, zebra and giraffes
  • The freedom and flexibility of deciding your own personalized itinerary
  • Huge variety of riding activities to choose from including trail rides, cross country jumping, horse swims and western games
  • The perfect home away from home for families, couples, friends and solo travellers
  • The chance to trail ride to Camp Davidson and experience a journey made in the style of Africa’s first pioneers

TOUR REVIEWS

One day a picture of a zebra and a horse having a close encounter popped up in my Instagram explorer. It was the beginning of my most amazing adventure ever! It turns out the picture belonged to African horse safaris and as I scrolled through their feed I just knew I wanted to do it but had no idea where or how or when! I contacted them and Isabel took the best care of me to make sure my trip would be everything I could ever wish for! They are incredibly accommodating and really know their stuff so based on what you want they can really guide you and help with suggestions that will match your desires perfectly! I cannot recommend them high enough and will definitely book with them again!

Cynthia EspinozaHorse riding in the Waterberg, South Africa
READ MORE REVIEWS

SAMPLE ITINERARY

There is no set itinerary and activities are extremely flexible. The group size of rides is kept small with no more than 8 guests and they can often accommodate those wishing to go out alone. There are a number activities available aside from outrides, such as a small cross country course (only available to those with previous cross country experience), the chance to swim with your horse, and lastly learning to play Polocrosse.

Each day there is the opportunity for 2 riding activities or outrides. In the morning rides will usually last between 3-4 hours (shorter rides can be requested). These rides will be different every day and with different styles; you might focus on game viewing one day, on another you might want to pick up the pace for some thrill seeking or go exploring through thicker bush. The afternoon rides will be shorter and often taken at a more leisurely pace. During the middle of the day, you may choose to spend your time relaxing, cooling off in the plunge pool or going for a walk in the surrounding bushveld. Throughout your stay you will get the chance to experience all the riding options and enjoy a great diversity of horseback experiences in South Africa.

On the first and last days of your trip you will be transferred between Johannesburg International Airport and the lodge (approx. 3 hours). Depending on the time of your flight there will usually be time to ride in either the morning or afternoon of your travel days, but it’s not guaranteed.

ARRIVAL DAY

You will be picked up from Johannesburg OR Tambo International Airport for a 3-hour drive to the lodge, where you’ll arrive in time for a late lunch. In the afternoon, you’ll have an introductory ride, designed for a relaxed experience to help you acclimate to your new environment and get to know the horses. As you ride across the open plains, you’ll have your first opportunity to encounter wildlife from horseback, including ostriches, impalas, zebras, kudus, elands, and giraffes.

Before heading back to the lodge for a delightful three-course dinner, you’ll be treated to a breathtaking viewpoint, where you can enjoy sundowner drinks and savour your first taste of Africa after your long journey.

TRAIL RIDES

Morning rides are generally 3-4 hours and afternoon rides are are 1-2 hours, ending with you untacking the horses and letting them wander off into the bush.
Witnessing the wildlife and experiencing the bush on horseback is the ultimate way to immerse yourself in nature. Remarkably, the wildlife here doesn’t perceive horses and riders as a threat, allowing you to get close to magnificent creatures like giraffes and zebras on horseback. Often the zebras will allow the horses to become part of the herd and it’s a mesmarizing feeling watching them graze side by side.
The sandy trails meander through diverse landscapes, taking you through thickets and across open plains. The group sets the pace. You’ll have long walks where your guides will tell you stories about the plants and animals you encounter. And when the terrain allows, you’ll pick up the pace and enjoy lots of long canters along the sandy tracks – and who knows if the zebra or giraffe will join in the fun?!

For novice or intermediate riders, this is the perfect location to really build up your confidence on well-trained safari horses, and often by the end of the week, even the most nervous riders can be seen cantering along the trails. For experienced riders, there are plenty of trails that allow for long and sometimes very fast canters through the bush.

PICNIC LUNCHES

If you do a full-day ride, a picnic lunch will be served out in the bush under a shady tree on the banks of a river, which crosses an old wagon route once used by the pioneers to congregate for church each Sunday. The peaceful and shady riverine forest will be used to escape the day’s heat, alongside the opportunity for a refreshing dip in the crystal clear waters of the flowing streams. As the horses graze quietly, this idyllic setting will transport you back to a time when Africa was traversed only by horseback and many days were spent like this. Mount up again and meander across the plains while the afternoon light bathes the landscape in the most spectacular light and colours. A day to remember!

POLOCROSSE

This inclusive activity welcomes novice riders and those with more riding experience. The knowledgeable hosts provide instructions on how to play, and it’s not uncommon for guests to become quite competitive after a few rounds!

The game combines polo and lacrosse elements and uses a soft ball and lacrosse-style sticks. Players are grouped into teams of three, comprising a scorer, a center, and a defender. The game kicks off with a line-out where the umpire initiates play by throwing the ball into action.

 

The game’s objective is to pick up or steal the ball, aiming to shoot and score a goal. Tactics may even include skillfully manoeuvring to ride opponents off the pitch, adding an exciting dimension to the competition.

SWIMMING ON HORSEBACK

At Horizon, this activity is among the most sought-after experiences, particularly for those trying it for the first time. Following a morning ride, weather permitting, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy a unique adventure – swimming with your horse in the dam near the lodge. The sensation of your horse gliding through the water beneath you is truly exhilarating and refreshing to unwind after a morning of riding. (Please note that swimming cannot be arranged when the hippos are in the dam for safety reasons).

WESTERN GAMES

The team of guides hosts a lively Western games afternoon, offering a series of engaging challenges designed to test the skills of both young riders and adults. These activities may encompass pole-bending, barrel-racing, threading a sword through a stirrup, marshmallow hunting, musical horses, and a variety of other entertaining games. This event fosters a sense of camaraderie among guests and is particularly popular among the younger riders.

JUMPING

The riding area features several small jumps, including welcoming logs and dedicated jumping lanes that cater to riders of various skill levels. These elements are seamlessly integrated into the outrides for added excitement and challenge.

VILLAGE RIDE TO THE LOCAL SCHOOL

Within the expansive farm grounds, there’s a small village named Lehlabile, home to approximately 40 Sotho dwellings, a small primary school, and a creche. Several of Horizon’s staff members were born in this village and spent their formative years there.

Embark on a scenic ride that meanders through the heart of Lehlabile village, allowing you to observe the charming, traditionally painted houses. You’ll have the opportunity to converse with the villagers and visit the local school. Here, you can interact with the schoolchildren, who are often eager to share their songs and dances with you. If you wish to bring gifts, they greatly appreciate donations of items like crayons, pencils, paper, paint, playdough, secondhand books, and toys.

GUIDED BUSH WALK

For a change of pace and a chance for more in depth information on the flora and fauna on the area, our guides will escort you on a walk through the game reserve. A walk is a chance to see the smaller details in the bush and also with over 250 different species of bird on the reserve, it is an ideal opportunity for bird watching.

OPTIONAL RIDE TO CAMP DAVIDSON (EXTRA COST)

While you’re at Horizon, should there be a group of four or more interested guests, you can embark on an excursion to Camp Davidson. This remarkable tented camp offers breathtaking views of the Melk Valley. It’s a camping experience with a touch of luxury, featuring comfortable beds adorned with duvets and fine cotton sheets. The camp has bathrooms boasting modern amenities like flushing toilets, and meals are served on tables dressed in crisp white linen.

In the evening, savour sundowners on our camp deck, followed by dinner under the starlit African sky. The captivating sounds of jackals, zebras, hippos, and the nearby lions will serenade you. The Horizon team expertly handles the arrangements for this unforgettable experience, and payment can be settled directly at the camp.

OPTIONAL BIG GAME DRIVE (EXTRA COST)

Following numerous hours spent in the saddle, you have the choice to pause and head out on an excursion and wildlife safari at a nearby ‘big five’ reserve. This is booked by the lodge and is arranged during your stay, so you’ll likely share the experience with other guests. With qualified guides, this adventure offers up-close encounters with wildlife such as lions, elephants, or buffalos.

DEPARTURE DAY

On your last day, typically, you’ll have the opportunity for one final ride on your beloved horse before indulging in a delightful lunch. If other guests are scheduled to check into your room, you might need to complete the check-out process. However, you can unwind in the shared communal areas until your transfer arrives to take you back to Johannesburg airport.

THE ACCOMMODATION

Room preferences are given to the lodge when booking, but usually it’s up to the Horizon team to allocate suitable rooms to each guest. Families will always be given preference of adjacent rooms or the full use of the chalets. For those happy to share, the Garden Chalets offer the perfect escape. For those travelling solo who prefer their own rooms, the standard rooms are offered with no single supplement.

HORIZON LODGE

All lodge rooms are en suite with either a shower, bath, or both facilities. Seven double rooms are separate from the main lodge: three suites overlook the lake and have a small verandah area; the rondavels are a traditional African dwelling adjacent to the lodge. There are also two double rooms in the main lodge. There is a large living area, dining room and large stoep (or verandah) for guests to enjoy. Three delicious meals are served a day, with afternoon tea before the ride. All drinks are complimentary. Special diet requirements are catered for. The lodge has a swimming pool alongside the lake.

GARDEN CHALETS – HIPPO

Hippo is the most recent of the garden chalets. This building houses three double bedrooms, of similar design and furnishings. Each has its own en suite bathroom with a shower. The two rooms downstairs open onto an airy shared verandah overlooking the lake. The upstairs room has a private balcony which looks out through the trees over the lake.

GARDEN CHALETS – TWIN PEAKS

Twin Peaks chalet is one of the original rondavels of the lodge. It has two double bedrooms with an adjoining verandah. It is close to the main lodge and makes a perfect spot for families. Both rooms have en suite bathrooms with showers. The shared verandah overlooks the garden towards the swimming pool and lake.

GARDEN CHALETS – OVAL

The Oval garden chalet sits on the edge of the lake. It has its own private verandah overlooking the lake. This chalet has one double bedroom with an en suite bathroom with a shower. There is a decked jetty in front of the chalet, which is a wonderful vantage point to view the hippo when in the dam and the resident birdlife.

GARDEN CHALETS – ROCK LODGE

This is a private garden chalet nestled in the western side of the lodge garden. It has a private verandah at the front of the cottage, which overlooks the edge of the lake and is a wonderful spot to watch the sun set. This chalet has one double bedroom with an en suite bathroom with a bath and outside rock shower. For special occasions, a private dinner can be arranged on the verandah.

STANDARD ROOMS

The Lodge 1 room is a double room in the main lodge, which has double glass doors opening out onto the garden. This room is en suite with a shower and a bath. The Lodge 2 room is a double room in the main lodge, which has double glass doors opening out onto the garden. This room is en suite with a shower.

THE DESTINATION

Waterberg

The untamed Waterberg is rich in cultural, archaeological and biological diversity. The area’s iconic beauty and bio-diversity has been awarded the status of a World Biosphere reserve by UNESCO. This is a wildlife Eden and set in the middle of its vast wilderness and the safari possibilities seem as endless as the horizon itself.

Horizon Lodge is based on a small working ranch in the depths of the Waterberg. The ranch itself and neighbouring reserves are home to giraffe, hippo, jackal, hartebeest, impala, kuda, zebra and baboon. Camp Davidson is a half days ride away and set up high in the bushveld, above the Matlapeng Valley.

Horse riding at Horizon Horseback

HOW WE CARE FOR OUR HORSES

Our horseback adventures are hand-picked for their quality and care of their horses. Here’s how the horses at Horizon Horseback are kept in tip-top shape for your safaris. Our horses are on top of the hierarchy and receive very special care:

  • Each horse has its own fitted tack. Saddles are checked regularly and all tack is cleaned after every ride
  • Horses at Horizon live out in the reserve and will often see animals such as zebra, wildebeest and antelope while out in the veldt. This gets them acquainted with the wildlife before they are taken on trail with experienced staff and seasoned trail horses
  • Horses have dedicated rest days each week and a varied routine, including schooling, lunging, jumping, mounted games and trail rides
  • Our horses live out in a herd environment, allowing them to live as naturally as possible once they have carried you home safely. Living out in huge open spaces allows the horses freedom to graze naturally, but they come in at least once a day for hard feed and to be checked over

Please let us know if you have any more questions about this.

HOW TO SIGN UP FOR A HORSE SAFARI

Fill in the form on our website/social media describing your dream African Horse Safari

A Horse Safari Specialists will get in touch to help you plan the perfect escape

Confirm your ride and dates by paying your deposit

We’ll send you a reminder for your balance payment + travel advice

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