Incredible Horse Riding Safaris

Whether you are a seasoned equestrian or a horseback novice, taking a horse riding safari can open an entire world of new experiences.

Ambling across the great plains of Africa at one horsepower removes the drone of engines and the disturbance of wildlife. Nature accepts you as one of its own, larger, and yet far less threatening than when on two legs.

Through the South Americas, a horse riding safari becomes more of a cultural journey, traveling as far back in time as across the lowlands of the Torres del Paine with the traditional gauchos of Patagonia.

Plunging into the Okavango Delta is as much a wonderful way to observe wildlife as it is an exhilarating thrill ride.

However you choose to enjoy your safari, wherever you may be exploring and whatever your level of horse-borne experience, incorporating a horse riding safari into your adventure offers something unattainable in any other way.

Here are some of our favourite destinations for equine adventures:

A Kenyan Horse Riding Safari

When considering a classic horse riding safari, few destinations can match the expanses of Kenya. From the Maasai Mara to the Rift Valley and the foothills of Laikipia County, the opportunities for a gallop with the Great Migration or a gentle trot through the bush are boundless.

In few other regions is it so evident that nature is far more accepting of horses than it is of people. A curious glance as you walk by is often all you will receive on horseback, whereas even the largest creatures on the plains are far more cautious and wary of humans on foot.

Horse Riding Safaris
Photo: Ol Malo

For the devoted rider, a week-long horseback safari might be a dream come true, but even an hour or two in the saddle can be simply breathtaking, regardless of your skill levels.

The Sahara on Horseback

The tranquility of the Sahara desert is pervasive, its undulating dunes expansive. The sheer magnitude of these features cannot be comprehended when in a car, and even when you step from the cab for a stroll in the sands, the proximity of a vehicle diminishes the experience.

Taking to the dunes on horseback – or if you prefer to evoke your inner Lawrence of Arabia, on camelback – is to immerse yourself in the brevitude of both peace and vastness. The clip-clopping of hooves is silenced by the sands, the impact of your own foot-strike no longer echoes in your ears and you can silently drift across the waves of the desert.

Hypnotic and serene, the Sahara is only one aspect of a Moroccan horse riding safari. Venture into the Atlas Mountains, discover hidden oases of the Berber, explore the coastal regions of Essaouira and wander the ancient cities with an elevated perspective. Morocco is fascinating however you view it; on horseback you witness it with fresh eyes.

Ride Through Raj-Era India

India’s history of tiger hunting, now thankfully in the distant past, instilled a culture of horseriding.

While the hunting has gone, the riding remains, and its distinctly regal air brings a wonderfully exclusive aspect to an Indian horse riding safari. The unspoiled landscapes of Rajasthan are the ideal canvas for an equine experience, ancient ruins and very little contemporary presence making it simply timeless.

Horse Riding Safari
Photo: Suján Jawai

Be welcomed on your trek by your very own drink wallah for an afternoon aperitif and a break from the saddle and wander through the rocky bushlands in search of elusive leopard as your guide regales you with historical tales and ecological insights.

Though the physical experience is identical to anywhere else in the world, the immersive activity makes you feel like an opulent early colonial or revered Raja or Ranee.

Make a Splash in the Okavango

The Okavango Delta is an incredible destination however you experience it, but to plunge into its waters and gallop across the floodplains is truly spectacular. An adventure for the more skilled rider, this ride incorporates the same close connection to nature that you might find in Kenya, but with river crossings and more dynamic riding conditions.

Horse Riding Safari
Photo: Belmond

Elephant, buffalo, zebra and various antelope species will almost welcome you into their herds, allowing you to gain a far closer connection than is possible in a vehicle or safe on foot.

Luxury riverside lodges and camps, and the addition of helicopter flights across the Delta make Botswana a wonderful location for a horse riding safari with so much more.

Ride with the Cowboys of Chile

The Gauchos of Patagonia cling to a culture that has changed little in many, many years. The cattle farmers of the Torres del Paine have a kindred connection with their horses, an almost telepathic union that results in spectacular displays of horsemanship. These are real-life cowboys, who live off the land… and an unquenchable thirst for maté!

While the horse riding safari itself may last half a day, the experience is immersive. Life revolves around livestock, and even in boutique accommodations, there is a very real sense of a working farm environment, a raw realness that comes from the horses’ integral role in daily life.

Trailing the wilderness of Patagonia on horseback, one gains a complete escape from the dramas and distractions of the real world. No ringing phones, no buzzing traffic and barely a single impact of man’s hand upon the rugged landscape.

Evenings are often spent around the campfire, a classic gaucho barbecue roasting away and filling the air with sweet aromas, while your steads whinny and snort into the peaceful night. For true equestrians or even lovers of a more rural outdoor lifestyle, Patagonia is an unmissable escape.

Mount Up in the Mountains

Peru’s mountainscapes are stunning, but we are often too focussed on our own two feet to be able to engorge ourselves on their intoxicating splendour.

On the back of a sure-footed Peruvian mountain horse, you are afforded two things: an elevated vantage point that guides itself along the winding pathways, and the chance to slow down, take your journey one step at a time and watch the world go slowly by.

Beginning at Cusco, the adventure takes you into the Sacred Valley, along river banks and through the small villages of the Andes. On foot, the towering pinnacles can become overwhelming and underappreciated, but at the slow and steady pace of a horse, one can truly experience the sheer majesty of this incredible region.

Many of the horse riding safaris we have shared are very much about the activity of riding, your interaction with wildlife and the exhilaration of the experience. In Peru, your horseback adventure becomes wonderfully meditative, an opportunity to let someone else do the walking for you, affording you the chance to bask in your spectacular surroundings without fear of stumbling over a misplaced Incan ruin.

There are several ways to view a horse riding safari:

It can simply be an additional activity to while away your time in nature; it can be a means to indulging your horsey passion and hobby with a more expansive vacation; it can be an experience to unite family or embrace the romance of silent, four-legged wandering; or, especially for seasoned safari-goers, it can afford the opportunity to view the familiar from a completely new perspective, connecting you with nature in away that is unattainable by any other means.

A horse riding safari, whether your complete purpose for travelling or as a happy afternoon’s distraction, brings something incomparable to your destination, wherever it might be.

So whether you are a cowboy (or girl) since birth or have never entertained the idea of mounting up and taking to the trails, consider the addition of a horse riding safari to your next adventure, wherever that may be.

Contact your travel designer to discuss the opportunity for adding a horse riding safari to your itinerary.