The Ultimate African Horse Safari
There is no wonder why Horse Back Safaris are so extremely popular these days.
It is a truly exhilarating experience to ride through the African bush, it
kind of transcends one back in time to the pioneer days. It's quiet and
peaceful and you feel at one with nature.
In a vehicle, you are remote from the
excitement around you; on an African horse safari your senses come alive. The combination of
riding and game viewing makes for a unique and unforgettable experience.
Alison takes some riders via the Zambezi River
Where it Takes Place
What better place can you think of for an African horse safari than the
valley - an area of outstanding natural beauty, with such a diversity of habitats
from from the magnificent Zambezi River, to rugged mopane woodland and the
endless dunes of Kalahari sand teak forest.
Birdlife is prolific and special species include Schalow's Turaco, African
Finfoot, Rock Pratincole, African Skimmer, Taita Falcon, Half Collared
Kingfisher, Collared Palm Thrush and many more...... Game is bountiful and the
Big 5 (sadly apart
from rhino nowadays) are regularly seen.
Elephants are relaxed with the riders on horseback
It is ever changing, always different, a continual source of inspiration and
interest. You may track elephant and other game to the shady banks of the
Zambezi River, ride within feet of shy kudu or canter through open bush veld.
African Horse Safari Trips Available
For experienced riders options range from dawn or sunset,
half day African horse safaris to
multi day trips moving from lodge to lodge through
National Parks and private
game areas. Shorter, separate rides on quieter horses are available for less
Zambezi Horse Trails is the only company that offers horse safaris in this area on the
Zimbabwe side. I have detailed some information
about them below and there are several links which will take you through to new
pages with more in-depth information on their various activities.
About Zambezi Horse Trails
Zambezi Horse Trails is a small owner run company which has been conducting African Horse Safaris since 1988. The horses are all selected and trained by the owner, Alison Baker, who takes great care in matching horse to rider, whatever your experience level. Horses are mostly thoroughbred, some mixed, some Anglo Arabs.
Zambezi Horse Trails’ highly experienced, licensed guides have extensive knowledge of, and interest in the flora and fauna of the area. The Stables are situated in Victoria Falls National Park, a magnificent game area used exclusively for Zambezi Horse Trails rides.
Their combination of expertise, outstanding horses, superb area and game, offer an unforgettable safari experience.
If You’ve Done a Little Riding
Novice rides provide beginners with an opportunity to enjoy the special experience of viewing game from a horse, and explore this beautiful area. These are short horse trails that last up to 2 hours. These African horse safaris take place in an area where there is a high concentration of game, and game viewing opportunities are plentiful.
At the beginning of the ride Alison gives riders brief instructions on controlling their horses, and guides accompanying the ride will assist throughout. Clients will have to control their own horses. For clients who have done some riding there will be opportunities to trot, or even canter, but only if they are proficient enough to do so. The horses used on a novice ride are quiet, though still of good quality, and shorter distances are covered.
For more experienced riders we have a variety of options ranging from morning and afternoon rides, full day rides and longer multi-day African horse safaris. The former provide you with a superb opportunity to explore this area, with it’s magnificent scenery and wildlife.
All rides include the Zambezi River. In order to do an experienced ride, the minimum requirement is that you should have ridden at least 20 to 30 times, and if this is all the riding you have done, at least half of this should have been in the past two years. You should be able to do a posting trot, and be confident at all paces - this means more than just hanging on.
Other Horseback Safari Options
Please click on the links below to read more about the trips that Alison offers, I know that she will also tailor make trips to suit your particular requirements;
Morning or Afternoon Horse back Safari
Full day Horse back Safari
Multi day Horse back Safari
• No previous experience is required for Novice rides, but clients must be aware they will be required to control their own horse.
• If you wish to book an experienced ride, or a full day or multiday trip you must be able to ride unassisted and with confidence. At minimum you should have mastered basic aids, be able to do a rising trot for stretches of at least 10 minutes at a time, be comfortable at all paces and able to gallop out of trouble, even at the end of a long days ride.
• If you are doing a multiday safari you should be riding fit, comfortable with riding for 4 to 6 hours per day. The more proficient and fitter you are, the more you will enjoy your trip.
Qualified, licensed guides lead all rides, and are accompanied by a
back up rider. Both are dedicated, knowledgeable and enthusiastic. A keen
interest is taken in the environment as well as the flora and fauna of the area.
You will also learn many of the traditional uses of plants and trees, basic
principles of tracking, and aspects of traditional village life.
All guides and back up riders are well trained –
extras are sent as
necessary. Each ride starts with a safety talk, and you will be reminded of this
should circumstances require. African horse safaris are conducted with the aim of disturbing
wildlife as little as possible, and the pace of the ride and method of approach
is regulated accordingly.
Australian Stock saddles are mainly used, although English saddles are
available. All horses go in snaffle bridles.
Zambezi Horse Trails are very proud of their horses! Mostly thoroughbred, some mixed, some
Anglo Arabs. Between 14 – 16.2hh. They vary from gentle hacks to my top polocrosse ponies. It depends on you!
Equipment for you
There are a limited range of half chaps, jodhpurs trousers and
shirts available for loan for those of you who arrive unprepared, or without
luggage. Helmets: We strongly advise you to wear one. They are obligatory for
novice riders and children. There are a limited range at the stables but these are
for loan to clients on half day rides only. If you are doing a multiday ride or
booking any ride in advance, you must bring your own. It’s safer.
Although there is no real weight limit on baggage, do try to bring compact luggage. Extra bags may be left locked up at your hotel. Laundry can be done daily
- if you send it in in the morning they will have it back for you by the afternoon. There is a small charge per load, but is useful if you are going on to ride elsewhere and would like clean riding clothes when you arrive! Riding clothes should be of a neutral colour, khaki or bush colours, no bright colours like red orange and bright blue, and no white.
Children are accepted, but they must be strong and competent riders. Please check
in advance, as there are age limits for some camps. There is no adjustment in price for children.
Size of Rides
Minimum two on longer rides and maximum of six clients at
any one time. Larger groups may be split into two groups of 4 if possible.
Weight Limit: This applies to all rides
Maximum weight limit is 90kg (14 1/2 Stones or 200lbs). To avoid embarrassment
be warned that you may be required to step on the scales. Allowances may be
made, only for very experienced riders, and even then at our discretion. There
will be a surcharge.
An extra charge of 50% is required for riders above
the weight limit. This is at the discretion of the company and subject to
experience and circumstances.
Although they have MARS cover, this only deals with evacuation to the nearest
appropriate medical facility. Beyond that, full Medical Insurance is required and
details must be submitted prior to your arrival. Please check whether your
insurance covers you for riding without a helmet, should you wish to do so.
All clients are required to sign an indemnity on arrival at
National Park surrounding the stables and the Zambezi River
area is a good area for game viewing. Depending on the season you may see
elephant, buffalo, kudu, bushbuck, impala, warthog, waterbuck, mongoose,
mongoose, and you can also see side striped jackal. Hippo,
crocodile and cape
clawless otters may also be spotted at the river.
Wild dog can also be seen in the rains after Christmas. There are several
resident leopard. However one is more likely to see signs of the last two! But remember, no game is guaranteed. African horse safaris are more about riding a good horse in
an amazing area, not a checklist safari!
• Basically we have a hot dry season, a hot wet season and winter.
• During the rains, any time from mid November –early March, it can still be very
hot, with clear skies as well. When it does rain, even when the rain is
torrential, it is never cold, and often is hot and dry shortly after, so your
rain wear must be good, but lightweight and easy to carry. Bring a fleece for
the evenings and early mornings in case it’s cool.
• February can be very wet indeed. The bush is thick as well.
• March is drying off, and although the bush is thick and green it is a lovely time of the year
• By April it may be cooling off slightly in the evenings, but still hot during the day – bring layers again.
• May’s much the same, but can be cooler. One of the nicest months
for an African horse safari.
• June-July should be the coldest months – very cold at night and in the early mornings, on vlei areas there may even be frost in July, but going up to about
26 degrees Celsius (78 Fahrenheit) in the day. So layers you can remove are best.
• August gets a bit warmer to quite hot but with cool breezes. Weather’s dry. Still cool at night.
• September-October, early November - hotter still, these are the hot dry months that we have before the rains start. You might need a fleece so bring one, but
mostly dress for hot weather, and strong sun. In October the temperatures can get very high indeed. The bush is starkly beautiful, green only around the banks of rivers, with brachystegia species, mahogany and others coming into leaf. This season a favourite time for many, but remember October is very hot and dry.
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