A horseback riding adventure through Africa may just be the ultimate bucket list experience. Horseback safaris provide visitors the unique opportunity to get up close to wildlife in ways that just aren’t possible with a vehicle, which can be loud and is limited to roads. But with so many safari companies to choose from, and so many incredible African destinations to explore, it can be overwhelming to sift through all of the options. That’s where we come in! Keep scrolling for 30 amazing horseback riding adventures in Africa for 2020.
Unicorn Trails offers this incredible — and unusual! — horseback riding adventure through the African country of Ethiopia. The 14-day trip includes eight days in the saddle. It’s appropriate for any rider who can comfortably walk, trot, and canter. The horseback riding adventure includes trekking through the Ethiopian Highlands with the Oromo, a semi-nomadic people. A visit to the incredible Lalibella is also on the itinerary.
Equitours’ African Explorer horseback riding adventure allows equestrians to experience two private game reserves in two different southern African countries. Over the course of eight days, riders will explore South Africa’s Matlapeng valley and Botswana’s Mashatu Game Reserve. Both are favorite hangouts for the traditional African safari animals, plus the African wild dog, hyena, and wildebeest, among others.
Agadir Beach Ranch
Book your stay at Agadir Beach Ranch in Morocco through Unicorn Trails. Riders can spend a week at a beautiful Hacienda-style ranch situated within sight of the Atlantic Ocean. Guests may choose their riding itinerary, which typically includes 2-3 or 4-5 hours in the saddle each day. Highlights include riding along Morocco’s beautiful and rugged coastline, exploring tiny fishing villages, and immersing yourself in local Berber culture. Nights are spent back at the ranch.
Big Five Safari
Horseback riders who sign up for Equitours’ Big Five Safari will spend eight days exploring the massive Makalali Game Reserve in South Africa’s Limpopo Province. The reserve has spent the last decade reintroducing a wide variety of wildlife to the area. Guests are rewarded with frequent sightings of cheetah, elephant, lion, leopard, and rhino, among dozens of other animals, birds, and plants. The terrain covered is just as varied. Riders will have the opportunity to enjoy it to the fullest with areas for cantering, galloping, and even jumping.
Central Atlas Mountain Trail
Exploring the Atlas Mountain range on horseback is the way Morocco is meant to be explored. On the Central Atlas Mountain Trail offered by Unicorn Trails, intermediate and advanced riders will spend six days trekking through:
- the Atlas Mountains
- Tassa Ouirgane Valley
- the Tizi N’Addi Pass
The ride is point-to-point, and guests camp along the way.
Coffee Farm Stay in Tanzania
Due to their inherent nature, most horseback riding adventures are best suited for intermediate and advanced riders. However, Unicorn Trails’ Coffee Farm Stay in Tanzania is the ideal trip for keen riders at the novice level. Participants will stay on a real working coffee farm in the heart of beautiful Tanzania. They’ll spend 4-6 hours each day riding the savannah, where zebra, giraffe, and other non-dangerous wildlife are commonly spotted.
Damara Elephant-Skeleton Trail
There are only a couple ways one can experience Namibia’s rugged Skeleton Coast, and one of those ways is by horseback. Unicorn Trails offers advanced equestrian adventurers this epic 11-day Damara Elephant-Skeleton Trail. Through this trek across Damaraland, riders will see a wide variety of scenery and animals, including desert-adapted elephant, giraffes, and rhino.
Those looking for a brief horseback riding adventure as part of a larger African itinerary would do well to consider this three-day trip organized by Equitours. Guests will stay at the luxurious Deloraine House, a 5,000-acre commercial farm situated on the slopes of Londiani Mountain in Kenya. Sixty horses live on the farm. Many of these are available to guests for leisurely hacks around the property, trail riding the nearby mountain, or for an impromptu polo match — a favorite local pastime.
Discover the Delta
Equestrian adventurers are invited to “Discover the Delta” on this horseback riding vacation from Equitours. Over the course of eight days, including six riding days, guests will explore the Okavango Delta, a unique Eden of bird life, wild animals, and lush flora. Nights are spent in a simple, yet comfortable, camp, and food is cooked over a log fire.
Unicorn Trails’ Entabeni Reserve equestrian adventure sends guests onto the massive Entabeni Reserve, home to a bevy of African wildlife, including the traditional “Big 5.” Over the course of the seven-night trip, riders will ride through an amazing five different ecosystems. Multiple opportunities to ride over open plains and with herds of different game are sure to present themselves.
Fish River Canyon to Orange River
Southern Africa is chock-full of remote, yet stunning terrain. In many places throughout the country, the only way to experience the scenery is on horseback. That’s where Unicorn Trails’ Fish River Canyon to Orange River equestrian adventure comes in. After meeting in Cape Town, riders will head north to begin nine days trekking through dramatic canyons, arid deserts, and along the beautiful Orange River.
Equitours’ six-day Kalahari Ride begins in the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, an oasis on the eastern edge of the Kalahari Desert. Over the course of the trip, riders will trek through mopane and acacia woodlands, varied grasslands, and other wildlife-rich settings. Each evening is spent in a comfortable camp with swimming pools, plated meals, and epic views.
Kilimanjaro Safari Trail
Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro is a big time bucket list item, but you don’t need to make the dangerous climb to its summit to take in the full effect. Instead, advanced equestrians can book a spot on the Kilimanjaro Safari Trail. Offered by Unicorn Trails, this once-in-a-lifetime horseback riding adventure consists of eight days riding along the base of Mount Kilimanjaro. Epic wildlife sightings are frequent.
In the Saddle
Botswana’s Okavango Delta is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. On this horseback riding adventure offered by In the Saddle, equestrians can spend 4-7 days exploring the rich delta habitat known for its wide variety of animals. Days are spent riding alongside wild herds and hippo-filled waters of the Delta. Evenings are spent recounting the day’s adventures around a traditional campfire.
The Lollboran Ride
Safaris Unlimited, Kenya
Luxury safari company Safaris Unlimited organizes The Lollboran Ride, a six-night private horseback riding adventure through Kenya’s massive Lolldaiga Conservancy. During the day, riders will experience herds of zebra, giraffe, buffalo, and other animals. Come evening, horses will be left to rest in the stable, while guests will be taken out for a game drive in a 4×4 to search of lions and other predators.
Masai Mara Safari
When most people think of Africa, they think of the region known as the Masai Mara in Kenya. There are plenty of safari companies and luxurious lodges that serve the Masai Mara’s many annual guests. However, there is simply no better way to experience this wildlife-rich setting than from the saddle. Riders on Equitours’ eight-day Masai Mara Safari will get off the beaten path to gallop after zebra, camp with an actual Masai tribe, and fall asleep to the sounds of nature.
In the Saddle
The tiny landlocked Kingdom of Eswatini — formerly known as Swaziland — is a place often left off of travelers’ itinerary. But adventurous equestrians can explore the kingdom by reserving a spot on the Mlilwane Explorer trip offered by In the Saddle. Riders will head out each day from the comfortable Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. Days are spent riding through rural Swazi communities, traversing scenic mountains, and viewing such animals as elephant, lion, and rhino.
Mozambique Beach Safari
Equitours offers this Mozambique Beach Safari, an eight-day trip spent along the “jewel of the Indian Ocean.” Riders are based at the luxurious Vila de Sonhos seaside lodge. They head out each day with a guide to explore untouched white-sand beaches, authentic fishing villages, and beautiful Benguerra Island. While many horseback riding adventures in Africa are quite busy, this one allows guests to both have fun in the saddle and relax on one of the world’s most beautiful beaches.
Namib Desert Safari
In the Saddle
In the Saddle offers this 10-night horseback riding adventure through the Namib Desert in Namibia. Over the course of eight riding days, equestrian adventurers will cross the world’s oldest desert. Highlights include:
- traversing river canyons
- climbing sand dunes
- keeping an eye out for giraffes, oryx, and the rare desert elephant.
Nile Polo Spectacle
Polo riders are sure to love this Nile Polo Spectacle bookable through Polo Safaris. Guests will spend the first two days at Kakira Nile Polo Club in Jinja, Uganda. Activities include swimming, lunching, and playing polo with local club members. On day four, guests will play early morning chukkers before transferring to Murchison Falls National Park for a series of game drives. Lions, elephants, buffalo, and even elusive leopard are spotted here. The last day is spent at Chobe Safari Lodge, where guests can look for wildlife right from their riverside lodge.
Nile Safari (Uganda)
This eight-day horseback riding adventure along the official source of the Nile in Uganda is offered by Equitours. Intermediate and advanced riders will spend each day trekking through Uganda’s beautiful riverside and jungle scenery. Each night is spent in a different accommodation. Uniquely, riders may be accompanied on this tour by non-rider companions, as Equitours also offers a simultaneous motorbike tour along the same route.
Oasis to Oasis
Unicorn Trails offers the Oasis to Oasis horseback riding adventure in Tunisia for any rider comfortable with walking, trotting, and cantering. The eight-day trip includes 2-7 hours of riding time per day, as riders make their way from oasis to oasis in the historical mecca that is southwestern Tunisia. Come evening, guests will camp under palm groves and eucalyptus trees with their horses nearby.
At 11 days long, Equitours’ Okavango Safari is one of the longest horseback riding adventures on our list. This epic trip gives riders the opportunity to immerse themselves in the stunning nature surrounding Botswana’s Okavango Delta, often called the “Jewel of Africa.” Located in the heart of the Kalahari desert, the Delta is home to a slew of land and water animals, birds, and plant life. Each day is different, but most start before dawn for the best chance of viewing wildlife.
Red Sea Desert and Beach Ride
Experience Egypt’s beautiful Red Sea coastline from the back of a horse on the Red Sea Desert and Beach Ride offered by Unicorn Trails. This eight-day trip (consisting of five riding days) is ideal for experienced riders. Highlights of the horseback riding adventure include:
- cantering along the beach
- camel riding
- boat trips
- resting at five-star resorts each night.
Ride to the Sea
Riders in search of an endurance trip are sure to love the Ride to the Sea offered by Equitours. Riders will travel 400 kilometers from central Namibia to the country’s Atlantic coast. Nearly the entire way is remote desert, known for its unique wildlife inhabitants such as giraffe, rhino, and desert-adapted elephant. Nights are spent sleeping in dome tents, and all meals are prepared and eaten around a campfire.
Royal Cities Ride
Morocco isn’t just desert. It’s also full of history and boasts a rich culture. Riders who want to immerse themselves in the Moroccan experience — yes, including the desert — should consider Equitours’ Royal Cities Ride. This eight-day horseback riding adventure takes guests through ancient walled cities, Roman ruins, and Fez, the medieval capital of Morocco. Many of the tour stops are off-the-beaten path destinations, making the Royal Cities Ride a truly unique travel experience.
Serengeti Migration Safari
In the Saddle
The Serengeti in northern Tanzania is famous for its annual migration in which millions of wildebeest — and the things which eat them — trek from one grazing ground to another. On In the Saddle’s Serengeti Migration Safari, riders spend six days riding through Maasai territory. Common are sightings of:
Come evening, the animal calls continue as riders end their day around the campfire.
Wait a Little
In the Saddle
Those determined to see Africa’s “Big 5” — lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino, and elephant — should consider booking the Wait a Little safari offered by In the Saddle. Adventurers will spend 4-8 days riding through large private game reserves near Kruger National Park. Myriad plants, birds, and mammals are common sightings.
Wolwedans to Wild Horses
In the Saddle
In the Saddle’s Wolwedans to Wild Horses gives equestrian adventurers a great chance to see Namibia’s famous wild horses which live in the arid Namib Desert. This challenging ride, which is best suited for advanced riders, meanders through the country’s dunes to Sperrgebiet National Park. Oryx, springbok, giraffe, and even desert elephant are common sights seen along the way. The adventure also stops at the fascinating Luderitz, an old German coastal town.
Zululand Private Game Reserve
To include some horseback riding in your trip to South Africa, consider booking a few days at the Zululand Private Game Reserve through Unicorn Tours. Located in the hills of the country’s beautiful KwaZuluNatal province, this massive five-star game reserve is home to myriad African animals and birds, and a variety of terrain types. Guests of all riding abilities can enjoy days spent riding with a guide while searching for wildlife. When they’re not in the saddle, guests can enjoy all that the lodge has to offer, including:
- comfortable chalets
- a swimming pool
- gourmet dining.
By BHB Staff