Fabled for being the five most dangerous and difficult animals to hunt, the Big Five are now the most sought-after animals to capture on a point-and-shoot. Whilst sitting firmly at the top of every safari checklist, nature’s most magnificent animals are as elusive as ever before, making tracking them an exhilarating and unforgettable adventure. Home to all five showstoppers, the national parks of South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia and Botswana, are excellent destinations for a chance to see them all. On foot, by horseback or in the comfort of a 4x4, traversing the plains of sub Saharan Africa in search of these celebrated animals is the undisputed original safari experience.
Blog: Kenya riding safaris
Kenya has long been regarded as the home of safari and offers an excellent big five safari experience. Here, our Kenya expert Emma gives us the low-down on riding safari options in Kenya, where you can make the most of the outstanding game viewing and spectacular scenery whilst galloping along with the wind in your hair.
Located on the edge of Samburu land in the north of Laikipia, Ol Malo is a wonderful spot to spend a few nights. Owned and run by the Francombe family, Ol Malo offers a luxurious stay in one of the most spectacular settings that Kenya has to offer – the idea is that you will feel like you’re in a home away from home. Each day you can head out across the ranch with Chyulu Francombe – canter along the airstrip, or take a leisurely ride down to the river in time for lunch and an afternoon relaxing. As well as being able to go on a horse riding safari here, you also have the opportunity to saddle up on a camel for a completely different experience. There is plenty to keep non-riders busy too, with helicopter safaris, ranch life, bush walks (and runs!), mountain biking, game drives, Samburu tribe interaction and school visits – oh and don’t forget to spend a night out under the stars in the tree house!
ol Donyo Lodge
Nestled between the Tsavo East and Amboseli National Parks, with the sensational back drop of Mount Kilimanjaro, ol Donyo Lodge offers the opportunity to explore the Chyulu Hills and surrounding plains on horseback. There are 275,000 acres in total to explore and the area is rich in wildlife, with the remaining giant elephant bulls being a particularly impressive sight. Riding at ol Donyo is suitable for all abilities from novice to professional, and with game drives, bushwalks, night drives, hiking, mountain biking and community out-reach programmes all available, ol Donyo is the perfect base for riders and non-riders alike. The private cottages offer a luxurious stay, with their own roof terrace where you can have a ‘star bed’ experience. For those of an even more adventurous bent, there is the opportunity to undertake a longer riding safari, fly camping around the reserve.
Offbeat Riding Safaris
Offbeat offer riding safaris across the Masai Mara, Laikipia and Amboseli, with mobile camps along the way as well as lodge-based trips from Sosian Lodge. These safaris can be tailored to suit your interests, with lodge to lodge riding now possible in Laikipia. You will be fully catered for and well-looked after throughout by the team, who will set up camp for you each day, whilst you are galloping across the plains! Accommodation is comfortable but certainly more basic than lodge-based options. If your party consists of riders and non-riders then basing yourselves at Sosian will give you the best of both worlds, with a range of activities including day and night game drives, camel riding, fly camping, fishing, culture experiences, cattle ranching and river tubing.