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Guide to horse safaris in Africa

Article by GVI


Posted: February 4, 2023

Have you ever dreamed of galloping across the African savannah on horseback, surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the wild? Well, dream no more! African horse safaris offer the ultimate adventure for equestrian enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Preparing for Your Adventure

Before you hit the dusty trails, there are a few things you’ll need to prepare. First, make sure you pack comfortable riding clothes and sturdy footwear. You’ll also need a good hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect you from the African sun. Additionally, consider bringing along binoculars, a camera, and a water bottle.

As far as physical preparation goes, you don’t need to be a seasoned horseback rider to enjoy an African horse safari. However, it is recommended that you have some basic riding skills and are in good physical condition. Trust us, you don’t want to spend your entire vacation with a sore backside!

Packing list 

  • Comfortable and durable riding clothes: Long pants, a comfortable shirt made from a quick-drying material and comfortable closed exercise shoes are ideal. Consider bringing a hat and sunglasses for sun protection.
  • Personal hygiene products: Don’t forget the basics like toothpaste, toothbrush, and deodorant. Sunscreen, insect repellent, and a first-aid kit are also essential items to pack.
  • Camera and extra memory cards: You’ll want to capture all of your amazing experiences, so don’t forget to bring your camera and extra memory cards.
  • Portable charging devices: You don’t want to be stuck in the bush with a dead phone, so make sure you pack a portable charging device or battery pack.
  • Warm clothing: Even if you’re going on a safari in the summer, nights can be cool, so pack a jacket or sweater.
  • Travel documents: Make sure to bring along your passport and any necessary visas, as well as travel insurance.
  • Cash and credit cards: Having cash and credit cards on hand will ensure you have access to funds while on your safari.
  • Snacks and energy bars: Packing snacks and energy bars will help keep you fueled during long riding days.
  • Personal comfort items: Don’t forget to bring along your favourite pillow, blanket, or other comfort items to make your trip even more enjoyable.


When it comes to choosing a destination for your African horse safari, you’re truly spoiled for choice. From the rolling grasslands of Botswana to the rugged deserts of Namibia, each country offers its own unique riding experience.

South Africa

From the rolling hills of the Cape Winelands to the rugged terrain of the Eastern Cape, South Africa offers a diverse range of landscapes that are perfect for horseback riding. Whether you’re looking to explore lush vineyards, scenic coastline, or sprawling savannas, South Africa is the ideal destination for an African horse safari.


For a truly wild and untamed experience, consider exploring Botswana on horseback. With its pristine wilderness areas, breathtaking landscapes, and abundant wildlife, this country offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the African wilderness like never before.


From the lush bushveld of the Lowveld to the dramatic beauty of the Zambezi River, Zimbabwe is a country that is rich in natural beauty. With its diverse range of habitats, from savannas to wetlands, this country offers endless opportunities for horseback riding adventures.


For a truly unique horseback experience, consider exploring Namibia’s otherworldly landscapes. From the towering sand dunes of the Namib Desert to the rugged terrain of Damaraland, this country offers a truly unforgettable adventure.


From the rolling hills of the Laikipia Plateau to the wide-open savannas of the Maasai Mara, Kenya is a land of stunning natural beauty and abundant wildlife. Whether you’re riding through rolling hills dotted with wildlife, or crossing vast open plains, Kenya is a dream destination for horseback riders.


From the towering peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro to the vast Serengeti Plains, Tanzania is a country that is rich in natural beauty and wildlife. With its diverse range of habitats, from montane forests to savannas, this country offers endless opportunities for horseback riding adventures. Whether you’re looking to explore breathtaking scenery or encounter the big five, a horse safari in Tanzania is an unforgettable experience.


On an African horse safari, you’ll spend your nights in either a comfortable lodge or a luxurious tented camp. From budget-friendly options to over-the-top luxury, there’s something for everyone. Some lodges even offer spa treatments, making your horse safari feel like a true pampering vacation.

The Riding Experience

The riding itself is what sets an African horse safari apart from other vacations. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a beginner, you’ll find a trail that’s just right for you. Guided by experienced riders, you’ll canter across the savannah, through forests and along rivers, with nothing but the wind in your hair. You’ll also have the chance to ride through local villages and interact with the friendly locals. The trail rides usually last between 2–6 hours and can vary from easy going to challenging, depending on your riding experience and preference.

Wildlife Encounters

One of the biggest draws of an African horse safari is the chance to encounter wildlife up close and personal. Whether you’re watching a herd of elephants from horseback or coming face-to-face with a pride of lions, the memories you’ll make on an African horse safari will last a lifetime. The horses used on safari are specially trained to handle encounters with wild animals, so you can feel safe while enjoying the experience.

In addition to the Big Five, you’ll also have the chance to see a variety of other animals, such as giraffes, zebras, Kudu, and impala. The best part about horseback wildlife encounters is that you get a unique perspective that you can’t get from a vehicle. You’ll be able to get much closer to the animals, making for an unforgettable experience.

An African horse safari is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore this magnificent continent on horseback. From South Africa to Tanzania, the opportunities for adventure and excitement are endless. Whether you’re looking to encounter wild animals in their natural habitats, or simply take in the breathtaking landscapes, an African horse safari is an unforgettable experience.

But if you crave even more adventure and love being in nature, why not take it to the next level with one of GVI’s Limpopo volunteer programs? In Limpopo, you fully enjoy living in the heart of the African bush while contributing to conservation efforts aimed at protecting some of Africa’s most iconic species, including rhinos, cheetahs and big cats. This is your chance to make a real impact in the world and to create memories that will last a lifetime. 

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