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HORSEBACK SAFARI

Experience the magic of the bush on horseback with a Ride Kenya horseback safari.

Ride in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro or across the plains of the Maasai Mara, replacing the grumble of a car engine with the sound of hooves. With Great Plains Ride Kenya, the exclusive wilderness areas of the Chyulu Hills, Maasai Mara Reserve, and Olare Motorogi, Mara North and Naboisho private conservancies are yours to discover.

With low tourist densities in these areas you are more likely to come across the paw print of a lion than the footprint of a human! Instead expect to encounter everything from elephant and giraffe, to zebra, gazelle and warthog. Our horses are fun to ride yet well-mannered mounts who love their jobs, striding out each new day with ears pricked, ready to explore.  Rides can be enjoyed from ol Donyo Lodge, Mara Expedition and Mara Plains Camp by riders of all levels from intermediate to advanced.

OL DONYO LODGE, CHYULU HILLS, KENYA

The soft volcanic soils and the variety of the terrain make this area a fantastic and very unique riding destination. The stables themselves are set within the beautiful acacia forest at the base of the Chyulu Hills and are easily accessible by all guests residing at ol Donyo Lodge.

Overview

THE SOFT VOLCANIC SOILS AND THE VARIETY OF THE TERRAIN MAKE THIS AREA A FANTASTIC AND VERY UNIQUE RIDING DESTINATION. THE STABLES THEMSELVES ARE SET WITHIN THE BEAUTIFUL ACACIA FOREST AT THE BASE OF THE CHYULU HILLS AND ARE EASILY ACCESSIBLE BY ALL GUESTS RESIDING AT OL DONYO LODGE.

From here you can ride out along ancient elephant paths, encountering inquisitive Maasai giraffe and antelope such as the eland, impala, fringe-eared oryx and Grant’s gazelle, not to mention the magnificent “big tusker” bull elephants for which this area is renowned. Once through the forest you emerge onto the open grass plains where you can increase the pace and canter through seemingly endless long golden grass plains. Pass by herds of zebra, wildebeest and Thompson’s gazelle. Perhaps a flick of a tail in the long grass, or the twitch of an ear in the shade of a tree, will catch your eye and you may be lucky enough to encounter a cheetah or two.

You can also ride out and explore in the other direction – up into the volcanic Chyulu Hills behind the stables. Climb nearly a thousand feet in a morning, emerging into Wild Olive Tree groves where you could glimpse a shy herd of hartebeest. From the top of the ol Donyo Wuas hill, enjoy a delicious breakfast under the shade of a Red Hot Poker Tree whilst enjoying unending views of mount Kilimanjaro and the surrounding wilderness from horizon to horizon, before descending down the other side of the hills and back to ol Donyo Lodge for a refreshing dip in your private plunge pool.

Not restricted by roads, you are forging your own path through the landscape. Tuned into the rhythm of not only your horse but also the bush around you, it is truly the finest way to experience Kenya’s diverse landscape and its awe-inspiring natural world.

The horses at ol Donyo Lodge are sourced and schooled with the guest’s comfort and enjoyment as our highest priority. The horses are soft, responsive, sensible and enormously fun to ride. Not only are they ridden in the bush but they also live amongst the wildlife during the day – free and unfenced. This makes for horses that are completely at home in their environment and that are an absolute joy to ride. All levels of rider from beginner to advanced can be accommodated.

Ride Options

RIDE OPTIONS

INTERMEDIATE AND ABOVE
For Intermediate riders and above we offer 2 to 4 hour rides exploring the concession. Enjoy exhilarating medium to fast paced canters and encounters with our famous big Tuskers.

For this riding option, you need to be riding fit, confident and competent, ride with an independent seat and be able to control an easy horse at all paces over uneven terrain.

Riders will need to have a short assessment in our arena prior to setting out to ensure you are comfortable with your horse and equipment.

PLAINS RIDE
Riders can enjoy a gentle 90 minute ride exploring the open plains.

No assessment required.

Riding Times

Rides take place at 07h30 and 16h30 subject to availability of guides and horses.

Overnight Fly camp Ride

ol Donyo Lodge’s fly camping experience in the Kenyan wilderness is created for riders and non-riders alike.

  • 2 guests minimum and 6 guests maximum
  • Yurt-style bell tents with bed rolls, full linen, hot showers and inner around the camp fire
  • Not available March – May, November and over Christmas and New Year
  • No additional charge for this experience
  • Available as part of a standard 4-night stay
  • Must be booked in advance at the time of reservation
  • Itineraries available

The Horses

We have a herd of 10 horses from 15.1hh to 17hh

Our horses are well schooled and used to the environment we share with the wildlife.

Breeds include the South African Boerperd, which is one of the few recognised native breeds in Africa well known for their superb temperament, endurance and versatility. We also have Thoroughbreds and various cross breeds, a Somali pony not to mention our lovely pure bred Percheron Tembo who is the only French draught horse in Kenya!

The Tack

  • Our horses are ridden in English bridles and bits
  • We offer a choice of English, Western or Trail saddles

Group Size

  • All our rides will be a Maximum of 6 guests accompanied by 2 experienced guides
  • However, the number of riders will be dependent on the groups ability and riders weight
  • We will therefore only confirm a booking on receipt of our riding questionnaire which is available on request from your guide or lodge manager

Riding Equipment

A selection of Riding hats, riding boots, breeches and half chaps are available for guests with no additional charge.

Weight Limit

  • We respectfully request no riders over 95Kg
  • We do have several big advanced level horses and are happy to advise if we can accommodate experienced riders over our weight limit on receipt of the riding questionnaire

Age Limit

  • For safety reasons we have an age limit of 12
  • All children between 12 and 15 must be accompanied by a riding parent or guardian
  • Regretfully we cannot offer any riding to children under 12 years

Other Activities at ol Donyo Lodge

  • Guided bush walks
  • Hill hikes and exploration of extinct volcanoic lava tubes
  • Mountain biking
  • Game viewing drives
  • Night game viewing drives
  • Lion tracking
  • Cultural villages visits (additional charge)
  • Anti-poaching tracker dog experience (additional charge)
  • Amboseli day trip (additional charge)
  • Scenic Kilimanjaro flight (additional charge)

MARA PLAINS / MARA EXPEDITION CAMP, MAASAI MARA, KENYA

Offering guests staying at safari camps in Kenya’s renowned Maasai Mara Reserve in addition to the Olare Motorogi, Naboisho and Mara North private conservancies the opportunity to experience the Maasai Mara from horseback, on one of our well-schooled and beautifully turned out horses.

Overview

OFFERING GUESTS STAYING AT SAFARI CAMPS IN KENYA’S RENOWNED MAASAI MARA RESERVE IN ADDITION TO THE OLARE MOTOROGI, NABOISHO AND MARA NORTH PRIVATE CONSERVANCIES THE OPPORTUNITY TO EXPERIENCE THE MAASAI MARA FROM HORSEBACK, ON ONE OF OUR WELL-SCHOOLED AND BEAUTIFULLY TURNED OUT HORSES.

Combining one of Africa’s greatest wildlife areas with quality horses and guides – this has to be one of life’s most memorable experiences.

Let your horse take you on a journey of freedom and adventure, with only the sound of his hooves, as we explore the exclusive wilderness areas of the Olare Motorogi, Mara North and Naboisho private conservancies as well as the Maasai Mara self.

With low tourist density in the conservancies this is a true wilderness. On our adventures we are more likely to come across the paw print of a lion than the footprint of a human being!

Wildlife abounds as you cross the tree dotted plains, cross rivers and ravines and live an unforgettable experience where we never know what to expect from one minute to the next.

Our horses live in an airy and comfortable custom-designed stable block, within an Acacia forest overlooking lush grasslands and riverine woodlands with the spectacular Siria Escarpment forming an impressive backdrop on the Western boundary of the Maasai Mara.

They are an all-male herd, carefully selected for their comfort and temperament. These fun to ride but well mannered mounts love their jobs which is evident by the way they eagerly stride out each new day with ears pricked, ready to explore the environment they call home. They are our pride and joy.

Upon completion of your ride, treat your horse with a well-deserved and horse friendly, home baked “cookie” – full of yummy treats – our appreciation of their generous spirits.

From the stables we can set out in any direction, unrestricted by roads, in one of Africa’s most game rich wildlife areas, riding through areas of outstanding natural beauty which is most famous for the annual wildebeest and zebra migrations.

With the Siria escarpment to our west, the East is dominated by the Ngama Hills which were formed by volcanic activity and are a prominent land mark in the Reserve.

Throughout your ride expect to encounter big numbers of plains game such as elephant, giraffe, buffalo, eland, zebra, wildebeest, topi, Grants gazelle, the graceful impala and delightful Thompsons gazelle and warthog, while rivers and pools are home to hippo and crocodiles resting lazily in the water or on the banks.

The Maasai Mara is famous for its big cats and we are ever vigilant for sightings of the lion, leopard and cheetah which follow these antelope herds as well as relishing the opportunity to sight the elusive serval and caracal.

Ride Kenya – Mara is a mere 1-hour from Nairobi by scheduled air transfer and centrally placed for easy access from many of the local safari camps especially that of our Mara Expedition and Mara Plains Camps.

We offer 2 hour rides in the morning and afternoon.

In addition, we can also offer you exciting tailor-made multi-day riding safari experiences.

Morning and Afternoon Outrides

Guests staying at safari camps in the Maasai Mara, Olare Motorogi, Mara North and Naboisho Conservancies now have the opportunity to experience the renowned wildlife of the area from horseback.

Ride Options

INTERMEDIATE AND ABOVE
Riders of an intermediate level and above can enjoy an exhilarating 2 hour ride in the morning or afternoon. Ride pace is moderate with opportunities for fast paced canters depending on the group ability. Expect to negotiate rivers and ravines.

For safety reasons riders participating on these rides need to be riding fit, confident and competent, ride with an independent seat and be able to control an easy horse at all paces over uneven terrain.

PLAINS RIDE
Enjoy a gentle 2 hour ride exploring the open plains and interacting with the abundant plains game. Ride pace will depend on the ability of the group but generally we keep to a walk or trot and we keep to open areas with good visibility.

For safety reasons, riders need to have some previous experience and be able to mount and dismount, walk and trot, stop and turn their horses.

Riding Times

Morning: Riders need to be at the stables at 08h00
Afternoon: Riders need to be at the stables at 15h30

Cost

Published Tariff: $250 per rider for either their morning or afternoon riding experience.

Ride Kenya - Mara Reservations

All outrides need to be confirmed prior to arrival and reservations can be made with

Martin Dodwell – martin@ridekenya.com | +254 79 812 9987
Alison Mundy – ali@ridekenya.com | +254 79 806 9954

Riding Questionnaire

Guests are required to fill out our riding questionnaire when making their booking which will enable us to select the most suitable horse for them based on the riders height, weight, age, ability and riding style.

The Equestrian Managers at Ride Kenya – Mara cannot confirm a booking without receipt of a completed riding questionnaire.

Riding Assessment

All riders are required to have a short assessment in our arena prior to setting out to ensure they are comfortable with their horse and equipment.

It is a condition of Great Plains Conservation that all horse riders sign an Equestrian Indemnity prior to ‘mounting up’. Riding is at our discretion and we reserve the right to restrict riding activities based on rider competence levels.

Rider Weight & Age

We respectfully request no riders over 95kg

For safety reasons we have an age limit of 14. We are happy to discuss riding options for children aged 12 to 14 who have suitable riding experience. Children under 15 must be accompanied by a riding parent or guardian. Regretfully we cannot offer any riding to children under 12 years.

Guest Riding Equipment

  • We have a range of riding helmets, riding boots, breeches and chaps

Guides

  • All rides are led by at least one qualified and experienced equestrian guide and one backup guide

Horse Type / Breed, Number of Horses & Horse Size

All our horses are imported from South Africa. All male herd of geldings and stallions. Breeds include Friesian and Friesian crosses, Shire crosses, Boerperds and Boerperd crosses, Arab crosses and Thoroughbreds

16 Horses

Horse size: From 15hh to 17hh

Horse Standard

  • Well schooled and experienced safari horses;
  • English trained and gaits i.e. our horses do not lope or jog

Tack

  • Good quality all leather tack is used;
  • Our horses are ridden in English bridles and bits;
  • We offer English, Trail or Western saddles

Our Horseback Safari Camps

ol Donyo Lodge

Mara Plains

Mara Expedition