The Bushveld, South Africa - Horse Riding Holidays and Safaris

The Bushveld, South Africa

7 NightsBeginner to AdvancedFrom £1,879 GBP?Tour costs £1,879 GBP which is approximately $3,615 AUD

You asked, globetrotters, so we’ve delivered: a flexible, exhilarating African riding safari with options to suit ALL riding abilities!

You asked, globetrotters, so we’ve delivered: a flexible, exhilarating African riding safari with options to suit ALL riding abilities!

For beginner to advanced riders, there’s the All-levels Lodge Ride, set on a private, 21,000 acre wildlife reserve and conservancy in the vast South African Bushveld. It’s perfect for families and groups with non-riders thanks to the tailor-made itinerary and numerous off-the-horse activities. Plus, you can ride among Africa’s famous wildlife without worrying about elephants or lions!

For strong intermediate and advanced riders, the African Explorer is a MUST, covering two vastly different and equally breathtaking ecosystems. Starting with four days’ riding in the South African reserve, you’ll then travel across the border to Botswana for three incredible days in Mashatu Game Reserve, with its huge herds of elephant and iconic baobab trees.

Then there’s the Signature Safari, for intermediate to advanced riders, which combines the ease of a whole week in South Africa with the excitement of riding point-to-point across the Bushveld, from one secluded lodge to another.

Packed with an astounding variety of wild game and all the bells and whistles of a luxury safari, South Africa offers incredible value for money and an experience you’ll never forget.

Fast Facts

  • Horse Breed:The favoured breed is the South African Boerperd, but there are also pure and crossbred Thoroughbreds, Arabians and warmbloods.
  • Pace:Variable, depending on the nature of the terrain. There will be some opportunities for faster riding each day.
  • Weight Limit:A maximum of 85kg / 187lbs.
  • Type of tack:South African McClellan saddles and English bridles.
  • Seasons:Available all year round.
  • Group size:All-levels Lodge Ride: 2 to 16 guests (riding in groups of 2-8); African Explorer: 2 to 8 guests; Signature Safari: 2 to 8 guests.
  • Time in Saddle:On average, 4 to 6 hours per day.
  • Riding Ability:All-levels Lodge Ride: All riding abilities welcome.
    African Explorer: Strong intermediate to advanced riders only. *Riders will have to complete a 'test ride' to show they can ride independently at all paces before being allowed to take part in this program.
    Signature Safari: intermediate to advanced riders.
     Not sure what your riding ability is? Watch THIS video to find out.
  • Accommodation:All-levels Lodge Ride: Accommodation is in a beautiful African lodge and adjacent thatched-roof chalets. All rooms are ensuite with either a shower or bath (or both). There is a large shared living area, dining room, verandah, and a swimming pool alongside the nearby lake.
    There is also the option to spend a night or two at Camp Davidson or Savannah Lodge (see descriptions below) for an additional cost.

    African Explorer: 3 nights at Camp Davidson, where luxurious, beautifully appointed, spacious canvas tents sit nestled amongst sandstone ridges overlooking grassy, game-filled valleys. Each tent has an ensuite, and there is a pool, too.
    1 night at Savannah Lodge, which has five ensuite bedrooms, large living and dining areas, a pool, and a great view of the nearby watering hole.
    2 nights at Two Mashatus Camp in Botswana, with large A-frame walk-in tents set on teak platforms, each with its own ensuite.
    1 night at the truly extraordinary Tree Camp in Botswana. 4 metres off the ground in the boughs of a trio of ancient trees, the deck hosts airy twin share sleeping pods, a spacious open-air dining area and shared showers and toilets.

    Signature Safari: 5 nights in the main lodge (see description above).
    1 night in either Savannah Lodge (see description above) or the very similar Seringa Lodge.
    1 night at Camp Davidson (see description above).
  • Ride Length:All-levels Lodge Ride: 5 nights or more. African Explorer: 8 days, 7 nights. Signature Safari: 8 days, 7 nights.
  • Inclusions:

    The price includes all riding (including swimming with the horses), full board, beverages including local beers, wines and a selection of spirits, and internal transfers (excluding airport transfers).

  • Exclusions:

    The price does not include international flights, travel insurance (compulsory), airport transfers, staff tips, and additional activities not listed on itinerary.

    African Explorer: A £30 conservation levy is also payable to Mashatu Game Reserve on arrival.

 

DEPARTURE DATES & RATES

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Departing Total

Signature Safari – Mid Season 2024

March to June

7-night stay – Sunday arrival & departure

From: £2,056 GBP ?Tour costs £2,056 GBP which is approximately $3,955 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same gender
Booking Request

2.5% credit card surcharge

From: £2,819 GBP ?Tour costs £2,819 GBP which is approximately $5,423 AUD - Single Rider?Happy to pay a booking supplement for own room
Booking Request

2.5% credit card surcharge

Signature Safari – High Season 2024

July to December

7-night stay – Sunday arrival & departure

From: £2,392 GBP ?Tour costs £2,392 GBP which is approximately $4,601 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same gender
Booking Request

2.5% credit card surcharge

From: £3,288 GBP ?Tour costs £3,288 GBP which is approximately $6,325 AUD - Single Rider?Happy to pay a booking supplement for own room
Booking Request

2.5% credit card surcharge

African Explorer – Mid Season 2024

March, April & December

Available weekly, beginning on a Friday.

From: £2,424 GBP ?Tour costs £2,424 GBP which is approximately $4,663 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same gender
Booking Request

2.5% credit card surcharge

From: £3,636 GBP ?Tour costs £3,636 GBP which is approximately $6,994 AUD - Single Rider?Happy to pay a booking supplement for own room
Booking Request

2.5% credit card surcharge

African Explorer – High Season 2024

May to November

Available weekly, beginning on a Friday.

From: £2,862 GBP ?Tour costs £2,862 GBP which is approximately $5,505 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same gender
Booking Request

2.5% credit card surcharge

From: £4,293 GBP ?Tour costs £4,293 GBP which is approximately $8,258 AUD - Single Rider?Happy to pay a booking supplement for own room
Booking Request

2.5% credit card surcharge

All-Levels Lodge Ride – Mid Season 2024

March to June

Minimum 5-night stay required.

From: £1,365 GBP ?Tour costs £1,365 GBP which is approximately $2,626 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same gender
Booking Request

2.5% credit card surcharge

From: £1,910 GBP ?Tour costs £1,910 GBP which is approximately $3,674 AUD - Single Rider?Happy to pay a booking supplement for own room
Booking Request

2.5% credit card surcharge

All-Levels Lodge Ride – High Season 2024

July to December

Minimum 5-night stay required.

From: £1,605 GBP ?Tour costs £1,605 GBP which is approximately $3,088 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same gender
Booking Request

2.5% credit card surcharge

From: £2,245 GBP ?Tour costs £2,245 GBP which is approximately $4,319 AUD - Single Rider?Happy to pay a booking supplement for own room
Booking Request

2.5% credit card surcharge

African Explorer – Low Season 2025

3-30 Jan & 5 Dec-4 Jan 2026

Available weekly, beginning on a Friday.

From: £2,513 GBP ?Tour costs £2,513 GBP which is approximately $4,834 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same gender
Booking Request

2.5% credit card surcharge

From: £3,770 GBP ?Tour costs £3,770 GBP which is approximately $7,252 AUD - Single Rider?Happy to pay a booking supplement for own room
Booking Request

2.5% credit card surcharge

African Explorer – High Season 2025

1 Feb – 6 Dec

Available weekly, beginning on a Friday.

From: £3,206 GBP ?Tour costs £3,206 GBP which is approximately $6,167 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same gender
Booking Request

2.5% credit card surcharge

From: £4,809 GBP ?Tour costs £4,809 GBP which is approximately $9,250 AUD - Single Rider?Happy to pay a booking supplement for own room
Booking Request

2.5% credit card surcharge

Signature Safari – Low Season 2025

6 Jan – 1 Mar

7-night stay – Sunday arrival & departure

From: £2,041 GBP ?Tour costs £2,041 GBP which is approximately $3,926 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same gender
Booking Request

2.5% credit card surcharge

From: £2,791 GBP ?Tour costs £2,791 GBP which is approximately $5,369 AUD - Single Rider?Happy to pay a booking supplement for own room
Booking Request

2.5% credit card surcharge

Signature Safari – Mid Season 2025

2 Mar – 29 June

7-night stay – Sunday arrival & departure

From: £2,230 GBP ?Tour costs £2,230 GBP which is approximately $4,290 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same gender
Booking Request

2.5% credit card surcharge

From: £3,056 GBP ?Tour costs £3,056 GBP which is approximately $5,878 AUD - Single Rider?Happy to pay a booking supplement for own room
Booking Request

2.5% credit card surcharge

Signature Safari – High Season 2025

1 July – 4 Jan 2026

7-night stay – Sunday arrival & departure

From: £2,594 GBP ?Tour costs £2,594 GBP which is approximately $4,990 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same gender
Booking Request

2.5% credit card surcharge

From: £3,566 GBP ?Tour costs £3,566 GBP which is approximately $6,859 AUD - Single Rider?Happy to pay a booking supplement for own room
Booking Request

2.5% credit card surcharge

All-Levels Lodge Ride – Low Season 2025

6 Jan – 1 Mar

Minimum 5-night stay required.

From: £1,340 GBP ?Tour costs £1,340 GBP which is approximately $2,578 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same gender
Booking Request

2.5% credit card surcharge

From: £1,875 GBP ?Tour costs £1,875 GBP which is approximately $3,607 AUD - Single Rider?Happy to pay a booking supplement for own room
Booking Request

2.5% credit card surcharge

All-Levels Lodge Ride – Mid Season 2025

2 Mar – 29 Jun

Minimum 5-night stay required.

From: £1,475 GBP ?Tour costs £1,475 GBP which is approximately $2,838 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same gender
Booking Request

2.5% credit card surcharge

From: £2,065 GBP ?Tour costs £2,065 GBP which is approximately $3,972 AUD - Single Rider?Happy to pay a booking supplement for own room
Booking Request

2.5% credit card surcharge

All-Levels Lodge Ride – High Season 2025

1 Jul – 4 Jan 2026

Minimum 5-night stay required.

From: £1,735 GBP ?Tour costs £1,735 GBP which is approximately $3,338 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same gender
Booking Request

2.5% credit card surcharge

From: £2,430 GBP ?Tour costs £2,430 GBP which is approximately $4,674 AUD - Single Rider?Happy to pay a booking supplement for own room
Booking Request

2.5% credit card surcharge

PLEASE NOTE: Pricing for the Signature Safari and All-levels Lodge Ride in the table above is to be used as a guide only, and will vary depending on which rooms/chalets are available at the time of your enquiry.

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?

The price includes all riding (including swimming with the horses), full board, beverages including local beers, wines and a selection of spirits, and internal transfers (excluding airport transfers).

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?

The price does not include international flights, travel insurance (compulsory), airport transfers, staff tips, and additional activities not listed on itinerary.

African Explorer: A £30 conservation levy is also payable to Mashatu Game Reserve on arrival.

Accepted payment is by credit or debit card only. Depending on the ride you choose to book and your country of residence, there will be a 1.2% to 2.9% surcharge.

Click HERE to read more about our fees and charges.
Click HERE to read our recommendations on which cards are best to use to avoid international transaction fees.
WHY IS THE PRICE QUOTED IN GBP?
With our riding destinations, the currency is dictated by our ride partner in that country. Therefore due to fluctuating exchange rates we have to quote in the same currency.

Itinerary

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*Please note, this is a suggested itinerary only and subject to change due to weather and other influencing factors.

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  • All-Levels Lodge Ride

    On day 1 of this ride, you’ll be met by a representative of our ride partners at the airport in Johannesburg in the morning, then take a 2.5 to 3 hour vehicle transfer to the beautiful lakeside safari lodges where you’ll be staying. After a late lunch, you’ll meet the horses and mount up for your first South African safari – hooray! You’re in the Bushveld, a huge subtropical woodland ecosystem teeming with animals and blessed with firm yet sandy soil that is perfect for riding. The landscape ranges from forest to grassland to wetland.

    For the remainder of your stay, the 21,000-acre estate is yours to enjoy. Each night, over a delicious starlit dinner, your guides will run through the options and as a group, you’ll decide on the next day’s adventures. There will be 3 to 4-hour rides in the morning, then you’ll dismount for lunch and a cool drink in the shade before mounting up for a shorter (but equally stunning) ride in the afternoon. The safaris will see you cross paths with hippo, giraffe, zebra, plains antelope, leopard, caracal, brown hyena, jackal, crocodile, buffalo, roan and sable antelope, aardvark and more. The reserve is also home to over 300 bird species! Not to mention beautiful Lehlabile village, where many of the reserve’s staff were born. And if you fancy a spot of jumping, polocrosse, western games or a swim with the horses, this can also be arranged. Off-the-horse activities include guided bushwalks, game drives to see elephant, lion, rhinoceros and leopard, cycling, fishing, ziplining and, of course, well-earned massages!

    There is also the option to spend a day or two at Camp Davidson, a luxury tented camp at the northern edge of the reserve boasting beautiful trails in all directions.

    On the last day, you’ll have breakfast at the lodge, then pack your bags, say your goodbyes and be transferred back to Johannesburg for your onward travels.

    *This ride can be booked for 5 nights or more. We recommend a 6 or 7-night stay.

  • Signature Safari

    On day 1 of the Signature Safari, you’ll be met by a representative of our ride partners at the airport in Johannesburg in the morning, then take a 2.5 to 3 hour vehicle transfer to the beautiful lakeside safari lodges where you’ll spend the first two nights. After a light lunch and afternoon tea, you’ll meet the horses and mount up for a relaxed introductory ride in the Bushveld, a huge subtropical woodland ecosystem teeming with animals and blessed with firm yet sandy soil that is perfect for riding.

    The second day begins with a sporty morning ride through an open valley, where you’ll encounter plains game such as kudu, sable, reedbuck, and more. On the way back to the lodge, you’ll enjoy splashy canters along the lake, and maybe even swim the horses! The afternoon ride heads east along the river, where you’re likely to encounter hippos and more plains-dwelling herds. Days 3 and 4 involve extensive rides to the Bellevue Lodges at the southern edge of the reserve, where you’ll find giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, and maybe even Cape buffalo, one of Africa’s ‘Big Five’ species. The return ride to the main lodge is followed by a vehicle safari in a nearby reserve to see elephant, lion and rhino. Day 5 starts with an early morning ride deep into the reserve for a bush breakfast, followed by an afternoon ride to Camp Davidson for a night under (very luxurious) canvas. Day 6 promises more excitement with a ride to hippo-filled Sunset Lake, canters on the water’s edge, polocrosse, and a pre-dinner wine tasting. On day 7, the morning route winds through a valley to the eastern edge of the reserve, then ascends to the highlands, with extended canters and breathtaking views. The afternoon’s ride is peppered with optional cross-country jumps, leading to a stunning sundowner spot with panoramic views over rolling hills.

    Day 8 begins with one final, glorious ride, the destination chosen by your group. Perhaps you’ll revisit a favourite trail, or discover a new corner of the reserve. No doubt there’ll be a few free-flying canters thrown in to ensure your safari ends on a high. After lunch in the lodge gardens, you’ll say your goodbyes and be transferred back to Johannesburg for your onward travels.

  • African Explorer - Day 1

    Welcome to South Africa! Today you’ll fly into Johannesburg and be met by representatives from our ride partners, who will transfer you to Camp Davidson, nestled amongst sandstone ridges overlooking game-filled valleys. The drive takes around 3 hours and you’ll arrive in the afternoon. After a late lunch, you’ll meet the horses and mount up for your first South African safari – hooray! You’re in the Bushveld, a huge subtropical woodland ecosystem teeming with animals and blessed with firm yet sandy soil that is perfect for riding. The landscape ranges from forest to grassland to wetland.

    Tonight you’ll savour the many delights of Camp Davidson – think ‘hotel under canvas’. Wear your stretchy pants – dinner is going to be a feast!

  • African Explorer - Day 2

    After tucking into a continental breakfast, you’ll mount up for a morning ride to the banks of Sunset Lake, with its resident hippos, birds and the odd sly crocodile, before heading upstream to an adjoining reserve, where you’re likely to spot wildebeest and zebra. The riding is delightfully varied, from canters along sandy tracks to winding through rocky outcrops and dense forest. Returning to Camp Davidson for lunch and a dip in the pool, you’ll feel reinvigorated for the shorter afternoon ride through the nearby plains.

    At night, there’s the option of a night sky safari with an astronomer, for a small additional cost.

  • African Explorer - Day 3

    This morning’s ride takes you past a brown hyena den, around the upper reaches of the Horizon Dam, across a wide, grassy valley and through a dense woodland home to shy species such as kudu, bushbuck and vervet monkeys. Emerging from the woods, the horses can stretch their legs along open sandy tracks, and even pop over a few jumps if you’re so inclined. You’ll also have the chance to swim bareback in Horizon Dam!

    Climbing a mountain pass through boulders and rocky outcrops, you’ll reach Camp Davidson in time for lunch. Then you’ve got some free time to enjoy before remounting for a ride across the plains to catch the sunset alongside a herd of zebra.

  • African Explorer - Day 4

    Today you’ll pack your bags and ride south from Camp Davidson to the game conservancy. The route traverses a wide wetland, dense woodland, and open grasslands with sweeping views of the surrounding hills. Known as ‘Little Serengeti’, these plains support herds of eland, wildebeest, kudu, sable antelope, red hartebeest, cape buffalo and giraffe.

    Lunch will be enjoyed poolside at Savannah Lodge, then after the customary midday rest you’ll ride on to explore more of this rich game area. Evening brings sundowners overlooking the plains and yet another delicious dinner at Savannah Lodge.

  • African Explorer - Day 5

    Rising early, you’ll ride to the main lodge in time to change into something more comfortable for the three-and-a-half hour drive to Botswana. Departing at 9:30am, you’ll reach Botswana in time for a light lunch. After a short introductory ride on your new horse, the journey to Two Mashatus Camp begins. It’s highly likely that you’ll be graced by the presence of Africa’s largest herd of wild, free-roaming elephants on private land!

    Your base for the next two nights, Two Mashatus Camp is named for the two big, beautiful mashatu trees that shade it. It consists of a pair of traditionally built Lala Palm rondavel huts for relaxing and dining, a pool, and large A-frame tents with ensuites set on teak platforms. A three-course dinner will be served in the cool of evening.

  • African Explorer - Day 6

    Waking up to birdsong in the surrounding canopy and tea or coffee delivered to your tent (heaven!), you’ll fuel up on breakfast and hit the saddle. This is a very different landscape with a truly wild atmosphere. The wide open, sprawling savannah is punctuated by giant Baobab trees and striking rocky outcrops boasting never-ending views across the plains. After lunch and a siesta at camp, you can opt for another ride, or a game drive to see lions and watch the sunset

  • African Explorer - Day 7

    You’re moving camp today, and it’s another full day’s ride through the wilderness to reach the extraordinary Tree Camp. Nestled four metres above the ground in the bough of a giant mashatu tree and two ancient leadwood trees, your childhood dreams of sleeping up in the arms of a tree will be completely fulfilled! Dinner will be served al fresco, overlooking the Majale River.

  • African Explorer - Day 8

    Your final ride is one to remember, with a glorious long canter through the savannah and an elephant sighting capping off this incredible safari. Arriving back at the Botswana stables mid-morning, there’s time for a quick shower and fond farewells before catching a charter flight back to Johannesburg for your onward travels.

  • Additional Activities

    African Explorer:

    You will have the opportunity to participate in a game drive in Mashatu Game Reserve for an additional cost of approximately $86 USD per person (price is subject to change) which can be paid on-site with cash or card.

    All-levels Lodge Ride & Signature Safari:

    The following excursions are available at an additional cost on the All-levels Lodge Ride and the Signature Safari. They can be booked and paid for on-site – just speak with your hosts.
    *Entabeni Private Game Reserve – Big Five Game Drive – offered on Wednesday afternoons (subject to weather conditions) in place of a ride, for an additional £98 GBP per person (price is subject to change) which can be paid on-site with cash or card.
    *Adventures with Elephants – an amazing experience getting really up close to elephants. This can be an afternoon or full day excursion, in place of one or two rides, depending on how many activities you choose to book. Most guests make a day of it and book the Educational Experience as well as either the Elephant Bath or Nature Walk.
    *Lekhalo Zipline – an exciting morning or afternoon excursion that can be organised for families in place of a ride.
    *Vaalwater shopping trip – an afternoon exploring the nearby town of Vaalwater and its markets and stores offering art, curios, decor and souvenirs.

  • Transfer Information

    Transfers to/from Johannesburg Airport are NOT included in the ride price but are available for an additional cost.

    All-Levels Lodge Ride:

    Shared group road transfers are offered for £138 GBP per person each way. In order to connect with the shared group transfers, you need to arrive at Johannesburg International Airport before 10:15am on day 1, and departing flights are to be after 7:30pm on the final day.

    Private transfers are offered at a price of £324 GBP per person each way for flights outside of these times (within daylight hours).

    Signature Safari:

    Shared group road transfers are offered for £75 GBP per person each way. In order to connect with the shared group transfers on this Sunday-to-Sunday itinerary, you need to arrive at Johannesburg International Airport before 10:15am on day 1, and departing flights are to be after 7:30pm on the final day.

    Private transfers are offered at a price of £324 GBP per person each way for flights outside of these times (within daylight hours).

    African Explorer:

    Transfers are available for £520 GBP per person, or £560 GBP per person in 2025 and include a departing charter flight from Mashatu Game Reserve to Johannesburg at the end of your ride. In order to connect with the vehicle transfer on day 1, you need to arrive at Johannesburg International Airport before 9:30am. If you’re flying out from Johannesburg on the final day, please ensure your flight departs after 8pm.

    NB: There are strict luggage allowances on the charter flight. Please refer to the packing list you’ll receive (once booked) for further details on these restrictions.

Bushveld Safari, South Africa, Globetrotting horse riding holidays

Emily Beattie

‘Cantering across the plains towards majestic giraffes alongside my mum in the setting sun is a memory I will cherish forever. It was just magic! The guides were very knowledgeable, had amazing insight into the land and animals and had such interesting facts to share. They answered questions and drew diagrams in the sand explaining the different paw prints, it was so fascinating.  As a beginner rider, I was so supported and cared for by not only the globetrotting crew but all the wonderful volunteers and guides. I officially have the riding bug and can’t wait to book my next holiday!’

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