Horse riding holidays foster a deep respect for the incredible landscapes, animals and people that we are fortunate to encounter. Travelling as globetrotters, we can rest easy knowing that we’re boosting the local economy and treading lightly on the land. But it’s up to us to ensure the rest of our trip is carried out in the same respectful, sustainable way. And nowhere is this more important than Africa!
Enter low travel. Enter slow travel! These two concepts are centred around the idea that the journey is just as important as the destination, and that travel is best when you take the time to fully immerse in the places you visit rather than flitting from one to the next.
Low travel essentially means flying as little as possible, instead opting for land-based means of transport such as trains, buses, cars, bikes, hiking and, of course, horse riding! Slow travel involves truly unwinding to live on local time, giving yourself as long as you can, or would like, to explore, and valuing the depth of your experience more than the breadth. By doing these things, you’re guaranteed to leave a more positive impact wherever you go.
So here are our suggestions for globetrotting low and slow across the spellbinding continent of Africa.
The gateway to Northern Africa, Morocco truly has it all: snow-capped mountains, dreamy beaches, labyrinthine cities, time-forgotten villages, fertile farmland, arid plains and the otherworldly Sahara Desert. We recommend flying into the capital city, Rabat, then slowly making your way down through Casablanca to Essaouira, perhaps via Marrakech, before arriving in the city of Agadir already thoroughly enchanted with Morocco and champing at the bit for the Atlantic Explorer ride. Afterwards, return to Marrakech to catch the bus to Ouarzazate, or hire a private driver to give you a local’s perspective en route (your ride hosts will be able to recommend reputable local drivers). The gateway to the Sahara Desert, Ouarzazate is where your guides will meet you on day one of The Sahara Ride – undoubtedly THE best way to explore this desert.
If you’d like to continue your African adventure, from here you could wander southeast to…
Kenya, Tanzania and Botswana
In all three of these crazy cat countries, you’ll be able to experience some of THE best safari riding in the world. Whether you book one, two or all three of these trips, you’re in for the ride of your life. In Kenya, you’ll explore the vast expanse of the famed Maasai Mara game reserve; in Tanzania, you’ll ride alongside elephants in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro; and in Botswana, you’ll splash across the wildlife-filled water meadows of the Okavango Delta.
After the thrill of riding with lions, giraffes, elephants, zebras and more, you might want to keep riding forever. If that’s the case, then you must visit…
Here you’ll find not one, but two absolutely EPIC endurance rides! Choose between the Namib Desert Safari and the Kalahari Desert Safari. Both are 10 days long, with 7 riding days, taking you places few people are ever fortunate enough to go. For the die-hard endurance rider, the Namib Desert Safari will give you lifelong bragging rights. You’ll travel between 40 and 70 kilometres (25 and 43 miles) each day! The Kalahari Desert Safari, on the other hand, covers between 20 to 40 kilometres (12 and 15 miles) each day and has more of an emphasis on wildlife.
And finally, last but certainly not least on our list of African horseback adventures is…
Although you’ll have to fly to Madacascar, it’s a short flight from Nairobi in Kenya or Johannesburg in South Africa. And believe us, it’s well worth it for the unique and moving experience that awaits. Rest assured there will be ample opportunity to support the local people and environment, and in this very poor nation, a little goes a long way. After enjoying the sights of Antananarivo, you’ll set off on the Volcanic Highlands Ride. For 10 days, you’ll be fully immersed in the diverse and spectacular Central Highlands region. We highly recommend spending more time in Madagascar either before or after your ride. The many delights of Madagascar’s east and west coasts, Tsaratanana Massif, and the southwest await your discovery!
What would your dream multi-ride African adventure look like? Let us know in the comments, or feel free to contact us to get the ball rolling!
And for more tips on how to be a responsible globetrotter, click here.