Deb Walker began her Globetrotting career with our coveted Maasai Mara ride in Kenya a couple of years ago. Since that fateful trip, alongside her wingman, husband Noel, they’ve notched up some amazing horse riding holidays. Find out first hand why Deb loves exploring the world from the back of a horse.
What was your first Globetrotting ride?
My first Globetrotting ride was the 10 day Maasai Mara ride
, and what a ride that was to start with. The horses were excellent, as was the organisation. The legendary Jacob was the lead guide and he got us up close and personal with lions, elephants, buffalo and everything wild in the amazing Kenyan savannah. Evenings around the campfire with like minded, mad horse riding people were such fun and the Maasai people, ah the Maasai. How I love listening to the recordings of the Maasai singing into camp that last night. It still makes my hair stand up and brings tears to my eyes.
What made you take the plunge and sign up for this ride?
I lived in Kenya when I was a teenager and had it in my heart to return. Having taken up riding at 40 I could not think of a better way of combining the two. I was nervous at first because I wasn’t 100% sure I would cope with the hours in the saddle or whether I could really ‘gallop out of trouble’ but I did lots of pre-ride training, which absolutely helped, and I found out pretty quickly (as we got charged by a very grumpy buffalo in the first hour of the first day) that I could indeed gallop out of trouble. It was so well managed and over before you could think about it, so I actually found being charged was a blast. Quite addictive really.
Which Globetrotting rides have you since completed?
I have just done the eight day Botswana Okavango Delta ride
combined with a gorilla trek in Uganda (also organised by the wonderful Kate). I wanted to go back to Africa and I knew that the Delta has the most amazing game and again, wow, what a ride. The outfitters are a wonderful combination of horse experts and pioneering go-getters who really know how to look after the guests as well as the horses. I rode three different horses and each one was well schooled, responsive and a joy to ride. This trip really is an absolute must. We were surrounded by game, we had a bull elephant in the camp on night one, we were serenaded by lions every night and had hippos and buffalo in the camp on other nights. We galloped with herds of giraffe, zebra and a huge herd of buffalo, and got so close to elephants. I will do this trip again, only next time I will do the 10 days, as eight wasn’t enough. The gorilla trek was also a must. The gorillas get very very close and I have to say looking into the eyes of a wild gorilla and having them look right back into my eyes is something I will never forget.
What is your most memorable Globetrotting moment?
This is so hard to say because I have so many precious memories. If I had to chose one it would be galloping with the herds. The feeling of flying, the rumble of the herd, my breath and my horse’s breath combining into one breath, the smell of Africa, the wild grins on everyone’s faces, heaven on earth!
Why choose this type of travel? As in exploring a new country from the back of a horse?
To me, riding is an essential part of my life, and travel gives my life meaning and purpose. Exploring new vistas from the back of a horse is not only spiritually fulfilling, it also gets you close to places and people in a way that sitting in a car or train just doesn’t do. I have met the most amazing people and seen the most amazing things by looking through the ears of these beautiful horses. The other thing is by going with Globetrotting rides you know you are going to get a great experience with very professional and well organised outfitters.
Who is your favourite safari horse of all time and why?
That is a really hard one, but again, if I was forced to choose it would be my Botswana horse, Letotsi. He wasn’t the tallest horse but by God was he fast. He had the heart of a lion, wanted to get right up to the elephants and wild dogs, was surefooted and steadfast, and we got on like a house on fire.
A tip that every globetrotter should know before going on a ride…
Get riding fit before you go, get comfortable in a two point seat as it really helps the horse, and if you can, ride different horses. By doing a few long rides (three hours in one go on about three occasions in close proximity) you avoid the distracting pain of getting your body used to spending extended periods of time in the saddle.
Finish this sentence – Don’t leave home without…
Video sunglasses (they beat GoPros hands down and you know what you are filming), bushman’s insect repellent and Berocca for the morning after the campfire session(s)!