These riding safaris are run by Sarah-Jane Gullick, who is English by birth and clearly has horses in her blood, having been involved in hunting, eventing and even worked on a Dude ranch in Wyoming before getting hooked on Africa. She set this operation up in 1994, originally with Ker & Downey Safaris (based out of a camp called Macateer Camp).Riding ability required
These safaris are for experienced riders aged 12 years and over. Riders over 60 need to be ‘riding fit’ and strong. These trips usually involve about 4–6 hours in the saddle each day. Thus riders need to feel competent about keeping up with the group, capable of riding at all paces; rising to the trot and controlling your horse at the canter. They may also be required to gallop out of trouble, so these trips do not take beginners. For safety reasons, if they think that your riding is not up to standard, you won’t be allowed to ride here.The horses
The horses are a variety of thoroughbreds, Namibian Hanovarians, Arabs and Kalahari-Arab crossbreeds ranging from 14 to 16.2 hands (140–165cm) high.Weight limits
There’s a weight limit of 15 stone per person (210lbs or 95kg), over which they can sometimes make special arrangements for advanced riders.Tack and clothes
Good quality English- and Western-style trail saddles are supplied, each with its own water bottle. They can lend riders half chaps; long leather boots are impractical.
African Horseback Safaris does not supply hard hats or safety helmets; you must bring your own. They suggest that riders wear their riding clothes and boots on the plane, and bring their hat and wash bag as hand luggage, in case your luggage gets delayed. The experience
See the section on Okavango Horse Safaris
, for more general comments about the fascinating experience of riding through the Okavango. These apply equally well to both operations. Suffice to say that once you step into the saddle, most of the Okavango’s resident game will treat you and your horse as a single, composite four-legged herbivore. So antelope will relax around you, and predators will give you pause for thought!
African Horseback Safaris request visitors come for a minimum of seven nights. This will always start on arrival in camp with an introductory talk on the safari, and a safety briefing. Two guides will accompany each riding safari; they carry a first- aid kit, rifle and radio.
Such trips normally incorporate not only riding, but also the occasional game drive, walk and night drive. Boating, canoeing and fishing are also possible sometimes, depending on water levels. Their riding groups have a maximum of 6–8 guests, and a typical 7-day trip would include a few nights spent out at a fly-camp away from the main camp. Note that these trips usually start and end on Tuesdays and Fridays, and seven- or ten-day safaris are the norm.