If you are experienced riders and like an adrenaline packed adventure of riding with big game and camping out in the bush, without compromising in comfort and style, then this Big 5 horseback safari if for you. You will be taken to the beaten track and close to nature. You can explore different habitats and encounter a wide array of animals along the way from horseback. Combining different types of accommodation with a true African feel and dramatic landscape, this safari will make you feel like you traveled back in time.
You will be accommodated for 1 night at Wildside Camp, 4 nights at Boukenhout Fly Camp, and 2 nights at Ravineside Lodge.
You will travel the safari route, stopping at 3 different locations for the night. This circuit allows you to discover different scenery and animals, whilst always having a ground team on site to have everything prepared before arrival.
There is a questionnaire to be filled to assess your riding skill. Seeing as you will ride in Big 5 territory, you must be confident enough to walk, trot, and canter comfortable on a horse. Please send Out in Africa Encounters an inquiry for more information regarding the questionnaire.
You will arrive at the reserve in the lunch time. You will then settle in for the night in the Wildside Camp, one of the comfort lodges on the lower escarpment. Your game drive will depart at approximately 16:00. You will arrive as the sun sets, with your first pictures of some magnificent game. Dinner will be served at the lodge at 19:00.
A light breakfast will be served at 07:00 and then you will be transferred to the horses at 09:00 to start your ride on the lower escarpment, through big game territory. After about an hour and a half in the saddle, you will reach Waterberry picnic spot for brunch at approximately 11:00 before you start to climb up the escarpment.
The ride continues after a short rest, to climb the escarpment which is separated from the lower escarpment by 600 meters high cliffs. You will partly leading your horse over one of the steepest roads on South Africa, which has a gradient of 40 degrees at some points. If you have a medical condition which will not permit you to walk, Out in Africa Encounters will organize the transit in a vehicle.
As you reach the top, you will have some time to refresh yourself in the natural rock pool with spectacular views and crystal clear water. The ride continues onto the plains, an idyllic scene to spot animals. You will reach the fly camp at Boukenhout at about 15:00 in time for high tea, then settling into the place you will call home for the next 4 nights. Dinner will be served around the glistering fire at 19:00.
Starting early at 06:30, you will have a juice and some fruit in your saddle bag. The ride will take you along flat rock valley, until you reach a waterfall (flowing in summer only), where you will stop for a tea / coffee and a snack. You will back at the fly camp for an opulent brunch at around 09:30. You can relax in the hammocks or chill out at the fly camp until 15:00, when high tea is served.
You will also have the option to enjoy some of the activities during mid-day. You will back on the horses at 16:00 to ride Cycad Valley and Ubumanzi, and return to the fly camp as the sun sets for your well-deserved gin and tonic around the fire, followed by dinner under the stars.
After a light breakfast, you will start to ride at 07:00 along east and west, where your guide will point out animal tracks and signs along the way. You will arrive back in the camp after a 2-hour ride for brunch, followed by some times to take a plunge in the river or laze in a shady spot on a picnic blanket or hammock.
At 16:00, high tea will be ready before you mount for your afternoon ride which will take you to a magnificent viewpoint for some elaborate sundowners. You will arrive back into camp for a typical South African braai and listen to the sounds of the bush come to life, as you sit by the glistering fire with a wonderful South African wine to set the scene.
After an early breakfast, you will ride your horse at 06:00. You will ride west on sandy tracks with some opportunity to pick up speed. Going east towards Ingwe Valley, you will have some chances of spotting some more elusive animals in the thicker vegetation and hippos in the lakes. The ride continues onto the wide open grass plains and you will back to the camp in the lunch time.
In the afternoon, the ride will set out for another 2 and a half hours, as the day gets cooler for some spectacular views of the lower escarpment. On the way return to camp, there will be drinks set out on the rocks in the river, where you can watch the sun sets before your candle lit dinner at the camp. After dinner, you will pack your bags for the following days to move to the lodge.
You will have a later start today (weather depending), at about 09:00. After a light breakfast at the fly camp, you will ride to yellow wood, an idyllic spot with a natural plunge pool and deck with another awe-inspiring view where brunch will be served after your 2-hour ride. The ride continues at approximately 15:00 as it gets cooler across the open grassland. You will arrive at Ravineside Lodge before sunset to settle in. Drinks and a 3-course dinner at the lodge awaits you.
You will start the ride early after a light breakfast at 06:30, just in time to catch the stunning morning views and crisp air from the outer rim overlooking the views of the lower plateau. The ride will take you into different scenery as you will ride some rocky ledges and swim in the dam with the horses as it gets warmer. You will return to the lodge after a 2-hour ride for brunch. You will have some time to relax at the lodge and maybe enjoy some well-deserved spa time (at an extra charge).
You will leave the lodge for an afternoon ride at 15:30 for another few hours to Hanglip viewpoint with good chances of seeing abundant game on the open areas of Ungululu. You will stop at the viewpoint for some stunning pictures with your horse and back to the lodge through Tswene. You will pack your bags will be packed for the following days to move to the lower escarpment. Dinner will be served at the lodge.
After an early breakfast at approximately 06:30, you will set off to ride for about one hour and a half. After that, you will start your descent to the lower escarpment, ride and partly lead your horses for about 45 minutes until you reach the lower escarpment and ride to the reserve exit with another spectacular scenic route.
You will ride the horses to the “extreme 19th” gate, where the horses are based by about 10:00. Brunch will be served at the clubhouse, looking onto the golf club. You will have the chance to take showers on the resort before your departure to the airport at 13:00.
This horseback safari will take place in Entabeni Safari Conservancy, South Africa. Entabeni Safari Conservancy or “The Place of the Mountain”, is situated in the World Heritage Waterberg Biosphere of the Waterberg region. Approximately a three-hour drive north of Johannesburg, this malaria-free reserve boasts five eco-systems. The upper escarpment offers majestic craggy rock formations and wide-open grass plains. This is separated from the lower plateau by 600 meters high cliffs. The lower escarpment is approximately three degrees warmer and comprises sand-veld vegetation and a series of wetlands.
You will be served 6 breakfasts, 6 brunches, 2 lunches, and 6 dinners. Snacks, tea, and coffee will be available at the lodge and fly camp. You can also enjoy alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages at fly camp.
Please note that airport transfer from OR Tambo (JNB) to Entabeni departs before 11 a.m. on day 1. Transfer from Entabeni to OR Tambo (JNB) departs at 12:00. Transfer time each way is 2.5 or 3 hours. The rate is 160 EUR return per person.
"What a trip! Cécile and her team invite you to feel the heart of South Africa. Not only you meet wildlife, but you discover an incredible country. A perfect organisation, different schedule every day, great horses, delicious food. They make every day special for you (one evening, she did a magic tricks with 2 rhino...) Cécile and her team make you feel like a VIP. So, don't hesitate, be her guest!"
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"My Big 5 Safari was a trip of a lifetime. The group sizes are small, so the level of personalized attention is beyond compare. The guides are experienced and knowledgeable. They're passionate about this land and will make every effort to show you the best it has to offer, from learning what animal tracks you're looking at to working hard to find your favorite animal to see. The horses are fit, well trained, and reliable in all situations. They're also independent, so you'll have a unique ride each time, not just follow the horse in front of you. The number and variety of animals on the reserve are abundant. We saw several different animals on each ride. Bring a good camera! I particularly enjoyed staying in the bush at fly camp. It's comfortable and clean, and it brings you closer to nature and your companions, especially around the warm camp fire each night. I can't say enough about this trip and how well the operation is run. I highly recommend this trip to get a first hand, up-close safari experience. I can't wait to get back!"
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"I had the most wonderful time in Entabeni with Cecile and her horses. The Big 5 game reserve was beautiful, the horses were great, the food was fabulous food, and the guide knew everything about the animals and the surroundings. Have seen hippos, rhino, cheetahs, giraffes, as well as a lot of zebra,s wildebeests, and warthogs from the horseback. The picnics in the bush and the accommodation were superb, even the sun was shining everyday. I'd definitely recommend this place!"
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"Chaque minute de ce safari fut juste extraordinaire. Des chevaux adorables. Nous avons rencontré beaucoup d'animaux. L’equipe aux petits soins, des surprises tous les jours! Je reviendrai pendant l’été."
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