Our original ride! This is an exciting and beautiful 7 day bush ride covering some 200 km aimed at intermediate to experienced riders accustomed to riding English. You ride between Mt. Meru to the South, Lake Natron game controlled area to the West, Mt. Kilimanjaro to the East and the Kenya border and Amboseli National Park to the North. Our route takes us close to the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro with spectacular views of the mountain and the surrounding landscape. The riding area is unfenced and migrating game moves through freely. You can expect to see a variety of plains animals including zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, thompson's and grant's gazelle, gerenuk, jackal, ostrich, lesser kudu and a great variety of birdlife. We often encounter sizeable herds of elephant and may be lucky to find some of the bigger cats and other predators. Other game species often seen include eland, oryx, cheetah and hyena.
The ride follows a circuit starting and ending at Uto Farm, our base. We ride about 3 hours during the morning, break for lunch and siesta during the heat of the day, and then ride another 2 to 3 hours in the afternoon. The distance covered averages 30 to 40 km per day depending on the speed of the group. Each evening when you arrive at camp there is a large campfire ready to go and your tents are all set up with your gear inside; all you have to do is tie up your horse on our picket line and make sure your mount gets a bucket of water. One rest day is included in the itinerary.
The local Maasai tribe contribute an important aspect to the ride by adding a splash of colour and providing an insight into the rich cultural diversity of Tanzania. This ride takes place away from other tourist attractions in unspoiled wilderness. It is unlikely you will meet other visitors during any of our rides. Passing through Masailand at the very base of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the area has some of East Africa's most spectacular scenery, surrounded by 5895m high Kilimanjaro to the East, 4660m high Meru to the South, the rugged but beautiful Longido to the North and the Rift Valley volcanoes, Kitumbeine and Gelai to the West.
A relatively fast pace makes this an exciting safari for riders interested in a mixture of game viewing, beautiful semi-arid African bush, a wide variety of birdlife and good quality horses. The ride passes through unfenced communal pastoral lands and some deserted cattle ranches dating back to colonial days. Areas include, Lake Natron Game Controlled Area, Longido Game Controlled Area and Ngasurai Open Area as well as Ndarakwai Ranch on West Kilimanjaro.
Our horses are mostly thoroughbred with some cross thoroughbred/arab or thoroughbred/Australian brumbee. Riders should expect to spend on average 6 hours per day in the saddle and be fully capable of controlling their horse at a trot and a canter.
Game encounters are varied, with good numbers of Zebra, Grant's and Thompson's gazelle and Giraffe throughout the ride. Seen in lesser numbers is a large variety of game including the elusive Lesser Kudu and Oryx antelopes, only found in this semi-arid area as well as the elegant Gerenuk or Giraffe-neck gazelle which lives off browsing the leaves of bushes and trees.
In the portion of the ride that passes closest to Kilimanjaro, encounters with elephant are common as are sizeable herds of Eland, wildebeest and other game including baboon, vervet monkey, water-buck, warthog and impala - often all visible at the same moment.
During the months of July through November, riders should expect to get dusty as this is the dry period, with most of the trees without leaves - but also spectacularly beautiful. Riders during December to June can expect some rain, but also a landscape transformed to brilliant green, teeming with life - a very different ride from that during the dry season.
Day 2 *Ride west to Matissiwi Camp
Set off in the morning, passing local village settlements of the mwa-arush tribe with their well built mud and thatch huts. Late morning, we emerge onto the open plains. Once on the open plains, head for the top of the Matissiwi escarpment with fantastic views. Pace is varied to allow for changes in the terrain. Lunch in the shade of an acacia tree. After lunch, continue riding in the extensive valley with beautiful afternoon views of the surrounding valley and mountains across the golden savannah. Equestrian Safaris Camp.
Day 3 *Bush ride to Twin Hills camp
After breakfast, head northwards towards our twin hills camp. The country changes and becomes mores covered with bush. Good prospects for encountering gerenuk, giraffe, oryx and of course the more common game such as Zebra, Grants and Thompson''s gazelle. Arrival in camp late afternoon. Pace relatively slow due to uneven terrain. Equestrian Safaris Camp.
Day 4 *Head east to Ngasurai Plains
Set off from Twin Hills camp towards poachers hill where lunch will be served. We pass numerous rocky outcrops where we might find Lesser Kudu and Hyrax. We follow a flood plain to the east directly towards Mt. Kilimanjaro. On a clear day, the mountain will be directly in front of us. After lunch, head north-east to our exclusive camp at the edge of Ngasurai Plains. Equestrian Safaris Camp.
Day 5 *Elephant country
Cross the Ngasurai plains heading late morning into the edge of dense woodland frequented by elephant. Lunch at the edge of the dense woodland under an acacia tree. Afternoon, ride through nearly impenetrable bush with the strong smell of elephant in our nostrils. During the afternoon, we ride up the lower slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro to Ndarakwai Ranch - an old cattle ranch which now exists purely as a wildlife protection area. Here we are most likely to meet our first elephant and numerous other species of game. Camp at the edge of a hill with views across the area where we have ridden so far. Equestrian Safaris Camp.
Day 6 *Rest day
On this day, camp remains on location at Ndarakwai Ranch. Riding is optional. We schedule a 1/2 day of riding for the afternoon. The area lends itself to walks for those who do not wish to remain in camp. For those choosing not to ride, game viewing by Land Rover will be offered. Equestrian Safaris Camp.
Day 7 *Mt. Meru
Start heading back to Uto Farm by riding across the bush at the Northern base of Mt. Meru. Camp will be mid way between Ndarakwai on West Kilimanjaro and Uto Farm on West Meru. The ride takes us through some village lands, but most of it is open country. Camp near Ngarenanyuki River. Equestrian Safaris Camp.
Day 8*Savannah and open plains
Ride back to Uto Farm arriving late afternoon. The ride crosses large open areas of savannah, allowing for some fast canters on the way to the farm.
After breakfast transfer to airport/Arusha/Nairobi/National Parks.
"We all wanted to let you know that we had a great time in the horseback safari. We had the opportunity of learning a lot from you, Jan and Anna about Tanzania, Massai, horses and the game we saw most of the times when you pointed them to us. I am sure that now we are more able to spot an elephant in the middle of the savannah than before. The organization was so perfect that everything seemed easy to us, even being able to have hot showers in the middle of the bush ! We enjoyed all the spots you had chosen to set the camps, the nice sunsets, the cozy fire and the flying bird show on our nearly last if not last day. The food was very good and varied so we had a chance of eating a splendid tomato soup, finishing a whole cheese and trying ugali. We will all keep great memories of this trip and will also miss Kid, Segundo, Breveheart, Lazy, Straightone, Sinqwe and Porthos.
We enjoyed your company. I am sure we will meet again. We will certainly keep in contact. If you ever come to Madrid, please let us know.
Send our regards to Anna, Jan and your father. Enjoy your next safari.
|Riding expedition||Tanzania||9 Days||All year||Level B||5-10|
|8 riders||7 riders||6 riders||5 riders||4 riders||3 riders||2 riders|