Safaris Unlimited riding holiday in Kenya - Far and Ride
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Safaris Unlimited, Kenya





Reviews



'Amazing' is the best word to describe my holiday! Everything was fabulous... tents, showers, food, staff and of course the horses. Seeing all the animals so close was brilliant but I think one memory that was just wonderful was being camped right by the river with about 30 hippos. Accommodation and food was 1st class and I loved my horse, Picador. He was a lovely big boy and bold, he was wonderful. Gordie was fantastic, full of information and really great.

Julie S.
 

Horses



Type of horses:

Somali-Arab Crosses and Thoroughbreds.

Nature of horses:

Carefully schooled, evenly tempered and fit.

Height of horses:

14 - 17hh

Weight limit:

200lbs / 90kgs

Tack type:

English style riding with English GP and French cavalry saddles and snaffle bridles. Double-sided saddlebags are provided.

 

Weather



 

Ride Description

In 1971 a man called Tony Church had a bright idea… he sold his golf clubs, bought three ponies and started organising horse riding safaris across East Africa. This was the start of Safaris Unlimited, a setup which has since grown to become internationally renowned for offering professional, exciting horseback experiences all under the guidance of Tony's son, Gordie, who was born with a passion for safaris in his blood. Gordie leads each safari personally and loves to share his enthusiasm for the wilderness and his profound knowledge of the wildlife and people living in Kenya. Travelling across the open plains on a sure-footed horse is an African experience not to be missed!

These riding safaris operate in game-rich wilderness areas, far from civilisation, and offer incredible diversity in wildlife species, birdlife and scenery. These unfenced expanses of land are home to the Masai and Samburu people who herd livestock across the plains. Fossils found in East Africa indicate that hominids were living here up to three million year ago, a discovery which has earned the region its nickname as the 'The Cradle of Mankind'. The protected wildlife areas provide wonderful habitats for a variety of herbivores such as wildebeest, elephant, rhino and many others. There is also a number of endemic species such as the Reticulated Giraffe, Grevy Zebra, Lesser Kudu, Gerenuk, Black Rhino and more. There are over a thousand bird species, both resident and immigrant, making it a birdwatchers' paradise. All in all, it is a legendary safari destination!

Holly from Far and Ride had the pleasure of riding across the Mara with Gordie and his team in July 2015 and would be delighted to tell you more about it. These rides are highly recommended and should definitely be on your bucket list!

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

You are accommodated in traditional mobile tented camps which is typical of a safari holiday. The camp moves around every other day and you ride on to meet them again in the afternoon. This isn't your standard camping - the tents are luxurious, warm and comfortable. The camps are pitched at the most secluded and beautiful areas, chosen to fully immerse you in your surroundings whilst offering privacy. The location might be under a canopy of trees or perhaps besides a stream.

The mosquito-proof tents are large and well furnished with twin or double beds, carpets and bedside tables. Hot showers are available along with large towels, warm feather duvets, Egyptian cotton sheets and hot water bottles - after your day in the saddle you will enjoy the comfort! The separate canvas shower and loo units are placed behind each tent. Solar lights and hurricane lanterns keep camp lit and welcoming.

The camp crew take care of everything and after you're done, the camp is packed up leaving behind pristine wilderness.

Professional chefs provide delicious, impressive meals and tasty cocktails. The dining tent is furnished with table and chairs for elegant camp meals and these include a variety of fresh fruit, vegetables, meats, fish and fowl. All of the food is locally sourced with 'full monty' breakfasts, al fresco lunches and candlelit dinners. Meals are prepared over open fires and served by waiters. Bread is baked fresh each day and there is even a safari freezer so that they can provide ice for your drinks! The 'bush bar' is stocked with imported wines and spirits as well as a choice of local beers, sodas and bottled water.

Special dietary requirements can be catered for with prior notice and every effort is made to accommodate special requests.

 

Activities

Included in the riding programmes you will find other activities such as game drives, guided walks and cultural visits. Extensions and additional activities can be organised with prior notice and non-riders are welcome. Non-riders travel in a customised game viewing vehicle with their own professional safari guide.

If you wish to tailor make a safari then the following activities can be included:

Flying Safaris - exploring Kenya via private air charter companies (plane and helicopters).

Walking Safaris - assisted by porters and camels. An intimate experience with nature!

Mountain Climbing - East Africa is one of the world's most volcanic areas and mountains to climb include Kilimanjaro, Mt Kenya, the Virunga Massif in Central Africa and the Mountains of the Moon in Uganda.

Tracking the Great Apes - the Albertine Rift is home to various primates, especially chimpanzee and the mountain gorilla. Track them through the thick forest!

Ornithology - with more than 1000 bird species in East Africa, the keen ornithologist will be in paradise!

Anthropology - there are several palaeo-anthropological sites of interest which can be visited. On request it is possible to be joined by Drs Meave or Louise Leakey who can share their expertise.

Bird Shooting - a few days or an entire safari can be dedicated to hunting fowl in the region. The emphasis is on the sporting experience and bag limits are low, but the shooting is challenging and fun. The bird shooting seasons are February - March and July - October. Game birds available include guinea fowl, sandgrouse, francolin, spur fowl, quail and dove. Daily bag limit is twenty birds per gun.

Fishing - fly-fishing, line fishing and deep-sea fishing safaris in Kenya are unbeatable. Lake Victoria is home to the giant Nile perch whilst there are rainbow trout in the highlands and challenging tag and release deep-see fishing opportunities on the Indian Ocean.

 

Further Details

Languages: English.

Health requirements: Good health and fitness required.

Age limit: Children are accepted but must be strong, competent riders who are able to ride at all paces, trot for 10 minutes at a time and be in the saddle for long hours, as well as able to gallop out of trouble. Therefore we do not recommend these rides for children under 12.

Tuition: No.

Included: Nairobo airport transfers, shared camp accommodation, all meals, all drinks in camp (including bottled water), professional riding guide, Kenya Professional Safari Guide in each vehicle, full compliment of safari crew, camp & safari equipment, horses & tack, support vehicles, game viewing vehicles, Flying Doctors' membership, return domestic flights (Nairobi-Mara-Nairobi OR Nairobi-Nanyuki-Nairobi depending on itinerary), day & night game drives, cultural visits, laundry in camp, government taxes.

Not included: International flights and visas, travel insurance, Nairobi accommodation on the first night, single supplement, gratuities, additional activities and services not mentioned.

 

Travel Information

You should travel to Nairobi. You will be met at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and transferred to your hotel for the start of the programme. Airport transfers are included in the safari prices.

Airport: Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi

 

Programmes


Masai Mara Ride (8 Nights)



This is a truly spectacular African riding adventure, exploring the treasures and wilderness of the Masai Mara and staying in mobile tented camps for an authentic safari experience. Organised by Gordie Church, one of the Africa's best known riding guides, this safari will show you a host of incredible wildlife as well as the Masai people who herd livestock across the region. Amazing horse riding, game drives, cultural visits, candlelit dinners and more.

The greater Mara Conservancies have come to epitomise East Africa with their rolling savannah landscapes, Acacia woodlands and forests on the banks of the Mara and Olare Orok rivers. The wilderness here is an extension of the Serengeti (Tanzania) ecosystem and is considered to be Kenya's most impressive wildlife sanctuary. The annual migration of up to a million wildebeest is one of most dramatic wildlife spectacles in the world! Wildlife in the area include aardvark, baboon, buffalo, bushbuck, cheetah, crocodile, dikdik, eland, elephant, gazelle, genet, giraffe, hippo, hyena, impala, jackal, kongoni, leopard, lion, mongoose, reedbuck, rhino, serval, topi, warthog, waterbuck, wildebeest and zebra. Of course the Mara is also home to the handsome Masai people who are often brightly dressed and seen herding their livestock across the region.

Itinerary:

On arrival in Nairobi you will be met at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and transferred to your hotel. Accommodation this night is not included.

Day 1 - There is a briefing followed by a morning flight to the Mara, departing at 10:00 and arriving at 11:00. You will be met on arrival at the airstrip and transferred to your mobile camp in time for lunch. This afternoon you will enjoy your first ride or game drive. Dinner in camp.

Day 2 - A lovely morning ride across the open savanna, interspersed with acacia woodland, to a bush brunch by Marteo rock. Return to camp along the base of Oloibumurt Hill and down the Olare Lamun stream. In the late afternoon, either ride or game drive to the Olelentiol woodlands where you may visit a small and remote primary school for the Masai children and a nearby traditional village. Riding c. 15-20kms

Day 3 - Your first full day in the saddle takes you through spectacular wildlife country with giraffe, zebra, impala, warthog and more. A picnic lunch is enjoyed under two large yellow-fever trees in the Olesere depression. After a siesta ride to the Eneskiria stream used by the Masai to water their cattle - this area is popular with elephant, leopard and cheetah. Camp has been moved whilst you are riding so you sleep in a new location. Riding c. 20-25kms

Day 4Morning and afternoon rides and game drives exploring the Talek, Ololmorijoi streams and the surrounding game country of Naboisho.  Topi, hartebeest, buffalo and baboons frequent this area. Bloody Mary's in the morning and Pink Gin's for sundowners in the evening make for a heavenly day on safari. Riding c. 15-20kms

Day 5 -A pre-dawn wake up call prepares you for your longest day on safari. Head due west and traverse the rolling plains of Koiyaki. Ostrich, gazelle, wildebeest, eland and hyena may be encountered. Descend the Motorogi escarpment and cross the Ntiakitiak stream before finally reaching the Enkoyanani spring for a picnic lunch. Long siesta followed by a beautiful ride up the Olare Orok stream and its mighty fig trees. Camp moves to a new location. Riding c. 45-50kms

Day 6 - A well deserved rest for the horses this morning as you set out in a private 4x4 vehicle to photograph the wildlife at close quarters. Two large prides of lion make this area their home, allowing for a sensational big cat experience. Afternoon ride, drive or walk in this magical corner of the Mara. You may also go out be vehicle with a spotlight to discover the nocturnal creatures. Riding c. 5-10kms

Day 7 - After a 'full monty' breakfast ride out in a northerly direction, through a little gorge and over the Ololituroto plain, scattered with the occasional balanities tree. Exceptional views in every direction on excellent ground for the horses to move up a gear. Picnic lunch in the Olomai forest with a siesta and glorious ride down to the Mara river with many large pods of hippo and the occasional monster crocodile. Camp moves to a new location. Riding c. 20-25kms

Day 8 - A stunning area to explore by horse or vehicle. You may ford the river and ride under the iconic Siria escarpment where the concentration of game is breathtaking and there are plenty of opportunities to jump fallen trees created by the resident elephant.  Waterbuck, jackal and lion all occur here as do other wildlife species. Riding c. 15-20kms

Day 9 -A final morning ride or drive following the banks of the river, offering wonderful opportunities for long canters over the Serian and Maternity plains. After a hearty brunch, say goodbye to your horse and camp crew. Afternoon flight to Nairobi departing at 16:15. Upon arrival in Nairobi at 17:30 you will be met and transferred to JKIA for your international flight home. Dinner en-route to the airport is optional. Riding c. 10-15kms



Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 12
Ability description: Intermediate riders and above (English style) - you should be comfortable riding at all paces, able to rise/post to the trot for 10 minutes at a time and able to gallop out of trouble. You will benefit if you are a fit and proficient rider. The guide will assess the capability of each participant and if he feels that a rider is not of a sufficient standard and therefore poses a risk to themselves and others, he will ask them to continue the safari in a vehicle rather than on horseback.

NB. This is not a fast paced ride overall and whilst there are trots and canters, most of the riding is at a walking pace as you explore the Mara and look for fantastic wildlife.
Type of ride: Mobile safari.
Total riding time: 4 - 8 hours a day, covering 20 - 40 kms. This includes refreshment breaks. Full day rides feature picnic lunches with siesta time during the heat of the day.
Departure dates: 2017: 22-30 June, 22-30 July, 22-30 August.

Other dates available on request for private groups (not available in April, May or November).
 
Pricing: 2017:

Ride price: £6711 per person.
Small group supplement (if only 4 guests or less): £5258 per group.
Single room supplement (available on request): £1449 per person.

The ride prices include the cost of the safari outfitting and also the wilderness conservancy fees. The internal flights between Nairobi and the Mara are also included, as well as Flying Doctor Membership.



A Short Ride in the Mara (6 Nights)



This is a six night African riding adventure, exploring the treasures and wilderness of the Masai Mara and staying in mobile tented camps for an authentic safari experience. Organised by Gordie Church, one of the Africa's best known riding guides, this safari will show you a host of incredible wildlife as well as the Masai people who herd livestock across the region. Amazing horse riding, game drives, cultural visits, candlelit dinners and more. 

The greater Mara Conservancies have come to epitomise East Africa with their rolling savannah landscapes, Acacia woodlands and forests on the banks of the Mara and Olare Orok rivers. The wilderness here is an extension of the Serengeti (Tanzania) ecosystem and is considered to be Kenya's most impressive wildlife sanctuary. The annual migration of up to a million wildebeest is one of most dramatic wildlife spectacles in the world! Wildlife in the area include aardvark, baboon, buffalo, bushbuck, cheetah, crocodile, dikdik, eland, elephant, gazelle, genet, giraffe, hippo, hyena, impala, jackal, kongoni, leopard, lion, mongoose, reedbuck, rhino, serval, topi, warthog, waterbuck, wildebeest and zebra. Of course the Mara is also home to the handsome Masai people who are often brightly dressed and seen herding their livestock across the region.

Itinerary:

On arrival in Nairobi you will be met at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and transferred to your hotel. Accommodation this night is not included. 

Day 1 - There is a briefing followed by a morning flight to the Mara, departing at 10:00am and arriving at 11:00am. This afternoon you will enjoy your first ride or game drive. This area is a favourite for elephant, leopard and cheetah. Lunch and dinner are eaten in camp. 

Day 2 - Morning and afternoon rides and game drives exploring the Talek, Ololmorijoi streams and the surrounding game country of Naboisho.  Topi, hartebeest, buffalo and baboons frequent this area. Bloody Mary's in the morning and Pink Gin's for sundowners in the evening make for a heavenly day on safari. Riding c. 15-20kms

Day 3 - A pre-dawn wake up call prepares you for your longest day on safari. Head due west and traverse the rolling plains of Koiyaki. Ostrich, gazelle, wildebeest, eland and hyena may be encountered. Descend the Motorogi escarpment and cross the Ntiakitiak stream before finally reaching the Enkoyanani spring for a picnic lunch. Long siesta followed by a beautiful ride up the Olare Orok stream and its mighty fig trees. Camp moves to a new location. Riding c. 45-50kms

Day 4 -A well deserved rest for the horses this morning as you set out in a private 4x4 vehicle to photograph the wildlife at close quarters. Two large prides of lion make this area their home, allowing for a sensational big cat experience. Afternoon ride, drive or walk in this magical corner of the Mara. You may also go out be vehicle with a spotlight to discover the nocturnal creatures. Riding c. 5-10kms

Day 5 - After a 'full monty' breakfast ride out in a northerly direction, through a little gorge and over the Ololituroto plain, scattered with the occasional balanities tree. Exceptional views in every direction on excellent ground for the horses to move up a gear. Picnic lunch in the Olomai forest with a siesta and glorious ride down to the Mara river with many large pods of hippo and the occasional monster crocodile. Camp moves to a new location. Riding c. 20-25kms

Day 6 - A stunning area to explore by horse or vehicle. You may ford the river and ride under the iconic Siria escarpment where the concentration of game is breathtaking and there are plenty of opportunities to jump fallen trees created by the resident elephant.  Waterbuck, jackal and lion all occur here as do other wildlife species. Riding c. 15-20kms

Day 7 - A final morning ride or drive following the banks of the river, offering wonderful opportunities for long canters over the Serian and Maternity plains. After a hearty brunch, say goodbye to your horse and camp crew. Afternoon flight to Nairobi departing at 16:15. Upon arrival in Nairobi at 17:30 you will be met and transferred to JKIA for your international flight home. Dinner en-route to the airport is optional. Riding c. 10-15kms



Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 12
Ability description: Intermediate riders and above (English style) - you should be comfortable riding at all paces, able to rise/post to the trot for 10 minutes at a time and able to gallop out of trouble. You will benefit if you are a fit and proficient rider. The guide will assess the capability of each participant and if he feels that a rider is not of a sufficient standard and therefore poses a risk to themselves and others, he will ask them to continue the safari in a vehicle rather than on horseback.

NB. This is not a fast paced ride overall and whilst there are trots and canters, most of the riding is at a walking pace as you explore the Mara and look for fantastic wildlife.
Type of ride: Mobile tented safari.
Total riding time: Flexible, as per itinerary.
Departure dates: 2017: 14-20 July, 14-20 August.
Other dates on request for a minimum of 2 riders.
 
Pricing: 2017:

Ride price: £5366 per person.
Small group supplement (if only 4 guests or less): £4119 per group.
Single room supplement (available on request): £1131 per person.

The ride prices include the cost of the safari outfitting and then also the wilderness conservancy fees.



The Lollboran Ride (6 Nights)



This new six night ride covers three privately-owned wildlife conservancies which lie in the Laikipia Region, abundant in wildlife and located in the shadow of Mt. Kenya. The safari involves staying at three beautiful campsites in an area with almost no other lodges. There is an assortment of wildlife, bountiful in number, and here you are able to ride with north Kenya's endemic species including reticulated giraffe, grevy zebra, gerenuk, oryx as well as greater and lesser kudu. You also have a good chance of seeing the rare black rhino, a truly precious experience. 

The scenery of the region is wonderfully varied from forests to open plains, rolling hills and also rocky escarpments. Where the country opens out you can enjoy views across the dry country of the Northern Frontier District. 

Itinerary:

You will be met at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and transferred to your hotel (not included). 

Day 1 - Briefing following a morning flight into Nanyuki airstrip, departing at 09:15am and arriving at 09:50am. You will be met and driven to the Lolldaiga Conservancy to enjoy lunch and a rest after your travels. In the afternoon you can enjoy your first ride or alternatively take a guided walk or game drive. 

Lunch and dinner are both eaten in camp. Tonight you will sleep in the Lolldaiga Conservancy South Camp. 

Day 2 - Morning ride, walk or game drive. Afternoon ride or game drive. 

All meals in camp. Another night in the Lolldaiga Conservancy South Camp. 

Day 3 - All day ride or game drive whilst the mobile tented camp is moved to a new location. 

Breakfast and dinner eaten in camp, lunch is a picnic in the bush. Overnight in Lolldaiga Conservancy North Camp.

Day 4 - Morning and afternoon ride, walk or game drive. 

All meals in camp. Another night in the Lolldaiga Conservancy North Camp. 

Day 5 - All day ride or game drive around the Ole Naishu Ranch to reach your next camp in the Borana Conservancy. Your mobile tented camp is moved to the new location. 

Breakfast and dinner eaten in camp, lunch is a picnic in the bush. Overnight in the Borana Conservancy. 

Day 6 - Your final day of activities! Morning and afternoon ride, walk or game drive with a good chance of spotting rhino! 

All meals in camp, final night spent in the Borana Conservancy. 

Day 7 - Morning transfer back to Nanyuki airstrip where you will catch the Air Kenya flight departing at 11:55am. You will arrive in Nairobi at 12:30pm and transferred to Macushla House where a day room has been booked for you. Here you can relax and prepare for your flight home. In the evening you will be transferred to JKIA for your departing flight. 

Breakfast in camp. 



Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 12
Ability description: Intermediate riders and above (English style) - you should be comfortable riding at all paces, able to rise/post to the trot for 10 minutes at a time and able to gallop out of trouble. You will benefit if you are a fit and proficient rider. The guide will assess the capability of each participant and if he feels that a rider is not of a sufficient standard and therefore poses a risk to themselves and others, he will ask them to continue the safari in a vehicle rather than on horseback.
Type of ride: Mobile safari.
Total riding time: Riding available on 6 days, from morning or afternoon rides up to full days, as per itinerary.
Departure dates: 2017: No set departures - can be scheduled to suit for a minimum of 2 participants (supplementary fee applies for groups of 4 or less).

Ride is NOT available in April, May, August, September and November.
 
Pricing: 2017:

£4568 per person.

Small group supplement (if group is 4 guests or less): £3100
Single room supplement (if requested): £1131 per person