Great Letaba River Ride riding holiday in South Africa - Far and Ride
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Great Letaba River Ride, South Africa




Programmes


• 7 Night Itinerary

• 5 Night Itinerary

 

Horses



Type of horses:

Mainly Boerperd and Boerperd crosses, but there is also one Percheron x Thoroughbred and one Appaloosa.

Nature of horses:

Safe but with some spirit - a mixture to suit all abilities

Height of horses:

15 - 16 hh

Weight limit:

90kg (but two horses can carry more so please enquire)

Tack type:

Both English and Trail saddles are available.

 

Weather



 

Ride Description

North of the Olifants River ('Elephant River') the vegetation changes into Mopani veld, which is dominated by the Mopani tree - also known as the Butterfly tree due to its beautifully shaped leaves - which has become synonymous with the elephant. Here in this vast country, bordering Kruger National Park along the Great Letaba River valley, lies a beautiful little river called Magwena. In the 4,100 hectares of bush alongside this river a small herd of horses await you for a rustic and exclusive safari.

Giraffe, waterbuck, wildebeest, impala, kudu and zebra are among the larger animal species you search for along the many animal paths that traverse the bush. Ride through river gullies and thick bush to more open areas where it is much easier to spot the giraffe, even from a distance. Your guide will show you the tell-tale signs of their presence so you can track them and learn about their habits. There are chances to stretch your horses legs too by cantering along the soft and sandy trails.

This is a wild place, where time stands still and the sounds of the African bush will fill your ears.

Rides are personalised to suit whatever makes you comfortable - competent riders can ride through gullies, jumping ditches and logs as you come across them, whilst more novice riding groups can explore at a more leisurely pace. If abilities are mixed then secondary guides will be provided so that the group can be split to everyone's satisfaction. During the wet season you can ride through the water too. Each day you will explore a new area and most itineraries include a one-night sleep-out so that you can venture further the following day.

As well as the more common sightings, such as giraffe, there is also a game breeding area where you may see the beautiful but rare Sable antelope or perhaps the large Eland or shy Nyala.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

Most nights are spent at the cosy bush lodge - this small and intimate lodge has 3 separate thatched rondavel type rooms. Each room has an en-suite shower room, with hot water provided by an old donkey boiler system. The lodge sleeps six people as well as everyone is prepared to share - group sizes will be smaller if anyone pays a single supplement. The lodge runs on solar power and there are no plug sockets in the rooms, but there is a charging point in the main area. Each room also has a ceiling fan which runs on solar, as it can get hot in the summer months.

The main area has a bar, lounge, small splash pool and dining area which faces the dry river bed. Across the river bed is a water hole which is frequently visited by giraffe, wildebeest and impala. The dining area has one large table for everyone to sit around. There are also a couple of bomas behind the lodge - one for rainy nights and the other for viewing the beautiful starlit skies.

One night is in a Sleep-out camp where there are flushing toilets and proper showers, but you sleep on stretcher beds with sleeping bags.

You will not go hungry! The chef here spent 18 years working at a top lodge in South Africa and so has plenty of experience.

The day starts with coffee and something light to nibble on as it's usually very early! After the morning ride you return to brunch which includes fresh fruit and full continental and hot breakfast options. There is high tea before the afternoon ride which may include stuffed pancakes or wraps as well as cakes.

Dinner is a three course affair and will include some traditional meals. Some game meat, such as kudu or impala may be included as well.

Vegetarians and special diets can be accommodated with advance notice.

Drinks are available on a self service basis and include the usual selections - if you require something special then they can get this in for you but there may be an additional charge.

 

Activities

There is a small pool at the lodge and a comfortable seating area for relaxing when not riding. The water hole across the river is a great spot for watching game whilst resting too.

Non-riders can be accommodated but there are no activities on offer and no guides available for drives/walks. If non-riders are happy relaxing in camp or going on short walks (there is no dangerous game) then they are very welcome. Non-riders will be taken to the sleep-out camp with the staff.

On longer itineraries there is a day/night in Kruger park for viewing big game in a safari vehicle.

 

Further Details

Languages: English

Health requirements: The Kruger area is considered a malarial area and so you are likely to require anti-malarial medication.

Age limit: 8 years and older

Tuition: No

Included: Accommodation, meals, drinks (including wine, beer, cider etc), all riding

Not included: Flights, transfers, insurance, tips

 

Travel Information

There are no direct flights to Phalaborwa from the UK so you will have to fly via Johannesburg. There are daily flights from Johannesburg with South African Airways, although please be aware that this route is serviced with smaller planes and so a weight limit of 15kg for luggage often applies.

Your hosts will collect you from the airport and transfer you to the lodge, and with luck, you should arrive in time for lunch. Transfers cost R450 each way (max 4 people in the vehicle). Alternatively you can hire a car and we will supply driving directions.

Airport: Phalaborwa (PHW)

 

Programmes


7 Night Itinerary



A week long riding safari in an exclusive reserve, which also includes a day exploring Kruger national park in a vehicle as well as the five days of riding. The Magwena River runs through the middle of the reserve and on into the Letaba. None of the riding is in a Big Five area and so the day in Kruger gives you the opportunity to spot the large game that you don't have to worry about when riding.

Day One:

You will be collected from Phalabowra airport and transferred to the lodge in time for lunch. After a short chance to settle in you are taken to meet the horses for your first orientation ride - this is a short ride in the late afternoon just to relax into the bush and recover from your long journey.

Day Two:

After an early wake-up call with tea/coffee and traditional South African rusks, you mount up for a 2-3 hour ride into the bush. The early morning is the best time for game viewing and so hopefully you will catch sight of some species whilst you get to know your horse.

Return to the lodge for brunch and a relaxing siesta time around the pool. After tea and cake it is then time to set out for a sunset ride of c. 2 hours - the light is beautiful in the afternoons. Return to the lodge for dinner.

Day Three:

This morning you pack a small overnight bag, which will be transferred by vehicle to the sleep-out spot whilst you are riding. It takes a couple of hours to reach the overnight spot (bush camp) and you should arrive in time for brunch. The camp is rustic but still has flushing toilets and normal showers. Relax under the shade of the trees alongside the dry river bed before tea and cake in the afternoon.

The afternoon ride explores one of the furthest corners of the reserve before returning to the camp for dinner around the camp fire. Comfortable stretcher beds and sleeping bags are placed around the fire so that you can fully appreciate the glorious night sky. (Tents are available for those who prefer not to sleep out, or if rain looks likely).

Day Four:

Another early start so that you can ride out at dawn for the best animal sightings, then return to camp for brunch and restful siesta through the heat of the day. It may be possible to head up to the main house for a swim in the pool before returning to the bush camp for high tea. Pack your overnight bags again and ride back to the lodge for dinner.

Day Five:

For those who wish to ride, it is another early start, or you may prefer to have a relaxing morning and lie-in and rest. Brunch is served at the lodge with ample time to siesta or enjoy the pool through the afternoon. In the late afternoon, set out on a sundowner ride to a lookout point where you can watch the sun set whilst enjoying a gin and tonic. Return to the lodge for dinner.

Day Six:

This morning you again rise early for a short morning ride through the reserve. After breakfast at the lodge, pack your bags and set off to Letaba ranch which is a Big Five area. Along the journey you stop to experience some of the local culture before arriving at your lodge in the Kruger park in time for lunch. In the late afternoon, set out on a game drive looking for the larger species of game before the sun sets. Return to your lovely camp for dinner (exact camp to be confirmed when you book - either Mopanie or Olifants).

Day Seven:

An early start again today as you set off for Kruger national park, stopping for breakfast en-route. Spend the morning exploring the Kruger park and hopefully spotting some of the famous elephants, rhino or large cats that the park is renowned for. Lunch will be taken within the park, before continuing your exploration into the afternoon. You leave the park just before the gates close and head to either Unembeza Lodge or Kaya Ndlovu for dinner (this will be confirmed when you book). This is your final night in the African bush and the sounds of the night will echo around you.

Day Eight:

After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home.



Accommodation: You spend four nights at the main lodge, one night in a Sleep-out camp, one night in a camp in Kruger park and one night in a lodge near Hoedspruit.
Minimum group size: 1
Maximum group size: 6
Ability description: Strong novice to competent riders. There is no dangerous game but riders who are confident cantering outdoors will get more from the experience. Groups will ride at the ability of the weakest rider. Special itineraries can be designed for groups of beginner riders.
Type of ride: Centre based with trails in different directions
Total riding time: 7 nights / 8 days / 5 days riding (c. 4-5 hours per day)
Departure dates: 2017: Dates to suit - open all year round

Confirmed dates available to join: 17-24 June; 8-15 July; 22-29 July; 28 October-8 November
 
Pricing: 2017:

£1566 per adult sharing
£1344 per child under 12 years, sharing

Single supplement: £415 (if not willing to share)

There is a 12% discount for non-riders.



5 Night Itinerary



A five day riding safari in the exclusive Selwane nature reserve. One night is spent in a lodge which is alongside the Letaba river and open to the Kruger national park, but the other nights are in an area with no dangerous game. Children of 8 years and older who have at least 3 years experience of riding are encouraged and private dates for beginner riders can also be arranged.

Day One:

You will be collected from Phalabowra airport and transferred to the lodge in time for lunch. After a short chance to settle in you are taken to meet the horses for your first orientation ride - this is a short ride in the late afternoon just to relax into the bush and recover from your long journey.

Day Two:

After an early wake-up call with tea/coffee and traditional South African rusks, you mount up for a 2-3 hour ride into the bush. The early morning is the best time for game viewing and so hopefully you will catch sight of some species whilst you get to know your horse.

Return to the lodge for brunch and a relaxing siesta time around the pool. After tea and cake it is then time to set out for a sunset ride of c. 2 hours - the light is beautiful in the afternoons. Return to the lodge for dinner.

Day Three:

This morning you pack a small overnight bag, which will be transferred by vehicle to the sleep-out spot whilst you are riding. It takes a couple of hours to reach the overnight spot (bush camp) and you should arrive in time for brunch. The camp is rustic but still has flushing toilets and normal showers. Relax under the shade of the trees alongside the dry river bed before tea and cake in the afternoon.

The afternoon ride explores one of the furthest corners of the reserve before returning to the camp for dinner around the camp fire. Comfortable stretcher beds and sleeping bags are placed around the fire so that you can fully appreciate the glorious night sky. (Tents are available for those who prefer not to sleep out, or if rain looks likely).

Day Four:

Another early start so that you can ride out at dawn for the best animal sightings, then return to camp for brunch and restful siesta through the heat of the day. It may be possible to head up to the main house for a swim in the pool before returning to the bush camp for high tea. Pack your overnight bags again and ride back to the lodge for dinner.

Day Five:

This morning you again rise early for a short morning ride through the reserve. After breakfast at the lodge, pack your bags and set off to Letaba ranch which is a Big Five area. Along the journey you stop to experience some of the local culture before arriving at the Mtomeni Tented Camp in time for lunch. In the late afternoon, set out on a game drive along the beautiful Letaba river, looking for the larger species of game before the sun sets. Return to your lovely tented camp for dinner.

Day Six:

After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home.



Accommodation: Three nights in the bush lodge at Selwane, one night sleepout camp and one night in a tented camp on Letaba reserve.
Minimum group size: 1
Maximum group size: 6
Ability description: Intermediate riders who are confident at all paces across all terrain. Private dates can be arranged for groups of beginner or novice riders.
Type of ride: Safari with one night sleep out
Total riding time: 6 days / 5 nights / 4 days riding (c. 4 hours riding per day)
Departure dates: 2017: Dates to suit - open all year

Confirmed dates for others to join: 15-22 April 2017
 
Pricing: 2017:

£948 per adult
£764 per child (under 12 years)

£284 single supplement (if not willing to share)

There is a 12% discount for non-riders.