Type of horses:
South African Boerperd, Thoroughbred, Warmbloods and Friesian crosses.
Nature of horses:
Responsive, well-schooled, brave, forward going and sensitive. Horses are regularly schooled in dressage and over small jumps.
Height of horses:
14.3 - 17 hands high.
95 kgs / 15 stone / 210 lbs
Bates Caprilli dressage saddles are used on all of the horses - there are seat savers available if required. Most horses wear leather snaffle bridles.
These highly personalised riding safaris are for experienced riders only and include some lovely, long canters, occasional gallops and jumps. Years of experience and training enable the horses to remain calm in front of big game to ensure close but safe viewings of all of the Big Five as well as numerous plains game. The riding is sporty and fun and the horses are beautifully schooled for dressage and over fences to make them a responsive mount.
You ride in the 30,000 hectare Karongwe and Makalali game reserves, home to all of the Big Five. These riding safaris are mobile so you can cover greater distances. You stay in Wait A Little's main camp, in beautiful tents on wooden platforms built alongside the river before spending a night sleeping out under the stars. You move on to a private lodge where only the owners and Wait A Little's guests are able to stay before returning to main camp at the end of your adventure.
The rides are run and guided by Philip and Gerti Kusseler. Gerti's talent for schooling and training the horses, coupled with Philip's skill and experience of guiding, make these "must do" safaris for competent riders.
Riding groups are small, with a maximum of 7 riders to ensure an exclusive and personal safari.
At Wait A Little main camp there are three large, spacious tents built on wooden platforms on the banks of the Makothswe river. Each tent has it's own private bathroom with flushing toilet, bath and shower. Two of the tents have a king size bed plus a single bed, whereas the third tent has just a king size bed. There is also a thatched rondavel in the garden which can accommodate a single rider. A fourth large tent is in the process of being built so that all guests can overlook the river. There is a communal eating area overlooking the river, plus a comfortable seating area and a swimming pool.
At Xidulu, you stay in a private lodge with five rooms, each of which is different. The lodge overlooks a hippo pool. There is a viewing platform and an infinity pool as well as communal seating areas. All but one of the rooms has a bath as well as both indoor and outdoor showers.
One night is spent sleeping out at Beacon rock - the highest point of the reserve. Here you sleep under the stars and enjoy a typical South African braai (BBQ) around the open fire.
All meals and drinks are provided. Breakfast is usually light as you set off early in the morning. Lunch includes lots of fresh salads, home made bread and meat/fish. Dinner is generous and a mixture of international cuisines. Fresh fish, venison, pasta and plenty of vegetables. There will be some braai (BBQ's) over the open fire.
Vegetarians can be catered for with advance notice.
Languages: English, German
Health requirements: You need to be fit for long hours in the saddle in the African sun. It is likely that your doctor will recommend anti-malarial medication for this area, which is close to Kruger national park.
Age limit: Children over the age of 12 years are accepted provided they are competent riders. There is a 20% discount for children aged 12 - 16 years.
Tuition: Only on special "Fit for Safari" itinerary
Included: Accommodation, all meals and drinks, riding, other safari activities
Not included: Flights, transfers, insurance, tips
Flights to Hoedspruit are via Johannesburg International airport. We recommend flying South African Airways as you can get both your international and internal flight on the same ticket, which protects you in the event of delays.
Alternatively you can fly internationally to Johannesburg with British Airways or Virgin direct from London Heathrow, or via Europe with KLM, Air France or Lufthansa. You then need to book the South African Airways Airlink flight to Hoedspruit.
Transfers from Hoedspruit airport are £40 per person each way (provided at least two in transfer vehicle).
Alternatively you can arrive/depart from Phalabowra airport. Transfers from Phalabowra airport are £50 per person each way, provided there are at least two pax in the vehicle.
We recommend booking the latest arriving and departing Hoedspruit flights - these flights are better for both your safari hosts and your connecting flights. Please ask if you need advice.
Airport: Hoedspruit (HDS)
Alternative Airport: Phalaborwa (PHW)
Please note that wildlife is exactly that - wild - and so sightings cannot be guaranteed, but every effort will be made by your guides to ensure a fantastic and thrilling safari. The following itinerary is therefore a guide:
Day One: Hoedspruit - Wait A Little camp
On arrival at Hoedspruit (or Phalabowra) airport, you will be met and transferred to Wait A Little in time for afternoon tea and sandwiches. You will be shown to your tent and introduced to all of your team before a safety briefing and your first ride.
The orientation ride introduces you to the area around camp and allows you the chance to relax and unwind after your long flight. You will become accustomed to the horses and riding style whilst perhaps spotting your first zebra or giraffe. Sundowners whilst watching the Drakensburg mountains on the horizon are followed by a three course dinner.
Your first night in the African bush is probably the most exciting as the sounds of the bush echo around you.
c. 1-2 hours riding
Day Two: Karongwe reserve
You will be woken early with tea or coffee in your tent. After a light breakfast you set out on your first full morning ride. Your guide will study the ground for evidence of whatever passed by the night before and you will set off tracking game to discover what can be found.
Return to camp for lunch and a siesta through the heat of the day. After tea/coffee you set off on a shorter afternoon ride, ending at a sundowner spot where you can watch a colourful African sunset.
c. 6 hours riding (4 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon)
Day Three: Karongwe reserve
Another long morning ride through the Karongwe reserve searching for game. You may try a different horse today as you set off in a different direction to explore the river beds and bush.
During your lunchtime siesta you may wish to have a relaxing massage - this is available at extra cost.
In the afternoon your guide will drive you over to the buffalo project in the furthest northern corner of the reserve. Driving along the Makuthswe river you will hopefully find the buffalo in a beautiful spot where you can have sundowners. Return to camp in the dark using the spotlight to seek out nocturnal species.
Day Four: Wait A Little - Beacon Rock
Another fantastic morning of riding through the reserve, perhaps finding the elephant splashing through the river, or the lion relaxing on the sands.
After lunch you pack your bags to head off on your adventure. Your luggage is transferred by vehicle so you can enjoy the ride to Beacon rock. The gently undulating roads lend themselves to long canters as you pass between the twin rock formations of Lion and Leopard Hill. At Beacon rock you can scramble to the summit for a view over the entire lowveld escarpment and the whole reserve, watching the sun set behind the Drakensburg escarpment. Spend the night around the campfire and surrounded by your horses. A traditional braai (BBQ) is cooked over the fire with baked potatoes and salads before settling down to sleep under the stars.
c. 6 hours riding
Day Five: Beacon Rock - XiDulu
Wake to the rich colours of the sunrise and set off on your longest ride. You cross from Karongwe reserve into Makalali reserve which is dominated by large, open plains where you may find yourself cantering alongside zebra or giraffe.
You arrive at XiDulu in time for lunch. Built on the edge of a dam with a resident pod of hippo, you can view the game from your room, the purpose built viewing deck or the infinity pool. Elephants often visit the dam to cool off during the midday sun, whilst lion or hyena are often heard around the lodge at night.
In the afternoon you will be taken on a game drive, specifically to search out the big cats. Your guide will track the footprints and signs left by the cats earlier in the day and, if you are lucky, he will find them for you. After watching the sun set with a drink in your hand, you continue your game drive with the spot light in the hope of spotting bushbabies in the trees or perhaps even a leopard.
c. 5-6 hours riding
Day Six: Makalali reserve
Today's ride is a thrilling one as you head off exploring Makalali, cutting through the veldt at a canter, twisting and turning around the trees. "Bushwhacking" is as much fun for your horse as it is for you! You may come across branches or trees felled by elephant which invite you to jump, or startle a Kudu which runs in front of you, showing you the path.
In the afternoon you can choose to take another shorter ride through the reserve, or another game drive with your experienced guide.
c. 4-6 hours riding
Day Seven: XiDulu - Wait A Little
This morning you say goodbye to XiDulu and head back to Wait A Little. There are opportunities for long canters, and perhaps even a gallop on the sandy tracks as you know your horse very well by now. You will be good at spotting the wildlife by now too and will recognize many of the antelope species.
You'll be back at Wait A Little in time for lunch and another siesta. The afternoon ride and sundowner on the open plains will be sad, but beautiful as you watch the African sun set for the final time. The farewell dinner is usually something special, such as kudu or eland fillets with a sherry sauce.
c. 6 hours riding
Day Eight: Wait A Little - Hoedspruit
An early wake-up call to ensure there is time for a quick and sporty final ride around the reserve. Brunch will be served on return to camp before being transferred to the airport.
c. 1-2 hours riding
|Minimum group size:||2|
|Maximum group size:||7|
|Ability description:||You need to be a fit, capable and confident rider. This is a ride for experienced riders only as the pace can be fast and you are riding with potentially dangerous game. You need to be secure in the saddle and able to ride in light seat and jump small obstacles.|
|Type of ride:||Mobile safari|
|Total riding time:||8 days / 7 nights. 7 days riding.|
19-26 February (FULL); 4 - 11 (FULL), 11 - 18 March; 25 Mar - 1 Apr; 1 - 8, 8 - 15 April; 29 Apr-6 May (FULL); 13-20 May; 3-10, 10-17 (FULL), 17-24 June (FULL); 8-15, 23-30 July; 19-26 August (FULL); 26 Aug-2 Sept; 2-9, 16-23, 23-30 September; 30 Sep-7 Oct; 7-14, 21-28 October (FULL); 28 Oct-4 November; 4-11 November; 25 Nov-2 December; 2-9, 9-16, 16-23 December; 30 December-6 January (FULL).
6-13 January; 22-29 September; 29 Sept-6 October.
Per person sharing for 7 nights: £2870
There is no single supplement if you are willing to share a tent with another guest. One single will be allocated the private rondavel in the garden, but other singles will have to either share or pay a 50% single supplement to guarantee their own room.
Transfers from Hoedspruit airport: £40 per person each way (min 2)
Transfers from Phalabowra airport: £50 per person each way (min 2)