Waterberg Big Five Safari riding holiday in South Africa - Far and Ride
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Waterberg Big Five Safari, South Africa




Programme


• Waterberg Big Five Circuit

 

Horses



Type of horses:

Boerperd, Boerperd cross, Arab cross, Thoroughbred cross and Nooitgedacht cross

Nature of horses:

Brave, sturdy, forward going and willing to please

Height of horses:

14.2 - 16.2 hh

Weight limit:

95 kg / 14 stone 9 lbs

Tack type:

English, but there are a couple of trail saddles if you prefer. All horses respond to neck-reining as well as conventional riding.

 

Weather



 

Ride Description

Entabeni - "The Place of the Mountain" is a stunning reserve situated within the World Heritage Waterberg Biosphere. This 22,000ha malaria-free reserve is only three hours north of Johannesburg and boasts five ecosystems. The upper escarpment offers majestic craggy rock formations and wide-open grassy plains. This is separated from the lower plateau by 600m high cliffs. The lower escarpment is approximately 3 degrees warmer and comprises sandveld vegetation and a series of wetlands.

Within this spectacular landscape all of the Big Five reside, along with plentiful plains game too. Riding safaris take place on both the upper and lower escarpments so you get to experience not only the stunning ecosystems, but also search for a high number of animals.

The horses are all well adapted to the environment and used to the game. Whilst they are independent they are also keen to stay as a herd in game situations. The resident herd are all special characters and love their job, so all guests can focus on the game viewing and magnificent surroundings rather than worrying about their horse. Each horse is schooled regularly as well as going on safari so that they are responsive and do not get bored.

Your guides are experienced, fully qualified and will teach you the signs to look for as you track the game, as well as introducing you to exhilarating riding across the plains.

The usual riding safari itinerary includes staying in a lodge on the lower escarpment before moving to a fly camp in the bush for an authentic African adventure. Finally finishing in a different lodge. However, on dates when these mobile rides are not operating, it may be possible to organise a private lodge-based safari for groups, so please do contact us if you would prefer this option.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

Your first night is usually at Wildside Safari camp on the lower escarpment. There are 20 tented chalets which are en-suite and offer a comfortable African experience. There is an open lounge/bar area with a roaring fire.

Nights two to five are spend at fly camp, with large, comfortable tents which you can stand up in and have proper beds and bedding.

Nights six and seven are usually at Ravineside on the upper escarpment. This thatched, wooden lodge is built on stilts and hugs the cliff edge, offering spectacular views. There are 22 double/twin chalets and open sundecks where you can watch the game.

All meals are included. Breakfast is usually light and on the days with early starts you may just want tea/coffee and fruit. Lunch, or sometimes brunch, is late morning/midday and will include fresh salads and light options.

There is usually high tea with cake/biscuits before the afternoon ride. Dinner is then a larger meal after sunset and will include meals cooked over an open fire when in camp.

Special diets can be accommodated with advance notice.

All drinks are included when staying at fly camp, but whilst at the lodges, your bar bills are to your own account.

 

Activities

One game drive is included on the first afternoon so you can take photos of the animals from a steadier location than horseback! You can choose to join additional game drives if you wish, but these are extra cost (payable locally).

At Ravineside lodge there are spa facilities which you may wish to use, but these are at extra cost (payable locally).

Non-riders would be better accommodated at the lodges with a package which includes daily game drives (we can organise this, so please ask).

 

Further Details

Languages: English. Some German and Spanish.

Health requirements: General good health, plus fit enough to lead your horse on occasions.

Age limit: 12 years or over. Children MUST be competent riders.

Tuition: No

Included: Riding, game drive on arrival day, all meals, drinks at fly camp, accommodation

Not included: Flights, transfers, drinks at lodges, optional additional game drives, optional spa activities, travel insurance

 

Travel Information

There are several airlines flying direct to Johannesburg (ORT). Many leave the UK in the evenings and after an overnight flight you will arrive the next morning hopefully without any jet lag! We will arrange your safe transfer to the reserve - a journey of c. 3 hours.

Group airport transfers are at additional cost - see individual itinerary for prices.

Airport: Johannesburg (JNB)

 

Programme


Waterberg Big Five Circuit



This horseback safari in Entabeni reserve includes riding on both the lower and upper escarpment, offering great opportunities to view all of the Big Five. Spend some nights in luxury lodges and other nights in a fabulous fly camp with very comfortable tents. The views are truly spectacular and there is abundant game on the plains.

Day One:

Arrive into Johannesburg early in the morning (before 09:30) and transfer to the reserve in time for a late lunch - the journey is c. 3 hours by road. Your first night is spent in one of the lodges (Wildside) on the lower escarpment and there will be time to settle in and relax a little before your afternoon game drive departs at 4pm. This will be your first chance to spot the wildlife in the reserve and hopefully get some photographs from the vehicle. Dinner is served at the lodge at c. 7pm.

Day Two:

After a light breakfast at 7am you are transferred to the horses and at c. 9am you set off on your first ride through big game territory on the lower escarpment. After about an hour and a half of riding you reach Waterberry picnic spot where you stop for brunch and to rest a little. You then set off to climb up to the upper escarpment, which is separated from the lower escarpment by 600m high cliffs. You will have to lead your horse for some sections which involve climbing one of the steepest roads in South Africa with a gradient of 40 degrees in some parts. (If you have a medical condition which means you cannot walk this route then you will be able to transfer up in the vehicle instead).

As you reach the top you will have time to refresh yourself in the natural rock pool with spectacular views and crystal clear water. The ride then continues out onto the plains - an idyllic scene with game scattered across the grasslands. At c. 3pm you reach your fly camp at Boukenhout in time for high tea. You will spend four nights here and dinner will be served around the fire at c. 7pm.

Day Three:

An early start today as you set off at 6.30am with some juice and fruit in your saddlebags for later. Ride along a flat rock valley until reaching a waterfall which only flows in summer, where you stop for tea/coffee and a snack. Ride back to flycamp for an opulent brunch before relaxing through the heat of the day in hammocks or various chill-out areas around camp.

At 3pm, high tea is served before setting out on an afternoon ride at 4pm. Ride to Cycad Valley and Ubumanzi before returning to camp for a well-earned gin and tonic beside the fire.

Day Four:

A slightly later start today with a 7am light breakfast before riding. Your guide will point out animal tracks and signs of activity as you ride in search of some of Africa's giants. After a couple of hours, arrive back in camp for brunch before taking a plunge in the river to cool off.

Your afternoon ride takes you to a magnificent viewpoint (Kgamakutla point) where you stop for sundowners with spectacular views. Arrive back to camp for a typical braai (barbecue) listening to the sounds of the bush coming to life around you.

Day Five:

Another early start as you set off on the horses at 6am. Ride west on sandy tracks which offer great opportunities to pick up speed. Then ride east towards Ingwe valley, with some chance of spotting more elusive animals in the thicker vegetation and perhaps hippo as you pass the lake. Continue onto the wide open grass plains and return to camp for lunch. The afternoon ride takes you to another spectacular spot for viewing the lower escarpment before returning to camp for sundowners set out on the rocks in the river. Watch the sun set and relax with a candlelit dinner.

Day Six:

Quickly pack your bags ready to leave camp at 9am. After a light breakfast, ride to Yellow Wood - an idyllic spot with a natural plunge pool and deck with another awe-inspiring view. Brunch is served here and there is time to relax before the ride continues in the cooler afternoon. Ride across open grassland to Ravineside Lodge where you'll arrive in time to watch the sun set. Drinks and a three-course dinner await you before settling down for a night in this beautiful lodge.

Day Seven:

A light breakfast at 6.30am and then set out to catch the stunning morning views and crisp air from the outer rim, overlooking the views of the lower plateau. This ride takes you through different scenery and along some rocky ledges to a dam where you can swim with the horses if it's warm enough! Return to the lodge for brunch and to relax. You may wish to make use of the spa facilities at the lodge (at extra cost). Your afternoon ride departs at c. 3.30pm to head to Hanglip viewpoint with good chances of seeing abundant game on the open areas and Ungululu. Stop at the viewpoint for some stunning photos with your horse before heading back to your lodge for a second night and dinner.

Day Eight:

After an early breakfast, hand your packed bags to the team and set off riding to descend back to the lower escarpment. The route takes c. 1 hour 30 mins, of which c. 45mins will be leading your horse on foot. At the base of the cliffs, remount and ride to the "Extreme 19th" gate, arriving at c. 10am. Brunch will be served at the clubhouse looking out onto the golf course. There are showers available so that you can refresh and change ready for your departure to the airport and your flight home.



Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 8
Ability description: You need to be a capable rider who is confident in all paces across different terrain. This is a Big Five area and so you have to be able to stay on your horse and remain calm in all situations.
Type of ride: Safari
Total riding time: 8 days / 7 nights / 6.5 days riding
Departure dates: 2017:
8-15 April; 25 Apr-2 May; 6-13, 20-27 May; 3-10, 17-24 June; 8-15, 22-29 July; 5-12, 19-26 August; 9-16, 23-30 September; 7-14, 21-28 October; 28 Oct-4 Nov; 4-11, 18-25 November; 2-9, 15-22 December; 26 Dec-2 January 2018.
 
Pricing: 2017:

£2304 per person sharing

Single room supplement: £338

Airport transfers: £147 per person return

Additional optional extras:
Optional Night Drive - Payable locally, c. 400 Rand per person
Optional Game Drive - Payable locally, c. 350 Rand per person