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Safaris Unlimited

Overview

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, exciti…

Highlights

  • Ride with the legendary safari guide Gordie Church
  • Explore one of Africa's most famous wildlife areas
  • Meet the local Masai people
  • Sip G&Ts overlooking hippo pods in the Mara River
  • Sleep like a king or queen in top class luxury

Essential Facts

  • 3 itineraries available
  • Max 12 riders per group
  • Average of 14 - 19 kilometres riding per day
  • Weight limit: 90kgs / 198 lbs / 14 st 2lbs

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!

Horses & Riding

Tack

English style riding with English GP and French cavalry saddles. Most horses wear snaffle bridles. Double-sided saddlebags are provided for water bottles, cameras and rain gear.

Horses

The horses are a mixture of Somali-Arab Crosses and Thoroughbreds which range from 14 - 17hh. Living at close quarters with wild animals, the safari horses are familiar with being amongst big game, have great endurance and are evenly tempered. Each horse is carefully loved, schooled and responsive to carry guests safely through the wilderness. There is a wide range of horses to suit each individual and every effort is made to match horse and rider. The horses are sure footed in their terrain and comfortable in their environment.

Riding

There are 3 itineraries:

  • Masai Mara Ride (8 Nights) is a trail ride
  • A Short Ride in the Mara (6 Nights) is a trail ride
  • The Lollboran Ride (6 Nights) is a trail ride

Ages

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.

Health

Good health and fitness required.

Weight

90kgs / 198 lbs / 14 st 2lbs

Food & Accommodation

Food

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.

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.

Itineraries

Masai Mara Ride (8 Nights) Tented / Luxury accommodation.

A Short Ride in the Mara (6 Nights) Tented / Luxury accommodation.

The Lollboran Ride (6 Nights) Tented / Luxury accommodation.

Other 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.

Travel

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.

Testimonials

Julie S., Sept. 8, 2015

'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.


Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1 - Arrival - Nkilenya, Lemek Conservancy

Riding: 5 - 10 kilometres

You will need to arrive in Nairobi the day before - accommodation is to your own account in the city although your hosts will arrange a transfer for you from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to your hotel.

On day one of the safari you will be transferred from your hotel to the domestic airstrip where there is a briefing followed by a morning flight to the Mara, departing at 10:30 and arriving at 11:15. 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 - Nkilenya, Lemek Conservancy

Riding: 10 - 15 kilometres

A lovely morning ride and afternoon ride exploring the riverine forest and open plains of Lemek. There is an abundance of wildlife here including giraffe, warthog, zebra, hartebeest, topi, wildebeest, and with a little luck, cheetah and leopard too. Bloody Marys in the morning and Pink Gins for sundowners in the evening top off a heavenly first day on safari.

Day 3 - Nkilenya - Mara River, Mara North Conservancy

Riding: 20 - 25 kilometres

Your first full day in the saddle takes you through spectacular wildlife country with impala, gazelle, elephant, buffalo and more. A picnic lunch is enjoyed in a patch of forest called Olomai. After a siesta ride down to the banks of the Mara River with its large pods of hippo and the odd monster crocodile. Camp has been moved whilst you are riding so you sleep in a new location

Day 4 - Mara River, Mara North Conservancy

Riding: 10 - 15 kilometres

A stunning area to traverse by horse or vehicle. You may ford the Mara river and ride under the iconic Siria Escarpment. The concentration of game is breathtaking and with plenty of opportunities to jump fallen trees knocked over by resident elephant. Waterbuck, eland, jackal, hyena and lion occur, as do many other species.

Day 5 - Mara River - Out of Africa camp, Mara Triangle

Riding: 20 - 25 kilometres

After a full monty breakfast you ride southerly across Maternity Plain offering stunning views in all directions and excellent going for the horses. Cross the Mara River on horseback and enter the famous Mara Triangle. Picnic lunch is enjoyed in a patch of thick forest often occupied by elephant. After lunch a short ride, followed by an ascent on foot to the top of the escarpment. Camp moves to a new location.

Day 6 - Out of Africa, Mara Triangle

Riding: 10 - 15 kilometres

Options to ride and drive in the triangle with magical views looking down towards the Serengeti in the distance. This corner of the ecosystem is blessed with croton thickets, forest and endless tall grasslands, the perfect environment for rhino, elephant, buffalo and lion. The the late afternoon you may visit a small traditional homestead of your local Masai hosts.

Day 7 - Out of Africa - Kampi Ya Simba KO 8, Mara North Conservancy

Riding: 20 - 25 kilometres

Descend the escarpment on foot and head due east, riding back over the Mara river and skirting the village of Rianta and onwards towards a lovely picnic lunch under scattered acacia trees. After a long siesta, ride over the Koiyaki Plain to your new camp by the Olare Orok stream which is used by the Masai to water their cattle.

Day 8 - Kampi Ya Simba KO 8, Mara North Conservancy

Riding: 15 - 20 kilometres

Morning and afternoon ride, drive or walk in this magical corner of the Mara. Exceptional riding country where two large prides of lion make this area their home allowing for sensational big cat experiences. After supper you may head out in the vehicle with the spotlight to look for nocturnal wildlife

Day 9 - Kampi Ya Simba KO 8 - Departure

Riding: 10 - 15 kilometres

A final morning ride or drive in this stunning country. After a hearty brunch, say goodbye to your horse and camp crew. Afternoon flight to Nairobi departing at 14:45. Upon arrival in Nairobi at c. 16:15 you will be met and transferred to JKIA for your international flight home. Dinner en-route to the airport is optional.

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.

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

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.

Minimum group size 4
Maximum group size 12
Departure windows

Aug. 12, 2021 - Aug. 20, 2021

Sept. 1, 2021 - Sept. 9, 2021  (FULL)

Sept. 11, 2021 - Sept. 19, 2021

Sept. 21, 2021 - Sept. 29, 2021

Oct. 1, 2021 - Oct. 9, 2021

July 2, 2022 - July 10, 2022

July 12, 2022 - July 20, 2022

Aug. 1, 2022 - Aug. 9, 2022

Sept. 21, 2022 - Sept. 29, 2022

Pricing

2021
Per person, sharing
£6865 $9495 €8145
Included Nairobi airport transfers, shared camp accommodation, all meals, all drinks in camp (including bottled water), riding andother safari activities, qualified guides, Flying Doctors' membership, conservation fees, return domestic flights (Nairobi-Mara-Nairobi), laundry in camp, government taxes
Not included International flights and visas, travel insurance, Nairobi accommodation on the first night, gratuities, additional activities and services not mentioned.

Extras

2021 - Single Supplement £1625 $2250 €1930
Paid to Far and Ride
Payable if not willing to share a tent with another rider
2021 - Small Group Supplement £435 $605 €515
Paid to Far and Ride
If only four in the group
2021 - Small Group Supplement £2545 $3520 €3020
Paid to Far and Ride
If only three in the group
2021 - Small Group Supplement £6765 $9355 €8025
Paid to Far and Ride
If only two in the group
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.

Day 1 - Arrival - Nkilenya, Lemek Conservancy

Riding: 5 - 10 kilometres

You will have needed to arrive in Nairobi the day before and accommodation for this night is not included. Your hosts will happily arrange for a transfer from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to your hotel.
On day one of the safari, you will be collected from your hotel and transferred to the local airstrip where there is a briefing followed by a morning flight to the Mara, departing at 10:30am and arriving at 11:15am. This afternoon you will enjoy your first ride or game drive. Lunch and dinner are eaten in camp.

Day 2 - Nkilenya, Lemek Conservancy

Riding: 10 - 15 kilometres

Morning and afternoon rides and game drives exploring the riverine forests and open plains of Lemek.  There is an abundance of wildlife here including giraffe, warthog, zebra, hartebeest, topi wildebeest and with a little luck, cheetah and leopard too. Bloody Mary's in the morning and Pink Gin's for sundowners in the evening make for a heavenly day on safari.

Day 3 - Nkilenya - Mara River, Mara North Conservancy

Riding: 20 - 25 kilometres

Your first full day in the saddle takes you through spectacular wildlife country with impala, gazelle, elephant, buffalo, ostrich and more. Picnic lunch is enjoyed in a patch of forest called Olomai, After a siesta ride down to the banks of the Mara river with its large pods of hippo and the odd monster crocodile. Camp has been moved whilst you are riding.

Day 4 - Mara River, Mara North Conservancy

Riding: 10 - 15 kilometres

A stunning area to traverse by horse or vehicle. You may ford the Mara river and ride under the iconic Siria escarpment. The concentration of game is breathtaking with plenty of opportunities to jump fallen trees knocked down by elephant. Waterbuck, eland, jackal, hyena and lion occur here alongside many other species.

Day 5 - Mara River - Kampi Ya Simba KO8, Mara North Conservancy

Riding: 20 - 25 kilometres

After a 'full monty' breakfast ride out in a southerly direction, across Maternity Plain. Stunning views in every direction and excellent going for the horses. Picnic lunch in a patch of forest often occupied by elephant. After a long siesta ride past a game rich saltlick and on to your new camp besides the Olare Orok stream where the Masai come to water their cattle.

Day 6 - Kampi Ya Simba KO 8, Mara North Conservancy

Riding: 15 - 20 kilometres

Morning and afternoon rides, drives or walks in this magical corner of the Mara. Exceptional riding country where two prides of lion reside, allowing for sensational big cat sightings. You may go out after supper with the spotlight to discover the nocturnal creatures

Day 7 - Kampi Ya Simba KO 8 - Departure

Riding: 10 - 15 kilometres

A final morning ride in this stunning country. After a hearty brunch, say goodbye to your horse and camp crew. Afternoon flight to Nairobi departing at 14:45. Upon arrival in Nairobi at c. 16:15 you will be met and transferred to JKIA for your international flight home. Dinner en-route to the airport is optional.

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.

Accommodation

Each night is spent in mobile tented camps, with comfortable camp beds, mattresses, Egyptian cotton sheets and feather duvets. Each tent has a separate canvas bathroom area with long drop loo and hot water bucket shower as well.

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

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.

Minimum group size 4
Maximum group size 12
Departure windows

Oct. 11, 2021 - Oct. 17, 2021

Pricing

2021
Per person sharing
£5450 $7535 €6460
Included Nairobi airport transfers, 6 nights tented accommodation, all meals, all drinks in camp (including bottled water), riding and other safari activities as mentioned, qualified guides, Flying Doctors' membership, conservation fees, return domestic flights (Nairobi-Mara-Nairobi), laundry in camp & government taxes.
Not included International flights, visas, travel insurance, Nairobi hotel on first night, gratuities, additional services and activities not mentioned.

Extras

2021 - Single Supplement £1300 $1800 €1540
Paid to Far and Ride
Payable if not willing to share
2021 - Small Group Supplement (if 2 in a group) £5435 $7515 €6445
Paid to Far and Ride
If only two in the group
2021 - Small Group Supplement (if 3 in a group) £2055 $2845 €2440
Paid to Far and Ride
If only three in the group
2021 - Small Group Supplement (if 4 in a group) £370 $515 €440
Paid to Far and Ride
If only four in the group
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.

Day 1 - Arrival - Kampi Ya Arusi, Lolldaiga Conservancy

Riding: 5 - 10 kilometres

You will need to arrive in Nairobi the night before and your hotel in the city is not included, however your hosts will arrange a transfer from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to your hotel. 

On day one of the safari you will be transferred from your hotel to the domestic airport for a briefing followed by a morning flight into Nanyuki airstrip, departing at 09:00am and arriving at c. 09:30am. 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.

Day 2 - Kampi Ya Arusi, Lolldaiga Conservancy

Riding: 15 - 20 kilometres

Magical morning and afternoon rides across the grasslands of Lolldaiga, with its impressive cedar forests and dramatic scenery. Zebra, impala, giraffe and possibly buffalo favour this section of Laikipia. You may head down in the evening to a large dam to enjoy the plethora of birdlife and possibly a rare glimpse of a leopard hunting along the waters edge.

Day 3 - Kampi Ya Arusi - Kampi Ya Kamau, Lolldaiga Conservancy

Riding: 15 - 20 kilometres

Your first full day ride takes you in a northerly direction up over the saddle with incredible views way off into the dry country of the nomads. You then descend a steep escarpment and enter a totally different habitat. Cedar forest gives way to acacia woodland, indigenous olive trees and a generally drier ecosystem. Here you will encounter endemic species such as gerenuk, Grevy's zebra and beisa oryx. In the late evening you may explore by 4x4 vehicle.

 Camp has been moved to a new location whilst you were riding.

Day 4 - Kampi Ya Kamau, Lolldaiga Conservancy

Riding: 15 - 20 kilometres

Enjoy morning and afternoon rides or drives exploring this stunning area which is home to elephant, cheetah and lion. Baboon rocks and the steep hills of Enasoit provide the ideal opportunity to walk and enjoy sundowners in the late evening. Except for your private canvas camp there is no other settlement in the local vicinity and the sense of solitude and wilderness is heavenly.

Day 5 - Kampi Ya Kamau - Acacia Dam, Borana Conservancy

Riding: 30 - 35 kilometres

An early start as today is the longest ride of the safari as you head due east across some breathtaking game country. Several opportunities for long canters with the game over open plains, crossing dry river beds, up through the rolling Olenaishu Hills, through Fox Three ranger post and into black rhino country. An epic day with the chance to see Jackson's hartbeest, warthog, hyena, eland, waterbuck and other species too.
Camp has been moved onto the Borana Conservancy.

Day 6 - Acacia Dam, Borana Conservancy

Riding: 15 - 20 kilometres

Your final day of activities! This part of the ride is probably the best to locate the shy and solitary black rhino, wild dog, lion, jackal and majestic kudu. Morning and afternoon game drives/rides. You may have a bush breakfast and head out at night with the spotlight in search of nocturnal wildlife. Your camp is situated near a small dam which is the only water for miles, thus providing continuous wildlife activity day and night.

Day 7 - Acacia Dam - Departure

Riding: No riding.

Morning transfer to Nanyuki airstrip where you will catch the Air Kenya flight departing at 11:00am. You will arrive in Nairobi at c. 11:30am 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. 

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 and look for fantastic wildlife.

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

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.

Minimum group size 2
Maximum group size 12
Departure windows

At any time during: Jan. 25, 2021 - March 31, 2021

At any time during: June 1, 2021 - June 19, 2021

At any time during: Oct. 1, 2021 - Oct. 31, 2021

At any time during: Dec. 1, 2021 - Dec. 31, 2021

Pricing

2021
Per person sharing
£5450 $7535 €6460
Included Nairobo airport transfers, shared camp accommodation, all meals, all drinks in camp (including bottled water), riding and other safari activities, qualified guides, Flying Doctors' membership, conservation fees, return domestic flights (Nairobi-Nanyuki-Nairobi), 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.

Extras

2021 - Single Supplement £1300 $1800 €1540
Paid to Far and Ride
Payable if not willing to share
2021 - Small Group Supplement £370 $515 €440
Paid to Far and Ride
If only four in the group
2021 - Small Group Supplement £2055 $2845 €2440
Paid to Far and Ride
If only three in the group
2021 - Small Group Supplement £5435 $7515 €6445
Paid to Far and Ride
If only two in the group
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.