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Waterberg Big Five Safari

Overview

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 gra…

Highlights

  • Ride in the stunningly beautiful Entabeni reserve
  • Ride amongst giraffe, antelope and zebra on open plains
  • Search for elephant, rhino and buffalo on horseback
  • Camp under a star-filled sky, with a lodge to start/end
  • Enjoy a game drive in search of the big cats

Essential Facts

  • 2 itineraries available
  • Max 7 riders per group
  • Average of 4 - 6 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: 95 kg / 210 lbs / 15 stone

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.

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.

Horses & Riding

Tack

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

Horses

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

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.

Riding

There are 2 itineraries:

  • Waterberg Big Five Circuit is a trail ride
  • Five Night Safari is a trail ride

Ages

12 years or over. Children MUST be competent riders.

Health

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

Weight

95 kg / 210 lbs / 15 stone

Food & Accommodation

Food

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.

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 usually more rustic, with a night spent in a rondavel, two nights spent at fly camp, with large, comfortable tents which you can stand up in and have proper beds and bedding, and a fourth night at a simple camp under a mosquito net.

Nights six and seven are usually at Lakeside Lodge on the upper escarpment. This thatch and stone lodge is set on the banks of the lake with Entabeni mountain as a backdrop. There are 24 double/twin rooms linked by thatched walkways and open sundecks where you can watch the game.

Please note that the exact lodges can change depending on availability, but always with those of a similar standard.

Itineraries

Waterberg Big Five Circuit Tented / Luxury accommodation.

Five Night Safari Tented accommodation.

Other 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).

Travel

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.

Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1

Riding: No riding.

You will be met at OR Tambo international Airport and transferred to Entabeni Game Reserve, which is about a 2.5 hour drive away. On arrival you will be welcomed by the team at Wildside Tented Camp with a drink before you freshen up. During lunch you'll receive an introductory brief on the days to come including your horse preferences so that you can be allocated a horse you'll enjoy.

Tonight you will enjoy an afternoon game drive to make the most of the photographic opportunities from the vehicle and recover from your long journey. Hopefully you will catch the photogenic pride of lions on camera. After a couple of hours you will be welcomed back into camp for your three-course dinner and first night in the comfortable spacious permanent tented camp, with opportunity to charge your electronics before you set off into the bush the following day with the horses.

Overnight at Wildside.

Day 2

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

Early wake up and breakfast at the tented lodge before you are transferred to a spot in the reserve where your horses will be waiting. After the safety brief and introduction to your horse, you will set off to the Pedi Village, while the logistics team will take care of your luggage to be taken to the next spot. After about two and a half hours in the saddle, stop for lunch and a rest before continuing to for another couple of hours to arrive at the Pedi Village before sun set. Drinks will be ready upon your arrival, while the lions can be heard roaring in the distance to the sound of the African drums welcoming you “home”. With luck, you may see the buffalo come in to drink this evening.

After a candle lit dinner you will spend the night in a traditional Pedi hut (rondavel) without compromising your comfort.

Overnight at Pedi Village

Day 3

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

Camp staff will wake you up with tea or coffee in your rooms before a light breakfast overlooking the reserve. Mount up for your ride to the next destination, riding through big game country and hopefully many sightings of buffalo, wildebeest, zebra, giraffe and many other iconic animals which roam the reserve.

Arrive at fly camp, which the team will have already set up ready for your arrival. You will be welcomed with a late lunch and camp orientation. Settle in to fly camp which you will call “home” for the next two nights. Steaming showers will be ready after your afternoon ride exploring the reserve, followed by a three course candlelit meal and a roaring fire. With gin and tonic in hand, watch the spectacular sun set as another night in the bush comes to an end.

Overnight at Fly camp

Day 4

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

Wake to the sound of the bush coming to life, with hot water boiling on the fire. A light breakfast is served before you set off to explore the reserve, heading in a different direction across new terrain, with the possibility of encountering different species of animals. After your two and a half or three hour ride, return to camp for lunch.

Depending on weather and the season, full breakfast will be served before riding, or upon return, allowing for the midday hours to relax at camp, or read a book in the shade in a hammock. In the afternoon you will again ride out until you reach a point in the bush where you can enjoy a drink with endless views as the sun sets.

Return to camp lit up with lanterns and relax at the camp fire before starters are served around the fire and three course dinner served at the table. Your bags for one night will be packed to move to the new location the following day.

Overnight at Fly camp

Day 5

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

Awaken with hot tea or coffee in your tent and a light breakfast taking in the views before you depart to the upper escarpment of the reserve. You will set off early enough to not catch the heat of the day as you will ride and partially walk up the steepest man-made road in Southern Africa - Yellowwood gorge - which connects the lower and upper escarpment, which are separated by jagged rock formations. There will be a support vehicle should somebody not wish to complete the steepest passes on foot with their horse. You will stop at a beautiful spot on the way for lunch, with natural rock pools where you will be able to swim (seasonal) so be sure to bring your swim wear in your saddle bag.

After the ascent, the gorge opens onto open plains, spotted with wildlife, as you continue to climb up rocky terrain which your horses master with ease and willingness. Eventually you reach a breathtaking spot with views of the entire reserve, where sunsets and sunrises are as good as they get. A night under the stars and delicious al-fresco dinner awaits.

Overnight at the Upper escarpment sleep out camp (NB. tents are provided should the weather not permit sleeping only under mosquito nets)

Day 6

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

Depart the stunning location with endless views, after breakfast and ride through the upper escarpment, known for its open plains and meandering valleys, and encounter big herds of zebra, wildebeest, blesbuck, eland and giraffe.

Traverse the lake to the lodge which will be home for the last two nights. You will arrive in time for lunch and a well deserved hot bath or shower, and time at the pool. Massages are available should you wish to give yourself a treat after a few days in the saddle. Lunch will be served at the lodge before your afternoon ride and dinner.

Overnight at Lakeside Lodge

Day 7

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

You will have the option of a game drive or bush walk in the early morning before breakfast. After that, your horses will be ready for a two and a half to three hour ride, discovering hidden areas of the reserve where vehicles cannot access. In search of more elusive species, your guide will point out tracks and signs as you ride deeper into the thicker areas of the reserve.

Return to the lodge for some time to relax and lunch before another afternoon ride, maybe in search of hippos and some cooling off with your horse in the dam. Return to the lodge as the sun sets and enjoy dinner at the “boma” area around the fire.

Overnight at Lakeside lodge

Day 8

Riding: 2 - 3 hours

Early morning, after a light snack and tea or coffee, you will go on your last morning ride on the upper escarpment of the reserve, or moving down to the lower escarpment, depending on animal movement, weather or flight times. You might be able to squeeze in an early game drive before your ride too. Your bags will be packed in the morning and transferred by the logistics team so you are ready to transfer to the airport once you have finished your final ride.

Accommodation

Your first night is in Wildside Lodge - a luxury tented camp with proper beds and en-suite bathrooms.
Your second night is at the Pedi Village in traditional rondavels.
Your third and fourth nights are at fly camp, with tents, made-up beds and bucket showers.
Your fifth night is at a mobile fly-camp where mosquito nets are strung over your bed on clear nights, but tents are available if necessary,
Your final two nights are at the luxurious Lakeside Lodge with proper beds and en-suite bathrooms.

Experience Experienced

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.

Minimum group size 2
Maximum group size 7
Departure windows

Jan. 1, 2022 - Jan. 8, 2022

Jan. 15, 2022 - Jan. 22, 2022

Feb. 5, 2022 - Feb. 12, 2022

Feb. 19, 2022 - Feb. 26, 2022

March 5, 2022 - March 12, 2022

March 19, 2022 - March 26, 2022

April 2, 2022 - April 9, 2022

April 16, 2022 - April 23, 2022

May 7, 2022 - May 14, 2022

May 21, 2022 - May 28, 2022

June 4, 2022 - June 11, 2022

June 18, 2022 - June 25, 2022

July 2, 2022 - July 9, 2022

July 16, 2022 - July 23, 2022

Aug. 6, 2022 - Aug. 13, 2022

Aug. 20, 2022 - Aug. 27, 2022

Sept. 3, 2022 - Sept. 10, 2022

Sept. 17, 2022 - Sept. 24, 2022

Oct. 1, 2022 - Oct. 8, 2022

Oct. 15, 2022 - Oct. 22, 2022

Nov. 5, 2022 - Nov. 12, 2022

Nov. 19, 2022 - Nov. 26, 2022

Dec. 3, 2022 - Dec. 10, 2022

Dec. 20, 2022 - Dec. 27, 2022

Pricing

2022 £2345 $3260 €2750
Included 7 nights shared accommodation, riding on six days, game drive on day one, all meals, snacks, tea and coffee, drinks at fly camp and Pedi village
Not included Flights, airport transfers, drinks at Wildside and Lakeside Lodges, additional game drives, massages, gratuities, insurance

Extras

2022 - Airport Transfer £210 $295 €250
Paid to Far and Ride
Johannesburg OR Tambo airport transfers, per person return
2022 - Single Supplement £345 $485 €410
Paid to Far and Ride
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

Riding: No riding.

Arrival to Johannesburg airport before 11:00 with transfer to Wildside Safari Camp for a late lunch. This afternoon there is an introductory game drive after you settle in, your first chance to see some of the Big 5 up close. After getting to know your riding preferences a horse will be selected to suit you ready for your ride the next morning. As the sun sets it's time for dinner and overnight at Wildside camp.

Day 2

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

Today there is an early morning game drive for those who'd like it (payable locally), followed by breakfast at 09:00 and transfer in the game vehicle to the horses to start your ride. This is big game territory and you can ride off the beaten track where vehicles cannot access. Stop for lunch under a shady tree where you may spot wildlife walking past. You will reach fly camp at about 15:00 in time for high tea and a chance to settle in before dinner is served around the fire at 19:00. Overnight Fly Camp.

Day 3

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

Today is a full day ride with a packed lunch. Starting after breakfast you will saddle up with lunch in your saddle bag. The ride today will take you through dense areas and up jagged rock formations towards a viewpoint with wonderful views over the lower escarpment. You will stop here for lunch and a well-deserved rest. Ride back to your fly camp, hopefully spotting some giraffe on the plains as the sun starts to drop, and arrive in time for a snack before dinner is served, relaxing in the hammocks or chilling out with a drink watching the sun set. Dinner and overnight in the fly camp.

Day 4

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

Today you have a later start and a light breakfast to energise you for your climb up the escarpment - you will partly lead your horse over one of the steepest roads in South Africa which has a gradient of 40 degrees at some point. A support vehicle with ranger accompanies the ride so if walking becomes tiring you are welcome to jump into the jeep.

Stop for lunch in a shady spot, and upon reaching the top you will emerge onto the plains, an idyllic scene hopefully dotted with game. Continue climbing to a spot with fantastic views of the entire reserve where vehicles cannot access. Here you can watch the sun set whilst dinner is prepared over the fire. Overnight in beds under mosquito nights and the stars.

Day 5

Riding: 3 - 5 hours

After breakfast you start your descent back down the escarpment, having taken in the sunrise across the plains full of game. Stop for a snack and continue through big game country to reach Wildside again in time for a late lunch and some pool time. You can also book a massage if you wish or another game drive (payable locally)

Day 6

Riding: 2 - 3 hours

After a full breakfast you have time for a final ride before saying farewell to the horses, and having a bite to eat before your shuttle to the airport. Flights should leave 18:00 or later.

Accommodation

First and last night is spent at Wildside Safari Camp and the other 3 nights are spent in mobile fly camps along the trail route.

Experience Experienced

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.

Minimum group size 2
Maximum group size 7
Departure windows

July 3, 2021 - July 8, 2021

July 17, 2021 - July 22, 2021

July 31, 2021 - Aug. 5, 2021

Aug. 14, 2021 - Aug. 19, 2021

Aug. 28, 2021 - Sept. 2, 2021

Sept. 11, 2021 - Sept. 16, 2021

Sept. 25, 2021 - Sept. 30, 2021

Oct. 9, 2021 - Oct. 14, 2021

Oct. 23, 2021 - Oct. 28, 2021

Nov. 6, 2021 - Nov. 11, 2021

Nov. 20, 2021 - Nov. 25, 2021

Dec. 4, 2021 - Dec. 9, 2021

Jan. 9, 2022 - Jan. 14, 2022

Jan. 23, 2022 - Jan. 28, 2022

Feb. 13, 2022 - Feb. 18, 2022

March 13, 2022 - March 18, 2022

March 27, 2022 - April 1, 2022

April 10, 2022 - April 15, 2022

April 24, 2022 - April 29, 2022

May 1, 2022 - May 6, 2022

May 15, 2022 - May 20, 2022

June 12, 2022 - June 17, 2022

June 26, 2022 - July 1, 2022

July 10, 2022 - July 15, 2022

July 24, 2022 - July 29, 2022

Aug. 14, 2022 - Aug. 19, 2022

Aug. 28, 2022 - Sept. 2, 2022

Sept. 11, 2022 - Sept. 16, 2022

Sept. 25, 2022 - Sept. 30, 2022

Oct. 9, 2022 - Oct. 14, 2022

Oct. 23, 2022 - Oct. 28, 2022

Nov. 13, 2022 - Nov. 18, 2022

Nov. 27, 2022 - Dec. 2, 2022

Dec. 11, 2022 - Dec. 16, 2022

Dec. 28, 2022 - Jan. 2, 2023

Pricing

2021/2022
Per person, sharing
£1620 $2250 €1900
Included 5 nights accommodation (2 in a fixed tented camp & 3 in mobile fly camps), 5 days of riding, two game drives, all meals, drinks at fly camps.
Not included Flights, travel insurance, transfers, drinks at Wildside Camp, optional additional game drives, optional spa activities, tips & other personal expenses.

Extras

2021/2022 - Airport Transfer £210 $295 €250
Paid to Far and Ride
Johannesburg airport transfers, per person return
2021 - Single Supplement £64 $89 €75 per night
Paid to Far and Ride
Single supplement payable if not willing to share
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.