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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 or sleep in luxury lodges
  • Enjoy a game drive in search of the big cats

Essential Facts

  • 2 itineraries available
  • Max 7 riders per group
  • Average of 3 - 4 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 lodges on both the upper and lower escarpments as well as spending nights in a fly camp in the bush for an authentic African adventure.

The shorter itinerary is mainly centre based and can be tailormade to suit your preferences, with a minimum stay of 3 nights. This itinerary is easier to accommodate non-riders as you spend most nights at the same lodge where game drives and bush walks are also on offer.

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 based 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

You spend some nights at luxury lodges on the Entabeni Reserve and other nights in a Fly Camp.

Some of the lodges include:

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.

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.

Fly camp usually includes large, comfortable tents which you can stand up in, with have proper beds and bedding, but there is one night at a simple camp under a mosquito net (tents are available if weather conditions require it).

Itineraries

Waterberg Big Five Circuit Tented / Luxury accommodation.

Five Night Safari Tented / Luxury 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: 1 - 2 hours

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 Fly Camp set up on a nearby farm where buffalo roam abundantly as well as the rare Sable antelope which you'll hopefully see from horseback. 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.

Set out onto an afternoon introductory ride to get to know your horse, ending with sundowners on the wood deck overlooking the waterhole. At dinner the staff will welcome you with some traditional singing and a three course meal under the African sky.

Overnight Fly Camp at Ikhaya Nyati farm

Day 2

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

Early wake up and breakfast before setting out on a two and a half hour ride in search of game, before returning to camp for lunch. Have a rest and siesta during the heat of the day before setting out on an afternoon ride. Return to camp for drinks around the fire, dinner and a final night at Fly Camp.

Day 3

Riding: 3 hours

Wake to the sound of the bush coming to life, with water boiling over the fire and a bush breakfast ready for you. Mount up and ride out of the farm and into neighbouring Entabeni reserve. Here you enter Big Five territory and ride towards your permanent tented camp. Arrive in time to freshen up before lunch. There is a spa and pool here and your luggage will already be waiting in your rooms.

The horses will have the afternoon off and you'll head out on a game drive in the vehicle (15:30 in winter and 16:00 in summer). With luck you'll spot some elephant or lion! Stop for sundowner drinks before returning to the camp for dinner.

Overnight Wildside Tented Camp

Day 4

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

A light breakfast and the opportunity for an early morning game drive followed by a full breakfast at the lodge. You're then transferred to the horses which are waiting at the reserve gate so that you can set off to explore in a different direction and across new terrain. Hopefully you encounter different species of animals. Your route takes you from the lower escarpment to the upper escarpment along a trail which was created in 1994 and is the steepest manmade road in southern Africa. You will have to dismount and lead your horse for some of this climb so please tell your guide in advance if you prefer to take a vehicle up the 600m road, which is at a 40 degree slant in the toughest areas.

You will stop for lunch besides some natural rock pools on the way up, eventually reaching the upper escarpment to be greeted by open plains and a totally different landscape. Rhino are abundant here and heavily protected, creating a sanctuary for them. Eventually you'll reach the top of a mountain where you'll spend a night under star-gazing tents with views across the reserve. Camp will be lit by lanterns and candles and drinks will be served around the campfire before dinner.

Overnight Viewpoint/Star-Gazing tents

Day 5

Riding: 4 - 5 hours

Awaken with hot tea or coffee in your tent and a light breakfast taking in the views before you depart to your next lodge for some pampering and comfort. Kingfisher lodge is set on the lake and is a 5 star lodge. Arrive in time for lunch and take in the views across the lake where hopefully hippo serenade you.

Make use of the pool or spa before your afternoon ride in search of hippo, giraffe and rhino. You'll also have the option of a game drive or bush walk if you prefer.

Overnight Kingfisher Lodge

Day 6

Riding: 4 - 5 hours

Early start with tea, coffee and biscuits at the lodge before your game drive or bush walk. Return to a full breakfast at the lodge followed by a half day ride.

After lunch at the lodge and some more time to relax you set off on an afternoon ride to the other side of the reserve to reach Lakeside Lodge where you overnight.

Day 7

Riding: 5 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 long ride back down to the lower escarpment again. There are great canter opportunities along the sandy tracks and after c. 5 hours you'll reach Wildside camp in time for lunch.

The afternoon is spent at leisure - you could book a massage to ease those aching muscles! - or you can take a game drive if you prefer. A final evening around the fire before dinner.

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 lower escarpment of the reserve. 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 two nights are at Fly Camp at a neighbouring farm, with tents, made up beds and bucket showers.
Your third night is at Wildside Lodge - a luxury tented camp with proper beds and en-suite bathrooms.
Your fourth night is at Viewpoint/Star-gazing camp where mosquito nets are strung over your bed on clear nights, but tents are available if necessary,
Your fifth night is at Kingfisher Lodge - a 5 star lodge beside a lake.
Your sixth night is at the luxurious Lakeside Lodge with proper beds and en-suite bathrooms.
Your final night is back at Wildside Lodge as on the third night.

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 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

Jan. 7, 2023 - Jan. 14, 2023

Jan. 21, 2023 - Jan. 28, 2023

Feb. 4, 2023 - Feb. 11, 2023

Feb. 18, 2023 - Feb. 25, 2023

March 4, 2023 - March 11, 2023

March 18, 2023 - March 25, 2023

April 1, 2023 - April 8, 2023

April 15, 2023 - April 22, 2023

May 6, 2023 - May 13, 2023

May 20, 2023 - May 27, 2023

June 3, 2023 - June 10, 2023

June 17, 2023 - June 24, 2023

July 1, 2023 - July 8, 2023

July 15, 2023 - July 22, 2023

Aug. 5, 2023 - Aug. 12, 2023

Aug. 19, 2023 - Aug. 26, 2023

Sept. 2, 2023 - Sept. 9, 2023

Sept. 16, 2023 - Sept. 23, 2023

Sept. 30, 2023 - Oct. 7, 2023

Oct. 14, 2023 - Oct. 21, 2023

Nov. 4, 2023 - Nov. 11, 2023

Nov. 18, 2023 - Nov. 25, 2023

Dec. 2, 2023 - Dec. 9, 2023

Dec. 16, 2023 - Dec. 23, 2023

Dec. 27, 2023 - Jan. 3, 2024

Pricing

2022 £2410 $2690 €2750
2023
Per person sharing
£2805 $3130 €3200
Included 7 nights shared accommodation, riding, game drives as described, all meals, snacks, tea and coffee, drinks at fly camps
Not included Flights, airport transfers, drinks at Lodges, additional game drives, massages and spa treatments, gratuities, insurance

Extras

2023 - Airport Transfer £245 $270 €280
Paid to Far and Ride
Johannesburg OR Tambo airport transfers, per person return. Discounts possible for groups of 4 or more - please enquire.
2022 - Airport Transfer £215 $240 €250
Paid to Far and Ride
Johannesburg OR Tambo airport transfers, per person return
2023 - Single Supplement £310 $345 €350
Paid to Far and Ride
2022 - Single Supplement £360 $400 €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: 1 - 2 hours

Arrival to Johannesburg airport before 11:00 with transfer to Wildside Safari Camp for a late lunch. This afternoon you can either take an introductory ride into a buffalo area or opt for a game drive instead.

Dinner and night at Wildside Tented Camp

Day 2

Riding: 4 - 5 hours

Today there is an early morning game drive for those who'd like it, followed by breakfast. After breakfast, mount up and set off to explore the reserve where hopefully you encounter different species of animals. Your route takes you from the lower escarpment to the upper escarpment along a trail which was created in 1994 and is the steepest manmade road in southern Africa. You will have to dismount and lead your horse for some of this climb so please tell your guide in advance if you prefer to take a vehicle up the 600m road, which is at a 40 degree slant in the toughest areas.

You will stop for lunch besides some natural rock pools on the way up, eventually reaching the upper escarpment to be greeted by open plains and a totally different landscape. Rhino are abundant here and heavily protected, creating a sanctuary for them. Continue riding until reaching Lakeside Lodge where you'll spend the remainder of your stay. Settle in and join a late afternoon game drive or bush walk if you wish.

Day 3

Riding: 4 - 5 hours

After an early morning game drive and breakfast, the horses will be waiting to head out on a ride in search of giraffe or hippo. Return to the lodge for lunch before heading out on an afternoon ride.

Day 4

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

Morning bush walk where your guide will interpret tracks and signs of wildlife activity. Return to the lodge for a full breakfast before mounting your horse to ride to the top of the mountain. Stop for a packed lunch whilst appreciating the spectacular views across the reserve. Weather permitting, on your return route to the lodge you can swim with your horses to cool them after the climb (summer only). After freshening up at the lodge you can join an afternoon game drive before dinner.

Day 5

Riding: 3 - 5 hours

Another full day of morning and afternoon rides in search of wildlife, returning to the lodge for lunch and dinner.

Day 6

Riding: 2 - 3 hours

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

Accommodation

First night is spent at Wildside Safari Camp and subsequent nights are spent at Lakeside Lodge.

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 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

Jan. 1, 2023 - Jan. 6, 2023

Jan. 15, 2023 - Jan. 20, 2023

Feb. 12, 2023 - Feb. 17, 2023

March 12, 2023 - March 17, 2023

March 26, 2023 - March 31, 2023

April 9, 2023 - April 14, 2023

April 23, 2023 - April 28, 2023

May 1, 2023 - May 5, 2023

May 14, 2023 - May 19, 2023

May 28, 2023 - May 31, 2023

June 11, 2023 - June 16, 2023

June 25, 2023 - June 30, 2023

July 9, 2023 - July 14, 2023

July 23, 2023 - July 28, 2023

Aug. 1, 2023 - Aug. 4, 2023

Aug. 13, 2023 - Aug. 18, 2023

Aug. 27, 2023 - Aug. 31, 2023

Sept. 10, 2023 - Sept. 15, 2023

Sept. 24, 2023 - Sept. 29, 2023

Oct. 8, 2023 - Oct. 13, 2023

Oct. 22, 2023 - Oct. 27, 2023

Nov. 12, 2023 - Nov. 17, 2023

Nov. 26, 2023 - Nov. 30, 2023

Dec. 10, 2023 - Dec. 15, 2023

Pricing

2022
Per person, sharing
£1665 $1860 €1900
2023
Per person, sharing
£2105 $2350 €2400
Included 5 nights accommodation (1 in a fixed tented camp & 4 at a luxury lodge), riding and game drives as described, all meals
Not included Flights, travel insurance, transfers, drinks, optional additional game drives, optional spa activities, tips & other personal expenses.

Extras

2022 - Airport Transfer £215 $240 €250
Paid to Far and Ride
Johannesburg airport transfers, per person return
2023 - Airport Transfer £245 $270 €280
Paid to Far and Ride
Johannesburg airport transfer, per person return (min 2 pax). Discounts available for 4+ passengers.
2022/2023 - Single Supplement £66 $73 €75 per night
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.