Riders watching giraffe on horseback

'Big Five' safari in South Africa

On the savannah in the heart of the Waterberg mountains, experience a unique South African horseback safari on the private Entabeni Reserve. Each day, ride out from your comfortable private camp and discover breathtaking scenery and the magnificent wildlife roaming across it. Ride across open plains inhabited by elephant, kudu, giraffe, zebra and lion. In the evening, after discovering South Africa from the saddle, return to camp and relax around the fire, under the stars, to the unique sounds of the reserve at night.
Book now Print the details for this ride
Horseback Safari
10 days / 7 days riding
From £2,325
  • Watching rhino from the saddle on a riding safari in South Africa
    Rhinos as such an exceptional safari sighting!
  • A lioness in Entabeni Game Reserve, South Africa
    Big Cats are also present in this reserve
  • A horse safari in South Africa
    Swimming in the lake

Itinerary

Highlights

- Ride through an area well-suited to observing most of the 'Big Five' game as well as allowing you to explore the beautiful and unique landscapes this reserve is known for
- Camp out in the African bush in the traditional way - mixing charm, comfort and immersion in nature
- Ride through this fantastic region in small groups of 8 riders maximum
- Discover a zone unaffected by malaria (no anti-malaria treatment necessary)
  • Day 1 1 : EUROPE - JOHANNESBURG

    You will head out from to Johannesburg. International flights are not included in the price.

    Flights are usually overnight, in which you will arrive in Johannesburg in the morning (Day 2), however you may wish to fly during the day and then relax and spend an additional night in Johannesburg tonight before taking the transfer to the lodge the next day (not included)

    IMPORTANT This is a sample itinerary. The actual itinerary will depend on game movements, water levels and weather conditions but always with your best interests at heart.

    PLEASE NOTE Private rides are also bookable for 2 people or more with dates per request. Packages can be tailor made as per your request. Minimum duration 4 nights, maximum duration 7 nights.
  • Day 2 2 : JOHANNESBURG - ENTABENI RESERVE

    Waterberg Wildside Tented Camp
    You will arrive into Johannesburg in the morning - plan to arrive early, before 10:30. You will be met at the airport by one of the team and driven to the Entabeni Reserve in the Waterberg mountains in time for a late lunch (2h30 drive)

    In the afternoon, you will meet your team and the horses and then head out for your first game drive (jeep safari) as you experience your first sightings of the animals found on the reserve.

    Returning to the camp, your dinner will be served overlooking the savannah. You will spend the night at the Wildside tented camp surrounded by the sounds of the reserve.
  • Day 3 3 : ENTABENI RESERVE - 5 hours riding

    Early wake up and breakfast, 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 traditional village of Pedi, while the logistics team will take care of your luggage. After about two and a half hours in the saddle, you will stop for lunch and continue to the Pedi Village for another couple of hours to arrive before sun set. Drinks will be ready for 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 will see the buffalo come in to drink this evening. After a candle-lit dinner you will spend the night in a comfortable traditional Pedi rondavel (traditional circular hut).
  • Day 4 4 : ENTABENI RESERVE - 5 hours riding

    Boukenhout fly camp
    Starting after breakfast, you will have lunch packed in your saddle bag. The ride will take you along flat rock valley, until you reach a waterfall (flowing in summer only) or alternatively heading towards yellow wood rim and the viewpoint with spectacular views of the lower escarpment. You will stop for lunch and a well deserved rest. Back at fly camp in time for a snack before dinner is served. You can relax in the hammocks or chill out area at fly camp enjoying a drink watching the sun set. A great end to a long day in the saddle!
  • Day 5 5 : ENTABENI RESERVE - 4 hours riding

    Boukenhout fly camp
    Wake to the sound of the bush coming to life, with hot water boiling on the fire. A light breakfast will be served and you will set off to explore the reserve heading in a different direction and 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 and relax around the camp fire before dinner. Tonight you will need to pack an overnight bag to move to a new location the following day.
  • Day 6 6 : ENTABENI RESERVE - 5-6 hours riding

    Entabeni Sleep-out Camp
    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 avoid the heat of the day and 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 views open up to open plains rich with wildlife, as you continue to climb up rocky terrain which your horses navigate with ease and willingness. You will reach a breathtaking spot with views of the entire reserve, where sun sets and sun rises are as good as they get. A night under the stars, and delicious dinner “al fresco” awaits. (Note that tents are provided should the weather not permit sleeping under mosquito nets “only").
  • Day 7 7 : ENTABENI RESERVE - 5 hours riding

    Waterberg Lakeside Lodge
    Ride out after breakfast, and ride the upper escarpment known for its open plains and meander valleys. Today you will likely encounter big herds of zebra, wildebeest, blesbuck, eland and giraffe. You ride across 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 want 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.
  • Day 8 8 : ENTABENI RESERVE - 5 hours riding

    Waterberg Lakeside Lodge
    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 can not 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 down with your horse in the dam. On return to the lodge, you will prepare your bags for the following day's move to the lower escarpment.
  • Day 9 9 : JOHANNESBURG - 3 hours riding

    First thing in the morning, your packed bags will be taken by the team to the meeting spot for your departure.

    After an early breakfast, at around 6:30, you will set off for an 1 to 2 hour ride as you start your descent to the lower escarpment, riding and again partly leading your horses for about 45 minutes, until you reach the foot and continue your ride to the reserve's exit. This route will offer up some spectacular views and a stunning change of scenery.

    At around 11:00, you will have reached the “extreme 19th” gate, where the horses are based and you will have a chance to say goodbye to both the horses and your guides. A final brunch will be served at the clubhouse, found at the gate, looking out onto the golf club.

    Lunch is optional (at own expense) at the clubhouse, which overlooks the cold course. You will have the chance to take showers on the resort before your departure to the airport at 13:00.

    There is the possibility of an extension to this trip either to visit Mozambique, the Okavango Delta, the Victoria Falls, Cape Town, the Wild Coast or any other destination in southern Africa - just contact us for more information.
  • Day 10 10 : Europe

    You should arrive back in Europe before midday.

Dates & prices

Price details

- Flights to your destination (Johannesburg) are not included, but can be booked on request - please contact us for rates.     
- Rates are per person for a 7-night safari based on two riders sharing a twin or double room/tent during the ride. 

- Groups are made up of 2 - 7 (max.) riders

- If you sign up to the ride as a solo rider and there are no other riders likely to share your room, you will be charged a single room supplement of approx. €410/£360/$490. You will then be reimbursed if a sharer is found for you at a later date. 

- Transfers from and to Johannesburg airport are not included and are €250/£225/$290 per person return.

- Minimum riding age is 12 years old. We have set this as a minimum riding age as it reflects a realistic idea of the riding abilities needed to get the most out of this trip, safely. To ride in this wild area of the world, you need to be an accomplished and confident rider.

- Non-riders can be accommodated and will be offered game drives. Please contact us for more information.

- Group discounts available: 50% off transfers and 10% off safari rates, for 4 to 6 guests booking together.
Please Note
The itinerary may be modified at anytime for security reasons, meteorological or events beyond our control such as blocked roads, rivers in flood, drought, strikes and local holidays. Equus Journeys, our local partners and their local guides will always strive to find the best solution and will alter the itinerary as needed.
The names of the hotels and accommodation are given for information only and depending on availability, they may be modified without notice and replaced by another of a similar standard.

Price includes

Support team

1 English-speaking guide will lead each excursion

Logistics

In the stables - grooms and assistant guides

Accommodation

Comfortable room at the lodge or 2-man tent at the mobile camp

Meals

Full board from dinner on day 2 to breakfast on day 9
All the drinks at fly camp / sleep out / pedi village

Extras

Game drives mentioned in the programme (additional game drives can be booked at a supplementary charge)

Price doesn't include

Meals

Beverages - mineral water and other drinks at the Lakeside and Wildside lodges are not included in the price

Transports

Return airport transfers invoiced separately
International flights to/from Johannesburg. We can book these for you upon request

Extra

Tips to the local team

Insurance

Cancellation and travel insurance are not included in the above listed price. Please note that insurance is mandatory. We recommend taking out an insurance policy as soon as your trip is booked to cover you in case of cancellation

Optional

Accommodation

Individual room/ tent supplementary charge - see price details
  • Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    24/09/2021 03/10/2021 £2,325 €2,738 $3,185 Guaranteed departure Book now
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    05/11/2021 14/11/2021 £2,325 €2,738 $3,185 Open Book now
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    31/12/2021 09/01/2022 £2,365 €2,785 $3,240 Open Book now
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    14/01/2022 23/01/2022 £2,365 €2,785 $3,240 Open Book now
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    18/02/2022 27/02/2022 £2,365 €2,785 $3,240 Open Book now
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    04/03/2022 13/03/2022 £2,365 €2,785 $3,240 Open Book now
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    15/04/2022 24/04/2022 £2,365 €2,785 $3,240 Open Book now
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    20/05/2022 29/05/2022 £2,365 €2,785 $3,240 Open Book now
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    17/06/2022 26/06/2022 £2,365 €2,785 $3,240 Open Book now
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    01/07/2022 10/07/2022 £2,365 €2,785 $3,240 Open Book now
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    05/08/2022 14/08/2022 £2,365 €2,785 $3,240 Open Book now
    19/08/2022 28/08/2022 £2,365 €2,785 $3,240 Open Book now
  • Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    02/09/2022 11/09/2022 £2,365 €2,785 $3,240 Open Book now
    16/09/2022 25/09/2022 £2,365 €2,785 $3,240 Open Book now
    30/09/2022 09/10/2022 £2,365 €2,785 $3,240 Open Book now
    14/10/2022 23/10/2022 £2,365 €2,785 $3,240 Open Book now
  • Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    04/11/2022 13/11/2022 £2,365 €2,785 $3,240 Open Book now
    18/11/2022 27/11/2022 £2,365 €2,785 $3,240 Open Book now
    02/12/2022 11/12/2022 £2,365 €2,785 $3,240 Open Book now
    19/12/2022 28/12/2022 £2,365 €2,785 $3,240 Open Book now

Equestrian info

Horses

The stables are home to an excellent selection of Boerperd crosses. The horses are even tempered, docile and sure footed. You will be riding with English tack and wearing a helmet is obligatory.

Minimum riding ability

Minimum riding ability

Riders must be at ease at all 3 paces - walk, rising trot, gallop in a forward seat - across varied, uneven terrain and be in good physical condition. Riders must have some previous experience of riding outdoors and have a good seat in order to compensate for any sudden movements made by the horses while around the native wildlife.

For riders over 95kg/ 209lbs / 14st 9 lbs, please contact us before booking so we can organise a suitable mount

Pace

You will experience all three paces throughout your trip. All observations are done at a walking pace - there will be no galloping around/ with the wild animals.

Tacking ability and participation

An English-speaking staff take care of all of the horses' needs, as well as tacking and untacking your horses.

Trip conditions and Requested experience

Riders must be in good physical condition and previous experience of a horse-riding trip over several days is a considerable plus. Riders who do not ride regularly should get riding fit before the trip's departure.
Riding helmets are mandatory and are not provided.
For riders over 95kg/ 209lbs / 14st 9 lbs, please contact us before booking so we can organise a suitable mount.

Equestrian equipment

English saddles.
Small saddlebags are provided.
We recommend our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard and you should bring your own to ensure a proper fit. Helmets are mandatory.

Travel info

Comfort

This safari offers a large variety of accommodations and experiences - from a permanent tented camp to a comfortable lodge, and even sleeping out under the stars! All bedding is provided and hot showers are available every night. Your meals will be had alfresco, in an "Out of Africa" atmosphere.

Click on each accommodation tab in the itinerary to get more information about each place.

Meals

Breakfast is served in the form of a buffet with both sweet and savoury options - eggs, bacon, tea, coffee, hot chocolate. Lunch is also served as a buffet
Dinner is served at the table and will be a hearty meal of grilled meat, vegetables and fresh fruit.

Drinks and mineral water are not included in the price at Lakeside and Wildside lodges, but are included at fly camp/sleep out/rondavel (Pedi village)

Climate

From November to December, the summer months become hotter and more humid with either continual rain or storms in the afternoon, on these days, you will head out to ride once the rains have stopped. At this time of year, mosquitoes and other insects are also more numerous and present in comparison to the winter months.

From January to March, the weather is usually drier and the days are very hot. Your morning rides finish earlier in order to avoid this heat. At this time of year, mosquitoes and other insects are also more present and numerous in comparison to the winter months.

In April, the vegetation starts to change, the green bush becomes brown and sparse throughout this period of autumn. The temperatures will drop during the night, however during the day it will still be hot with the possibility of storms in the afternoon.

In May and June, the winter months, the temperature lowers significantly at night and early in the morning. The vegetation becomes browner still and the tress lose their leaves. Due to the sparseness of the vegetation, visibility through the bush is improved.

From July to September, the weather is extremely dry with very cold nights. The temperature is also quite cool during your morning and end-of-afternoon excursions.

From October to November, the spring is at its peak dryness with hot winds and sparse vegetation. The first rains arrive at the end of October.

Guide and local team

Your team are all English speakers.

Tips

A customary tip would be around €10/£8/$13, per person per day which is then split between the team.

Packing list

When on a horseback safari, it is best to wear clothes of a neutral colour (green, brown, beige or grey) that will blend in to the countryside. For the evenings, bring clothes that are simple yet a little bit elegant!

Head
- A riding helmet is compulsory and we recommend that you take your own to ensure a correct fit. Helmet makers (GPA, HKM, LAS Helmets, Lamicell, Troxel, Equithème) now offer horse-riding helmets that are ventilated, strong, light and comfortable. You also have the option of buying protective shells to go under your hats (Ranch & Rider, Lexington Safety Products) or western hat helmets (Troxel).
- Sunhat (indispensable)
- Sunglasses - with a cord attached so they don't fly off when riding
- Buff or bandana for protecting your neck and face from the sun, wind or rain

Upper body
- 4 to 6 polo shirts in cotton or long-sleeved shirts (to protect against the sun)
- 1 or 2 long-sleeved shirts for the evening
- 1 lightweight fleece or jumper (from September to June)
- 1 warm fleece or jumper (from June to September during the winter)
- 1 lightweight or warm waterproof jacket (depending on the season). It is always a good idea to wear a coat with a multitude of pockets to keep your cameras, snacks, other items in.

Legs
- 1 pair of lightweight, comfortable riding trousers or jodhpurs - we recommend riding in them at home before taking them on holiday to ensure they don't rub
- Casual clothes for the evenings (jeans or walking trousers)
- A swimming costume
- Non-irritant cotton or synthetic underwear

Hands and Feet
- Comfortable riding boots. We recommend short boots with half. We don't recommend taking your favourite leather boots in case they get damaged
- Lightweight shoes or trainers for the evenings
- Several pairs of warm socks
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun, wind or rain whilst riding

Our Recommendations
- Backpacks cannot be worn whilst riding. We recommend a small bumbag or a coat with pockets so that you can carry small items with you during the day (camera, sunscreen, lip balm etc)
- A soothing cream may be useful to treat areas irritated by long hours in the saddle
- We recommend travelling in your riding boots and carrying your hat and some riding clothes in your hand luggage - then if your luggage goes astray you are still able to ride!

Other useful items
- Travel bag 70-100 litres (hold luggage)
- Travel bag 25-30 litres (cabin bag)
- Double saddlebags are available on request
- Water bottle (1.5 litres or 2 equivalent)
- Headtorch or small torch for moving around at night - bring spare batteries and bulbs
- Toiletries
- Protein or cereal bars for the longer stretches of riding
- Toilet paper and a lighter to burn it after use
- Swiss army knife or equivalent (in checking-in luggage!!)
- Small plastic bags for you rubbish
- Ear plugs (may be useful)
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery
- A pair of binoculars

Medical kit
Make sure any allergies (to medication or otherwise) and clearly stated in your medical kit
- Any medication you regularly take
- Painkillers
- Imodium or similar anti-diarrhea medication
- Vitamin C tablets
- Sunscreen and lip balm - should be high factor
- Insect repellent
- Eye drops
- Hydrating/ soothing cream
- Plasters
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc..
- 10cm wide bandage
- Spare prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Re-hydration sachets
- Antiseptic wipes
- Handwash gel

General information
- The airline allows only one bag to be checked-in per passenger. Make sure it weighs no more than the specified weight limit; if it exceeds this weight, you will have to pay excess luggage fees at check-in
- Hand luggage mustn't contain any sharp objects (knives, scissors, nail file or nail scissors, etc.) and the quantity of liquid allowed per passenger is limited to 100ml per container.
In your hold luggage
- Any liquids, such as shampoo, moisturiser, deodorant over 100 ml and all bottles can be decanted into small, clear, plastic Ziplock bags. We recommend biodegradable washing products where possible.
- We recommend taking a copy of your passport and insurance documents with you in case you lose your originals
- In your hand luggage carry any valuables, such as your camera, ipod, ipad etc.

Visa & Health

Formalities

To enter South Africa, a passport valid for at least 30 days after the intended date of departure is required by all UK, Australian, USA, Canadian and other EU nationals.
Passports must have at least two blank facing pages for entry stamps - visitors have been refused entry by airport immigration officials for flouting this regulation.
Yellow fever certificates are required if your journey starts from or passes through a country with yellow fever (such as Zambia/Victoria Falls).Visas for South Africa are not required by UK, Australian, USA, Canadian and other EU nationals for stays of up to 90 days except:
• Nationals of Cyprus, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, who may stay visa-free for up to 30 days.
• Nationals of Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Lativa, Lithuania, Romania and Slovenia, who do require a visa.
Other passport holders are advised to contact the embassy/high commission for visa requirements.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION RE: TRAVELLING WITH CHILDREN
South Africa has relaxed its requirements for travelling with children under the age of 18. Visa exempt children (including UK Nationals visiting for tourism purposes) entering South Africa accompanied by an adult are required to present only a valid passport on arrival, regardless of whether the child is travelling with both parents, one parent, or an adult who is not a biological parent (for more information, please see the Immigration Act in conjunction with the advisory from the South African Department of Home Affairs). This includes children travelling as part of school groups.

Contact South African Immigration for what is required for other circumstances.

Addresses of consulates

  • South African High Commission
    South Africa House
    Trafalgar Square
    WC2N 5DP London
    Tél. : +44 (0) 20 7451 7299
    Fax : +44 (0) 20 7839 5670
  • Paris | Ambassade d’Afrique du sud
    59, Quai d’Orsay
    75343 Paris Cedex 07
    Tél. : 01.53.59.23.23
    Fax :
    info@afriquesud.net
  • Ambassade de France en Afrique du Sud
    250, Melk street
    New Muckleneuk
    0181 Pretoria
    Tél. : +27 (0) 12 425 1600
    Fax : +27 12 425 1609
    france@ambafrance-rsa.org

Health

We recommend that you talk to your doctor as they have access to the most up-to-date information.
There are no vaccinations legally required to travel to South Africa, however, you need a yellow fever vaccination if you have travelled to a country where that disease is widely prevalent, such as Zambia/Victoria Falls. So although Yellow Fever is not a problem in South Africa, you will need to carry a certificate of vaccination if you are arriving from an infected country.
Like with most countries, it's advisable to have general injections regarding diseases like Hepatitis A and typhoid. Most travellers are already vaccinated against DTP (Diptheria, Tetanus, Polio) and Hepatitis A, especially if you travelled already to countries outside the western world. If you are staying longer than 3 months or have a particular risk you might consider a rabies vaccination. Vaccination against Tuberculosis as well as Hepatitis B are also sometimes recommended for stays longer than 3 months.
Malaria, although not prevalent in most of the country, is a serious disease which must not be underestimated. If you are travelling in the eastern quarter of the country (towards Kruger National Park), take anti-malarial medication such as Malarone, especially when travelling during the warmer and wetter summer season (October to April/May). Also wear long-sleeved shirts and use insect repelling containing DEET.
Very occasionally there are reports of African Tick Bite Fever in guests returning from South Africa. Cover up when riding/walking through the bush and check yourself for ticks. If you experience flu-like symptoms on return to the UK it is worth mentioning to your doctor that you have visited a rural part of Africa. The disease is easily treated with antibiotics.

Insurance

It is a condition of your booking with Equus Journeys that you have travel insurance which covers you for the riding activities to be undertaken. Your travel insurance should cover you for medical expenses and repatriation. Your guides will require your travel insurance details before they allow you to ride and may refuse to let you ride if you cannot provide them. You should take your insurance documents with you.

Voltage

220/230 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs have three fat round pins.

Budget and money

The currency of South Africa is the Rand, often called the 'buck', and it's divided into 100 cents. The sign for it is R and the financial code is ZAR. It was introduced in 1961 to coincide with the establishment of the Republic of South Africa, replacing the South African pound.
Notes come in R10, R20, R50, R100, and R200 denominations. Coins of 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents exist, as well as R1, R2 and R5.

Telephone and jetlag

GMT +1
South Africa's country code is 27. Telephone numbers in South Africa are 10 digits, including the local area code. There are also some prefixes like 0800 (toll free), 0860 (charged as local call) and 0861 (flat-rate calls).
Roaming agreements exist with international mobile phone companies and coverage extends to most of the country except the very remote areas. GPRS for data coverage is also widespread. Airport kiosks can sell you a phone or local SIM card if you show some ID.
Internet cafes are common in towns throughout the country and wireless is available at airports and in up-market hotels. Most hotels charge for connectivity and it can be cheaper to find the nearest internet café.

Did you know?

Did you know?

The "Big Five"


In Africa, principally Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa, the term Big Five, is made up of the animals feared and respected by the beast hunters of old. The Big Five members are so called for the degree of danger involved in hunting them, not because of their size. Luckily, most of the shooting is done through the lense nowadays, but they remain unpredictable.

The elephant, rhino (both black and white), lion, leopard and buffalo have today become the symbol of safaris and a sight that everyone wants to see and photograph. 

You can find the Big Five in most countries of Southern Africa, including popular riding safari destinations such as South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania, Kenya or Zimbabwe.

On the blog

Cecile Von Auersperg is the bright personality behind our Big Five Safari in South Africa and luxury riding retreat in Mozambique. From the Spanish city of Marbella to the African bush, Cécile's story is a fascinating one. Discover her story and how she came to set up her safaris in the African bushveld.