'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.
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Horseback Safari
10 days / 7 days riding
From £3,010

From the horse’s mouth

  • 'Big Five' safari in South Africa
    April 2024 Noemi aged 29
    This trip is the best combination between horse riding and game driving in the beautiful Entabeni Game Reserve! You have high chances to see all the Big Seven (though leopards are difficult to track down) and you’re hosted by the best team: always smiling and ready to fix all minor and major issues! Fly Camp was the... Read all
  • 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



- 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)

    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.

    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 (2h30) to the Entabeni Reserve in the Waterberg mountains.

    Upon arrival you will be welcomed by the local team at the fly camp which is located in a nearby farm.
    Over lunch, you will have a small briefing on the days to come. After discussing preferences you will be matched with your horse and head out for an introductory ride.
    Sundowners will be served before you head back to camp.
  • Day 3 3 : RESERVE - 5 hours riding

    Early wake up and breakfast before you set off on a 2.5 hour ride and come back for lunch at camp. You can have a rest and reset in the wonderful surroundings before your afternoon ride, and drinks around the fire. Dinner and last night at this fly camp. Your bags will be packed for the following days move.

    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. 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 4 4 : ENTABENI RESERVE - 5 hours riding

    Waterberg Wildside Tented 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.
    Today will be the day to change or try a new horse should you want to. You will ride to the gate of Entabeni reserve, which is the adjacent farm. You will enter big 5 territory, and to the permanent tented camp, where you will arrive in time for a short break to settle in. There is a pool, so you may opt to skip the game drive if you would prefer some time at the pool. Your luggage will be waiting in your room, and the horses will have an afternoon off. Otherwise, your game drive vehicle and guide will be waiting at 15:30 (in winter) 16:00 (in summer) to take you on a 3 hour game drive, with a stop for sundowner drinks.
    Have your camera ready, to hopefully capture lion or elephants up close!
  • Day 5 5 : ENTABENI RESERVE - 4 hours riding

    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 awaits.
    (Note that tents are provided should the weather not permit sleeping under mosquito nets “only").
  • Day 6 6 : ENTABENI RESERVE - 5-6 hours riding

    Kingfisher Lodge
    After an early wake up and a light breakfast overlooking the breathtaking landscapes, you will start to make your way to the next lodge. Riding through different landscapes, you will arrive to Kingfisher lodge which is located in a lake - if you are lucky you might spot hippos! After lunch, there is time for you to enjoy the pool. Massages are available should you want to give yourself a treat after a few days in the saddle.

    In the afternoon you will get back on your horse, in search of giraffe and hippo. You also have the option to go on a game drive or bush walk, should you prefer.

    Return to the lodge in the evening where dinner will be waiting for you.
  • Day 7 7 : ENTABENI RESERVE - 5 hours riding

    Waterberg Lakeside Lodge
    After a light breakfast you may choose between going on a game drive or a bush walk.
    Comeback to the lodge and enjoy the full breakfast before heading out for your half day ride. Today you will continue to be on the look out for the different species that live on the plain.
    At lunch time you will return to the lodge and head back again to ride on the other side of the reserve.
    Overnight at the Lakeside lodge.
  • Day 8 8 : ENTABENI RESERVE - 5 hours riding

    You will have the option of a game drive or bush walk, in the early morning before breakfast. Your bags will be collected by the team, and you will set off discovering hidden areas of the lower part of the reserve. You will be riding through sandy tracks ideal for cantering. Upon your arrival to camp, lunch will be served. The afternoon will be spent at leisure or you can opt to go on another game drive.
    Overnight at the Hanglip Lodge.

    SPA treatments are available at this lodge (not included, payable locally).
  • 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 - 8 (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. £305/€355//$365 (2023), or £210/€240//$260 (2024). 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 £240/€280/$290 (2023/2024) - If there are more than 3 people in the transfer the price goes down to £110/€120/$130, 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.
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


In the stables - grooms and assistant guides


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


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


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

Price doesn't include


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


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


Tips to the local team
Additional game drives or other extra activities


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



Individual room/ tent supplementary charge - see price details
  • Departure Return Price without flights Status
    05/07/2024 14/07/2024 £3,010 €3,462 $3,732
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    19/07/2024 28/07/2024 £3,010 €3,462 $3,732
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    02/08/2024 11/08/2024 £3,010 €3,462 $3,732
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    16/08/2024 25/08/2024 £3,010 €3,462 $3,732
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  • Departure Return Price without flights Status
    06/09/2024 15/09/2024 £3,010 €3,462 $3,732
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    20/09/2024 29/09/2024 £3,010 €3,462 $3,732
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    04/10/2024 13/10/2024 £3,010 €3,462 $3,732
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    18/10/2024 27/10/2024 £3,010 €3,462 $3,732
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  • Departure Return Price without flights Status
    01/11/2024 10/11/2024 £3,010 €3,462 $3,732
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    15/11/2024 24/11/2024 £3,010 €3,462 $3,732
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    06/12/2024 15/12/2024 £3,010 €3,462 $3,732
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Equestrian info


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.

Guide & local team

Your team are all English speakers.

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


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


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.

Please note that from June to August, camping nights will be substituted by fly camp (mobile tents) as the nights become
quite cold.


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)


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.


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!

- 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.

- 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.

Sustainable tourism

  1. Travel light. It's a little known fact, but the lighter you pack, the better for the environment as heavy bags will produce higher emissions (when flying a plane or driving a car!).
  2. Reduce plastic waste. Take your favorite reusable bottle with you. Avoid single-use bags, cups, or straws.
  3. Preserve nature. Always take your rubbish with you during the ride and recycle them. Leave all the flowers or plants as you found them, and never get too close when observing wildlife. Make sure to use eco-friendly products such as body wash or laundry detergent (if camping) to protect both your skin and the environment.
  4. Choose your experiences carefully. Respect animal life by not participating in any activities that abuse wild animals (shows, elephant rides, etc.).
  5. Support local populations. Buy local handicrafts, be respectful of customs, and learn about the culture of local communities.
  6. Share! Raise awareness among your family and friends about sustainable tourism.

For more information please see this page.

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.

Customer reviews

Customer reviews

All of our reviews are real, honest opinions from riders who have recently travelled with us. Upon their return, our riders will receive an email inviting them to share their experiences from their trip. Good or bad, each review will be published on our website, provided that they respect our editorial guidelines.
  • Noemi aged 29 Valbrenta 1 trip
    April 2024
    This trip is the best combination between horse riding and game driving in the beautiful Entabeni Game Reserve! You have high chances to see all the Big Seven (though leopards are difficult to track down) and you’re hosted by the best team: always smiling and ready to fix all minor and major issues! Fly Camp was the... Read all
    • Horses
    • Programme
    • Accommodation
    • Local guide