Horizon Signature Safari

Embark on an extraordinary equestrian adventure in the heart of South Africa's Waterberg Biosphere Reserve. This safari unfolds amidst typical bush scenery, from open valleys to dense woodlands, offering intimate encounters with the African wildlife. This holiday promises magical moments, including sundowners and bush breakfasts, culminating in an authentic under-canvas experience at Camp Davidson. This riding holiday in South Africa guarantees a symphony of nature, adventure, and unparalleled memories.
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Horseback Safari
10 days (8 days riding)
From £2,041
Family holidays
  • Hippos on a horseback safari in South Africa
    Horizon is home to a pod of hippos, in South Africa
  • Polocross players at Horizon
    Polocross players at Horizon
  • Riders riding into the Horizon lake
    Take the horses for a swim in the Horizon lake!
  • Horses and riders at Horizon
    Horses and riders at Horizon

Itinerary

Highlights

- Explore on horseback the diverse landscapes of the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve.
- Ride alongside a good selection of plains game – zebras, hippo, giraffe, and so many more.
- Big Five game drive can be arranged (not included).
- Experience the charm of different accommodations, each unique in their own way
  • Day 1 1: Home - Johannesburg

    Overnight flight to Johannesburg. Flights are not included but can be arranged upon request.
  • Day 2 2: Johannesburg – Waterberg - Approx. 2h riding

    Ranch Waterberg
    Upon arrival to OR Tambo, you will be transferred to the ranch in the middle of the Waterberg plateau (around 3,5h drive). Please note that the group transfer departs at 10:30am and we recommend your flight lands early enough. Please note transfers are not included (see dates and prices).

    After a light lunch in the garden and a delightful tea, it is time for you to meet your horse. The introductory ride offers a prologue to the reserve, providing a fantastic chance for your first encounters with species like zebra, giraffe, and hippo. The ride varies from walking to cantering along sandy tracks, concluding with sundowners drinks on the plains.

    Overnight at Horizon Lodge.
  • Day 3 3: Waterberg - Aprox. 6h riding

    Ranch Waterberg
    Today’s route follows an open valley housing species like kudu, sable, reedbuck, red hartebeest, waterbuck, and impala. The sandy tracks make for excellent riding, crossing open grassland and weaving through dense woodland. Dark red pedigree cattle, bred on the property, are often encountered along the way. If conditions allow, the last leg involves splashy canters along the lake adjacent to the lodge.

    In the afternoon, you will head east along the river, passing dams where hippo encounters are likely. Riding close to these wild animals is a truly magical experience.

    Overnight at Horizon Lodge.
  • Day 4 4: Bellevue Lodges & Buffalo Tracking - Approx. 6h riding

    Savannah Plains Lodge
    Today, you will ride from Horizon to either Savannah Lodge in the far southwest or Seringa Lodge in the southeast.
    At first, the route covers familiar ground but soon ventures into new terrain. The landscape opens up to grasslands with sweeping views, showcasing the vastness of the African plains. This area boasts a high concentration of game, with big herds of blesbuck and eland often sighted. The final stretch to Savannah Lodge is along a wooded stream where kudu and bushbuck are likely to be seen.
  • Day 5 5: Waterberg & Big Five Game Drive - Approx. 4h riding

    Ranch Waterberg
    Another long ride through game-rich country brings you back to the heart of the operation, Horizon Lodge. The route taken is different from the previous one, offering excellent opportunities to see giraffe.

    In the afternoon you will set off on a game drive in the nearby Entabeni or Welgevonden game reserves (not included – check “Dates&Prices” tab). Although it involves some travel time, the chance to see lion, elephant, and rhino in their natural environments makes this excursion well worthwhile.

    Overnight at Horizon Lodge.
  • Day 6 6: Camp Davidson - Approx. 6h riding

    Camp Davidson
    Today’s route will take you deep into the reserve, reaching parts with a true wilderness quality.
    After about three hours in the saddle, you will arrive at a giant wild fig tree for a delicious bush breakfast prepared on an open fire. After this hearty meal, the route back to the lodge will take you through a dense forest area where some of the shyer species like to shelter.

    In the afternoon, you will head towards Camp Davidson for an exciting night under canvas. The camp is perched high on a ridge overlooking a vast wilderness area to the east. This is not a long ride, but the route is exciting, following a narrow trail along the edge of the ridge. Wildlife often encountered in this area includes baboon, bush pig, kudu, and klipspringer. Porcupines are frequent nocturnal visitors to the camp, and leopard spoor outside the tents is not uncommon.
  • Day 7 7: Sunset Lake - Approx. 6h riding

    Ranch Waterberg
    Today’s route covers the north-eastern areas of the reserve. Descend from the camp to cross a stream and open plain and then follow the tracks through untouched bush to the upper reaches of Sunset Lake. This lake is home to crocodile, otter, fish eagle, and other waterfowl, such as the beautiful African jacana.
    You will ride along the water’s edge while being on the lookout for the hippo. These animals, while having a reputation for being some of the most dangerous in Africa, are not a threat during the day but will often honk and blow as they observe the riders go by.

    Arrive back at Horizon, where you will have some time to relax by the swimming pool and enjoy the unspoilt surroundings. In the afternoon, you will get to join a “polocrosse” game, an amalgam between polo and lacrosse. Prior experience is not required.

    Tonight’s dinner features a wine tasting experience.
  • Day 8 8: Waterberg Highlands - Approx. 6h riding

    Ranch Waterberg
    Today you will follow the valley down to the eastern edge of the reserve before crossing up to the highlands near Camp Davidson. While you make your way back to the lodge, the tracks offer great opportunities for extended canters.

    In the afternoon, you will follow a route interspersed with optional cross-country jumps that will lead you to the sundowners’ location. Relish on the views over the rolling hills, before returning to the lodge.
  • Day 9 9: Waterberg – Johannesburg - Approx. 3h riding

    This is a last opportunity to ride amongst Africa’s incredible antelope species through a beautiful environment on superb horses. Following lunch in the garden, it is time for the road transfer back to the Johannesburg.

    Note: Transfers are not included. Departure is scheduled at around 1:30pm. Please do not book flights departing before 7:30pm.
  • Day 10 10: Home

    Arrival home.

Dates & prices

Price details

- Flights or transportation to your destination (international/domestic) are not included, but can be booked on request - please contact us for rates.

- Rates are per person, based on two riders sharing a twin room/tent during the ride.

- This itinerary reflects a stay of 7 nights, but you can stay longer. Please contact us for a personalised quote over your preferred dates.

- Groups are composed of a minimum of 2 riders and a maximum of 8 international riders, plus guides.

- Single supplements are payable for those who end up in a single room. Single supplements vary depending on which room type you stay in - please contact us. On certain weeks a single room is available on a first-come, first-served basis at no extra cost. Please contact us for details.

- Airport transfers are at extra cost. Please note: Sunday group transfers at £75.00 per person each way. Sunday group transfers will depart ORT at 11.15am and will depart the lodge at 2pm
> Departing Johannesburg - you will need a flight arriving at 9:30 am.
> Departing Horizon after lunch, for flights departing Johannesburg after 7:30pm.

If you require transfers outside of these timings, then private transfers are possible at extra cost:
> Private transfers: £324/€365/$400
If you require a transfer to/from Johannesburg city centre rather than the airport then a supplement is payable.

- There is no minimum age required. Minors can join provided they match the riding requirements and are accompanied by a legal guardian.

- The Big Five game drive on day 5 is not included. This is an extra £98 per person, paid locally (includes transfers).

- Rider weight limit: 85 kilos/ 187 lbs/ 13.3 st.
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 tour leader
1 English-speaking assistant horse guide

Accommodation

Double/twin room or tent

Meals

Full board from lunch on day 2 to lunch on day 9, drinks included

Price doesn't include

Meals

Personal extras

Transport

International flights
Airport transfers - check "Dates&Prices" for details

Extras

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

Single room/tent supplement

Extras

Big Five Game Drive on day 5
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Equestrian info

Horses

There are around 65 horses available. They range from Thoroughbreds, Arabs, Boerperds, Welsh ponies, and other mixed breeds. Whether you're a calm rider needing confidence or someone seeking a more spirited experience, there is a horse for you.

The horses range from 14.2hh to 16.2hh with the vast majority being between 15hh to 15.3hh.

Guide & local team

At Horizon, each member is carefully selected for their passion for horses, love of people, enthusiasm for the bush, and their knack for blending it all together in a fun way.
Your journey will be led by two guides, both ready to help you navigate the terrain and share their knowledge about the bush and its vibrant wildlife.

Minimum riding ability

Minimum riding ability

You need to be a competent rider, capable and in control at all paces. You must be able to rise to the trot and canter/gallop in a forward seat. The riding in South Africa is very safe, as the Waterberg is home to mostly plains game such as zebra and giraffe. No elephants or big cats.

Rider weight limit: 85 kilos/ 187 lbs/ 13.3 st.

Pace

Game viewing is normally at a walk so as not to startle the animals, but there are opportunities for faster riding.

In the morning, rides tend to be longer (up to 4h), while in the afternoon they are shorter (around 2h).

Tacking ability and participation

The horses are tacked up for you by the staff but you will be asked to untack and assist with turning your horse into the paddock at the end of the day.

Trip conditions and Requested experience

You need to be physically fit for the long hours in the saddle in the African sun.
If you wish to take part in the “polocross” or jumping activities, you should be fit enough and have sufficient cover on your insurance.

Equestrian equipment

McClellan. These saddles are specifically designed for long hours in the saddle. They are comfortable for both the horse and rider. Most horses are ridden in snaffle bit.
Saddlebags are supplied.

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

Travel info

Comfort

Horizon Safari Lodge (5 nights)
Horizon offers a picturesque backdrop that provides the ideal setting to unwind with a drink while observing the wildlife. For sun enthusiasts, there is a jetty on the lake, serving as a perfect haven for those keen on soaking up the sun. A pool is available.
There are different room types (all en-suite). The Luxury Chalets are set apart from the others and offer a more private experience. The Hippo Lodge rooms are of high standards, but the rooms have shared verandas. Solo travellers will be assigned a Standard room.

Savannah Lodge (1 night)
Located in the south-western side of the conservancy, this lodge has a total of five en suite double rooms. There is a comfortable living space and dining areas inside and outside. You can relax by the small pool or on the deck which overlooks a plain.

Camp Davidson (1 night)
The camp is laid-out on a wooden deck. Each tent has comfortable beds and an en-suite bathroom area (bucket showers). There are hand wash facilities (jug and basin) and flushing toilets.
There is also a small pool available.

Meals

Meals are prepared on-site using fresh, local ingredients wherever possible.
Breakfast consists of cereal, fruit, eggs, toast, tea and coffee.
Lunch is usually light such as quiche and salad or lasagne or salad.
Afternoon tea with a selection of drinks and freshly baked cakes.
Dinner comprises three courses and there are plenty of vegetables on offer.
All drinks are included.

Vegetarians and special diets can be catered for with advance notice.

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. 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 trees 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 cold nights. The temperature is also quite cool during 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.

Tips

Tips are not expected but if you wish to leave a tip then we recommend c. £10 per guest per day for the entire local team - this can be given to your hosts to share out equally. You can tip in any currency (GBP, Euro, USD or Rand) by cash or card.

Packing list

If you have any old clothes, shoes, or blankets that you would otherwise throw away and have some room in your luggage please do take it with you. Horizon is involved with local schools/day-care centres and helps where possible with the Waterberg Welfare Society and its aids orphan program. Please note this is not expected.
Head
- Hard hats are compulsory and we recommend you take your own to ensure a correct fit.
- Sunhat for when not riding
- Sunglasses - with a cord attached so they don't fly off when riding
- Buff or bandana

Upper body
- Long sleeved shirts provide protection from the sun and thorns
- T-shirts
- Fleece, jumper or jacket - the evenings can be cold
- Waterproof jacket - particularly during the summer months (October - April) when there can be rain or thunderstorms
- Casual clothes for the evening

Legs
- Lightweight, comfortable riding trousers or jodhpurs - we recommend riding in them at home before taking them on holiday to ensure they don't rub
- Shorts for lazy lunchtimes
- Casual clothes for the evening

Hands and Feet
- Comfortable riding boots. We recommend short boots with half chaps but you may wish to take long chaps to protect against thorns. We don't recommend taking your favourite long leather boots in case they get damaged
- Sandals, flip-flops or trainers for moving around the lodge and camp
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun whilst riding

Other useful items
- A high lumen torch or head torch
- Swimsuit - for the pool or swimming your horse in the dam
- Binoculars for viewing game
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery
- Bumbag for carrying your camera and small items whilst riding

In your luggage
- Any liquids, such as shampoo, moisturiser, deodorant unless they are less than 100ml and all bottles can fit in a small, clear, plastic ziplock bag

In your hand luggage
- Any valuables, such as your camera, ipad, etc.
- Your riding hat

Medical kit
- Sunscreen and lip balm - must be high factor
- Insect repellent, preferably containing deet
- Any medication you regularly take
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc...

Our Recommendations
- Wherever possible you should wear neutral colours, such as beige, brown or natural bush colours for riding as bright colours, such as red, yellow or white can startle the wildlife and they will see you long before you've seen them
- 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, lipbalm etc).
- 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
- It is advised to take a copy of your passport and insurance documents with you in case you lose your originals.
- A laundry service is available, which may mean that you can pack light.