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South Africa

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Article from Wild Magazine Summer 2016/17.

See nature from a new viewpoint when you explore on horseback.

Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, near Mbabane, Swaziland

Mlilwane riding – Court Big Game Parks

With its rolling grasslands and well-trodden game paths, Mlilwane is ideal for horse-based exploration. Known for their well-schooled horses, Chubeka Trails offers outrides to suit your skill level and sense of adventure. If you’re a more experienced equestrian, opt for an overnight outing such as the Klipspringer Trail. You’ll ride to a base camp along the Lusushwane River and then explore the stunning Swazi surrounds from there. Highlights include a river crossing, long canters, birding from the saddle and food cooked over an open fire.

Make it happen: Big Game Parks Central Reservations 068-2528-3943

Addo Elephant National Park, near Port Elizabeth

Addo riding – Nick Dall

The most thrilling riding of all must be through Big Five country and in Addo carefully conducted horse trails make this possible. In the morning and afternoon, two-hour guided rides explore the Nyathi section, home to big game and predators. For visitors keen on the thrill of riding alongside the game, the experience is a must because if anything unexpected happens, you have to be able to control your mount. Less adrenalin-inducing are trails through the beautiful Zuurberg section with its grand mountain views.

Make it happen: Book with the park on 042-233-8600.

Anysberg Nature Reserve, near Laingsburg

Anysberg riding – Riaan Vermulen

A trip that combines horse riding with astronomy, that’s the idea behind the Planet Trek, a two-day trail through this quiet corner of the Little Karoo. The route makes its way past mosaic markers that represent the planets, a novel way to get a grasp on the solar system. Your destination is Tapfontein, where charming little cottages are huddled around a farm dam, lapa, and camp kitchen. With no electricity and no other people for miles, there’s little risk of light interfering with your stargazing. This family-friendly excursion is a brilliant way to get in touch with nature.

Make it happen: CapeNature Central Reservations 021-483-0190

Golden Gate Highlands National Park, near Clarens

In this scenic park it’s all about the views: panoramas of honey-coloured rock against green summer grasses and powder blue sky. Why not boost your enjoyment by sightseeing from horseback? You’ll see more from this commanding position and the pace of the outride is gentle enough to take it all in. Most of the park is suited to riding and, in fact, it’s only on horseback that rangers can patrol some of the more inaccessible areas. A favourite destination is Cathedral Cave, where a natural opening in the vast stone roof lets in rays of sunlight.

Make it happen: It is essential to book in advance. Bear in mind that the stables are closed on Mondays. 058-255-1000

Royal Natal National Park, near Harrismith

Get a new perspective on the famous Amphitheatre rock face when you see it from the saddle. Outrides in the Rugged Glen section of the park climb the foothills of the Berg for breathtaking views of the granite peaks and Verreaux’s eagles riding the thermals. Exploring by horse improves your chance of encountering wildlife such as the mountain reedbuck. These normally shy antelope will allow you to come much closer when you’re on horseback. Rides take place morning and afternoon and vary between two and six hours.

Make it happen: Book with the park on 036-438-6422.


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