Chris Day’s trip to Tsylos

British Columbia offers a magical retreat from the normality of everyday life. In our latest blog Chris Day recounts her recent trip to the wonderful destination of Tsylos in British Columbia…

Tsylos is less than a one hour flight from Vancouver and is situated at the north end of the Chilko Lake in British Columbia. I had an amazing flight! We had clear skies and fabulous views. The flight (on about a twelve-seater plane) was about 45 minutes. Our driver for the journey from the airport to the Lodge was Pat, one of the fishing guides. He was knowledgeable about the area and kept us amused on the journey.

Flying in from Vancouver

Flying in from Vancouver

Sunday 21st September
We arrived at Tsylos at about 12:30, waited for everyone else to arrive and then sat down to a welcome lunch of macaroni cheese. We then had a general briefing before sitting with Theresa, our guide, who asked us about our riding experience and the type of horse we preferred. After an hour to ourselves, settling into our rooms, we met at the barn for our introductory ride. Theresa gave us a full briefing and demo on catching your horse, putting on the halter, tying up to the hitching rail, brushing off, tacking up, mounting and dismounting. Then we went to the corral and caught our horses. I was assigned ‘Joe’, a good looking bay gelding.

We rode out for about 1 ½ hours, with Theresa leading and Dave as back-up. We were mainly walking but we had a short canter too. Back at the barn we washed down the horses and were back in our rooms by 17:00. Time to freshen up before heading to the lodge at 18:00, where pre-dinner nibbles are left on the bar for guests. It was a splendid first dinner of wild sea trout, salad, potatoes and asparagus, all washed down with nice Canadian wines.

From just above the Lodge

From just above the Lodge

Monday 22nd September 2014
It was cold this morning. I slept quite well then headed down to the lodge where coffee was ready and everyone was gathering for breakfast. Breakfast was homestyle hash browns and a scrambled egg medley (ie with bacon, cheese, tomatoes etc), fruit, cereal, yoghurt and bread.

Quickly over, we collected our sandwiches and made our way up to the barn for 09:30. We caught our horses, groomed and tacked up, and were away by 10:00. We went a different route today, following the road for a while, past Chilko campsite (closed to camping due to bear activity!!!) and then on to Green Lake. After lunch we followed the same route back for the majority of the way, but diverted to have a short canter on an undulating track. We were back at the barn by 14:00 which gave people the chance to have a beer on the deck or head for the hot tub!

Riding along the river

Riding along the river

Tuesday 23rd September 2014
What a lovely morning! I was ready for the splendid breakfast of French toast and bacon. Today we headed out on the Mountain Ride. This ride is all at a walk due to the terrain. We left the barn at about 10:00 and started to climb immediately. There were some very scenic bits as we left the treeline and it got very steep in places. We stopped to rest the horses several times and reached the top of the mountain at about 13:00.

What a view! We sat and ate our lunch looking over the spectacular Chilko Lake. It was magnificent! We lead the horses off the top, which was shingle and steep. It took about 2 ½ hours to get back to the barn and we lead the horses several times. We got back to the lodge for a well deserved drink by 16:30!

Chilko River

Chilko River

Wednesday 24th September 2014
It was a cold, bleak and drizzly morning, but breakfast (bacon, egg, cheese and tomato pie) got me going just fine! The plan today had been to do the boat trip up the lake, but due to the weather it was decided to postpone this and to do a cantering ride instead. I had a change of horse to one of the veterans, a coloured horse called Charlie. I think he’s the boss! Again we set off at about 10:00 and rode along the scenic river. We had about three canters on the way to an abandoned lodge. As we were cantering up a trail towards the lodge, we heard the dogs barking and some strange snorting (not unlike a stallion) and looking back we saw three bears (mother and two cubs) crossing the trail, thankfully after the last horses had passed! We tried to track them, but could not find where they had gone.

Riding through the treeline

Riding through the treeline

We reached the lodge at about 11:45 and stopped here for lunch. This time of year it is the peak of the salmon run, which is great for bringing the bears down to the river, but not so nice for the amount of dead salmon everywhere. We stayed around the lodge for a couple of hours, and went to investigate a beaver lodge. It was amazing to see the trees they had taken down. Incredible!

The meals we had throughout the week were really delicious, and tonight’s rack of lamb was no exception. We had fun after dinner reciting poems and playing a game not dissimilar to charades.

Thursday 25th September 2014
Today is a rest day for the horses and so we all headed out in the boat with Bud to Chilko Lake. It was an amazing day with some incredible views. The mountain scenery is really stunning. After about an hour we stopped and walked to a small lake often frequented by moose. We carried on down an inlet, which was calmer, to an old miner’s cabin. From here it was a further five minutes to our lunch spot on a beach. A fire was lit and hot drinks handed round to warm us up.

The little cabin at Spectacular Lake

The little cabin at Spectacular Lake

Back into the boat after lunch had settled, for another hour continuing up the lake. We reached a spot where we walked to a small lake known as ‘Spectacular Lake’. And it was! On the way back up the lake we passed a structure being built by an old Vietnam draft dodger. Bud had a few stories to tell about him! (Walks about in bare feet apparently!) Then, finally, we saw bears! A mother and cub running along the shore (well, they were eating fish until we came along!) and then a little further along there was a mother and two cubs running up the scree into some trees. Amazing!

We got back to the lodge for about 17:30, and were pleased to get back into the warmth. It had been a fantastic trip, and a wonderful way to see Chilko Lake, but boy it was cold on the back of the boat!

Stunning views from the boat trip on Lake Chilko

Stunning views from the boat trip on Lake Chilko

Friday 26th September
Today we had some great cantering rides, through the trees with some great switchbacks – you really had to be in tune with your horse. We rode back to the abandoned lodge where we saw the mother and cubs the other day, as one of the ladies had dropped her sunglasses. When we got to the abandoned lodge there was a group of photographers totally absorbed in photographing the mother bear and her cubs as they sat in the river eating the abundant salmon. We tried to be very quiet and were able to watch the bears for a while, before she spotted one of our dogs, let out a snort and disappeared!

After lunch we had some more canters and opened up on the old airfield and also a nice paddock, which gave for some nice photo opportunities. Back at the lodge there was a mother bear and two cubs just down by the jetty. We dashed down and spent a long time watching them from just 50yds away. Amazing.

Mother and cub on Lake Chilko

Mother and cub on Lake Chilko

Saturday 27th September
A repeat today of the upper and lower ‘roller coaster’ rides, lovely winding canters through the trees and then out onto the ridge; “don’t look down!” We crossed the river via the bridge and stopped in a very scenic spot for lunch. After lunch we had some nice canters along the sandy trails before we reached the river. Here we untacked the horses and the tack was taken back to the lodge by boat. We waited with the horses until our guides returned (lots of hilarity singing very loud songs to keep the bears away!) and then the horses swam across the river and made their own way back to the stables at Tsylos Lodge. This evening was ‘BBQ’ night and we had lovely steaks cooked to perfection! Bit of a party atmosphere and lots of recounting of our adventures!

The horses swam home

The horses swam home

Sunday 28th September
After breakfast we left the lodge at about 09:30 and travelled the hour and a half back to the airstrip. It was quite sad to see the mountains disappearing into the distance.

My favourite breakfast - eggs benedict!

My favourite breakfast – eggs benedict!

To find out more about how you can create your own British Columbian equestrian adventure visit www.inthesaddle.com

Categories: Equestrian Travel, Horses & riding, Ranch holidays, Ride reviews, Riding Holidays | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A South African Adventure at Ant’s

South Africa is one of our most popular destinations for a horseback holiday, with a diverse landscape, big game viewing opportunities, excellent accommodation, beautiful horses and all offering value for money. In The Saddle’s own Gail Tennant finally got to find out why so many people choose South Africa for their equine adventure, here is the second instalment of her blog where she enjoyed a stay at Ant’s Lodges in the Waterberg…

Pure luxury and exploration at Ant’s
After a short drive between Horizon and Ant’s Lodges I settled in to my cottage at Ant’s Hill. Ant’s Lodges are two beautiful and luxurious lodges each set in their own private game reserve owned and run by the Babers, whose family have lived in the Waterberg since 1865!

I was shown to my accommodation for my stay, which was the Family Cottage. This consisted of three bedrooms, a spacious living room and a verandah. The master bedroom had a king size four-poster which was extremely comfortable. One of the highlights of this room had to be the waterfall shower, which was quite a unique experience. There is a twin bedroom with a bathroom, which is shared with the annex children’s room. Both rooms were also spacious and it was very tempting to sleep in a different room each night! It had been beautifully decorated complete with twisted tree trunks to make the door frames. The views from the verandah were spectacular with everything rich and green, although unfortunately I didn’t spot any game only a few lizards! It was very peaceful to just sit on the verandah and read a book when not out riding. All the cottages at Hill were spaced out from each other allowing for guests to feel secluded enough to enjoy their own private holiday/honeymoon.

Family Cottage is absolute bliss

Family Cottage is absolute bliss

The first morning started with a lovely breakfast and then a ride at 8.30am. I rode Phinda who was very straightforward and a comfortable ride. We were taken out by Sam, who has been guiding at Ant’s for 13 years and before that at Horizon for 7 years so he was extremely knowledgeable, particularly about the bush plants and which ones were most commonly used in medicines. After lunch we went out again, this time I rode 19 year old Noosa who was older but still a fast and fun ride! We got to see lots of game and rode for about 2 hours before enjoying sundowners back at the lodge around 7pm.

Getting close to a mother and baby giraffe

Getting close to a mother and baby giraffe

The next day I rode Shakira as we went on the hunt to find some buffalo! It was fun tracking prints and we eventually found them, along with some giraffe too! We also got to have a lovely gallop along a sandy track and to swim in the dam with the horses. That evening some of the guests had opted to go do the big 5 game drive in another reserve whilst others went to the rhino feeding at Nest, so it was just me riding in the afternoon. I rode a chestnut mare called Nairobi who was a young ex-racehorse. She was a lovely ride, really uncomplicated, easy to stop and moved well off the leg. I couldn’t believe her age and that she had been a racehorse, as she did not behave this way! This ride was fast and we could go for some long canters that were really exhilarating. We made our way up to the highest point on the reserve of 1200 metres. Just the other side of the hill, Jan was waiting with some sundowners and snacks, the view watching the sun disappear from up there was amazing and you could see right across the Waterberg.

Sundowners to take your breath away

Sundowners to take your breath away

A change of scenery
The next day I rode from Ant’s Hill to Ant’s Nest, we saw various game along the way and had some great canters. After a delicious buffet lunch of chips, bruschetta, melon and feta salad, venison gazpacho and calamari we rode out hoping to help find a buffalo bull who had been injured fighting with another over territory, we saw lots game, including rhino, but didn’t find the buffalo!

At Ant’s Nest I stayed in the Sable Suite, which is upstairs of the main building. There is a large spacious living area with a beautiful fireplace for those winter nights. The master bedroom had a lovely four-poster bed with a large window which looked out over the pool and reserve. The bathroom off the master bedroom was huge and probably about the same size as the bedroom itself! There was a twin room as well with its own smaller bathroom. Both rooms had some beautiful paintings on their walls of various bush animals, some of which were painted by Ant Baber. The rooms at Nest are closer together and there were plenty of other guests to chat to around the pool making it a very social atmosphere.

The Sable suite is stunning at Ant's Nest

The Sable suite is stunning at Ant’s Nest

Spectacular sights
While the game sightings were spectacular at both Lodges and we could get extremely close to giraffe and sable for some photos, the rhino are often sighted close to Nest as they are fed near to there. After arriving back from sundowners one evening the rhino were grazing the grass just beyond the wall of Nest. We were able to sit and just watch these beautiful creatures which were almost close enough to touch. It was a truly magical experience!

The next morning we were still on the hunt for the injured buffalo. The rangers who look after the rhino had found fresh tracks in the early hours of the morning so we headed off to one of the hills. Ant was in radio contact with those looking from a vehicle and we soon found the bull and were able to get quite close to it. The wounds had healed so the vet did not need to be called thankfully.

Culinary delights
The food at Ant’s is out of this world and my diet went out the door! There was plenty of choice at breakfast from fruit, yoghurt, pastries to full English breakfast. Lunches were quite light usually accompanied by a salad. There is high tea before the afternoon activity with plenty of cakes to go around! Dinner is always introduced by the chef and the description alone will have your mouth watering before it arrives on your plate! My particular favourite were the salmon pancakes!

Boma provides the perfect setting for delicious meals

Boma provides the perfect setting for delicious meals

Saying goodbye to Africa
On my last morning I had the chance for one last ride out. The sky was very dark in the distance and we did wonder how long of a ride we would get until the storm hit. We rode for about 45 minutes only seeing a few kudu and blesbok as the storm rolled in and we had to abandon the ride. Once the storm had passed Moses took us out for a game drive and we saw a range of types of deer and also a small herd of giraffe. Then it was time to head back to Johannesburg to fly home!

The beautiful Alby

The beautiful Alby

Categories: Equestrian Travel, Horses & riding, Ride reviews, Riding Holidays, Riding safaris | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A lovely letter from Rendola

We love hearing all the news from our In The Saddle destinations and this letter from Jenny and the team at Rendola in Italy really brought a smile! We love how honest and personal she is when she writes to us and her passion for riding, and life in general, is infectious! We can’t wait to go back to Rendola…

Dear friends,
First of all, may I wish you all a Happy New Year! Somehow the number 2015 has a nice feel to it, don’t you think (is it because it is divisible by three and five?), and I hope that this will be reflected in the months to come.

I have to admit that 2014 was not a particularly good year for Rendola (though it had ups as well as downs). Bookings for riding weeks were rather a little lower than usual and the Italian recession has reduced the local clientele; but what was worse for us olive-growers was the fact that the olive-oil crop was a complete disaster. Because of the mild winter 2013-2014, followed by an uncharacteristically cool and rainy summer, the olives were attacked by a parasitic insect: they were, as we (!) Tuscans say here, ‘bacati’. At first we thought that only the olives that had fallen to the ground were affected, but when Sergio (Pietro’s son) started picking the ones still on the tree he found that those were rotten, too. So we didn’t have just a SHORTAGE of oil this year, but simply not a SINGLE DROP! Farmers had the same experience all over Tuscany and also elsewhere, maybe it will have been a coup di grace for Tuscan agriculture. Luckily we still have quite a lot of oil left over from last year and we are guarding this jealously so that you will still have some to drizzle on your salad (just a drizzle, mind you) when you visit us this year. As some of you have already planned to do: I see that our bookings are up this year, with several amongst you making return visits. (No one, however, can beat Margaret, for whom it will be her twelfth riding week at Rendola!)

Jenny and Silver at Rendola

Jenny and Silver at Rendola

Of course we like to have new guests as well. I have just had a booking from a couple living in KwaZulu Natal, wanting to organize a family gathering over the Easter holidays. (No, I didn’t know where it is either, though the word ‘Zulu’ gives us a clue.) There will be eleven of them spanning three generations. We have had at least four similar groups, sometimes coming from different countries, it makes me feel as if Rendola is in the centre of the world, rather like Jerusalem on medieval maps! Such groups have always been great fun, with a lot of merriment as well a certain amount of amicable bickering as various strong-willed family members of different generations can’t come to an agreement as to a programme: some are interested in Culture, others decidedly are not, some want to ride – usually the girls, whatever their age, from 8 to 80 – others are terrified of horses, some are furiously active while others intend to enjoy a bit of dolce far niente. Usually in the end they split into different groups each doing his own thing, and then they all meet up for dinner in the evening. I expect it’ll be the same this time, the important thing is that they should all have fun in their own way.

Idyllic Italian Views

Idyllic Italian Views, best viewed through the ears of a horse!

I’ve been having fun, too, working on the new website. One of our problems is that the best time for horseback riding is in the spring and the autumn, which means that for much of the year work is slack. So in this new website we are going to try to reach out to a wider range of client, not just riders. After all, the very best time to visit the art cities is in the winter, when there are no crowds or queues and you can enjoy looking at artworks without a horde of other visitors holding up and clicking away on their i-phones or i-tablets or whatever – WITHOUT ACTUALLY LOOKING AT THE ARTWORKS AT ALL! It drives me mad. The months of March and November, cool but not cold, are the best for cycling, while the summer, too hot for riding, is ideal for joining a cookery course as there are so many kinds of seasonal fruit and vegetable available, often from our own kitchen garden. Now don’t get me wrong, riding is still our main activity; but in order to survive in this competitive world (and pay the taxes, very high in this country – for those who pay them) we must widen our appeal and that is the aim of this new website. (Getting people to see it is another kettle of fish: perhaps you can give me a hand?) Do have a look at it, anyway.

Having fun at Rendola

Having fun at Rendola

Some of you will see your own photos on the website and I have to apologise now if I didn’t ask for your permission to publish them, for the simple reason that I can’t remember who sent which. And if your photos have NOT been published, please do not be offended! There is not room for more than a certain number, so from time to time we will change them, as I am told that we have to do to keep the website alive (makes it sound like a baby bird that constantly needs feeding). However, I think you will agree that it is a lovely and original website with none of those irritating gimmicks that get on your nerves (my nerves, anyway). It’s possibly a little old-fashioned – like its creator…

Cut the cackle, you may say, but what about the horses? Most of you have already been to Rendola and will be glad to hear that all last year’s horses are still with us. Some of the oldies, of course, work mainly in the ring, but there are plenty of younger horses to take on the rides out: though even Silver, one of the veterans, is still raring to go! There is a new horse, however, Gina Lollo, a nine-year-old black Sicilian mare with a very gentle nature, whom I believe will be good in the school as well as the trail, being very responsive to the aids. We may buy in another horse as spring approaches.

Riding out at Rendola

Riding out at Rendola

And how is THIS veteran, the one writing this letter? Well, last winter I had a fall – not from a horse, what did you think? No, I slipped on some wet leaves while walking downhill. This made me lame for a while, though riding was luckily no problem. The fall had brought on a borsitis in my hip, but this has almost disappeared after a few physiotherapy sessions. This year I have been furthering my studies of medieval art, which has become a passion, so stop me if I start boring you with my newly acquired knowledge… I have also been working on my autobiography – only as owner of a riding centre, so nothing TOO personal! As for the Rendola team, we have great news about our instructor Eraldo and his wife Martina: they are now the proud parents of a baby son, Laerte Raduel. Sergio, with the help of his daughter Sara and her husband Francesco (they married last June), Marco and Franca have been organizing dinners down at our restaurant in the village of Rendola. These dinners are centred on a particular ingredient, such as pumpkin, turkey, duck and so on, and have become increasingly popular among the locals. Franca has also held a couple of cooking courses here in our kitchen, which I know were very successful.(I have only the role of interpreter, don’t worry, I know my cooking skills are very limited.) She needs to improve her English, so this winter I am giving her another series of lessons: “Now I am putting a slice of mortadella on each slice of beef” – that sort of thing. Oh yes, I have also proposed ‘English weekends (full immersion)’ on the Italian version of the website. This obviously will not interest any of YOU, but have a look all the same as there is an unusually glamorous picture of me actually wearing a DRESS! (A very rare occurrence, I can tell you).

What a spectacular view!

What a spectacular view!

Yes, I knew I’d forgotten something. I must now pay tribute to all the ‘workawayers’ who have helped us over the season, both in the stables and in the house. They get full board and lodging and riding in exchange for work and I must say that I don’t know how we could manage without them. They are Mareike (Germany), Aurélie (France), Katie (USA), Ali (USA), Sandra(the Netherlands), Nikki (Germany) Katie (GB) and Sophie (Ireland). There was also Katarina who came to write a book and did sterling work in the kitchen. I am sincerely grateful to you all. If I’ve forgotten anyone please forgive me, as my memory was never my strong point and it’s not getting any better.

Well, I do hope that some of you will return to Rendola, to ride, cycle, walk or whatever. And if you can’t for some reason come, could you tell your friends about us? The show must go on!

Best wishes,
Jenny and her team

The stunning farmhouse at Rendola where you could be staying very soon!

The stunning farmhouse at Rendola where you could be staying very soon!

Categories: Equestrian Travel, Horses & riding, Riding Holidays, Travel news | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A wonderful adventure on the Horizon

South Africa is one of our most popular destinations for a horseback holiday, with a diverse landscape, big game viewing opportunities, excellent accommodation, beautiful horses and all offering value for money. In The Saddle’s own Gail Tennant finally got to find out why so many people choose South Africa for their equine adventure. Here is the first instalment of her South African adventure…

Holidaying at Horizon
In December 2014 I traveled to Johannesburg to begin my adventure in South Africa. My first stop was Horizon, which is in the heart of the Waterberg Plateau, a few hours north of Johannesburg. Having been welcomed wholeheartedly, I was shown to my room in Rock Lodge, which overlooked the lake and was beautifully presented with rose petals on the bed and all the information I could possibly need during my stay.

It wasn’t long before I was enjoying a ride, on a nice forward going horse called Sparky, whilst enjoying the chance to view some of the fauna and wildlife, including zebra and warthog, before finishing up watching the sun go down on top of a rock overlooking the reserve. It was a magical start to my stay at Horizon.

Enjoy our sundowners from Pride Rock

Enjoy our sundowners from Pride Rock

After my first night’s sleep, and a good breakfast, we headed out at around 8am for our first ride. Guided by Shengie, who has a vast knowledge of the local fauna, we saw warthog, zebra, impala and giraffe before heading back for a delicious lunch and having a few hours to relax and soak up the sun! Then at 4pm we had the opportunity to learn how to play Polocrosse! I rode a horse called Toogs, a bay gelding in his late teens. He was very forward going, with a great turn of speed on the pitch. It was all great fun and we all got very competitive!

Playing Polocrosse

Playing Polocrosse

After breakfast on day three we were planning to try our hand at cattle mustering! I was on board Toogs again and we headed out to the cattle camp, however where the 50 heifers were supposed to be was empty! They were nowhere to be found! We instead took a different route and managed to see 5 kudu females, 2 zebra, a family of warthogs with 3 baby warthogs only a few days old, and a giraffe. We then changed horses and went swimming in the dam! I rode Swamp Billy who lived up to his name, as he really loved the water, it was great fun!

Swimming with Swamp Billy

Swimming with Swamp Billy

The next day some of the guests went on an elephant safari, but I stayed at Horizon with two other guests and went on a leisurely ride, meandering through the reserve, on a piebald mare called Storm. The hippo had been in the dam opposite the lodge so we headed there first to have a better viewing where we saw one male (called Motomoto), two females and a young baby hippo. We were able to get close to the water line and the baby was very curious and brave! Once back at the lodge I took Storm swimming in the dam before lunch and then had some time to relax before having a lot of fun doing Western games in the afternoon! The games consisted of a test to determine the team with the fastest walk, slowest canter and fastest trot, as well as bending races with a cup of water trying to get as much in the bucket at the end and also barrel races. After a quick shower we watched the sunset while the local gospel choir sang as we sipped our sundowners – it was very peaceful!

Family of Hippo

Family of Hippo

Camping out
My next adventure was to spend two nights at Camp Davidson. We took a faster paced ride, with plenty of canters, on our journey to the camp and got the chance to track a male giraffe and see kudu and zebra along the way! Camp Davidson has been built high in the bushveld above the Matlapeng Valley and gives you the chance to explore the area from a tented camp nestled in the heart of the wooded hills. It provides you with the opportunity to spend a night or so living life by the campfire and has its own chef and camp housekeeper. We enjoyed a lovely lunch and iced guava juice, took a dip in the pool and had a nap and then took a leisurely ride on that side of the hill before an evening drink while watching the sunset and a delicious dinner of kudu stew with chocolate covered strawberries for dessert!

Camp Davidson

Camp Davidson

The next morning we were woken by Frans calling good morning and bringing hot drinks to our tents at 7am. That morning’s ride was quite warm as we meandered our way through the reserve. We met up with the others for a bush brunch at around 11am, which consisted of bacon, boer wors (sausage), scrambled eggs, hash browns, baked beans and fried tomatoes! Tea that afternoon came with a large gooey chocolate cake which was just heavenly. We then embarked on a lovely afternoon ride which took us along various tracks with times where we could trot and canter. We had our sundowners together on the plains with zebra, giraffe, warthog and eland surrounding us as the sun went down.

My final day was started with a hot beverage in my tent at Camp Davidson, before a breakfast on the deck looking across to the plains game. Our ride took us on one of the faster trails on the far side of the reserve and we went through a small village, which was still using mud houses to live in. We had the chance to really open up our horses as the route was straight and open with no aardvark holes. Then it was back to Horizon for a last tea and cake before I departed for the next leg of my African exploration!

Sundowners on the plains

Sundowners on the plains

Look out for Gail’s next blog coming very soon!

Categories: Equestrian Travel, Horses & riding, Ride reviews, Riding Holidays, Riding safaris | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Heard on the grapevine in South Africa

South Africa is renowned for its fabulous safaris, and In The Saddle work with the best in this fabulous country! Sometimes though the choice is too much, so we have heard straight from the ‘horse’s mouth’ in our latest blog to help you decide which trip will suit you best…

Taking time to reflect
Based on large private game reserves in the Kruger National Park, the Wait A Little horseback safari gives some of the best opportunities to see the Big Five – elephant, rhino, lion, leopard and buffalo – from the saddle! For Anne Carr the combination of amazing game viewing and beautifully schooled horses was a winner for her! “The horses were beautifully cared for, fit, forward going, sure footed, calm around game and an absolute delight to ride,” she says. “The riding was not as fast as expected, although we had some lovely canters at a brisk pace. There was a lot of walking through very dense bush, combined with canters along lovely sandy tracks, which wound through the area. Its so good to be able to talk to In the Saddle staff who have actually ridden there, as we are a bit older we did worry about the level of riding and whether we would be OK, but again the reassurance proved correct. The riding was challenging but only in the number of hours in the saddle without a break, the horses were wonderful. Our watchword of the week – AMAZING!”

The word amazing sums up Wait A Little

The word amazing sums up Wait A Little

For Sara Mackmin, she was pleased that she had a good level of fitness before embarking on this ride! “We rode superbly fit, well behaved and well schooled horses with great characters,” she explains. “Having ridden at other places in Africa, I was expecting a faster pace in open order however, the more controlled close order line approach for canters was entirely understandable given the presence of lions! The long lopey canters on sandy tracks or winding around open bush areas were most enjoyable though you definitely need to be fit and able to sustain a standing/light seat position at canter for long periods – I think our longest was a good 10-20 minutes or at least it felt like it. One day we rode for 5 hours with several long canters to get to the other side of the Reserve in search of elephants – brilliant and I am so pleased everyone in our group was fit and up for the challenge.”

Angie Keech told us that she had the time of her life at Wait A Little. “It was all fantastic,” she explains. “The horses, the grooms, the tack, the riding, everything – it was out of this world! The tents at Wait a Little camp got very hot during the day but sitting outside on the decking was lovely. The food was tasty and they took into consideration my gluten intolerance. Lots of wine too, which was ideal! I had the time of my life and have lots of photos and videos as a reminder.”

The riding is challenging but controlled at Wait A Little

The riding is challenging but controlled at Wait A Little

Luxury meets game viewing
Ant and Tessa Baber have perfected the art of the luxurious and very personal safari at their two beautiful lodges in two private game reserves in the Waterberg. Particularly well-equipped for families and inexperienced riders, this area has no dangerous game. For Alison Smither, Ant’s Hill welcomed her with open arms and she left feeling part of the magic! “We were a group of three, “ Alison states. “One non-rider, one novice and one very experienced. The guides were great, each ride started off with us together, then we split for sections, with two of us doing a faster loop, then all meeting up further round the tracks. When we joined with other riders, same thing, if anyone wanted a slower ride they could do so, no pressure to ride faster than you felt comfortable. Similarly, those who wanted a long fast canter round the winding sand tracks got their wish too. If you wanted some tuition or a bit of help, no problem, a lovely guide was on hand to help you. As the horses live in the bush you are able to get very close to the animals, it’s an incredible experience coming face to face with a curious giraffe!”

You can get very close to game at Ant's Lodges

You can get very close to game at Ant’s Lodges

And if you are looking for home comforts then Ant’s Lodges are for you! “The beautiful lodges were kept clean and tidy by the ever smiling and cheerful ladies,” Alison goes on to say. “Wonderful views down the gorge and to the open plain below; what a treat to be sitting eating breakfast whilst watching the animals wander about below.
 The food was the best ever; morning biscuits, breakfast, then the chefs produce a “light” lunch, which is much appreciated after the morning ride. This was usually something with lots of salad dishes followed by deserts – don’t miss those! Afternoon tea and cake to build you up for the afternoon ride, then the evening meal. Always 3 courses, eaten in one of several beautiful settings, either inside by the roaring log fire, on the terrace over the gorge, or, our favourite, in the boma. Everything was delicious, special diets were well catered for. We also had a BBQ in the bush one lunch time, watching the antelope and zebra at the waterhole, a pretty special place. One word of advise for anyone thinking of booking this holiday – stop thinking and do it! It was a great adventure, fantastic riding and game viewing with friendly, knowledgeable guides. They are all young but passionate about their work and their country and a lot of fun to be around.
Without exception, the staff are so welcoming and helpful, from the minute you are whisked off to your first drink when you arrive, to the farewells at the end, you feel part of a big happy family.”

The accommodation at Ant's Lodges will take your breath away!

The accommodation at Ant’s Lodges will take your breath away!

For Lisa Sydenham, she combined the luxury of Ants Hill with a fun stay at Camp Davidson at Horizon and found it to be the perfect family holiday. “Both Horizon and Ants Hill had really knowledgeable guides who made sure we saw game whenever possible but also enjoyed superb long canters as well,” she says. “At Horizon they offered some fun alternatives to riding in the bush such as le trec and also polocross. The riding was better than we expected and we managed to ride as a family a lot of the time, which was lovely. Lovely varied menu at both locations and even at Camp Davidson despite them only having a small tent to cook in! The bush lunch and the braai in the boma at Ants hill were really special. This was the most amazing holiday our family has ever been on!! In The Saddle suggested the perfect combination of destinations for us and in the right order. As Ants Hill was more luxurious it was nice to have that at the end of the trip. We loved the way the horses were looked after and thoroughly enjoyed the extras offered at Horizon, which included African singing, a trip to see big 5 and a view of the night sky with Dr Phil. At Ants hill the sundowners in various different locations were a nice touch. Both locations had really lovely, friendly staff that made you feel nothing was too much trouble.”

A holiday at Ant's Lodges will please all the family

A holiday at Ant’s Lodges will please all the family

Variety is the spice of life
When embarking on a horseback safari you don’t necessarily expect to combine game viewing with beach riding, however at Endalweni, a private game reserve near Kei Mouth on the Wild Coast, you can have both and for Wendy Frankcom – this variety was what made it so wonderful! “The horses were in lovely condition and responsive,” she says. “The beach rides offered fantastic long canters and gallops in stunning scenery with lots of variety in terrain! The horses are very sure-footed and coped with it all.”

This varied approach to a safari was also enjoyed by Nancy Seybold. “The riding was terrific,” she states. “Our guide, Roz, was absolutely first rate – competent, cheerful, knowledgeable, and personable. The horses were well matched to the riders, who ranged in ability and experience. Thus all of us were able to really enjoy the gallops and canters on the beach and the varied terrain of the ride. I was particularly impressed with the manners of the horses riding at speed in a group. It is also truly beautiful to ride along with the game at Endalweni. This holiday would suit someone who wants to have a comfortable place to stay but is willing to get out and ride – sometimes at speed – in a part of South Africa most tourists never see. 
Taking the horses on the “ferry” across the Kei River, galloping on a deserted beach, and riding through saddle-high grass to track down a giraffe family are experiences well worth the long trek to Endalweni.”

Some fantastic beach riding at Endalweni

Some fantastic beach riding at Endalweni

From the beach to the mountains, Moolmanshoek is situated in the shadow of the Witteberg mountains and is a real horse lovers’ paradise – which is why Stephanie Walsh was so impressed. “The riding pace and terrain could not have been more varied (and sometimes challenging!), and the horses took it all in their stride. The rooms were lovely. Very comfortable, lovely hot, powerful shower! Just what you need after a day in the saddle! The finishing touches like a weather report for the following day on your pillow with nougat after dinner were wonderful. 
I have never eaten so well in my life! Amazing, home made breads and cakes, succulent meat, fresh local vegetables. Some of the best food I’ve had on a riding holiday. I want to go back right now!”

Moolmanshoek is a horse lover's paradise!

Moolmanshoek is a horse lover’s paradise!

And if you are looking for ‘the best holiday’ according to Jenny Newman, then Blakeney, which is just an hour from the Botswana border in the northern Waterberg, is the place to visit! “All the horses were perfect; well schooled, fit and friendly,” she tells us. “Corne let us ride whichever horse we wanted. My husband chose ‘Steady Freddie’ all week while the rest of us rode a selection of the more forward going horses. We galloped alongside zebra, swam through rivers, and ambled through the bush at sunset with giraffe, it could not have been better. This was the best family holiday ever. Our children are 15 and 16 years old and want to go back to Blakeney again as soon as possible. Corne and Pam are perfect hosts, the horses are fabulous, and their dogs became our best friends! I could not recommend it more.”

The perfect family holiday at Blakeney!

The perfect family holiday at Blakeney!

To find out more about horse riding holidays in South African contact In The Saddle.

Categories: Equestrian Travel, Horses & riding, Ride reviews, Riding Holidays, Riding safaris, Travel advice | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What is a riding expedition?

It may seem obvious, but there are many different types of equestrian travel and it can be a bit of a minefield for people trying to decide which is the right trip for them! So here we tell you a little bit more about what to expect on a Riding Expedition…

For the real explorers amongst you a Riding Expedition is the ultimate horseback journey, which admittedly may entail a few hardships, but rewards you with an exceptional adventure.

These once in a lifetime experiences take you places you never could imagine seeing. You will see unforgettable vistas, take part in life-altering experiences, meet inspirational people, learn about totally different cultures and see the world in a whole new light. Ride in places that are virtually unreachable other than on horseback, in countries such as Mongolia, Tibet, Peru and Jordan, and see life through the locals’ eyes.

These Riding Expeditions require a little more planning and preparation than other trips and you must be fit and competent riding across sometimes challenging terrain. An open mind is a must and on many expeditions you will spend successive nights sleeping in two-man tents or under the stars with limited washing facilities and very few luxuries – however the feeling of fulfillment makes up for it! If you are an explorer at heart then a Riding Expedition will give your life a totally new direction and satisfy the most inquisitive of minds.

Book a riding expedition if…

•    You want to escape from technology and the hustle of normal life
•    You are an experienced rider looking for an adrenalin rush
•    You love culture and want to experience life as the locals do
•    You want to go back to basics and stay in simple accommodation with no, or very few, mod-cons
•    You enjoy a challenge – both physically and mentally
•    You want to go on a ‘once in a lifetime’ trip and visit places many people haven’t, and won’t, be able to see
•    You want to test your fitness and stamina
•    You wish to ride local horses in their native environment

Are you now up for the challenge? Check out the riding expeditions available at www.inthesaddle.com

A riding expedition to somewhere like Mongolia is life-altering!

A riding expedition to somewhere like Mongolia is life-altering!

Categories: Equestrian Travel, Horses & riding, Riding expeditions, Travel advice | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Heard on the grapevine: New additions

Every year we introduce new rides to our portfolio of destinations and it is always amazing to get feedback from the various locations after the first guests visit! Read this month’s feedback on some of the latest additions to In The Saddle’s riding holiday offerings…

Hungarian Holidays
Hungary is one of the more recent additions to our riding holiday portfolio but the feedback we have received so far from visitors to this country has been fantastic! Seasoned equestrian traveller and In The Saddle customer Rosie Tarbox was really taken with Homoki Lodge, which offers fast riding in the southern Great Plain. “The horses are super-fit and very well behaved,” she tells us. “The riding was straightforward and fast for the most part with lovely long canters and gallops on excellent terrain. However, if you don’t like trotting for long distances – be warned – that can be quite testing! You do need to have some stamina as the rides are 3 hours long in the morning and 1.5 to 2 hours in the afternoon, with the only stops being the odd comfort break! We ate well – the food was typical Hungarian for the most part and very good. This was an enjoyable week – whilst the riding was fast for the most part, it was not difficult, just so long as you are riding fit. Also there is sufficient chill-out time to do your own thing if you wish and also to take the opportunity of having a massage, a sauna or a spa visit!”

Janet Whatley reiterates that fitness is vital before enjoying this holiday. “The horses were amazingly fit and the four I rode were different but amazing in their own way,” says Janet. “Be prepared to trot and canter for a long way, you don’t get the opportunity to do this kind of riding in the UK so just enjoy it, and if you get the chance to try the Hungarian saddle go for it, it’s like sitting in an armchair. We did ride for 3 hours or more in the morning (fast and furious) and up to 2 hours in the afternoon, still at a good pace. The Hungarian guides at the front tell you what pace they want, the guide at the back is the English speaker so there is no problem understanding what is going on. If you want a fantastic fast ride I can’t recommend this enough!”

You will need good stamina for the riding at Homoki Lodge

You will need good stamina for the riding at Homoki Lodge

For Claire Entwisle, Homoki Lodge proved to be both unique and authentically Hungarian. “The terrain is open grassland and sand tracks which is perfect for long canters and gallops,” she states. “The horses are of mixed Hungarian breeds but all quick, safe and without vices. The highlight of this trip was a day at the ‘The Animal Fair’, an annual event, which was included in our itinerary as a special request. It gave us an opportunity to learn more of the history and significance of horses and horsemanship to the Hungarian people and view breed standards for the Gidrun, Nonius and Furioso (Romanian/Hungarian). Think along the lines of a County Show, with amazing long horn cattle, pony club show jumping and a cattle handling class which included ‘reversing’ and ‘slalom’. Also some beautiful carriages (and carriage horses) on display plus the very Hungarian ‘sport’ of synchronous whip cracking.”

El Bronco is a fabulous ranch in the Kiskunsági National Park which is a great choice whether you are new to riding, new to Western or an accomplished rider! Having been newly renovated everything is spic and span, as Stephanie Lauridsen confirms! “El Bronco is beautiful and well kept – the cleanliness of the place is really nice,” she says. “The horses are super sweet, calm, but by no means slow. It gives you a really good gateway to Western riding and the horses available are from beginner to competition level. This was a holiday I will never forget, and I may even go back!”

Learn Western Riding in a beautiful location at El Bronco

Learn Western Riding in a beautiful location at El Bronco

Nicola Guenigault also enjoyed learning the Western way of riding at El Bronco and it provided a fantastic trip for her Novice father! “The horses were really well trained, friendly and responsive,” she says. “The horses were perfectly matched – my girl was just right for a more experienced rider who hadn’t tried Western before, she was capable of spins, half passes, sliding stops, collection on command – you name it, but forgiving when you accidentally swapped back to English style and confused things!

 My dad is a novice and I was amazed to discover his horse was really young, the little guy did not put a foot wrong all week and Dad completely fell in love with him – real testament to their breeding and training. 
 The Wellness facilities were amazing, I had a soak in the Jacuzzi pretty much everyday after riding – it was really nice that it looks out over the stables and paddocks. The Food was great, with something different everyday so we got to a number of Hungarian dishes. The “picnic” days out were more like having the restaurant brought to you outdoors! In addition we also got a demo of some of the natural horsemanship techniques they use in the roundpen and Robert taught us to lasso a wooden “cow” one evening. Overall it was a great experience, and I am definitely planning on going back. The staff were all so lovely and if I were looking to buy a horse I would give serious consideration to El Bronco – the quiet, consistent handling and training they do from birth really shows when you ride their horse.”

Learning in Portugal
For some people a trip away on horseback is all about learning and experiencing something new and this is why Anne-Marie Perkins chose Monte Vehlo in Portugal. This luxurious Lusitano stud farm offers not only top class dressage instruction, but also rides out into the Alentejo countryside – perfect for a combination of training and relaxation! “A wide variety of horses were available and each was matched according to the riders ability and confidence,” says Anne-Marie. “There were lots of opportunities to watch other riders ride both inside and out. The instructors had good judgement and a great sense of humour and were able to deal with the mixture of languages of the guests although mostly all was said in English. They also had good feeling on when to push someone a little and when not to. Mark and I learnt a great deal about how to ride with much greater sensitivity and how to adapt to a gentler way of being with your horse. The hack out was also a really nice change and in April there were lots of spring flowers about and it gave opportunity to sit in a traditional bull fighting saddle.”

Improve your riding or enjoy trail rides at Monte Vehlo

Improve your riding or enjoy trail rides at Monte Vehlo

Magical Morocco
Having searched for the perfect Moroccan adventure we are really excited to introduce several itineraries this year and Jill Pain was one of our first guests to give feedback when she booked on the Horses, Dunes and Nomads ride. “You would not believe that you are riding stallions, they are very well behaved and full of spirit but I felt very safe,” Jill says. “The accommodation varied between hotels at the start and end and the riads in between. All were clean and comfortable, although some of the riads were in unusual places i.e. half way up mountains!”

You wouldn't believe you were riding stallions in Morocco

You wouldn’t believe you were riding stallions in Morocco

If you want to find out more about the latest trips available from In The Saddle get in touch with us today!

 

Categories: Equestrian Travel, Horses & riding, Ranch holidays, Ride reviews, Riding Holidays, Travel advice | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Uncover Brazil’s natural beauty by horseback

With all the hype about Brazil, not only for the recent World Cup, but also in the build up to the 2016 Olympic games in Rio, there has never been a better time to visit this South American country! There are many different ways of experiencing the vibrant, energetic Brazilian culture, but by far one of the most exciting has to be via horseback.

In The Saddle offers several different travel itineraries to enable clients to participate in an equestrian adventure across Brazil. With some of the most spectacular beach riding in the world, travellers can embrace the ocean air along the coastal areas or visit the southern states and Pantanal region to get atrue feel for the destination’s local heritage and way of life.

Brazil offers beautiful beach riding

Brazil offers beautiful beach riding

Beach riding is on every rider’s bucket list and In The Saddle’s Bahia Beach Ride, situated in the north-east of Brazil, provides riders with the opportunity to stay in colourful guesthouses, canter across wide sandy beaches and explore mangrove forests, rainforests and cliff paths. With delicious African influenced food, the chance to listen to salsa or forró music, and spectacular vistas of the dramatic coastlines, In The Saddles’ Bahia Beach Ride will awaken every one of the human senses! Prices start at £1,480 per person for a 6 night stay, not including flights.

Nestled in Brazil’s southernmost state, Rio Grande do Sul, you can embark on the magical In The Saddle Canyons and Waterfalls adventure, which begins close to the border of the Aparados da Serra National Park. Ride across the high plateau, through breathtaking scenery of open pasture, and stumble across sensational canyons that can be up to 700m deep! Riding fit and forward-going Brazilian Criollo horses, In The Saddles Canyons and Waterfalls trip enables visitors to explore an enchanting region that is known for some of the country’s finest wines and outstanding beef, making this an indulgent and exciting trip! Prices start at £1,009 per person for a 6 night stay, not including flights.

Explore the canyons and waterfalls of Brazil

Explore the canyons and waterfalls of Brazil

From the coast, to canyon, to one of the few remaining areas in the world where you can join genuine traditional cattle drives. In The Saddle’s Pantenal Experience is based in the State of Mato Gross do Sul, which is found in the central west of Brazil. This extraordinary place is the largest wetlands of the Americas – some say the world – and discovering this area by horseback is a privilege. Famous for the rich variety of flora, fauna, exotic birds, fish, mammals and reptiles – this is a haven for nature lovers and offers the chance to join night drives and boat trips with a guide to see the land in it’s most natural state. Prices start at £1,351 per person for a 6 night stay, not including flights.

If you want to experience the buzz and beauty of Brazil by horseback, visit www.inthesaddle.com for more information or call 01299 272 997 today to speak to one of our expert travel advisors.

The Pantanal Experience is magical

The Pantanal Experience is magical

Categories: Equestrian Travel, Horses & riding, Riding Holidays | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

What is a riding holiday?

It may seem obvious, but there are many different types of equestrian travel and it can be a bit of a minefield for people trying to decide which is the right trip for them! So here we tell you a little bit more about what to expect on a Riding Holiday…

The opportunities are almost endless when looking for a Riding Holiday. Whether you want a quick weekend break to Spain, Italy or France, or to travel further afield to South Africa, California or Mexico – a Riding Holiday guarantees you fun and leisurely riding for a variety of levels along with excellent hosting, good food and wine and a real break from reality.

There are many destinations that give you the chance to do more than just ride which also suits the non-horsey partner or other family member; see the local area on day trips, take a dip in the pool and combine your equine antics with relaxation and rejuvenation! You won’t require months of forward planning or specialist packing and you could easily book last minute depending on availability so if you are looking to wind down and chill out then a Riding Holiday is just what you need.

Book a riding holiday if…
You want a quick and easy break from the norm
You are a novice rider looking for your first equestrian holiday
You love horses and want to see a country from a different view point
You want to relax and unwind, with added extras such as a swimming pool
You like to stay somewhere luxurious, with all the mod-cons
You wish to meet and socialise with like-minded people
You want a leisurely holiday, rather than anything too challenging

Has this inspired you? Check out the riding holidays available at www.inthesaddle.com

Enjoy a break from the norm with a riding holiday

Enjoy a break from the norm with a riding holiday

Categories: Equestrian Travel, Horses & riding, Riding Holidays, Travel advice | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Heard on the grapevine: Botswana at its best…

In The Saddle have established themselves as horseback safari specialists over the years and have been responsible for sending many travellers on their ‘trip of a lifetime’. Africa really is your oyster when it comes to experiencing wide-open spaces, wild game and adrenalin hits – however Botswana has a particular magnificence. Don’t just take our word for it though, read our latest blog and get first hand feedback from some of those who have been well and truly captivated by the beauty of Botswana…

The opulent Okavango Delta…
Often described as the jewel of the Kalahari, the Okavango Delta in Botswana is a haven for wildlife and fauna and provides experienced horse riders with a thrilling mix of exciting equestrianism, together with spectacular sights unlike anywhere else on earth! 

One of the flagship destinations for us in this area is Macatoo and the feedback from customers explains why! “The riding was great,” says Jenny Kennedy on her return. “The water levels were low and so there were plenty of opportunities for long and very fast canters and gallops – the pace was not for the faint hearted! My room was brilliant. I got the one with the bath and took advantage of it! The food was, as always, excellent and there was lots of champagne and wine through the week! John (Sobey) even organised a helicopter tour for 3 of us in a small chopper and it was such fun and a very special experience. We saw lots during the week – even a pack of wild dogs, which is quite rare.”

There are plenty of chances for fast riding at Macatoo!

There are plenty of chances for fast riding at Macatoo!

Sue Owen described her trip to Macatoo as ‘Unforgettably brilliant’ and ‘An amazing riding experience’ which is not an uncommon response from travellers who have been to the destination. “The horses were beautifully kept, the tack was in excellent condition and all were fast, fit and forward going. Our guide, Sekongo, judged the pace really well and there were long canters, splashy canters and on one particularly fast day some amazing gallops and log jumping. Sekongo got us very close to elephant, hippo, buffalo and had us cantering through the bush with zebra and giraffe.”

While obviously focusing on the horse riding, the luxury tented accommodation and hosting is very much an important element at Macatoo as Sue confirms! “This is true glamping – with excellent food and plenty of salad, fruit and veg. Pizza night was a highlight as were the champagne lunches. I won’t give too much away for anyone planning their first trip because the surprises are a lovely special touch. There’s no shortage of alcohol – but keep up your water intake if you go during a Botswana summer. It’s very hot and easy to get dehydrated.
One thing to be aware of – the baboons wander freely through camp: one of them stole my newly-washed bra as it was drying on the deck. So be alert for ape theft! If you can’t easily afford this holiday – it really is worth saving up to go. If you can afford it, you’ll end up going back.”

Set in the north edge of the Okavango Delta, near the Selinda Spillway, Motswiri Camp proved to be the fantastic experience for Donna Darbyshire that we knew it would be! “This more than met my expectations,” she said. “Carmen, who managed the horse side of the venture, ran an excellent stables with well cared for and loved horses. Her tidy tack room was to die for! All saddles and tack was in excellent condition and well cared for. The horses were fantastic and despite the heat, enjoyed themselves and were happy to go out. Given that we were miles and miles from anywhere, the food and service was excellent. There was plenty to eat and drink and we were made to feel very much at home. We even settled in well to the 5.30am wake up call. The accommodation was wonderful with plenty of solar powered hot water and a beautiful cool plunge pool, which was great during the heat of the afternoon!”

The accommodation is a highlight at Motswiri

The accommodation is a highlight at Motswiri

Perfect Pans
A contrast to the nearby Okavango Delta, the Makgadikgadi Pans are saltpans that offer wonderful game, scenery, an education and in Rosie Tarbox’s eyes, ‘exceeded her expectations’. “I enjoyed nice pacey rides over the wonderful ground of the Pans including a moonlight canter and lots of long canters in the day, plus one or two great gallops,” she says. “We spent one night out in the Pans in the middle of nowhere in the open under a full moon – it was cold but worth it for a fab experience! We were very fortunate to see and follow (respectfully at a distance) a caracal one evening and also, when spotlighting one night, an aardwolf hunting in the grass (who ignored us completely and carried on with his hunting). It’s the space, the riding and the whole atmosphere, quality of light, etc, which makes this such a special ride. We also visited a habituated colony of meerkats which were enchanting – as well as a very informative trip to meet with some Bushmen who showed us some of their legendary skills in desert survival. David made sure we enjoyed a great deal of variety in those few days. I really recommend this ride and it makes a wonderful contrast to riding in the Okavango Delta.”

Allow yourself to be enchanted by the meerkats at Makgadikgadi Pans

Allow yourself to be enchanted by the meerkats at Makgadikgadi Pans

Legendary Limpopo
The Tuli Reserve gives travellers the chance to explore a true adventure through African as you trek and camp along the banks of the legendary Limpopo River, spotting elephant, other wild game and enjoying exhilarating riding. Marian Moxon visited the Tuli Trail earlier this year and was bowled over by the experience. “The horses were beautifully mannered, forward going and very safe,” Marian says. “They were selected with great expertise to suit their riders and, without exception, every horse and rider was perfectly matched! The riding was fantastic and we were given every opportunity to view the wildlife. The Tuli Trail “team” were fantastic, the food was delicious, the clothes washing service brilliant and the complementary massage greatly appreciated after all those hours in the saddle.
How do they do it? This holiday certainly has the WOW factor!”

Limpopo certainly has the wow factor for guests!

Limpopo certainly has the wow factor for guests!

Run by the same guides as the Tuli Trail, and on the same fabulous horses, the Two Mashatus Safari is based at a semi-permanent camp and for Isobel Crane it surpassed all expectations! “The horses, game and setting were all top notch,” she says. “The routes were varied and the opportunities David created to view the game were excellent providing unforgettable memories. On one day, David expertly judged the movements of the animals so that we took up positions on a hill and watched three separate herds of elephants enter from separate far corners of the plain to converge right in front of us startling the giraffe sharing our view point.”

If you want to create your own magical memories in Botswana then get in touch with In The Saddle to find out more!

Categories: Equestrian Travel, Horses & riding, Ride reviews, Riding expeditions, Riding Holidays, Riding safaris | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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