In this blog we are looking at two very different horseback safaris at opposite ends of the price spectrum! Depending on your priorities and budget, both destinations offer a fantastic holiday, guaranteed to give you lasting memories and a once in a lifetime experience, but which one to go for?
Blakeney in South Africa provides the perfect, reasonably priced safari, approximately four hours’ drive north of Johannesburg and about five hours west of the Kruger National Park. The 3500ha privately owned reserve is an un-spoilt wilderness area where you can see a multitude of wildlife including giraffe, kudu, blue wildebeest, zebra, waterbuck, monkeys, baboons, bush pig and warthog amongst others! The absence of any big game means that you are safe to walk and explore on your own making for a peaceful and relaxing holiday.
You can virtually tailor make your trip to suit your requirements and have a small herd of well-schooled horse available to you. Your guide is Corne du Plessis, an experienced horse guide who has many years of experience guiding horse safaris in both South Africa and Botswana. His wife, Pam, has hosted and managed safaris on some of the top Botswana lodges. The terrain here does not permit wild gallops but there are plenty of opportunities for long trots and canters on the beautiful sandy tracks. You have many options available, from riding just in the mornings, to spending hours in the saddle all day, going on game walks or drives, or simply relaxing in the beautiful surroundings.
If you are feeling adventurous why not take a night game drive for some nocturnal wildlife viewing? If you are looking for the perfect place to unwind, Blakeney offers this, allowing you to escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. You stay at the former farmhouse on Blakeney. The river runs in front of the house and the gardens and patio are a beautiful place to relax during the day.
The nitty gritty…
As a year round destination the trips at Blakeney offer flexibility. You can arrive and depart any day and stay for as long as you wish, however we would recommend at least seven nights to fully absorb the wonderful scenery and allow yourself to relax. Prices start from £914 per person for seven nights.
The Singita Grumeti Reserve is situated in northern Tanzania, adjoining the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem. On this vast private concession you stay in exclusive luxury lodges ideally positioned on the epic migratory route traversed annually by two million wildebeest. The reserve is teeming with magnificent wildlife and in addition to the herds of plains game in this area there are large populations of elephant, many carnivores including lion, and primates such as a the rare Patas and Colobus monkeys.
The lead guide, Alison Mundy, has many years experience in Africa working previously as a guide and horsemanager in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Singita has a reputation for creating the ultimate luxury safari and this magical experience is now available from a wonderful horseback view, with the added bonus if you visit between June and September that you may get to see one of the greatest migrations on Earth! You should be a confident and fit rider as the pace is moderate, with the opportunity for faster paced canters in places, and will be riding carefully selected, well-mannered horses.
For the non-riding partner this destination offers plenty of activities, including game drives and walks or simply the chance to enjoy the exceptional facilities at the reserve. The Singita lodges are fabulous. Sasakwa Lodge is built in the style of an Edwardian manor house with stone walls, deep verandas, high ceilings, stately furniture, silverware and ornamental pieces. Each of the nine cottages has a private infinity-edge pool. At Faru Faru Lodge there are nine open-style suites, each with an outdoor shower or bath. The elevated viewing decks over the watering hole allow you to view game without even leaving your suite.
The nitty gritty…
Safaris at Singita Grumeti run from 1 December to 31 March and from 1 July to 31 October and there are a range of options from four night stays to seven night mobile safaris, or the option to tailor make your trip. Prices start from £3,757 per person for four nights.