January is the month that everyone dreads, the ‘hangover’ from a fun-filled Christmas and New Year celebration, cold weather and seemingly endless dark evenings, not to mention getting back into work after a break. However, January is also the time to make plans and look forward to new adventures! We have picked out a few destinations to help you choose where to go depending on the month you want to travel…
January – March
If your priority is to get away as soon as possible then during the first quarter of the year, from January until March, one of the best destinations to travel to is South America. With good weather all year round, there are plenty of opportunities to embrace your adventurous side, from Argentina to Ecuador and Brazil to Costa Rica!
In particular Argentina is a wonderful place to visit during the early months of the year and this is where the legendary Across the Andes trip begins. This is the last season of this trip – which provides riders with a wondrous journey across one of the world’s greatest mountain ranges – so to experience the challenging terrain and mythical explorations you will need to act quickly.
Setting off from Estancia Huechahue in Argentina, you will get to see wonderful vistas and sleep beneath vast skies, enjoy long canters across the wide landscape and feel part of Argentina’s historical culture. As you cross the border and end your trip at Puente Barras in Chile you will notice the dramatic change in landscape, from wide-open mountainous land to lush green temperate rain forests. If you are looking to see South America’s flora and fauna at its most natural then this trip is one to embrace this year!
April – June
As the seasons change, April, May and June are the perfect months to plan a trip to Europe’s fourth largest country, Spain!
Horse riding is deeply ingrained in Spanish culture so there are a wealth of destinations for you to choose from – from the Southern province of Andalucia to the coastal hills of Catalonia, Spain also offers some of the best beach riding in the world and the chance to ride some of the famous native horses. The spring in Spain offers beautiful sunshine and pleasant heat without the humidity that you can get in the height of summer – making it perfect for a vacation early on in the year.
Situated south from the Granada, the Sierra Navada is the highest mountain range in Spain and exploring it by horseback provides breathtaking views, particularly during the Spring. See beautiful wild flowers stretching across valleys, ride through ravines and spot new season wildlife – the Sierra Nevada is an outdoors enthusiast’s paradise!
The riding follows ancient Moorish drovers’ paths through steep valleys filled with Mediterranean almond and walnut groves, up to high pastures irrigated by the snowmelt! Each day you embark on a new adventure, crossing challenging terrain, enjoying freshly made picnics surrounded by beautiful scenery and on to a different village inn where you will be welcomed with open arms and supplied with local food and wine – which after a day of riding, you will be ravenous for! The Sierra Nevada stimulates the senses and offers an idyllic location to hide from the hustle and bustle of everyday life!
July – September
This third quarter of the year, Kenya plays host to one of the most spectacular natural events in the world!
The Maasai Mara wildebeest migration crosses from Tanzania to Kenya during the late summer and this is something that can only be truly appreciated by witnessing it first hand! Kenya is a beautiful country to explore by horseback and, unlike many other safaris, is not on managed reserves – which means you benefit from interacting with the Maasai tribes people as well as seeing nature roam totally wild amongst the plains.
The Maasai Mara is thought of as one of the most outstanding game reserves in the world – you can expect to see wildebeest, zebra, gazelles, giraffe and the giants of Africa – the elephant. The migration usually means vast quantities of plain game, and of course predators too making wildlife spotting an exciting exercise! There are several venues that give you the perfect platform to be part of this natural phenomenon, from mobile safaris to camp based trips.
Kenya is spectacular to visit throughout the year, however if you are looking for that once in a lifetime trip then July, August and September will exceed your expectations!
October – December
As we approach the end of the year there is still time to fit in one last jaunt before festivities consume you once again! During October, November and December experienced riders can embark on a spectacular exploration across the vast countryside of Tunisia, with the wide-open space of the desert and saltpans providing the perfect location for any speed demons!
With almost half of Tunisia being part of the Sahara Desert you can imagine the kind of vast open space that will greet you on this trip. The Desert and Mountain Oasis Ride is in the southern interior of Tunisia and is one of the fastest trail rides we have been on! Ride across wild wind blown desert landscapes to welcoming oasis towns that appear on the horizon, and see how the locals live in this arid desert location.
Riding the famous Barb Arabians that are as fit and as lean as lithe race-horses, you will get the chance to enjoy fast canters and gallops every day of this trip, mixed up with slower riding across some of the more challenging terrain – this ride is not for the nervous rider, however your bravery will be rewarded by some of the most exhilarating riding of your life!
Tunisia is the perfect way to end your year and offers an escape from reality, even just for a short while!
For more travel inspiration visit www.inthesaddle.com