On one of my trips to South Africa we decided to do something a little bit different and went on a Horse Safari Game Ride. Fish River Horse Safaris are based just outside Port Alfred in the Eastern Cape. When you arrive you are met by one of the guides who takes you through to get you all kitted out. Rider safety is taken quite seriously here and proper hard riding hats have to be worn. You then gather round to be allocated your horse. This is good chance to meet your fellow riders and to ascertain what level of experience everyone has at riding. Fortunately we are all in pretty much the same boat and there are no expert riders.The guides are very helpful and pick out a suitable horse for you based upon your height and weight and competency. All the horses look extremely well looked after and are very good natured.
We had chosen to do a Game Ride which lasts approximately 2.5 hours however you can choose to do a mixture of a Beach and Game Ride (its next on my list when I go back). The additional beach ride aspect takes you down through the dunes and onto a secluded beach where you can ride through the glorious sea. We set off on our trip and at the start its all about getting to know your horse and making sure you feel comfortable. The guides, although young, are very helpful and experienced. We head off through the reserve, up and down a few hills before reaching open grassland where we let the horses exercise a bit and soon we are galloping along. Now I am no expert so galloping takes a bit of mastering but if you dont mind the bouncing up and down and are game for a laugh you will really enjoy yourself. We are soon riding through thick valley bushveld an dopen plains and spotting buffalo, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, buck, impala and duiker.
The guides help us to spot various animals and ensure we do not disturb them. I had two highlights on my ride. The first was being able to get really close to a group of giraffe who really didnt mind is. Some great photos were taken by our group. It's so nice to be able to experience the complete tranquility as opposed to groups of jeeps or minibuses dashing about. This is a whole new experience. My second highlight was spotting the rhino. Of course we had to be very careful and we maintained a good distance but it was amazing to sit on the horse and watch three rhino in the field ahead. I cant pretend that my bottom wasn't a little tender the following day but it was well worth it and i will be going back to try the beach and game ride next time.
For more information on activites to do during your stay in South Africa visit www.where2stay-southafrica.com
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