Observe wildlife – big and small – in close contact on an exhilarating horseback safari. Saddle up on these wild riding trails to experience the subtle sounds of the bush, interrupted only by the steady clip clop of your trusted steed.

Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary

Ride out into eSwatini’s ‘Valley of Heaven’ with Mlilwane’s Chubeka Trails. Horses are surefooted with gentle temperaments, perfect for all trail riding levels (there’s a rider’s weight restriction of 95kg).

Photo by Bas de Korte.

Hourly rides are concentrated on the southern plains, sometimes crossing the river and including a little forest riding. You’ll get a safety briefing at the start and informative commentary about each animal you spot from a wilderness guide.

For more experienced equestrians, opt for an overnight outing such as the Klipspringer Trail. This two-day guided ride takes you along the Lusushwane River, across grassy plains dotted with wildebeest, impala and kudu, through the mountains of Mlilwane North and neighbouring rural community areas.

Photo by Cameron Ewart-Smith.

Saddle up
Book through Mlilwane’s Central Reservations or rest camp reception: call +268 528 3943/4 or email [email protected].

Addo Elephant National Park

Come face-to-face with an Addo ellie, as you enjoy the park’s carefully planned horse trails. This is the only place you can ride a horse in a Big Five zone in any South African national park – and it’s a guaranteed thrill. Two-hour guided rides explore the Nyathi section, led by expert rangers and guides.

Photo by Tobin Rogers.

Regional ranger John Adendorff explains the importance of great guides on this specific trip: “Being a horse trail guide is a seriously responsible job. This is a high-risk activity that needs highly competent guides, with a passion for horses. The horses themselves must be bombproof and not scared of anything.”

Photo by Alistair Daynes.

Saddle up
Morning rides are suitable for less experienced riders (no under 10s) and the afternoon rides require more moderate riding experience (no under 16s) to ensure riders can control the horses within the big game area. Click here for current rates and details on how to book, or contact [email protected] / +27 (0)42 233 8626. Rider weight limit is 90kg.

Golden Gate Highlands National Park

Let your horse lead the way to some of the best views in the world. Most of the park is suited to riding and 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.

Photo courtesy of SANParks.

Saddle up
For horse riding reservations, contact the park directly on +27 (0)58 255 1000.

Spioenkop Dam Nature Reserve & Royal Natal National Park

Enjoy the best seat in the house on horseback in KwaZulu-Natal. The picture-perfect trails of Spioenkop Dam Nature Reserve give riders a healthy dose of fresh air and wildlife sightings. Scan the sky for Verreaux’s eagles and the plains for herds of impala. Horse rides head out twice daily (mornings and afternoons) at both Royal Natal and Spioenkop.

Photo by Markus Spiske.

Saddle up
Book your riding experience through KZN wildlife. Ride durations range from 30 min to 6 hours.