As we leave the stables of the Wildlife Equestrian Centre, we enter the Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate for a safari like no other. The experience is completely different to any other bush safari. There is no loud sound of an engine, only the clip clops of the horse’s hooves; there is no ordinary straight road, but the fun of a winding route on the game paths; there is nothing else but the tranquility of the surrounding bush. As we walk along, the impalas and warthogs simply carry on with their usual activity, may it be feeding on the vegetation, grooming one another or even marking their territory. They are completely relaxed and so are the horses, as they walk through the different species.
As we approach the first dam to give the horses a drink of water, we often see troops of Vervet monkeys playing in the Leadwood trees on the edge of the water, and the waterbuck family lying in the shade. As we wade through the water on horseback, a beautiful grey heron takes off from a nearby dead tree and soars over us and into the distance.
The trail carries on with our guests having a trot and even a canter along an open track before turning into the bush once again. Here, the terrain changes from bushveld to luscious riverine with the Tamboti forests transforming the area into a wonderland. As we walk along, we tend to see giraffe browsing the acacias with their long, blue tongues. They watch us as we come closer but stay calm and relaxed. It takes a while for the horses to get used to them but now they don’t even look twice as we pass.
An exciting new aspect to the trails is the recent release of the zebra and wildebeest onto the estate. Once they relax with the people and horses, it will be a special experience to get a close encounter with them.
Trail rides are offered to our students as part of the student program, but we also offer horseback safari trail rides through the bush for clients, holidaymakers, and horse lovers wishing to experience the freedom of a riding safari!