From their homebase of Deloraine Farm in the Rift Valley near Nakuru in Kenya, Off Beat Safaris have been organising horse safaris since 1990. On the doorstep of their wonderful home is The Maasai Mara, here big game, untouched tribes and stunning landscapes combine to produce what is often described as the holiday of a life time.
As you can imagine it takes years of experience to establish a safari company that can genuinely claim to take people to true wilderness areas of Africa whilst maintaining the high standards of the old traditional safaris. After 23 years operating safaris in Kenya, Offbeat Safaris can proudly say they have achieved this. They pride themselves on basing their safari experience on 4 founding principles:
- Charismatic guides
- A passion and respect for Africa’s wildlife
- High standards of comfort & service
- Small exclusive lodges and camps with a maximum of 14 beds
7 and 8 night holidays run throughout the year outside of the rainy season which is April, May and November. This is a mobile safari, you stay in luxury tented camp sites as you ride across the Masai Mara. The cost of the 7 night safari is £5995 per person, there is a single room supplement of £125 per night if you are not prepared to share a tent. You would need to get a flight to Nairobi, transfers are included in this price, international flights are not included.
Mara River Hippo Camp - You will either be collected from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport or if you have arrived earlier, from your Nairobi hotel, and transferred to Wilson Airport for your 10am flight to Mara North in the Masai Mara. Your guides will meet you and drive you to your first camp, set up on the banks of the Mara River adjacent to a teeming hippo pool. Lunch will be served and you will have a little time to relax before meeting your horses and setting off on your first gentle evening ride (about 2 hours).
Mara River Hippo Camp - We begin the day with an early morning ride, crossing the Mara River for the first time, returning to camp for a light breakfast. After breakfast a game drive will be on offer, driving provides better photographic opportunities than from a horse and exploring more of
this Northern part of the Mara has much to offer. We will return in time for lunch and a siesta before setting off on an afternoon ride. We will be back in good time to shower and maybe set off in the vehicles once more for a sun downer and a short night game drive before supper.
Escarpment Soit Olololo Camp - We leave camp after breakfast at about 9am, heading south towards the park boundary where we meet the river again at one of the famous wildebeest crossings. We cross the river and head southwest across the Mara Triangle, meeting the car with our picnic lunch at around 12:30. After lunch and a siesta we set off at about 16:00 and ascend the Soit Olololol Escarpment. We reach our camp at about 17:30 on the edge of the escarpment and spend the night overlooking the whole Mara ecosystem.
Olare Orok Camp - We descend the escarpment after breakfast at about 9am and ride across to the same wildebeest crossing on the river. We head in a westerly direction and descend into the enchanting Olare Orok Valley with a picnic lunch and siesta from about 12:30-15:30 on the way. Reaching our camp in time at about 17:00 in time for tea, there should also be time to do an evening game drive and sundowners, before supper under the stars.
Olare Orok Camp - Here we will have a full day of exploring this glorious area on horseback, car and possibly on foot. You will have excellent photo opportunities, getting close to buffalo, elephant, lion and maybe cheetah or leopard.
Olare Lamun Camp - Our third moving day and we break camp in good time as it the longest ride of the trip covering nearly 50kms. Setting off at 7.00am, we have a picnic breakfast stopping from about 10-11am. We continue on until 13:30 where we break again for lunch and a siesta after reaching Ol Kinyei Conservancy. At 16:00 we head to our last camp, arriving at Olare Lamun (the rhino salt lick) nestled in a grove of acacia trees by a small stream at the southern edge of the Loita Plains.
Olare Lamun Camp - After an early wake up we will set off for a morning ride before returning to camp for a light breakfast. We will then set out for a game drive and beautiful walk up the nearby hill called Oloiburmut, returning to camp for a lunch and a siesta. At around 4pm we will drive or ride to visit the local Masai Village.
Departure Day - Our last morning ride before saying goodbye to our horses. After a final breakfast you will drive to the airstrip and fly back to Nairobi around 11am, landing into Wilson at 12noon. We will organise for a taxi to pick you up and either take you around Nairobi to do some shopping/visits, or to a Hotel day room (included), before taking you on to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in time for your evening flight home, or your onward destination.
This safari does not operate during the two rainy seasons of April/May and November. Otherwise thay operate for every other month of the year and enjoy a wonderful climate with fantastic wildlife viewing year round. The ride is at an average of 5500ft, which makes for warm days (up to 28°C and cool nights (down to 11°C) and very few mosquitoes. August/September/October are the best months for seeing the wildebeest and zebra migration from the Serengeti, but these animals can be seen in good numbers all year round.
The mobile tented camp includes a mess tent for meals and spacious 9ft x 10ft sleeping tents with camp beds, mattresses, sheets & blankets. Towels, soap and torches are provided. There is a solar lamp in each tent, with hurricane lamps outside at night time. There is a long drop loo tent for every tent and hot safari bucket showers are always available.
All of the food is fresh and they provide English breakfasts, light lunches and 3-course dinners. They often have picnics and eat in the open air if the weather is good. They carry ice cubes and are self sufficient for the whole safari. Bread is baked daily on open fires and the chefs are extremely good. All house wines, beers and spirits are included, except Champagne. Please let ask now if you have any dietary requirements or preferences ahead of time so that we can try to cater for you
They will accept teenagers of age 14yrs and above on set departure safaris if they are competent riders and prepared to join in with other adults. Teenagers 14-17yrs pay 75% of the adult rate. Children 13yrs and under are welcome on private tailor made safaris only and pay 50% of the adult rate.
Type of Riding
The riding is in big game country, on open plains interspersed with bush. The short grass plains are ideal for riding (although you must look out for holes) and long canters are taken. They ride for 4 – 7 hours per day with 1 ½ - 2 hours lunch stops, and on the longest moving day there is a stop for breakfast on route. Walking on foot is sometimes necessary over rough terrain.
Riding Ability Required of guests
In order to enjoy the safari and for the safety of all the riders and horses, guests should be experienced riders, comfortable at all paces (walk, trot, canter, gallop) and able to get out of trouble calmly and at the necessary speed. You should be balanced with an independent seat and fit enough to ride 4 – 7 hours per day. There is a strict maximum weight limit of 210lbs/15 stone/ 95kg, due to the horses in Kenya simply not being very big and carrying the rider for 40+km per day. On booking, we will require details of your riding experience, plus your age, weight and height,
so that we can match you to suitable horses.
The horses are based at Deloraine House, and are trucked to each safari destination ahead of the guests. All of the horses are thoroughbred and thoroughbred cross and have excellent stamina as a result. They are well schooled and some play polo and event. They are therefore responsive,
tough and fit. You will be pleasantly surprised.
Riding is in English General Purpose Wintec saddles and leather saddles. Some Australian stock saddles are available on request. Seat savers are available. Mostly snaffle bridles are used.
Quite often non-riders join the safaris, when their spouse or friends are riders but they are not. We can cater very well for anyone who does not wish to ride and have an excellent team of guides and spotters who take them out by vehicle, meeting up with the rest of the group for meals, picnics
and sundowners. All our guests enjoy game drives, night drives and walking, as well as riding, so the non-riders are still very much part of the group. Game drives are always available, even for the riders, if they prefer a break from the saddle every so often.
Insurance is compulsory. Whilst the ride carries public liability insurance and takes all reasonable care, it is essential that you travel with full travel and medical insurance for the duration of the holiday, including coverage of cancellation and curtailment, missed departure or delays, stolen, lost or damaged luggage, medical expenses, personal liability, extreme sports and activities (safari driving, camping, bush walking and horse riding).These are adventure safaris and Offbeat Safaris Ltd accepts no liability for accidents on safari – riders ride at their own risk.
Amref Flying Doctors
We provide every guest 30 day membership to Amref Flying Doctors https://flydoc.org/airambulance-services/ This includes air evacuation from the Mara to Nairobi in the case of a medical emergency and an ambulance to a Nairobi hospital. Any further medical insurance is required from the guest.
It is strongly recommended that you wear a hard riding hat on safari. Offbeat Safaris do not provide hard hats or chaps. If you wish to wear a riding hat, please bring your own. If you choose not to wear a hard riding hat this is at your own risk. Please check your holiday/medical insurance covers you
in an accident if you are not wearing a riding hat.
The safari guide carries a satellite phone and mobile phone at all times. There is a medical kit for people and horses in the game drive cars at all times and an emergency medical kit in the guide’s saddle bags.
Vaccinations & Medication
There are no compulsory vaccinations for entering Kenya. However, please ask your doctor for advice on what vaccinations and malaria medication are required before travelling. We do not recommend Larium.
Passports are required and must have validity for at least six months after travelling to Kenya. Those requiring a visa are now advised to have at least two blank pages available in theirpassport upon arrival.
You will require a tourist visa for Kenya. Visas can be obtained in advance at https://www.kenyavisagov.com although airport visas are available as well. There is a fee for the visa (approx $50 per person), whether obtained in advance or at the airport and you are required to pay in cash USD. Contact the nearest Kenyan embassy or consulate for information.
There is no wifi available, however there is intermittent ‘Safaricom’ 3G signal across the Masai Mara. Nairobi hotels mostly have wifi and signal.
Shopping - Masai goods can be paid for in US Dollars or Kenyan shillings (small denominations are advisable). Most shops in Nairobi will take a credit card.
If you wish to leave a tip at the end of your stay this is at your own discretion.Tips are accepted in any denomination and collected by the guide to be distributed among the staff. The recommended amount for safari staff is $10-20 per day from each guest. The suggested gratuity for the guide and assistant guide is $20 per client, and should be handed directly to him.
NB. Domestic flights have a weight allowance of maximum 15 kilos including hand luggage. A soft bag is preferable to a hard case on safari.
Laundry will be washed by hand on non-moving days whilst you are on safari and dried in the sun. Ladies are asked to hand wash your own underwear for cultural reasons and we provide laundry powder for hand washing.
The itinerary goes in both directions (Mara River to Olare Lamun or Olare Lamun to Mara River).
04 - 11 January Masai Mara 7 nights
11 - 18 January Masai Mara 7 nights
08 - 15 February Masai Mara 7 nights
15 - 22 February Masai Mara 7 nights
07 - 14 March Masai Mara 7 nights
06 - 13 June Masai Mara 7 nights
20 - 27 June Masai Mara 7 nights
11 - 18 July Masai Mara 7 nights
18 - 25 July Masai Mara 7 nights
08 - 15 August Masai Mara 7 nights
15 - 22 August Masai Mara 7 nights
05 - 12 September Masai Mara 7 nights Fully Booked
12 - 19 September Masai Mara 7 nights Fully Booked
19 - 26 September Masai Mara 7 nights
03 - 11 October Masai Mara 8 nights
17 - 25 October Laikipia 8 nights
05 - 12 December Masai Mara 7 nights