Please note that this is a sample itinerary to give you an idea of what to expect on safari. Daily rides and activities may vary depending on a number of factors such as game movements and weather. These changes are at the professional discretion of your guide in order to provide the most beneficial safari experience.
Your road transfer departs VFA at 14h30 - – please note this is an outsourced, shared transfer. On arrival at HMC you will meet your Guide and the fun begins! Transfers from all locations in Zimbabwe can be arranged but we highly recommend arriving from Victoria Falls via road transfer or charter flight to Hwange Main Airport.
After the usual formalities of checking in, guests will be taken on a game drive to sample the splendour of Hwange as we transfer to the riding camp. After a quick but delicious afternoon tea it is time for an important safety briefing followed by an introduction ride. This is a short ride to get partnered with your steed for the safari and to ensure you are comfortable with your tack.
We will be back in camp in time for sundowners and hot showers before enjoying a sumptuous 3 course meal cooked by our talented Safari Chef. Fantastic food and delicious wine enjoyed to the night sounds of the African wilderness. Listen carefully, you never know what you might hear. The distant yowl of a Black-backed Jackal, the sawing grunt of Leopard stealthily walking by or perhaps the click clicks of a big bull Eland giving away his aging joints. The bush is never quiet!
Retire to your tent and slumber the night away in your comfy warm cot, surrounded by the soothing sounds of the African Bush.
This morning will be heralded in quite early by the gentle knock knock on your tent by our early rising staff placing hot water in your hand basin. Tea and freshly ground coffee, as well as a light breakfast awaits you by the morning campfire. Being part of the Kalahari Desert system Hwange temperatures can drop quite low during the evening and early morning during our winter May through August.
After a quick breakfast we mount our waiting steeds and ride off into the wilderness exploring the area around Caterpillar Pan. There are no set routes or paths that we have to follow, which allows us the luxury to explore an area seldom marked by hoof beats and to truly be in tune with nature as we ride according to the weather, wildlife movements and riding abilities of the group, Every day is an exploration as we don’t follow the same well-trodden path left behind after many other horses, there simply are no other horses using the area!
We can expect 3 to 4 hours of riding perhaps following ancient elephant trails that wind their way through the bush linking up pan to pan. As we ride along, we will stop, look and learn about the intricacies of the wild African Bush, how every blade of grass, every leaf, every root and every tree have an important part to play in the delicate Circle of Life.
We will arrive back in camp for a refreshing lunch and siesta (compulsory in the bush with all the early starts!) and then later on tea and coffee and a yummy treat - you are on holiday after all - to revive you from your snooze and off to meet the horses again. This afternoon ride will be approx. 2 hours and who knows where will go - we will leave it up the law of the bush!
Hot showers and cold drinks await you on your return.
Another night under the stars around the campfire talking about the day that was and the days to come.
Each morning will follow the same rhythm, a gentle knock knock and hot water in your basin to help you rise and shine followed by a light breakfast in camp.
Today we will ride out the entire day taking a packed lunch so as not to disturb our pioneering explorations and also to allow our back-up staff time to prepare our camp in an exciting new location in anticipation of our arrival. All luggage is taken with the camp crew to the next site. The guide will instruct as to what needs to be carried on the horses for the day.
Once again, the day is not on a set route but goes according to local conditions with riding done in the morning and afternoon.
As we arrive at our new camp in the late afternoon there is just enough time for the horses to be unsaddled, fed and watered before enjoying a hot shower and icy cold sundowners as the sun dips below the horizon in a splendid array of colour.
Another sumptuous 3 course dinner awaits as we dine under a blanket of stars, the sounds of the nocturnal bush echoing around.
Rise and shine - it’s time to go and explore our new area after the morning bush routine of tea, coffee and light breakfast around the campfire.
Our riding playground today is the Umkawazaan part of the African Bush Camps private Somalisa Concession where we explore numerous waterhole areas and more of the extensive Acacia woodlands in search of wildlife.
Knock Knock – the dawn of another wonderful day of exploring with the horses. This day will either be two rides out or a full day out and may even include exploration of the Kennedy Pan area where it is not uncommon to see large herds of elephant and buffalo taking a refreshing drink.
This day we ride into the Award Winning Somalisa Expeditions, a camp close to James’ and Janine’s hearts, their all-time favourite Bush Camp that they have loved and visited for over a decade.
For the next 2 nights we are the guests of African Bush Camps. Truly authentic, the Somalisa Concession is famous for, amongst other things………Elephants!
After seeing the horses settled into their new abode and you into your luxury tent, high tea will be served. Perhaps there is time for a short nature walk around camp or just chill by the pool - hope you don’t want to swim though, the elephants enjoy popping by for a drink!
Variety is the spice of life and to sample something a little different today we have the option of taking a game drive to cover some different ground in search of more of Hwange’s famous wildlife. Whilst the horses take a well-earned rest, we venture out on four wheels!
We start off with an early morning drive and return to camp for brunch and a siesta. Then it’s back out again for more viewing as there is so much to see and experience.
Camp routine is very similar to the mobile, although here at Somalisa Expeditions you have the chance to recharge all the electrical gadgets!
All good things must come to an end they say, and today is your final day. After a leisurely breakfast, sad and often teary goodbyes are said to new-found friends and of course the fantastic horses. Fond farewells and a lifetime of memories created on your extraordinary safari with Ride Zimbabwe.
Depending on departure times for guests, we may sneak in one last ride along the Masomamalisha Vlei meeting the horse truck and transfer vehicle in the bush.
Wildlife likely to be seen:
Elephant, Elephant and more Elephant! Zebra, Giraffe, Impala, Kudu, Warthog, Eland, Duiker, Buffalo, Wildebeest, Jackal, Ostrich, Waterbuck. Hyena, Baboons
Wildlife possible to be seen:
Roan, Sable antelope, Lion, Bat Eared Fox, Cheetah, Leopard, Hippo, Painted Dog, Serval, Gemsbok, Bushbuck, Honey Badger.
Bird life is plentiful with more than 70% of all Zimbabwean birdlife species being found in Hwange National Park
Price: from £4658 pp
2020 scheduled departures
- 4 - 11 January
- 7 - 14 March
- 4 - 11 April
- 9 - 16 May
- 6 - 13 June
- 18 - 25 July
- 8 - 15 August
- 12 - 19 September
- 3 - 10 October
- 7 - 14 November
- 12 - 19 December
NOT INCLUDED IN PRICE:
- Transfers/ Parks fees / Camping fees / Conservation fees,
- $500 is the recommended amount to bring with you,
- Return transfers VFA to HMC - $185 pp,
- Camping fees x 5 nights @ $23 per night = $115 pp,
- Parks fees = $50 pp,
- Conservation and wildlife fees at Somalisa Expeditions @ $20 per night = $40,
- Transfer Somalisa Expeditions to Hwange Main Camp = $66,
- Gratuities to staff,
- Items of a personal nature,
- As it is a remote location with no access to shops, please ensure you bring everything you need particularly medications,
- We advise bringing small denominations of USD for tips and transfers
- While we have a small collection of half chaps and hard helmets, it is preferable that you please bring your own well-fitting hard hat and riding gear
- All guests will be required to sign the indemnity form before riding and must have travel insurance
- Please bring sufficient batteries and mobile charging equipment for your cameras for the 5 day mobile component as there will be no access to mains electricity during this time
- As we are riding in a big game area, we only accept experienced riders that are comfortable at all paces and also riding fit.
- Maximum of 8 riders so as to provide a more personalised safari experience.
- Minimum number of 2 riders.
- Single supplement may apply if not willing to share.
- Minimum age 14.
- Accommodation on this safari includes 5 nights “in the bush” at semi-mobile camps and 2 nights at the permanent and luxurious award-winning Somalisa Expeditions Camp.
- Being a protected National Park area, we are limited with transport options and thus must reduce the amount of kit we carry, therefore please note that during the semi-mobile camp, guests will use shared toilets and hot bucket showers.
- Hwange National Park is also home to a healthy lion population. Security is provided by a working electric fence surrounding the encampment at night.
- Each ride is lead by Professional Guide James Varden and supported by a Learner Guide/Back up Rider.
- First Aid Kit and Satellite Phone carried with horses at all times.
- Our experienced bush savvy well cared for and loved safari horses make the perfect companions for your Zimbabwean Adventure. Ranging in height from 15hh-16.1hh comprising of Boerpeds, Shire X, Fresian X and Thoroughbreds, we have the perfect steed for your dream safari.
- Tack is of an excellent quality to ensure our clients utmost comfort and include Leon Liversage Trail Master Saddles handmade in South Africa, Australian Stock Saddles, Wintec English Saddles and most horses are ridden in a Snaffle bit.
- Water bottle pouches and built in saddle bags on our numnahs provide ample space to carry day kit.
- Average riding time per day is 6 hours.
- Weight limit is 90kgs. Please ask about other options for heavier but experienced riders.
- Rates are subject to change: Please note we have no control over National Parks fees and rate increases.
KEY AREA FACTS
- At 14,651 sq kms Hwange National Park is the largest national park in Zimbabwe and is home to 400 different species of bird and 107 types of mammals.
- Located just one hour’s drive south of the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls, and 3 ½ hours from Bulawayo, Hwange is easily accessible from both Victoria Falls and Bulawayo Airports.
- Ride Zimbabwe is an owner operated company, a truly grass roots and independent operation.
- All safaris are led by one of Southern Africa’s Leading Professional Safari Guides offering a first-class service in experience and knowledge.
- Zambezi Teak and Camelthorn tree woodlands surround a vast number of open waterhole systems, or pans as they are more commonly known.
- Marvel in the amazing intricate shapes of these grand ancient trees; trees that have shaded and fed thousands upon thousands of animals over the centuries and will also offer you some welcome respite from the African sun when we rest beneath their spreading boughs to enjoy a delicious packed lunch or snack with our noble steeds grazing nearby.
- Throughout these pan fringe areas numerous mammals roam amongst the wonderful woodlands, in particular elephants and giraffe, and if that isn’t exciting enough there may be the opportunity to sail over a natural jump or two!
- Other types of habitats that we ride through and explore include Silver Terminalia, Coppiced Teak, Kalahari Apple Leaf, Kalahari Sand Acacia and the more open grasslands near the “pans.”