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Packing for a Horseback Safari: Gear and Tips for Riders

Matthys van Aswegen

Author: Matthys van Aswegen - 30 January 2024

Last Update: 28 December 2023

Part of the African Safari Collection

Experiencing a safari on horseback can be a thrilling experience for any adventure seeker. But before saddling up, it’s important to gather some key supplies. Here’s what to know about horseback safari packing.

Clothing

Packing the right clothes is crucial — you don’t want to get drenched in the event of a rainstorm, nor do you want to get burnt on a hot, sunny day. Here are some tips from Shawn Hamilton, equine expert and photojournalist:

  • Riding Trousers or Jeans: Opt for something sturdy yet comfortable. Riding trousers or well-fitted jeans prevent chafing while offering protection against scratches from vegetation or falls.
  • Long-Sleeved Shirts: Breathable long-sleeved shirts will protect you from the sun’s rays. Light-coloured repels bugs and can help keep you cool.
  • Riding Boots: Boots are vital safari riding gear. Be sure to pack closed-toe shoes with a slight heel. This can keep your foot from slipping through the stirrups.
  • Wide-brimmed Hat and Sunglasses: Brimmed hats can be just as effective as sunscreen in preventing sunburns. Quality sunglasses protect your eyes from glare and dust.
  • Lightweight Waterproof Jacket: Weather can be unpredictable. Prepare for sudden downpours with a light, compact jacket.
  • Warm Layers: A fleece or sweater can be a lifesaver in cooler climates or for early morning rides.
  • Riding Gloves: These provide better grip and prevent blisters.

The key here is to balance protection with comfort. Choose well-fitting, comfortable clothing that will shield you from the elements and prevent injury.

Tourists on African Horseback in Macatoo-Photo credit- Camp Macatoo
Tourists on African Horseback in Macatoo-Photo credit- Camp Macatoo

Equipment

To make the most out of your safari, you’ll want to pack the right gear.

  • Saddle: Most organisers provide saddles, but you can pack your own if you prefer a specific type.
  • Saddlebags: These are typically provided by the organisation as well, but it can be a good idea to pack one or two of your own so that you have enough space to carry essential items like water bottles and snacks.
  • Helmet: A good helmet is crucial for horseback riding. Pack a sturdy helmet that meets all required safety standards.
  • Cameras: Cameras designed for outdoor use are especially suitable for the rugged conditions of a safari.
  • Binoculars: Whether you’re scouting a distant horizon or trying to spot elusive wildlife, a good pair of binoculars can significantly enhance your safari experience.

Other Horseback Safari Tips

Before embarking on your trip, do your research. Each destination has its unique challenges, from navigating difficult terrain to understanding the behaviour of local wildlife. Chat with your guides and gather as much information as you can ahead of time.

Drink lots of water. Any outdoor activity can lead to dehydration, which is why it’s important to always carry and drink water throughout your trip, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Be sure to also apply adequate sunscreen and insect repellant.

Tracking rhinos on a horseback safari in Masai Mara, Kenya-Photo credit-Ol Pejeta Bush Camp
Tracking rhinos on a horseback safari in Masai Mara, Kenya-Photo credit-Ol Pejeta Bush Camp

While it may be tempting to gallop through open plains or push yourself to cover vast distances in a short amount of time, remember to slow down and soak everything in. Plan time for breaks, not just for your own well-being but that of your horse.

Lastly, always respect the wildlife. Avoid making sudden movements or loud noises, and always maintain a safe distance, relying on your guide’s expertise to navigate encounters. By following these tips, you can have a safe, unforgettable equestrian safari adventure.

Wrapping Up

By booking with Discover Africa Safaris, you’ll be in good hands. Our commitment to guest support and preparedness extends from 40+ years of collective experience in African travel to ensuring all participants are well-informed about their trip.

Browse our horseback safaris to learn more about the experiences we provide and how we can customise your dream safari.

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Copyright © Discover Africa Safaris | Packing for a Horseback Safari: Gear and Tips for Riders | Last Updated: 30 January 2024