I lean into my horse’s neck as her gallop quickens. The herd swerves to the left as my mare expertly follows, gaining ground on a couple of tail-end zebras. My hands tighten on the reins as I encourage her deep into the stampeding herd of zebra, stripes of black and white move in a cryptic wave around me. Impala leap hysterically into the air, eland stampede and giraffes dance awkwardly on the outskirts of the herd. The thundering noise of hooves hitting the ground is deafening and the heady smell of dirt and horse sweat swirls in the air as my mare tugs on the bit.
This is Kenya on horseback.
A land of shiny, happy people, Kenya will have you smiling from the day you land through to the day you leave. It’s a country that wears its heart on its sleeve, rich with life, colour, adventure and culture. Kenya is full to the brim with wildlife and captivating, diverse landscapes. A country that can only be truly appreciated on horseback where the rider is at one with the wild, sharing the same sights, scents and sounds – seeing the animal kingdom through the eyes of your horse. You seriously need to ditch the 4×4 and jump on a horse to truly breathe Kenya’s true colours.
I have a love affair with Kenya. It was in the honeycomb, acacia tree dotted plains of the Maasai Mara Game Reserve that I fell in love with the globetrotting way of life, exploring faraway cultures and landscapes from the back of a horse. It was Kenya that gave me my first taste of this lifestyle and like the hook thorns on the ‘wait-a-little’ trees, has had me in its clasp ever since.
A horse riding safari through the Maasai Mara in Kenya is the most exhilarating encounter you could ask for. It’s a honey-pot for big game and astride agile, quick-off-the-mark, swift mounts, white-knuckle speed and heart-thumping adrenalin are your friend. These horses are well and truly accustomed to eye-balling elephants and swimming across the murky waters of the Mara River while hippos blow bubbles upstream.
The panoramas are quintessential to Kenya where acacia trees mushroom from the ground, giraffes elegantly lope across the earth, young Maasai herders wrapped in brightly coloured shukas keep a watchful eye on their cattle, and the horizon is dotted with herds of wildebeest, zebra, topi and eland.
As we gallop alongside the dazzle of zebra under a bruised African sky with the rich smell of horse sweat and dirt swirling in the air, I attempt to savour every single second – I’m riding shoulder-to-shoulder with the wilds of Africa. It’s at this moment I realise no truer words have ever been spoken than by Mr Ernest Hemingway himself when he said, “I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up and was not happy.”
Globetrotting is a travel agency that specialises in horse riding holidays, horse riding safaris, horse riding treks and unique cultural horse experiences to all corners of the world. To find out more, please visit Globetrotting website
Published in the May 2018 edition of HubVibes