Kenya ~ Offbeat Safaris
7 and 8 night adventurous mobile safaris, using private tented camps, available December to March and June to October. Suitable for confident intermediate riders and above. Non-riders welcome.
Where Most safaris are in south west Kenya, following a linear route along the northern edge of the Masai Mara game reserve. Safaris may also be organised on the Laikipia Plateau, about 4 hours north of Nairobi.
What is it like The Mara landscape is predominently vast open plains, rolling grassland, with patches of thick bush and woodland. There are rocky hillsides, where the escarpment drops into the Rift valley and the Mara River winds its way through the bush en-route to Lake Victoria in the west. There are no fences, just wonderful views over rolling hills to the horizon far beyond and there is game everywhere .....zebra, giraffe, huge numbers of antelope, elephant, buffalo, rhino, monkeys, baboons, hippo, lion, hyena and herds of wildebeest in numbers that swell to the millions when the annual migration arrives. In Laikipia, safaris cross untouristed private land that was once part of some of Kenya's biggest family owned ranches. It boasts views of Mount Kenya and game in rising numbers.
Who does it suit Experienced, confident riders who love an adventure. You need to be confident to ride from camp to camp across country, over varied terrain where there is 'big' (and potentially dangerous) game and where you can meet the unexpected at any turn. You should be riding fit as the open going cries out for long, exhilarating canters and the pace is often fast. Camps are comfortable and service in them exemplary, but authenticity rather than unecessary modern amenities is the camp byword.
Why we love it One of the original riding safari operators in Africa, Offbeat Safaris, founded by the late Tristan Voorspuy, has an industry wide reputation as THE company to safari with and we make no bones about saying that it is one of our favourites. A riding safari with Offbeat is everything a special holiday should be - an exciting, professionally run and personalised adventure that leaves you on a high and wanting to go again and again...There's something unbeatable about evenings around the camp fire, glowing with exhilaration, enjoying an iced drink and relaxing dinner, before a comfortable night in a secluded camp, wondering what adventure tomorrow holds - perfect ending to a perfect day.
Riding: 5-6 hours a day
Horses: polo ponies, TB and Arab crosses
Pace: moderate to fast with plenty of long canters in open country
Riding ability: confident intermediate to experienced riders
Weight limit: 95kg (15 stone) although, depending on ability heavier riders can sometimes be accommodated - contact us to discuss
Accommodation: 5∆ camping
Group size: max 12
Season: December to March, June to October
Price: 7 night safaris from USD 8155 (approx £6270) per person
Horses: The horses include a mixture of breeds with several pure thoroughbreds, thoroughbred and Arab crosses and polo ponies. They are between about 14.2hh and 16.2hh, are responsive, forward going and thoroughly enjoyable to ride. Many are polo schooled to a high standard. They are also sensible to handle, used to game and at home in the bush. Grooms look after the horses on safari and prepare them for rides. Tack is English style. Groups are a maximum of 12 guests.
Hours: There is usually about 5 to 6 hours riding a day, moving from camp to camp or riding out from camp with breaks to rest, for lunch and game viewing.
Pace and experience required: To join a safari you must be a fairly experienced rider who is comfortable on a horse at all paces from a walk to fast canter in open country. You will be riding in a varied, open area where there is big game including elephant and lion. The going on the safaris is good and the pace is often fast, with long canters on open plains and riders encouraged to spread out. You are expected to cope, to keep up and stop when necessary, so need to be confident and fit. If in doubt about ability please contact us.
Accommodation on these safaris is in private tented camps set up especially for you along the route. Spacious, walk in double safari tents are used with comfortable beds, tables, chairs and linen provided. There are hot showers in camp and each tent has a private long drop loo. There are plenty of staff and service is very good.
After - or before - any safari we recommend a few nights either at Deloraine House (for Mara safaris) or at Sosian Ranch (for Laikipia safaris). Deloraine is one of Kenya's loveliest colonial houses. It was built in the 1920's by Lord Francis Scott and is set in the middle of a 5,000 acre estate with magnificent colourful gardens, worth a visit in themselves. Sosian is a 24,000acre ranch on the Laikipia Plateau. The ranch homestead and surrounding land have been carefully restored and with its wide verandas, open lawns and swimming pool, it is a lovely, very relaxing place to stay.
7 night Mara safaris: USD 8155
Rates include - collection from & return to Nairobi at set times with the group on the first / last day, all riding, guiding and equipmen, accommodation (based on two sharing), all meals and some drinks.
Mara Safari (7 nights)
Tailormade safaris on request
Average temperature guide
|Sample itinerary - 7 night Mara ride (may be run in reverse - please enquire for other itineraries)|
|Day 1||Met at Nairobi International and transfer to Wilson airport for a short flight to the Mara. On arrival at the Mara airstrip transfer about an hour to Olare Lamun, the first night’s camp. Lunch in camp and a short afternoon ride to try the horses before dinner. Night in camp.|
| Day 2
||Set off on an early morning ride to explore this remote area. Lunch in camp followed by an evening ride. Overnight Olare Lamun.|
| Day 3
||A long ride towards the Mara Game Reserve, stopping for lunch by some rock pools that are perfect for a refreshing dip. Overnight in a new camp at Olare Oruk.|
| Days 4
||Two days riding out from Olare Oruk, perhaps with a game drive into the Mara Reserve for close up viewing of elephant and lion. Night Olare Oruk.|
| Day 5
||A long ride upstream along the Olare Oruk River and across plains of the Siria escarpment. Ford the Mara river and ride south-west across the Mara Triangle. Night at Soit Olololol camp.|
| Day 6
||Today's ride takes you to the final Mara River camp. Ford the river again and ride on to reach the camp where dinner is accompanied by the grunting of hippo in neighbouring pools.|
|Day 7||Perhaps an early morning ride across the river. Then return to camp for breakfast before setting off on a game drive to see the northern part of the Mara. Lunch back in camp and in the afternoon ride out, heading in the direction of any wildlife concentration. Dinner and last night on safari at Mara River camp.|
| Day 8
||An early morning ride followed by breakfast, then transfer to the airstrip for a flight back to Nairobi Wilson. Then transfer to Nairobi international airport for your onward flight.|
|Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on tel (+44) (0)1837-82544 / 825440 for further information, detailed itineraries, dates and answers to questions.|
The meeting place for the safaris is Nairobi, Kenya's capital. There are several flights from London to Nairobi each day - British Airways and Air Kenya have direct, overnight flights. Several other airlines such as Air France and KLM have flights via Europe. For an economy return flight from London budget around £650 to £850.