South Africa ~ Wait-A-Little
7 and 5 night small group safaris riding with 'big' game. Super comfortable private camps and luxury lodges. Available year round. Suits confident intermediate riders and above.
Where On private game reserves close to South Africa's Kruger National Park, about 450 kms north east of Johannesburg.
What is it like You are riding on an area that covers 35,000 hectares in all and has the Drakensberg Mountains as a backdrop. The landscape includes thick bush and woodland skirted by sandy tracks, as well as rocky 'kopjies', open plains, gullies, dams (lakes) and riverine bush. Its home to a wide range of plants, birds and animals including the 'Big Five' (elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard) as well as hippo, crocodile, giraffe, zebra...
Who does it suit The discerning rider (Gerti's horses are a dream to ride) who enjoys luxurious safari accommodation, attention to detail and the personal touch. With horses schooled to the highest standards, small groups and top level guiding there are often incredibly close game encounters. Safaris are for strong, well balanced and fit riders - you'll ride at pace through the bush, winding in and out of trees, watching out for game at every turn and enjoying close up sightings of giraffe, zebra, elephant, rhino and perhaps big cats such as lion and cheetah.
Why we love it For the horses, the attention to details and the lovely safari accommodation - baths with a view, king sized beds and delicious food.. Also for the game viewing and adventure - probably the closest you'll ever get to elephant and rhino on a horse. Longer safaris use 3 different camps which means the added thrill of 'what is coming up next'. A real treat!
Riding: 4-7 hours a day
Horses: Boerperd, Arab crosses, Warmblood & TB crosses
Pace: moderate to fast, with long, energetic canters zigzagging through the bush
Riding ability: confident intermediate to experienced riders
Weight limit: about 95kgs (15 stone) but please call us to discuss if your weight is close to this
Accommodation: 5Δ camping, some luxury lodges
Group size: maximum 7 or 8 (minimum 2)
Season: year round
Price: 7 night safaris from £3290 per person
Horses: A selection of about 40 horses, all owned by Wait-A-Little, including Warmbloods, Arab, Thoroughbred and Fresian crosses as well as South African Boerperd and Boerperd crosses, a breed renowned for its temperament and bravery. They vary from about 14.3hh to 17hh and all are very well-schooled, calm, sensitive, responsive and forward going to ride. Tack is excellent quality, English style, mostly Stuebben and dressage saddles with sheepskins and seat savers available if required.
Hours: Usually about 4 to 7 hours riding a day, broken with rests, for lunch and game viewing.
Pace and experience required: Safaris are aimed at fairly experienced riders who are comfortable on a horse at all paces from walk to fast canter in open country. Riding is in a varied area where there is 'big' game including elephant and lion. The going on safari is good and the pace is moderate to fast, often with long energetic canters, weaving in and out of the bush. You are expected to cope, keep up and stop when necessary, so need to be confident and riding fit. If in doubt about ability please contact us.
Safari guests stay at Wait-A-Little's private base camp, which has 4 spacious twin / double walk-in safari tents, set on raised wooden platforms under thatch roofs overlooking the Makhutswe River. Tents are well situated for privacy and views. Each has a king size double bed (or two large singles), a private veranda and attached open-sided bathroom with flush loo, shower and washbasin with hot and cold running water as well as bath-with-a-view overlooking the river. There is a central lodge, the original farmhouse, with comfortable sitting room, dining area, swimming pool, massage room and well stocked bar. On 7 night Big 5 Safaris, the first 3 and last night are at the main base camp, then one night is at Beacon Rock Camp and 2 nights are in the very comfortable XiDulu Lodge. Beacon Rock is a simple camp on a rocky outcrop where riders sleep out on mattresses under the stars (or thatch shelter), enjoying the night sounds of the bush. In complete contrast XiDulu is a stunning, privately owned lodge overlooking a hippo filled dam on the Makalali Reserve. It has 5 lovely rooms, each with air conditioning and en-suite bathroom, a comfortable sitting room, infinity pool and game viewing deck. 5 night Big 5 Camp Safaris include 4 nights at the main base camp and one night at Beacon Rock whilst on Ride & Dine Safaris, the first 3 and last 2 nights are at the main base camp, 2 nights are at XiDulu and 2 nights are at the equally luxurious Clive's Camp.
7 night Big 5 Safari - £3290
7 night Big 5 Safari
Average temperature guide
Example itinerary (7 night Big 5 Safari)
|Day 1||You will be met at Hoedspruit or Phalaborwa airport and driven to the Wait-A-Little base. Meet Philip your guide, over a light lunch or afternoon tea, then meet and try the horses on a short evening ride. Dinner and overnight at Wait-A-Little main camp.|
||Depending on the weather, today might be spent riding to Croc Dam to see crocodile and hippo submerged in the dam and fish eagles and other waterbirds diving from overhanging trees, or perhaps you will spend the morning tracking cheetah, stopping to watch as they stretch out on a termite mound. A picnic lunch out riding then return to camp for dinner and the night.|
||Today's ride may track leopard or wild dog heard calling in the night. Return to Wait a Little for a leisurely lunch and in the evening set off by vehicle to search for buffalo. Dinner and night at Wait-A-Little main camp.|
||Set off riding south to a fly camp at Beacon Rock. The rock formation that overlooks the escarpment offers panoramic views of the whole reserve and the night is spent sleeping out under the stars around the campfire.|
||Breakfast in camp then set off on the longest ride of the week, into the neighbouring Makalali Reserve and on to the spectacular XiDulu lodge. The open plains of Makalali are home to giraffe, zebra and wildebeest. Dinner and the night at XiDulu.|
||The day to explore the wilder areas of the Makalali Reserve with chances for some fun canters, twisting and turning between the trees. Return to XiDulu for dinner and the night.|
||Breakfast and begin the long ride back to Wait-A-Little perhaps encountering elephant, rhino, lion or giraffe en-route. A sundowner on the open plains and a delicious farewell dinner before final night in camp.|
||An early breakfast and a chance for a final morning ride before your transfer back to the airport.|
|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 nearest airports are Hoedspruit and Phalaborwa and there are daily scheduled flights from Johannesburg. Transfers from these airports to the camp can be arranged at a cost of approx £40 to £65 per person each way (subject to change). British Airways and Virgin have direct overnight flights from London to Johannesburg arriving the next morning in time to connect with a flight to Hoedspruit or Phalaborwa. For an economy return flight from London to Hoedspruit budget about £900 to £1050 (varies with the season and availability).