Introducing One of Our Most Immersive Zambian Safaris Yet
19 Jul 2022|Mary Rijnberg
So what does it mean to add a touch of wildness to your Zambian safari? At Planet Africa Safaris, the first thing that comes to mind is a horseback safari in the Simalaha Wildlife Conservancy.
Here, one saddles up and canters through the vast stretches of protected wildlife covering 180 000 ha of communal land in the Chobe Zambezi dispersal area. With Botswana’s Chobe National Park, Zambia’s Kafue National Park close to its borders, and the famed Victoria Falls, a horseback safari here is the perfect add-on to the more ‘traditional’ or ‘expected’ safari.
Novice and Experienced Riders Welcome
What better way to have your first horseback riding experience than in the Zambian wilderness? Or, if you’re an experienced rider, imagine how it must feel to ride alongside herds of giraffe, zebra and thundering wildebeest? The only requirements are a sense of adventure, moderate fitness, confidence, and an age older than 12. However, special considerations can be made if you’ve booked the camp exclusively and are traveling with younger children.
Meet Your Horseback Safari Team
The team at Zambian Horseback Safaris are mostly four-legged. However, the bipedes are all locals who work alongside your hosts, Doug Evans and Gail Kleinschmidt. These two conservationists have been actively championing wild places in Zambia for over 40 years. Since the age of two, Doug has been riding horses. He is also proudly associated with Zambia’s National Polocrosse team and training horses to work in wildlife areas for anti-poaching patrols.
Ask those who know Doug and his work with horses, and they’ll call him a ‘horse whisperer’ – of course, he’d disagree and say he has a deep connection with horses. In return, they trust him – and so do we. This is why we prefer to work with Zambian Horseback Safaris. Doug’s empathy isn’t just reserved for horses; it extends to the locals. He has learnt their language and traditions, allowing him to explain their culture to visitors and create an even more immersive African experience. Simply put, Doug is an inspiration to all.
Horseback Safari Options
The horses you’ll explore these great lands with are well-behaved and have grown up alongside the wild, making them accustomed to sharing eye contact with various species of buck and fellow herbivores (there are no large predators here). With safari packages ranging from 3- to 7-nights (or longer) stays, guests can explore the vast Simalaha Conservancy or add a Victoria Falls adventure at one of our favorite eco-conscious lodges located along the Zambezi – Chundukwa River Lodge. All packages are fully inclusive, so all you have to worry about is mastering the art of the saddle and ensuring that your camera remains ready for the ever-present photo opportunity.
To get better acquainted with the horses and newest members of the team, watch this video below.
As Immersive As a Night Under a Blanket of Stars
One of the highlights and an absolute must is a star bed experience in Simalaha, where it’s just you and the blanket of stars above (and a mosquito net). Here you can see the crystal clear Southern skies, home to celestial sights that include two dwarf galaxies, the Milky Way and the Southern Cross. The silence of the bush is comforting, with no nearby towns, cell phone towers or lights polluting your stay. This truly is one of the last places left in the world where you can feel the silence and view the world unfiltered.
More About Simalaha Wildlife Conservancy
Since 2013, Simalaha Wildlife Conservancy has been a place reminiscent of yester-year wildernesses, all thanks to the vision of two chiefs and their communities. On 6 October 2013, the first wildlife translocation occurred in the area. Since then, more than 3,000 animals have been rewilded here. Treasured and fiercely protected by the surrounding communities, these numbers continue to grow.
According to Bernard Liwena (Advisor to the Chief Sekute Kuta), “now, we have a lot, and we are happy about that. In the future, even our children, our grandchildren will be happy because they will come and see what their elders have done.”
Echoing this sentiment is Senior Chief Inyambo Yeta (Barotse Royal Establishment), who said in an interview, “our vision is to have a viable wildlife economy. We want to be able to bring tourists to Simalaha, and with tourism, the economy of our area is going to improve”.
That is why all proceeds from the USD 50.00 per person per night Concession fees benefit the training and employment of local people in the construction, runnings and maintenance of the lodge and Simalaha Conservancy.
Add a Horseback Safari to Your Exploration of Southern Africa
Feeling inspired and ready to feel the wind blowing through your hair as you canter across ancient lands? You’re not alone. You’re not alone. We are on hand and ready to arrange a tailored safari for you. Whether it be an add-on to an existing Botswana, Zimbabwe or Zambia safari, or the only destination, we are on hand to share our knowledge with you.
If this blog piqued your interest, we think you’d enjoy our 2 Part Blog series showcasing a safari from all angles. Click on the links below for more information:
All photos courtesy of Zambian Horseback Safaris.