South African Horseback Safaris - Songimvelo Safari - African Horseback Safaris


South African Horseback Safaris


Sample Itinerary

The actual daily arrangements are determined at the time by the guide, and take into consideration the best interests of the group, terrain, and weather conditions. On this itinerary, riders spend some 4 – 6 hours in the saddle, on a daily basis. After a hearty breakfast, you set out at about 09.00, stopping for a picnic lunch, before getting to camp by about 16.00.

Day 1 (Sunday)

A road transfer departs O R Tambo (formerly Johannesburg) International Airport by 09.00 at the latest, to take you to Dawson’s Game and Trout Lodge. Alternatively, if you arrive at Kruger Mpumalanga Airport at Nelspruit by 12.00 (mid-day), at the latest, there is also a vehicle transfer to the lodge.

Upon arrival at Dawson’s Lodge there is time to settle into your room, and enjoy a late lunch with the rest of the group. There after, there is a briefing to explain the itinerary, and day to day Safari arrangements, and from there you get to meet the horses, and the rest of the team. In the late afternoon, enjoy your first ride – lasting approximately 2 hours. Return to the Lodge for dinner, and a good night’s sleep.

Day 2 (Monday)

Quite an early start this morning, with a road transfer of some 50 minutes to the nearby Songimvelo Game Reserve, where you meet up again with the horses, and team. You set off riding for approximately 4-5 hours (with regular breaks) riding on the plains towards Wind Hoek Base Camp, with numerous river crossings, and a lunch stop at the Hippo pools.

These plains are home to abundant wildlife (generally plains game), and are surrounded by magnificent mountains.

You arrive at Wind Hoek Base Camp by mid afternoon. The support team has set up a comfortable camp, including a bucket shower and long drop toilet facilities. The rest of the afternoon is spent exploring and settling in to your tents.

Dinner will be served (dependant on weather) either in the mess tent or outside.

Day 3 (Tuesday)

Safari days still start with a 06.00 wake-up (or earlier in the summer months), followed by a full breakfast. You can make your own picnic lunch, choosing from a good variety of breads, fillings, and snacks.

Enjoy a full day ride into the valley, with game viewing en route, and rides through the rivers and onto the plains.

Return to Wind Hoek Camp in the late afternoon.

Day 4 (Wednesday)

Today is spent doing an extensive exploration of the Songimvelo Reserve. The riding takes you into the mountains, and you are accompanied by pack horses, as tonight is spent out under the stars.

Lunch is enjoyed in a spectacular location, before continuing on to the evening ‘camp’. There is some challenging mountain pass riding today – with the breathtaking scenery making it all worth while. Sleeping bags are provided for this most magical night.

Day 5 (Thursday)

Breakfast is served in the mountains, before the descent through the passes to the Komati River plains. This area has great game viewing and potential encounters with white rhino.

You will arrive at Wind Hoek Base Camp for a late lunch, with time to relax before dinner.

Day 6 (Friday)

Today you explore gold mines and have another opportunity to spot the abundant game. The Riding lasts approximately 3 /4 hours in the morning, and you arrive back in camp for a late lunch and afternoon at leisure.

Day 7 (Saturday)

This morning, you ride to Ebutsini Village game viewing and enjoying the dramatic scenery on the way through the Songimvelo Reserve. Arrive mid afternoon and enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure and settling in to the traditional Rondavels (round huts). This evening is spent at the village enjoying the entertainment and catering – Swazi style!

Day 8 (Sunday)

A final morning ride from Ebutsini Village, with a visit to the local school (which relies heavily on donations), where you will enjoy an amazing performance from the children. After an early lunch, depart from the village by road, directly to Johannesburg for onward connections, or to Nelspruit for a domestic flight to Johannesburg.

For the Songimvelo Safari, you should be competent at walk, trot, canter and gallop. Confident novice riders can be accepted, but should have an independent seat and be secure in the saddle should they need to react quickly. The riding is challenging and technical since it is wilderness riding with steep climbs and descents, river crossings and tricky rocky terrain to cross. There are some opportunities for fast riding on the plains. It is not suitable for nervous riders.

Accommodation on Safari

Dawson’s Game and Trout Lodge is a luxury lodge situated in Mpumalanga, 40kms from Songimvelo Game Reserve. This is a small Lodge, with only 6 en suite rooms in the Homestead, and 8 en suite rooms at the Lodge itself. The Songimvelo Safaris makes use of the Homestead, with its private dining, and own swimming pool.

On safari, you normally stay in dome tents on camping beds with camping rolls, sheets and duvets. The tents are very comfortable and also contain tables and mirrors for a few more home comforts. A long drop toilet and bucket shower is provided at each camp site. A mess tent is erected for dining should the weather be inclement.

Ebutsini Village consists of traditional Rondavels, though each room has en suite facilities and electricity. The rooms are very comfortable and private within the village.

Dawson’s Lodge Riding


On the weeks when the horses are not on safari in the Songimvelo Reserve, and during the hotter summer months, you have the opportunity to be based at Dawson’s Lodge and ride out in the mornings and afternoons. This is a small Private Reserve, and there is a variety of plains game, including the rare black wildebeest. Riding is tailored to suit individual requirements, but there is an average of 4/ 5 hours spent riding – usually a longer morning ride, with a shorter afternoon excursion.

The reserve has three different fishing dams for trout, black bass and yellow fish. The reserve is totally safe for you to walk or explore on foot. You might also wish to participate on a guided game drive or walk; trout, bass and yellow fishing; bird watching; scenic forest and waterfall walks; or simply relax at the pool, enjoying the magnificent views.

Novice riders are accepted for the riding at Dawson’s Lodge, which will be tailored to your abilities.


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