Imagine riding across the vast Masai Mara plains on horseback, the wind in your hair, and the wild animals nearby, this is what it means to enjoy the wild part of your safari in Masai Mara. Located in the south-western part of Kenya, Masai Mara is one of the only National Parks that offers horse riding in the country and it is an experience that every tourist should try out. There are two sessions offered for horse riding in Masai Mara with the first one starting as early as 7:00 am and the second one in the late afternoon hours when the sun is not overhead. If you are to ride very early in the morning, you will need to be ready an hour early before the start of the ride.
What you need to know about horse riding in Masai mara
Horseback safaris in the Masai Mara give you a natural feel of the African wild side, especially during the wildebeest migration. Besides the experienced tour guides, Masai warriors will also be around to help you on your horseback safari.
The length of the ride can also depend on how well you ride the horses, for example, most beginners or those with basic skills might ride for shorter distances whereas those with enough experience can ride for a maximum of two hours. There is also a criterion followed when choosing horses for riders which is the horses’ comfort with the rider is put into consideration.
The horses that are used in horseback riding in Masai Mara are well-groomed and trained and they are checked every morning before a ride and every evening after a ride. Horse riding is technically not done within the vicinity of the Game Reserve and can only be carried out in the surrounding areas of the Masai Mara plains for example in the conservancies. And even though the riding is not done inside the Game Reserve, you will get to see plenty of what Masai Mara has to offer like the animals, birds, and plants just to mention a few.
Cost of horseback riding in Masai Mara
Horseback riding in Masai Mara goes for $200 per person and the ride is done for strictly two hours. The fee that is paid will include an experienced tour guide and breakfast. You will also be provided with protective gear so that you are safe from injuries just in case you get a tumble off your horse. The fee can easily change and it is better if you first find out the fee that is to be paid around the time of your planned safari.
Other activities carried out in Masai Mara
Masai Mara is a large game Reserve that allows for all visitors to engage in different activities. Some of the other activities besides horseback riding include the following.
- Game drives are best done during the dry season (July to October) and the animals that you get to see while on your game drives include lions, giraffes, leopards, hippos, zebras, rhinos, hyenas, elephants and is crocodiles among others.
- Birding is best done during the green season, some of the bird species that you get to see while in Masai Mara include the Great Egret, Egyptian Vulture, Kori Bustard, Usambiro barbet, Long-tailed cormorant, Rosy throated shrike, grey Heron, secretary bird, Marabou stork, African fish Eagle, Hadeda Ibis, Little Bittern, Rufous-billed Heron, Sacred Ibis, Hamerkop and yellow-billed stork among others.
- Nature walks, and nature walks in the Masai are done with an experienced tour guide and two armed rangers. The nature walks will take you through the Masai Mara landscapes, past the wildlife, and will lead you to the Masai villages that are found outside the Game Reserve.
Rules to follow while horseback riding
Just like any other activity, horseback riding has a set of rules that tourists must follow. These rules are for the safety of the animals and the rider and these have listed below.
- You must be 12 years and above to participate in the horse rides
- Riders must weigh either 100kgs or less but not more
- You are not allowed to feed the horses
- Do not let go of the reigns while riding
- Follow the Masai warriors and tour guides while riding.
How book for your horse ride experience in Masai Mara
Before you book your horseback ride in Masai Mara, you need to fort basic riding skills for you to participate in horseback riding. Booking for the horse ride should be done in advance that is the dates and time and after everything has been approved, we also need to know your accommodation to see whether you will need a pick up from your lodge to the stables.
When can I go for horseback rides in Masai Mara?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions and the answer is during the dry season. The months from July to October are the best for these rides because the roads will be routes will be accessible and not muddy or slippery. You can also go for horse rides in January and February during the dry spell that is experienced in between the wet season.
Where else can I go for a horseback safari in Kenya?
Few places in the country offer horse ride safaris and these include
- The Chyulu hills
Located within the Amboseli and nest to the Tsavo Park, the Chyulu Hills is one of the few places where horseback riding is offered in Kenya. As you ride along the unmarked roads within the hills, you will see the outcrop of the Kilimanjaro, lions, elephants, and Black Rhinos, and you also will get to explore the plains surrounding the hills.
- Laikipia plateau
The Laikipia plateau which is found in the Great Rift Valley is another place where you can enjoy horse riding in Kenya. There are conservancies and farmlands from where you can enjoy horse riding while on the plateau. Some of the animals that you will see while horse riding in Laikipia include wild dogs, zebras, chimpanzees, and rhinos among the many.