Destination: The Masai Mara National Reserve, the largest reserve in southwest Kenya. The reserve is famous for its Great Migration from the Serengeti in Tanzania to the Mara from July to October. Migrating wildlife includes big cats, zebras, Thomson’s gazelle, eland, and wildebeests. Year-round residents include elephant, impala, African buffalo, Grant’s gazelle, giraffe, topi, warthog, and waterbuck.
Riding-tour operator: Offbeat Safaris, which offers a specialized riding program for equestrians who want a unique African safari experience.
Accommodations: Home base is Deloraine Estate, the home of Offbeat Safaris founders, Tristan and Cindy Voorspuy. It’s located on the western edge of the Great Rift Valley on the lower slopes of Mount Londiani. Built by Lord Francis Scott in 1920 and set in 3,500 acres of farm, it’s a fine example of Kenya’s colonial architecture, reflecting the elegant lifestyle of a bygone era.
Hosts: The Voorspuys. Tristan has led safaris in Africa since the early 1980s; his knowledge and experience of Africa and its wildlife have led to him being chosen as one Kenya’s honorary Game Wardens. He has a deep understanding of the interaction between wildlife and man on horseback.
Cindy is one of Africa’s top ranked women polo players. There isn’t much she doesn’t know about rearing, stabling, managing, and riding horses in Kenya. At Deloraine, she looks after more than 80 horses, preparing them for Offbeat’s mobile riding safaris.
What to expect: Safaris comprise between 2 and 12 travelers with one or two guides and a full complement of staff to support the whole operation. A team of expert guides will take you through the bush. Daily rides range from 20 to 35 miles and cover a wide range of terrain. You’ll get extremely close to big game, and experience the natural reactions between wildlife and horse.
Top ride: Offbeat Safaris’ 11-day Masai Mara ride, which starts at Siana Spings, then progresses through the Mara, stopping at seasonal camps at night. For an itinerary, click here.
Click here for a video introduction to Offbeat Safaris’ horseback rides through the Masai Mara National Reserve.