The next day we were up early. Breakfast was delivered to our lodge which was lovely. After breakfast, I got ready for my first horseback safari. When we arrived at the main lodge, the horses were tacked-up ready. The horses roam free across the reserve and are caught early in the mornings, ready for our excursions. My horse was a dark-coloured gelding who was an easy ride, to assess my riding ability.
Before we arrived, we had to fill in forms which stated our abilities. Based on that, we were split into two groups: beginners and more advanced. I was in the more advanced group. The main difference is that in the more advanced group, we have opportunities to canter, whereas the beginner group focus on walk and trot gaits. The groups were small, around five per group, accompanied by two guides. One guide took the lead, the other held up the rear.
A sable antelope enjoying a salt-lick
Having a canter!
A family of warthogs!
We set off into the bush. The heat shone down on us relentlessly. Riding gear is not the best thing to wear in the blistering heat! Jodhpurs, riding boots and chaps are quite warm items of clothing so I was boiling hot. But, it's quite easy to forget about the heat when riding round the savannahs and cantering can be quite breezy.
We saw many animals from sable antelopes to warthogs, gazelle to zebras. Oh, and we also saw plenty of horses. There really were a lot of horses on the reserve.
My favourite thing about the safari was the canters. Every so often, the lead guide would turn to us and ask us if we were ready to canter. Then, he would set off and the rest of the horses would race after him. We'd canter for what felt like ages at a time. I'd never cantered in the open like this before and it was an incredible feeling.