Horse and Hippo Safari - an incredible 11-night adventure

Ride Zimbabwe-James Varden Safaris • 30 November 2019

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Ride Zimbabwe - James Varden Safaris are now offering a wonderfully adventurous travel experience -  an11-night Horse and Hippo Safari.  

This offers a combination of guided horse-riding, game-viewing, canoeing the Zambezi River, and walking in the wild, and is focused on Hwange and Mana Pools National Parks as well as the magnificent Natural Wonder of the Victoria Falls

The Horse and Hippo Safaris operate on set dates during the months of April through to October in 2020. A sample itinerary includes the following:

Nights 1-7  in Hwange National Park

Guests are transferred by road from Victoria Falls to Hwange Main Camp where they are met by Ride Zimbabwe and driven to the riding camp in the Park.  Here they are matched with a suitable horse and tack, and, are given a short introductory ride.   The following days involve flexible morning and afternoon rides exploring, tracking and game-viewing on horseback among the pans and woodlands of the National Park.  Hwange is Zimbabwe's largest protected area, and being sandy and flat, it provides excellent horse-riding conditions and exciting opportunities to track and view wild animals on horseback through varied terrains.  Professional guiding is of the highest standard.

Accommodation for the first 5 nights is in a comfortable mobile tented camp with hot showers, cold drinks and all meals provided.   

The final two nights are spent in the luxury of African Bush Camps' Somalisa Expeditions Tented Camp.

Here the horses (and riders) are given a much-needed rest and there are opportunities for guests to explore the National Park by vehicle. 

Nights 8 - 10 in Mana Pools National Park

Guests are flown to Mana Pools by air charter and are transferred by game-viewing vehicle to the comfortable mobile tented Camp Zambezi on the banks of the Zambezi River.

Mana Pools is a wildlife and birding paradise. The next few days will be spent exploring the area's riverine woodlands and encountering its prolific wildlife by vehicle or on foot in the company of a highly qualified professional guide, or taking to the Zambezi River in a canoe and enjoying the spectacular scenery as you float gently downstream. 

Hot showers, delicious meals and a comfortable bed await, and guests are lulled to sleep by the night sounds of the bush.

Night 11 in Victoria Falls

A morning game drive takes guests to the Mana Pools airstrip for the air charter flight to Victoria Falls, where accommodation is provided at the comfortable, family-run Bayete Guest Lodge.  Here there is the opportunity to undertake various activities (at additional cost).  Visit the Victoria Falls, walk through its Rain Forest, take a helicopter flight over the Falls, or enjoy a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River.  

The next day, guests are provided with a road transfer from Bayete Guest Lodge to the Victoria Falls International airport for their final departure.


  • All accommodations - mobile tented camp in Hwange, Somalisa Expeditions, Camp Zambezi in Mana Pools, Bayete Lodge in Victoria Falls 
  • Safari activities riding – walking – game driving – canoeing (dependent on number of guests on the ride). If group is less than 4 pax, guests may join a Somalisa vehicle for game drives, for 5 or more guests we will have our own private vehicle       
  • Road transfer from Victoria Falls Airport to Hwange Main Camp on arrival
  • Air charter from Hwange to Mana Pools and from Mana Pools to Victoria Falls
  • Return road transfer from VFA to Bayete Lodge in Victoria Falls on day 11 and day 12 
  • Fabulous safari meals and ice-cold soft drinks and water. Alcoholic beverages including Beers, South African Wine, Whiskey, Gin and tonics, Vodka and a variety of sodas
  • Services of professional guide for the duration.



  • Parks fees, camping fees, conservation fees 
  • Gratuities to staff 
  • Items of a personal nature 
  • As these are remote locations with no access to shops, please ensure you bring everything you need particularly medications.


  • Maximum 8 guests, minimum 2 (or pay for 2) 
  • Single supplement will apply if not willing to share. 
  • Minimum age 14. Please inquire for family/younger rider options. 
  • Each riding safari is led by Professional Guide James Varden and supported by a Learner Guide/Back up Rider/guide. In Mana there will also be a professional guide. 
  • First Aid Kit and Satellite Phone carried at all times.
  • As we are riding in a big game area, we only accept experienced riders that are comfortable at all paces and also riding fit. Please see the booking form conditions for more information. 
  • Accommodation on this safari includes 5 nights “in the Hwange bush” at semi-mobile camps, 2 nights at the permanent and luxurious award-winning Somalisa Expeditions Camp, 3 nights at bush camp Camp Zambezi in Mana Pools and ending with 1 night at Bayete Lodge in Victoria Falls 
  • Hwange and Mana Pools are protected National Park areas and therefore the bush camps where we stay here have no electricity, no plumbing, and no permanent structures. We are also limited with transport options and thus must reduce the amount of kit we carry, therefore please note that, guests will use shared long drop toilets and hot bucket showers. 
  • Hwange National Park is also home to a healthy lion population. Security is provided by a working electric fence surrounding the encampment at night. 
  • Our experienced bush savvy well cared for and loved safari horses make the perfect companions for your Zimbabwean Adventure. Ranging in height from 15hh-16.1hh comprising of Boerpeds, Shire X, Friesian X and Thoroughbreds, we have the perfect steed for your dream safari. 
  • Tack is of an excellent quality to ensure our clients utmost comfort and include Leon Liversage Trail Master Saddles handmade in South Africa, Australian Stock Saddles, Wintec English Saddles and most horses are ridden in a Snaffle bit. 
  • Water bottle pouches and built in saddle bags on our numnahs provide ample space to carry day kit.
  • Average riding time per day is 6 hours. 
  • Weight limit is 90kgs. Please ask about other options for heavier but experienced riders. 
  • While we have a small collection of half chaps and hard helmets, it is preferable that you please bring your own well-fitting hard hat and riding gear. 
  • All guests will be required to sign the indemnity form and must have travel insurance. 
  • Please bring sufficient batteries and mobile charging equipment for your cameras for the 5 day mobile component as there will be no access to mains electricity during this time. 
  • Please note we have no control over National Parks fees, camping fees and transfers and as such rates for parks fees, camping fees, air charters and transfers are subject to change.

For more information and bookings, contact Ride Zimbabwe/James Varden Safaris

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