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South Africa, Entabeni - Big Five Luxury Safari

Entabeni Safari Conservancy “The Place of the Mountain”, is situated in the World Heritage  “Waterberg Biosphere” of the Waterberg region. Approximately a three hour drive north of Johannesburg, this 22 000 ha malaria-free reserve boasts five eco-systems. The upper escarpment offers majestic craggy rock formations and wide-open grass plains. This is separated from the lower plateau by 600m high cliffs.

The lower escarpment is approximately three degrees warmer and comprises sandveld vegetation and a series of wetlands. Within this spectacular landscape all of the Big Five reside, along with plentiful plains game too. Riding safaris take place on both the upper and lower escarpments so you get to experience not only the stunning ecosystems, but also search for a high number of animals.
Your guides are experienced, fully qualified and will teach you the signs to look for as you track the game, as well as introducing you to exhilarating riding across the plains.

The usual riding safari itinerary includes staying in a lodge on the lower escarpment before moving to a fly camp in the bush for an authentic African adventure. Finally finishing in a different lodge. 

This will be an unforgettable adventure that will stay in your memory forever.

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Accommodation & Food

All meals are included. Breakfast is usually light and on the days with early starts you may just want tea/coffee and fruit. Lunch, or sometimes brunch, is late morning/midday and will include fresh salads and light options. There is usually high tea with cake/biscuits before the afternoon ride. Dinner is then a larger meal after sunset and will include meals cooked over an open fire when in camp.
Special diets can be accommodated with advance notice.

All drinks are included when staying at fly camp, but whilst at the lodges, your bar bills are to your own account.

Your first night is usually at Wildside Safari camp on the lower escarpment. There are 20 tented chalets which are en-suite and offer a comfortable African experience. There is an open lounge/bar area with a roaring fire. Nights two to five are usually more rustic, with a night spent in a rondavel, two nights spent at fly camp, with large, comfortable tents which you can stand up in and have proper beds and bedding, and a fourth night at a simple camp under a mosquito net.
Nights six and seven are usually at Lakeside Lodge on the upper escarpment. This thatch and stone lodge is set on the banks of the lake with Entabeni mountain as a backdrop. There are 24 double/twin rooms linked by thatched walkways and open sundecks where you can watch the game.
Please note that the exact lodges can change depending on availability, but always with those of a similar standard.

On the Five Night Safari, you stay the first night at the lodge and the following nights in fly camps (see program).


Horses & Riding

Tack: English, but there are a couple of trail saddles if you prefer. All horses respond to neck-reining as well as conventional riding.

Horses: Boerperd, Boerperd cross, Arab cross, Thoroughbred cross and Nooitgedacht cross. The horses are all well adapted to the environment and used to the game. Whilst they are independent they are also keen to stay as a herd in game situations. The resident herd are all special characters and love their job, so all guests can focus on the game viewing and magnificent surroundings rather than worrying about their horse. Each horse is schooled regularly as well as going on safari so that they are responsive and do not get bored.

There are 2 itineraries:
Entabeni Big Five Luxury is a trail ride
Five Night Safari is a trail ride
Ages: 12 years or over. Children MUST be competent riders.
Health: General good health, plus fit enough to lead your horse on occasions.
Weight: 95 kg / 210 lbs / 15 stone

Program - Entabeni Big Five Luxury Safari (8 day circuit)

Day 1Arrival and Game Drive
Riding: No riding.
You will be met at OR Tambo international Airport and transferred to Entabeni Game Reserve, which is about a 2.5 hour drive away. On arrival you will be welcomed by the team at Wildside Tented Camp with a drink before you freshen up. During lunch you'll receive an introductory brief on the days to come including your horse preferences so that you can be allocated a horse you'll enjoy. Tonight you will enjoy an afternoon game drive to make the most of the photographic opportunities from the vehicle and recover from your long journey. Hopefully you will catch the photogenic pride of lions on camera. After a couple of hours you will be welcomed back into camp for your three-course dinner and first night in the comfortable spacious permanent tented camp, with opportunity to charge your electronics before you set off into the bush the following day with the horses.
Overnight at Wildside.
Night: Wildside

Day 2 – Moving day – Ride and walk -Lower Escarpment to upper escarpment with brunch on route
Breakfast will be served at 9:00 and you will be transferred to the horses to start
your ride on the lower escarpment, through big game territory.
After about an hour and a half in the saddle, you will reach Waterberry picnic
spot for brunch at appx. 11:00 before you start your climb up the escarpment.
There will be a support vehicle with ranger accompanying the ride up the
escarpment, so if the walking becomes tiring, you are welcome to jump into the
vehicle! The ride continues after a short rest, to climb the escarpment which is
separated from the lower escarpment by 600m high cliffs, where you will partly
leading your horse over one of the steepest roads on South Africa, which has a
gradient of 40 Degrees at some points. As you reach the top, you will have some
time to refresh yourself in the natural rock pool with spectacular views and
crystal clear water. The ride continues onto the plains – an idyllic scene
hopefully spotted with game. You will reach fly camp at Boukenhout at about
3:00pm in time for high tea and settling into the place you will call home for the
next 4 nights. Dinner will be served around the glistering fire, at 7:00pm
Night: Boukenhout Fly Camp

Day 3 – Full day ride with packed lunch
Starting after breakfast, you will have lunch packed in your saddle bag. The ride
will take you along flat rock valley, until you reach a waterfall (flowing in
summer only) or alternatively heading towards yellow wood rim and the
viewpoint with spectacular views of the lower escarpment. You will stop for
lunch and a well deserved rest. Back at fly camp in time for a snack before dinner
is served. You can relax in the hammocks or chill out area at fly camp enjoying a
drink watching the sun set. A great end to a long day in the saddle!
Night : Fly camp

Day 4 – Kgamakutla point Sundowner and romantic dinner in the riverbed
Later start after a light breakfast, to ride long east long west where your guide
will point out animals tracks and signs along the way, in hopes of finding some of
Africa’s giants.
You will arrive back in camp after a two hour ride, for brunch – followed by some
time to take a plunge in the river, laze in a shady spot on a picnic blanket or
hammock… At 3:00pm high tea will be ready, before you mount for your
afternoon ride which will take you to a magnificent spot on the pleins for some
elaborate sundowners – just like a scene from Out of Africa. You will arrive back
into camp for a beautifully set table and fire in the riverbed, listening to the
sounds of the bush come to life with a wonderful South African wine to set the
Night: Fly camp

Day 5 – Plains ride and Sleep-out under the stars
Early breakfast, and on your horse for departure. You will ride west on sandy
tracks with some opportunity to pick up speed. We head towards Ingwe valley,
with some chances of spotting some more illusive animals in the thicker
vegetation and past a lake with some chance of seeing hippos. The ride continues
onto the wide open grass plains and back to camp for lunch. After Lunch, bags will be packed, for one night in the bush under the open skies (weather permitting) the ride will set out for another 2 and a half hours, as the day gets cooler to varying the trail to experience different scenery, including a memorial spot in monument valley, and up to high ground with spectacular views. Walking can be expected where terrain gets tough. On arrival at the viewpoint, camp site will be lit, fire ready for a romantic dinner and drinks, and a basic wash up area, with hand towels and toiletries ready for your night under the stars. The views and sunrise are spectacular! After breakfast the following morning, you will ride to
the lodge from our sleep out point.
Night: Sleep out OR fly camp (weather depending)

Day 6 – Moving day to Lakeside Lodge
After full breakfast at Lakeside at 9:00 upon arrival from the sleep out point,
you will have time to settle in and rest in the comfort of the lodge. In the
afternoon, you will ride to an idyllic spot with a natural plunge pool and deck
with another awe-inspiring view where you can stop for a snack. The ride
continues as it gets cooler across open grassland. You will arrive at your lodge
before sunset. Drinks and a three course dinner at the lodge awaits you.
Night: Lakeside Lodge

Day 7 – Outer Rim scenic ride
An early start after a light breakfast, just in time to catch the stunning morning
views and crisp air from the outer rim, overlooking the views of the lower
plateau. The ride will take you into a different scenery, riding some rocky ledges,
and taking a swim in the dam with the horses, as it gets warmer. You will return
to the lodge after a two hour ride for brunch – You will have some time to relax
at the lodge and maybe make use of some well deserved spa time (at extra
charge). You afternoon ride will leave the lodge at 3:30 pm appx to ride for
another few hours to Hanglip viewpoint with good chances of seeing abundant
game on the open areas and Ungululu. You will stop at the viewpoint, for some
stunning pictures with your horse, and back to the lodge along Tswene.
On return to the lodge, your bags will be packed for the following days move to
the lower escarpment. Dinner will be served at the lodge.
Night: Lakeside Lodge

Day 8 – Last ride and departure
Early morning, after a light snack and tea or coffee you will go on your last morning ride,
on the upper escarpment of the reserve, or moving down to the lower escarpment,
depending on animal movement, weather or flight times.
You might be able to squeeze in a game drive early enough before your ride.
Your bags will be packed in the morning and transferred by our logistics team.
Our driver will be ready to transfer you to the airport for your flight

Program - Five Night Safari

A short break safari under canvas in the Entabeni Safari Conservancy. This programme is available on request and confirms for two or more riders, so it's ideal for those who can't make the longer fixed departures or who have less time to spare. Entabeni is full of fantastic wildlife and this is a true safari experience with varied riding terrain, plenty of game-viewing and spectacular scenery.

Day 1 Riding: No riding.
Arrival to Johannesburg airport before 11:00 with transfer to Wildside Safari Camp for a late lunch. This afternoon there is an introductory game drive after you settle in, your first chance to see some of the Big 5 up close. After getting to know your riding preferences a horse will be selected to suit you ready for your ride the next morning. As the sun sets it's time for dinner and overnight at Wildside camp.

Day 2:
Riding: 4 - 6 hours
Today there is an early morning game drive for those who'd like it, followed by breakfast at 09:00 and transfer in the game vehicle to the horses to start your ride. This is big game territory and you can ride off the beaten track where vehicles cannot access. Stop for lunch under a shady tree where you may spot wildlife walking past. Continue riding until you reach fly camp at about 15:00 in time for high tea and a chance to settle in before dinner is served around the fire at 19:00. Overnight Fly Camp.

Day 3
Riding: 4 - 6 hours
Today is a full day ride with a packed lunch. Starting after breakfast you will saddle up with lunch in your saddle bag. The ride today will take you through dense areas and up jagged rock formations towards a viewpoint with wonderful views over the lower escarpment. You will stop here for lunch and a well-deserved rest. Ride back to your fly camp, hopefully spotting some giraffe on the plains as the sun starts to drop, and arrive in time for a snack before dinner is served, relaxing in the hammocks or chilling out with a drink watching the sun set. Dinner and overnight in the fly camp.

Day 4
Riding: 4 - 6 hours
Today you have a later start and a light breakfast to energise you for your climb up the escarpment - you will partly lead your horse over one of the steepest roads in South Africa which has a gradient of 40 degrees at some point. A support vehicle with ranger accompanies the ride so if walking becomes tiring you are welcome to jump into the jeep.
Stop for lunch in a shady spot, and upon reaching the top you will emerge onto the plains, an idyllic scene hopefully dotted with game. Continue climbing to a spot with fantastic views of the entire reserve where vehicles cannot access. Here you can watch the sun set whilst dinner is prepared over the fire. Overnight in beds under mosquito nights and the stars.

Day 5
Riding: 3 - 5 hours
After breakfast you start your descent back down the escarpment, having taken in the sunrise across the plains full of game. Stop for a snack and continue through big game country to reach Wildside again in time for a late lunch and some pool time. You can also book a massage if you wish or go for another exciting game drive (time permitting).

Day 6
Riding: 2 - 3 hours
After a full breakfast you have time for a final ride before saying farewell to the horses, and jumping in your shuttle to the airport. Flights should leave 18:00 or later.

Accommodation  First and last night is spent at Wildside Safari Camp and the other 3 nights are spent in mobile fly camps along the trail route.


Moderate climate with summer rainfall (Malaria Free). Days tend to be hot in
summer, cooling down in the evenings. Summertime permits swimming as there
is abundant water during this time. Rides take place earlier in the mornings to
escape the heat of the day, and depart later in the afternoon for the same reason.
In winter nights are chilly and moderate during the daytime reaching
temperatures in the 20’s. Rides start later in the morning as the day warms up,
and will also leave earlier in the afternoon as the temperatures will permit this.

Travel Information

Ability description: Trail Ride Level 3 >>

Included in the price: 7/5 nights shared accommodation, riding on 7/5 days, game drives, all meals, snacks, tea and coffee, all drinks at fly camp, Accommodation and riding according to program. Full board incl. wine/beer, soft drinks at base camp.

Not included: Flights, airport transfers, drinks at Lodges, massages, gratuities, insurance

Flight: To Johannesburg
Transfer: Book and pay in advance to HorseXplore, EUR 245/person return.
Meetingtime: latest arrival time to Johannesburg airport is 11am and earliest departure time is 6:00pm.

Single Tent Supplement:  Can be booked with a supplement. For price click on ”Book on request” under Dates & prices. Single tent supplement will be added if there is no one to share with. But if it is not fully booked, you can get a single tent at no extra cost if there is an odd number.

Group size: 2-7 riders.

Age limit: 12 years old, need to be a very experienced rider.

Malaria: No malaria.

Currency: South African Rand, ZAR. 

Credit card: All credit cards except of AMEX are accepted at the lodges.

Tipping: Not required but appreciated, normally around 10-15EUR/person&/day.

Wifi: Yes at lodges.

Electricity jack: 220V, bring your own adapter. No electricity at fly camps.

Beach: No

Pool: At the lodges.

Special diet: Inform when booking.

Misc.: You need to bring your own helmet etc.
Saddle bag available: Yes

Dates and prices

DateDaysName of tripPrice from
04/06/20228South Africa, Entabeni - Big Five lyxSafariEUR 2,750Book on request
12/06/20226South Africa, Entabeni - Fivenights SafariEUR 1,900Book on request
18/06/20228South Africa, Entabeni - Big Five lyxSafariEUR 2,750Book on request
26/06/20226South Africa, Entabeni - Fivenights SafariEUR 1,900Book on request
02/07/20228South Africa, Entabeni - Big Five lyxSafariEUR 2,750Book on request
10/07/20226South Africa, Entabeni - Fivenights SafariEUR 1,900Book on request
16/07/20228South Africa, Entabeni - Big Five lyxSafariEUR 2,750Book on request
24/07/20226South Africa, Entabeni - Fivenights SafariEUR 1,900Book on request
06/08/20228South Africa, Entabeni - Big Five lyxSafariEUR 2,750Book on request
14/08/20226South Africa, Entabeni - Fivenights SafariEUR 1,900Book on request
20/08/20228South Africa, Entabeni - Big Five lyxSafariEUR 2,750Book on request
28/08/20226South Africa, Entabeni - Fivenights SafariEUR 1,900Book on request
03/09/20228South Africa, Entabeni - Big Five lyxSafariEUR 2,750Book on request
11/09/20226South Africa, Entabeni - Fivenights SafariEUR 1,900Book on request
17/09/20228South Africa, Entabeni - Big Five lyxSafariEUR 2,750Book on request
25/09/20226South Africa, Entabeni - Fivenights SafariEUR 1,900Book on request
01/10/20228South Africa, Entabeni - Big Five lyxSafariEUR 2,750Book on request
09/10/20226South Africa, Entabeni - Fivenights SafariEUR 1,900Book on request
15/10/20228South Africa, Entabeni - Big Five lyxSafariEUR 2,750Book on request
23/10/20226South Africa, Entabeni - Fivenights SafariEUR 1,900Book on request
05/11/20228South Africa, Entabeni - Big Five lyxSafari
Group travel with Viveca
EUR 2,750Book on request
13/11/20226South Africa, Entabeni - Fivenights SafariEUR 1,900Book on request
19/11/20228South Africa, Entabeni - Big Five lyxSafariEUR 2,750Book on request
27/11/20226South Africa, Entabeni - Fivenights SafariEUR 1,900Book on request
03/12/20228South Africa, Entabeni - Big Five lyxSafariEUR 2,750Book on request
11/12/20226South Africa, Entabeni - Fivenights SafariEUR 1,900Book on request
20/12/20228South Africa, Entabeni - Big Five lyxSafariEUR 2,750Book on request
28/12/20226South Africa, Entabeni - Fivenights SafariEUR 1,900Book on request
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