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South Africa, Entabeni - Big Five 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 five and six are usually at Kingfisher Lodge on the upper escarpment. This thatch and stone lodge is set on the banks of the lake with Entabeni mountain as a backdrop. 
Please note that the exact lodges can change depending on availability, but always with those of a similar standard.


Wildside permanent tented camp


Kingfisher lodge


Hanglip lodge


Fly Camp



 

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.

Riding
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 Safari (8 day circuit)

Preliminary daily program. We reserve the right to use alternative lodges on the reserve should the outlined be fully booked. Should this occur, guests will stay at a lodge of the same standard, or higher. Itinerary may vary due to weather or animal movement

Day One:  You will be met at OR Tambo international Airport, by one of our representatives, to be transferred to Entabeni Game Reserve, which is about a 2.5 hour drive away, heading North to reach the World Heritage Waterberg Biosphere. You will be welcomed by our team, at our “fly camp” set at the nearby farm in an area where buffalo roam abundantly as well as the rare sable antelope which we hope to see on horseback. Lunch is served, and  and you will receive an intro brief on the days to come. After we know a little more about you, and your preferences you will be matched with your horse.  You will depart for your afternoon intro ride, and sundowners on the wood deck, looking over the waterhole. At dinner the staff will welcome you with some traditional singing and a three course meal under the African sky.  Night – Fly camp (Ikhaya Nyati farm)

Day two: Early wake up and breakfast before you set off on a 2.5 hour ride and come back for lunch at camp. You can have a rest and re-set in the wonderful surroundings before your afternoon ride, and drinks around the fire. Dinner and last night at fly camp. Your bags will be packed for the following days move.
Night – Fly camp (Ikhaya Nyati farm)

Day Three: Wake to the sound of the bush coming to life, with hot water boiling on the fire and a bush breakfast ready. You will ride out of the reserve, and into Entabeni reserve, which is the adjacent farm. You will enter big 5 territory, and ride to the permanent tented camp, where you will arrive in time for a short break to settle in, followed by lunch. There is a pool, and spa for your use. Your luggage will be waiting in your rooms, and the horses will have an afternoon off. Your game drive vehicle and guide will be waiting at 15:30 (in winter) 16:00 (in summer) to take you o a 3 hour game drive, with a stop for sundowner drinks. Have your camera ready, to hopefully capture lion or elephants up close!
Night: Wildside tented camp

Day Four: A light breakfast will be served and you have the opportunity of another early morning game drive, followed by breakfast at the lodge. Your bags will be ready for our logistics team to collect. You will be transferred to the horses which will be waiting at the reserve gate,  and you will set off to explore the reserve heading in a different direction and new terrain, with the possibility of encountering different species of animals. You will walk up to the upper escarpment following a trail which was made by women in 1994 and is the steepest man made road in southern Africa. For that reason, you will have to partially lead you horse up (dismount) so please let us know in advance if you require a vehicle to take you up the 600 meter road, which is at a 40 degree slant on the toughest areas. You will have a beautiful lunch set up at the natural rock pools on the way up, to arrive at top section of the reserve, where you will be surprised by the open plains, and such different scenery. Rhinos are abundant here, and heavily protected, creating a sanctuary for them. Arrive at the top of the mountain, where you will spend a night under star gazing tents with views onto the reserve. Camp will be lit up with lanterns and candles to at the camp fire before starters are served and three course dinner served at this small mobile camp. Your bags for one night will be packed to move to the new location the following day.
Night: Viewpoint/stargazing tents

Day Five: Very early wake up, before dawn. Your horses will be ready for a “night ride” to reach a breathtaking spot at the top of the mountain, to watch the sunrise, with coffee and risks in hand. Come back to camp for breakfast taking in the views before you depart to the next lodge, for some pampering and comfort.
Kingfisher is set on the lake, and is the 5* lodge on the upper escarpment of the reserve, where you have a semi private area for your group of riders, overlooking the lake and private dining area. You might see some hippos in the lake where the lodge is set. You may make use of the pool, before your afternoon ride, in search for hippo, giraffe and rhino amongst other such as eland and other abundant game.
Night: Kingfisher lodge

Day Six: early start with tea, coffee and biscuits at the lodge, before your game drive or bush walk. Come back to a wonderful breakfast followed by your half day ride, comig back to the lodge for lunch and some time to relax. In the afternoon, you will set off on your ride covering the other side of the reserve.
Night: Kingfisher lodge

Day Seven: You will have the option of a game drive or bush walk, before breakfast. Your bags will be collected by the team, and you will set off on a long ride doing your 5 hours to the lower part of the reserve again. Ride sandy tracks, with great canter opportunity, to arrive at the lodge, with
views to the mountain you just came down. A colonial feel lodge, with mosquito nets and a spa should you wish to book a massage (extra charge, payable at lodge) afternoon will be spent at leisure or game drive as preferred.
Night: Hanglip lodge or Wildside tented camp

Day Eight: Early morning, after breakfast you will go on your last morning ride, on the lower escarpment of the reserve, 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 2024

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.

Preliminary daily program. We reserve the right to use alternative lodges on the reserve should the outlined be fully booked. Should this occur, guests will stay at a lodge of the same standard, or higher. Itinerary may vary due to weather or animal movement.

Day 1 Welcome song and sundowners on the deck
You will be met at OR Tambo international Airport, by one of our representatives, to be transferred to Entabeni Game Reserve, which is about a 2.5 hour drive away, heading North to reach the World Heritage Waterberg Biosphere. You will be welcomed by the team, at Ikhaya Nyati farm at the fly camp. The area will allow for wonderful sightings of buffalo, as well as giraffe. During your afternoon ride, you will be welcomed by the team, with traditional song and drinks at a lookout deck lit with candles and lanterns before you head back to camp for a three course meal prepared over the fire and gas.
Night: Fly camp

Day 2:
Riding: 4 - 6 hours
Wake to the sound of the bush coming to life and depart on your early morning ride, to Entabeni reserve. On route, you will stop at a beautiful shaded spot, close to the stables for an opulent brunch. You will then continue the ride to Entabeni, and head for a short game drive to Wildside tented camp where you will arrive in time for a game drive and dinner.
Night: Wildside tented camp

Day 3
Riding: 4 - 6 hours
After morning game drive and breakfast, the horses will be waiting for you for your ride through big 5 territory, and ride to the upper escarpment following a trail which was made by woman in 1994 and is the steepest man made road in southern Africa. For that reason, you will have to partially lead you horse up (dismount) so please let us know in advance if you require a vehicle to take you up the 600 meter road, which is at a 40 degree slant on the toughest areas. You will have a beautiful lunch set up at the natural rock pools on the way up, to arrive at top section of the reserve, where you will be surprised by the open plains, and such different scenery. Rhinos are abundant here, and heavily protected, creating a sanctuary for them. Arrive at the top of the mountain, where you will arrive at your fly camp where you will be welcomed by our team at the star gazing tents, or dome tents weather depending. The views onto the plains are spectacular, and you can expect abundance of game right inform of your “doorstep”.
Night: Fly camp

Day 4
Riding: 4 - 6 hours
Early start before sunrise, the horses will be waiting and tea, coffee and risks in your saddle bags. You will ride to the peak of the mountain to view the reserve for the highest point only accessible by horseback. Come back to camp for breakfast and head out to the lodge, arriving in time for lunch. In the afternoon, you have the option of a ride or game drive returning to the beautiful lodge with views to the lake at the lodge where we have organized a private dining area and suites for only our guests.
Night: Kingfisher lodge

Day 5
Riding: 4 - 5 hours
After a game drive this morning, you will have breakfast at the lodge and meet your horses to ride back down the escarpment. To go down, we will not have a support vehicle, but it is not strenuous and worth the “leg stretch”. You will ride through big game territory again, to arrive at the gates of Entabeni from where you will be transferred to Wildside lodge for lunch. In the afternoon, you will have a game drive, after having completed 5 hours on horseback. Back at the lodge for dinner.
Night: Wildside tented camp

Day 6
Riding: 2 - 3 hours
After breakfast and game drive (possible in summer months) you will be picked up by a team member and transferred to the stables. You will have your last morning ride, with the option of trying a new horse on some nice sandy tracks. Back at the lodge for showers and airport transfer. Flights should leave 18:00 or later.
 

Program - Five night safari 2023

This ride has a fixed departure date, on which one night is spent at Wildside tented camp, on the lower escarpment where you have the afternoon to settle in or an introride with opportunity to see buffalo or rest and go on game drive for a lighter introduction to the bush. On the following day the horses and riders depart to the top section of the reserve, where the following nights will be spent at a lodge on the
upper escarpment, with fabulous game sightings, including rhino, but not elephant, lion, or buffalo.

Day 1: You will be met at OR Tambo international Airport, by one of our representatives, to be transferred to Entabeni Game Reserve, which is about a 2.5 hour drive away, heading North to reach the World Heritage Waterberg Biosphere. You will be welcomed by our team, at wildside tented camp for lunch and an intro ride in buffalo area, or you may opt for a game drive instead
Night: Wildside tented camp

Day 2: Wake to the sound of the bush coming to life and depart on your early morning game drive with hopes of seeing elephant or lion, so keep your cameras at hand. After breakfast, you will ride through big 5 territory, and ride to the upper escarpment following a trail which was made by woman in 1994 and is the steepest man made road in southern Africa. For that reason, you will have to partially lead you horse up (dismount) so please let us know in advance if you require a vehicle to take you up the 600 meter road, which is at a 40 degree slant on the toughest areas. You will have a beautiful lunch set up at the
natural rock pools on the way up, to arrive at top section of the reserve, where you will be surprised by the open plains, and such different scenery. Rhinos are abundant here, and heavily protected, creating a sanctuary for them. Arrive at the top of the mountain, where you will arrive at your lodge, to settle in and if youre up to it go for a bush walk or game drive.
Night: Lakeside lodge

Day 3: After morning game drive, the horses will be waiting for you to go on a 2.5 hour ride in search of maybe giraffe of hippo. Come back for lunch, to the comfort of the lodge and depart on your afternoon ride again later on in the day. Return in time for dinner.
Night: Lakeside lodge

Day 4: Morning bush walk, where your guide will interpret tracks and signs An opulent breakfast, and you will be ready to mount you horses, to access the top of the mountain, with your packed lunch, to enjoy with spectacular views. Weather permitting, on the way back to the lodge, you can swim with your horses to cool them off for the climb (summer) before you return to the lodge for a shower or maybe massage. Afternoon game drive, and dinner.
Night: Lakeside lodge

Day 5: You will have your morning game drive and mount your horses after breakfast for your 2.5 hour ride. Come back to the lodge for lunch and rest before you ride out again to explore a different part of the reserve. Return to the lodge for sundowners, and dinner at the lodge.
Night: Lakeside lodge

Day 6: This morning you will head out after breakfast which will be served earlier than usual. Your bags will be transferred to lower escarpment, and you will ride down the mounting, into big 5 terrain. You will take your horses back home, and be transferred to the clubhouse, or lodge at the golf resort, for showers before departure. Your transfer will collect you according to flight departure, and pickup is usually around 13:30 or 14:00. Lunch will be at your own accord but we can give you recommendations and make arrangements for you on site.

Climate

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

Travel:
Flight: To Johannesburg
Transfer: Book and pay in advance to HorseXplore, EUR 280/person return.
Meetingtime: latest arrival time to Johannesburg airport is 11am and earliest departure time is 6:30pm.

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. 

Group size: 2-8 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 EUR/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
10/03/20246South Africa, Entabeni - Fivenights SafariEUR 2,640Book on request
16/03/20248South Africa, Entabeni - Big five SafariEUR 3,520Book on request
24/03/20246South Africa, Entabeni - Fivenights SafariEUR 2,640Book on request
06/04/20248South Africa, Entabeni - Big five SafariEUR 3,520Book on request
14/04/20246South Africa, Entabeni - Fivenights SafariEUR 2,640Book on request
20/04/20248South Africa, Entabeni - Big five SafariEUR 3,520Book on request
28/04/20246South Africa, Entabeni - Fivenights SafariEUR 2,640Book on request
04/05/20248South Africa, Entabeni - Big five SafariEUR 3,520Book on request
12/05/20246South Africa, Entabeni - Fivenights SafariEUR 2,640Book on request
18/05/20248South Africa, Entabeni - Big five SafariEUR 3,520Book on request
26/05/20246South Africa, Entabeni - Fivenights SafariEUR 2,640Book on request
01/06/20248South Africa, Entabeni - Big five SafariEUR 3,520Book on request
09/06/20246South Africa, Entabeni - Fivenights SafariEUR 2,640Book on request
15/06/20248South Africa, Entabeni - Big five SafariEUR 3,520Book on request
23/06/20246South Africa, Entabeni - Fivenights SafariEUR 2,640Book on request
06/07/20248South Africa, Entabeni - Big five SafariEUR 3,520Book on request
14/07/20246South Africa, Entabeni - Fivenights SafariEUR 2,640Book on request
20/07/20248South Africa, Entabeni - Big five SafariEUR 3,520Book on request
28/07/20246South Africa, Entabeni - Fivenights SafariEUR 2,640Book on request
03/08/20248South Africa, Entabeni - Big five SafariEUR 3,520Book on request
11/08/20246South Africa, Entabeni - Fivenights SafariEUR 2,640Book on request
17/08/20248South Africa, Entabeni - Big five SafariEUR 3,520Book on request
25/08/20246South Africa, Entabeni - Fivenights SafariEUR 2,640Book on request
07/09/20248South Africa, Entabeni - Big five SafariEUR 3,520Book on request
15/09/20246South Africa, Entabeni - Fivenights SafariEUR 2,640Book on request
21/09/20248South Africa, Entabeni - Big five SafariEUR 3,520Book on request
28/09/20246South Africa, Entabeni - Fivenights SafariEUR 2,640Book on request
05/10/20248South Africa, Entabeni - Big five SafariEUR 3,520Book on request
13/10/20246South Africa, Entabeni - Fivenights SafariEUR 2,640Book on request
19/10/20248South Africa, Entabeni - Big five SafariEUR 3,520Book on request
27/10/20246South Africa, Entabeni - Fivenights SafariEUR 2,640Book on request
02/11/20248South Africa, Entabeni - Big five SafariEUR 3,520Book on request
10/11/20246South Africa, Entabeni - Fivenights SafariEUR 2,640Book on request
16/11/20248South Africa, Entabeni - Big five SafariEUR 3,520Book on request
24/11/20246South Africa, Entabeni - Fivenights SafariEUR 2,640Book on request
07/12/20248South Africa, Entabeni - Big five SafariEUR 3,520Book on request
15/12/20246South Africa, Entabeni - Fivenights SafariEUR 2,640Book on request

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