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07 February 2020

Top tips on what to pack for a horseback riding safari

Here we give our top tips and advice on what to pack for a horse-riding adventure to Africa:

1. Riding hat

If you’re just doing one or two rides, the property should provide a helmet for you – please check first with your safari specialist. However, if you’re going on a riding-focused trip (e.g. with Offbeat Riding Safaris) then we'd advise taking your own. There are quite a few places in Africa where it isn’t compulsory to wear a helmet. That said, we would always recommend wearing one. No matter how competent a rider you are, if your horse puts its hoof down a hole the chances are you will come off and you could be seriously injured. It really is far better to be safe than sorry!

You can get wide brims to put around your hat to keep the sun off your face – one we would suggest is the DaBrim Equestrian Endurance Riding Helmet Visor. It stays on even during the faster canters.

2. Sunglasses

This seems obvious! And you should definitely invest in a decent pair! If you’re constantly taking your sunglasses off and putting them back on under your helmet, a cheap pair will end up bending or even breaking.

3. Gloves

We know wearing gloves is usually down to personal preference, but if you’ll be riding for up to 6 hours in a day they will be necessary to avoid blisters and sunburn.

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4. Boots and half chaps

Luggage weight is normally limited to 15kg in soft-sided bags, so it’s best to leave your nice long boots at home and bring short boots with half chaps. We recommend bringing suede half chaps rather than leather half chaps, we found it dried quickly and was far more breathable than leather.

5. Suncream & lip balm

When you’re out riding, you can’t hide from the sun as you can in a vehicle. Bearing in mind you might be spending up to 6 hours daily in the saddle, having a small bottle of suncream in your saddle bag is great for regularly reapplying protection throughout the ride. Your lips are also at risk of sunburn, so don’t forget to pack lip balm with a high factor too!

6. Suitable clothing

Jodhpurs – Bring at least two pairs in case you get caught in the rain or have to cross a deep river. If you’re planning on going on more than a couple of rides, you should bring your own jodhpurs rather than wear jeans.

Tops – Long-sleeved cotton shirts will protect you from the sun, while short-sleeved polo shirts with breathable material are perfect for keeping cool.

Zip fleece – It does get cold in the mornings and evenings, and zip-up outerwear is much easier to put on and take off whilst you’re on your horse.

Swimsuit – There’s often a chance for a cool-down swim in a nearby river!

Clothing color – Aim for neutral/khaki colors to try to blend in with the bush, and avoid blues and blacks (darker colors attract tsetse flies).

7. Head torch

If your riding safari involves fly camping, you will definitely need a head torch. Trying to find all your stuff in the morning in the pitch black is really hard! A head torch is also useful for when you’re walking to and from your room to the main area of the camp during the evenings.

8. GoPro

If you already have one or fancy splashing out, we highly recommend bringing a GoPro! Chest straps make it easy to start recording when coming across animals on safari. A great way to capture memories!

9. And finally… courage!

Riding out in Africa is a very different experience from riding back at home. Instead of spotting a fox, you could come across a lion! You never know what might be around the next corner!

And most importantly, get excited and have fun!

If you’re interested in a horse-riding safari in Africa, why not contact our experts here? Alternatively, please take a look below for more inspiration:

Why Trust Yellow Zebra with your African Safari?

"Yellow Zebra are genuine specialists; they know the African bush like the back of their hand."

Brian Jackman, safari expert for The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, Condé Nast, and the BBC

'Europe's Leading Safari Tour Operator' at the World Travel Awards

8 years in a row, since 2015

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