Another horse riding safari at Ndarakwai Ranch

February 2009

This safari was a trial run for safari guests so a number of us got together to critically test the product. It was over a long weekend, a safari of 3 nights of which two were based in an up market mobile camp-privately sited for our group-and a final night at the Ndarakwai Ranch tented camp. The horse safari operator, Carlos’s da Silva now bases his horses at the ranch and has set up his riding operations at Ndarakwai. Peter Jones- the owner of Ndarakwai kindly supplied the mobile camp. Some of our party wanted to ride their own horses and Carlos kindly drove 3 out from Arusha for this ‘test the products’ weekend.

The long ride home to campThe long ride home to camp

4 of the riders4 of the riders

A beadded AppolusaA beadded Appolusa

The Mountains of Kilimanjaro, Meru and Longido were the back drop for the riding and the first afternoon was a short ride from the main camp area into the mobile camp, a ride of a few hours as the light of the day faded. The following day was almost a full day out and I drove my land rover as back up and to bring along the lunch and drinks. The 3 hours ride out that morning brought close encounters with many wild animals including a group of elephants which Carlos expertly led the riders away from at first (as they came together near some thick bush) and then watched the 30 plus pachyderms from a safer distance. Yes better to keep your distance I say! Eland, giraffe, waterbuck, zebra and wildebeest numbers are good here when it is somewhat dry and the thrill of being on horse back and near these beautiful animals put a smile on every ones faces. Towards Longido Mountain the landscape opens up dramatically and the riders could gallop at full speed as they came into the spot I have driven to for lunch.

Fancy Arrow rolls againFancy Arrow rolls again

Ombeni loves these riding safarisOmbeni loves these riding safaris

Everyone and his horse rested for a few hours before heading Eastwards back to the mobile camp. As I drove I was watching out for birds of course and was delighted to have a trainee guide along with me to enjoy them with. So as we all arrived back at camp in the early afternoon a good rest was in order. But first I was to ride ‘my horse’ (being the beginner I am a gentle walk out of camp for a couple of hours was an achievement for me) whose name is Fancy Arrow! He’s a tough Appaloosa and didn’t seem tired at all after his long day out.

I must admit to being a little wary of such a horse, unfortunately he had not been so gentle the day before and had thrown someone off! A few bruises had given the rider justification to be wary of Fancy A and that person never rode him again! But on this ride and the longer one I undertook the following day he was very kind to me. Perhaps he knows I help to pay for his food!

The advance class moves outThe advance class moves out

Fancy Arrow and I on an afternoon walk aboutFancy Arrow and I on an afternoon walk about

The nights in the mobile were special and some of the party provided live music with guitars, drums and innovative percussion, for us all to sing along with- great songs-good cheer and plenty of alcohol to loosen the voices all added up to two unforgettable starlit evenings around the camp fire. The mobile was great- an unpretentious pleasure with good equipment and great homemade style food.

The camp fire was great funThe camp fire was great fun

Our Mobile camp was beautifully sitedOur Mobile camp was beautifully sited

Jo Anderson came alongJo Anderson came along

The Mobile camp was just how I like themThe Mobile camp was just how I like them

We rode out of camp the next day at dawn and I tried to take some photographs for the new edition of Ujumbe Magazine that will feature these horse riding adventures. Of course the light was terrible and of course the sun didn’t highlight the riders and of course the riders and horses wanted breakfast! After which we relaxed in camp during the heat of the day and rode back to the main stables that afternoon. Anyway here are a few of the shots from that morning.

Riding at dawn with the ranch as a backdropRiding at dawn with the ranch as a backdrop

Riding at dawnRiding at dawn

Large comfortable tents with all the extras anyone would need awaited us all at Ndarakwai Base Camp and Peter Jones greeted us and joined us for dinner that last evening. The next day – Monday morning- the 3 horses to return to Arusha were loaded on to Carlos’s truck and we all reluctantly drove home and back to the weeks work ahead! None of us need much of an excuse to do it again so if you are interested please contact me for details!

Mount Meru at dawn- Ndarakwai RanchMount Meru at dawn- Ndarakwai Ranch

An Ndarkwai SunsetAn Ndarkwai Sunset

Ndarakwai Lodge is very comfortable and popularNdarakwai Lodge is very comfortable and popular

An Ndarakwai sleeping tentAn Ndarakwai sleeping tent