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Chyulu Safari

Riding ability: (?)

Suitable for: non-riders families

Chyulu Safari

Horse riding holiday in kenyaThe scenery is unbeatable at Chyulu and the going for the horses is perfect. This ride offers families, and other less bold riders a chance to see some of Africa’s most beautiful creatures from horseback. The wildlife is more spread out than in Amboseli, so riders can be a bit more relaxed on this trip, but still enjoy great game sightings.

Like Ambolesi, this safari is quintessentially East African, offering riding with views of Mount Kilimanjaro, across vast open plains, into acacia forests, swampland, volcanic hills and mist forests.

Your accommodation are luxury mobile tents for this 6 night safari. Combine this, if you wish, with a stay at one of Kenya's most luxurious lodges - Ol Donyo Lodge.  Please click here for a more detailed description of the lodge.

February 2012 News

February saw the safari team heading back to Amboseli National Park. This was our last Amboseli safari of the season, and was a smashing success, with daily sightings of Kilimanjaro and plenty of wildlife.

The dry season is one of the best times to visit Amboseli, as the swamps and springs in the Park are the only water sources for miles around. During February and March, we experience daytime temperatures of about 30 degrees Centigrade, so the water is a huge attraction for birds and mammals, for both drinking and cooling off in the heat of the day. Large breeding herds of elephant spend most of their day half-submerged in the mud and water, as well as buffalo and hippo. The plains game also favours grazing within reach of this water, and huge numbers of zebra, gazelle and wildebeest can be seen daily.

The most exciting game moment of our safari was being able to spot and spend time with a female lioness and her three adolescent cubs.  The lions were tracked by Patrick and Kim early one morning, and were finally spotted near the Kiturua Gate, just inside Amboseli National Park. It was wonderful to be in close proximity to the lions whilst on horseback, and even better that the lions were in an open area and happy to observe us from afar!

The breeding herds of elephant were another highlight, with herds of up to 200 being found together at this time of year. The elephant in Amboseli are getting more and more accustomed to seeing the horses, and we can now ride close to cows, calves and bulls without causing stress to the elephants or the horses.

Back in the Chyulus, Ol Donyo lodge guests have also been enjoying some fantastic horse riding, with about 80 riders coming to the stables this month.

Due to the dry conditions, many eland and oryx are in the woodland around the stables at this time of year, as well as giraffe, warthog and impala. Large troops of baboon and black-faced vervet monkeys also spend a lot of time close to Ol Donyo’s waterholes at this time of year, and there are plenty of ostrich, gazelle and zebra out on the plains.  Due to the large numbers of gazelle, there are also quite a few cheetahs in residence this month, and riders have been lucky enough to see the cheetah several times a week.

Perhaps the most exciting moment in the Chyulus this month was when a male leopard came to find water at Ol Donyo Lodge. Due to the elephants pulling up the water pipes at his house, Patrick was staying in one of the guest rooms at Ol Donyo. He was enjoying an evening soak in the bath when suddenly a leopard appeared on the decking outside the bathroom.  The leopard simply lay down quietly behind the glass doors and stared at Patrick for about five minutes- not shy, nor afraid, but watching and waiting for water! Eventually, he realized that Patrick was not going to give up his bath, so he slunk away in search of alternative source to quench his thirst.

Towards the end of this month, the heat has been building to an intensity that we recognize as a sign of the imminent rains. In the last few days,several millimetres of rain have fallen, and a few thunder storms have started brewing along the top of the Chyulu Hills, with great forks of lightning flashing to the west, near Mount Kilimanjaro. We hope that the rains will soon arrive, and look forward to telling you all about it next month.

Ol Donyo Lodge is a family owned lodge located on a communally owned Maasai Group Ranch with exclusive use of 70,000 acres of the reserve, and has magnificent views of Mount Kilimanjaro.  In 2008 the lodge was completely redesigned and rebuilt, along sound environmental and conservation lines.  With 10 cottages comprising one family cottage with 2 separate bedrooms, bathroom, open veranda and a plunge pool as well as 6 pool cottages with separate plunge pools, en suite bathrooms and outdoor showers, and 2 cottages without a pool, this is arguably Kenya's finest lodge. All cottages have roof-top star beds for those who love to sleep outdoors. The gem of this camp is the variety of activities, from horse riding, game drives, walks, hikes, mountain bike rides, village visits and day expeditions to the Amboseli.

The lodge is well known for its homely, warm, child friendly and welcoming atmosphere and is the touchstone of a new, sustainable model of conservation tourism and secures a future for the area's threatened wildlife. It can accommodate up to 20 people, is staffed by people from the local community, produces fabulous all inclusive meals, and boasts a communal swimming pool, open fires and a wine cellar.

Horse riding holiday in kenyaHorse riding holiday in Kenya

6 Night Chyulu Safari


Day 1 Arrival, Introductory Game Drive and Horse Ride

 Fly into Ol Donyo Lodge airstrip, and be met by a Ride Kenya guide. Enjoy a short game drive, en route to the first campsite which is nestled in thick Acacia woodland.

The Chyulu Hills offer some of the most stunning scenery in Africa; rolling volcanic hills, Acacia forests, and grassy plains all under the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro.This first drive serves as an introduction to the area and its inhabitants; there are 38 recorded species of large mammal here and over 300 species of bird.

Arrive in camp, and be shown to your tent. Orientation around camp, have a cool drink, and before lunch meet the rest of the staff who will accompany you throughout the safari.

After a post-lunch rest, drive to Ride Kenya’s main stables (30 minutes’ drive) to meet the horses.

The Chyulu safari starts close to Ride Kenya’s stables, so that riders can be matched with a horse and then assessed as a group in the fenced arena, before heading out into the bush. Anyone who is not comfortable with their horse has a chance to switch at the stables.

This first ride sets off from the stables, and is designed to introduce the rider to their horse and the local ecosystem. The ride will pass through thick Acacia forest, and out onto the savannah. Expect to ride at a variety of speeds and to see game such as giraffe, impala, elephant, warthog and gazelle.

Arrive into camp at dusk. Enjoy a drink by the fire, a hot shower and a three-course dinner. As the sun goes down, listen to the jackal and hyena calling to commence their nocturnal hunts.


Day 2 Bush Breakfast Ride and Afternoon Walk

Depart at dawn on horseback for a morning exploration of the woodland and savannah around camp. The woodland is thick with umbrella-shaped Acacia tortilis, where giraffe browse and antelope abound. Enjoy the dawn chorus as the horses set off into the first light of the day. 

The footing is ideal for horse riding; coarse volcanic soil that is firm yet forgiving under hoof. This morning’s ride is a chance to enjoy the horses’ schooling and fitness; long trots and canters can be supplemented with some cross-country style jumping over fallen trees and other fences, for those who wish.

As the land here is owned by nomadic Maasai people, there are often villages to ride past. The traditional Maasai culture is fascinating to see first-hand.

Emerge from the woodland, and traverse the wide open Mbirikani plains, dotted with wildlife.  The plains stretch for 70 miles before Mt. Kilimanjaro rises up from them on the distant horizon.

Enjoy a full English breakfast under the shade of an Acacia tree before riding back to camp.

Late lunch in camp is followed by a few hours’ rest in the heat of the day.

An evening walk is offered, to stretch out riding muscles, and to learn more about the local flora and fauna. There is even a chance to track and locate some of the area’s resident bull elephants; several of which are known to be the largest ‘tuskers’ left in Africa today.


Day 3 Game-drive to Amboseli National Park and Afternoon Horse Ride

Depart by road before dawn to enjoy a half-day game drive in Amboseli National Park.

Amboseli is home to around 1,500 elephant which live in and around the swamps beneath Mt Kilimanjaro. As well as the famous elephant, there are plenty of hippo, buffalo, plains game, predators and birds to enjoy viewing. This is a world-famous ecosystem and the photographic opportunities are endless.

Return to camp for a late lunch.

Enjoy a horse ride in the afternoon, ending up in a scenic spot for sunset and drinks.


Day 4 Morning ride to Crater Camp and Afternoon Hike.

 Leave camp early on horseback and proceed through the Acacia woodland up towards Chyulu East National Park. Taking a packed breakfast in the saddle-bags allows the ride to be flexible and to enjoy wandering with the game on its daily movements.

Coming across wildlife on horseback is thrilling; from small sightings like flocks of guinea-fowl, pairs of dik-dik or packs of jackal, to the huge bulk of a herd of eland, oryx or elephant.

The ride soon leaves the thick Acacia woodland and begins to pass through seemingly endless stands of whistling thorn Acacia on the ascent up into the Chyulu Hills. This is a good ecosystem for seeing cheetah, gerenuk, zebra, wildebeest and Coke’s hartebeest.

This morning is a long and fast ride, with plenty of chance to canter, gallop and jump.

Over the course of the morning, the ride ascends about 2,000 feet above the plains with stunning views stretching for 90 miles on a clear day.

Arrive into Crater camp for a late lunch.

This camp is nestled into a forest next to a large volcanic crater.  It is situated over looking the quintessential East African plains that lead up to Mt. Kilimanjaro. 

Late afternoon, climb the volcanic crater in pursuit of the very rare Verreaux’s Eagle which nests in the nearly inaccessible rocky outcrops at the rim. Or, explore the lava tubes under the crater which lie within walking distance of the camp. These jagged caves stretch for miles as they lead away from the crater and have been used for generations of hunter-gatherers as shelter.

Enjoy sunset in this most spectacular campsite.


Day 5 Full-Day Ride to the Mist Forest

Depart after breakfast in camp.

 Today’s ride ascends another 2,000 feet higher into the Chyulu Hills.  A noticeable change in climate and temperature occurs as you reach over 7,000 feet above sea level. The ride is dominated by incredible vistas of the vast wilderness of Tsavo East National park to the east, and Mount Kilimanjaro and Amboseli National Park to the west.

Today’s riding traverses steep slopes and valleys and leading the horses may be necessary at times. Due to the altitude of the area, clouds often sit on the top of the Chyulu Hills. This consistent moisture has created to pockets of mist forest that dot the summits of the hills.

Enjoy a picnic lunch just outside one of the largest mist forests, and then enter the mist forest on foot, in pursuit of buffalo, leopard, Syke’s monkey and bush pig that reside within.

Get back on the horses and enjoy the dramatic descent out of the hills, passing a few subsistence farmers’ villages en route. Most of the farmers are Kamba people, who seek a living maize farming on the hillside. Rural school children are likely to spot the horses and follow them for a while, giggling and running along beside.

Arrive in the late afternoon to Olekuto Camp. Enjoy a well-earned drink and rest in stunning scenery.


Day 6 Full-Day Ride, with a Barbecue Lunch.

 After breakfast in camp, depart on horseback to explore the woodland of Olekutu. This area is extremely beautiful and remote, with herds of giraffe, gazelle, zebra and wildebeest. Enjoy seeing ostrich and Kori bustard bathing in the red dust.

Leaving Olekuto, the ride passes by the Inchalai swamps. These are swamps where breeding herds of elephant come to drink at night and if riders are lucky they might catch the elephant returning to the thick lava flow in which they seek refuge during the day.

Maasai herdsmen and women also bring their livestock for water in the swamps.

Enjoy a scenic spot for a barbecue lunch, atop some beautiful rocky outcrops.

Ride across the vast savannah after lunch and into camp.


Day 7: Departure

Enjoy breakfast in camp, followed by departure by road, to the Ol Donyo Lodge airstrip. Scheduled flight to Nairobi departs at 0815.



2012 prices: £2570pp

Includes: 7 days 6 nights full board (single supplement £697) luxury tented accommodation, laundry, all meals and alcoholic and non-alcololic drinks (excluding imported and premium drinks) community levvy.

Transfers: £380pp return flight

2012 Dates:  
March 3rd - 9th  - only 1 place left!  
June 9th - 15th  
July  7th - 13th  
August 18th - 24th  
September 18th - 24th  
October 13th - 19th  
December 9th - 15th  
please note it is possible to book this ride on other dates dependent on availability  


Not Included: Flights and Travel Insurance

Optional extras: Game drive into Amboseli National Park

Meeting point: Ol Donyo Wuas, having caught an early morning flight from Wilson Regional Airport in Nairobi (weight limit on internal flights 15kgs per person)

Group size: 3 minimum to 10 maximum

We will confirm for only 1 or 2 riders at no extra charge.

Please note that the itinerary will be modified to include only one camp move.

Should three or more people then book onto the ride the itinerary will then revert back to the original.

Max weight: 90 kilos

Suitable for  non-riders: No

No of hours in the saddle: variable but approx 5

Suitable for children: Yes

Call us on +44 (0)1225 000000 or email contact@redlandsequestrian.com to check the ride availability and dates, once we have confirmed availability you can download and fill in a booking form:

Each rider in the party must also complete a riding ability questionnaire before we can complete the final confirmation of your holiday booking.

Accepted Payment Types