When I was in Swaziland I stayed at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. There I got the chance to go out with two other girls from my tour group on a 2 hour advanced ride. Advanced as in, we would be going fast some of the time! It was an awesome experience. The weather was not too cold, not too hot, and the horses were amazing. Eager to go but still easy to manage.
There’s out guide Nati..
And there’s looking back at the camp, Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. It really was pretty far out in the country, and the ride took us right out onto the fields, sometimes completely without a path.
Nati was riding a younger horse that hadn’t quite ‘calmed down’ yet. Here, he (the horse!) was acting up because of an unfamiliar rock..!
The landscape is pretty, but I guess you could be anywhere in the world.. until you stumble on a little flock of zebras.! Amazing Africa. Mlilwane has all kinds of big game, but no big cats so we were quite safe on horseback.
My companions, S from Germany and N from South Africa. It was so nice to be able to get close to the zebras because the horses didn’t scare them. Nati urged me to try to get a little closer so he could get a nice picture of me, which I definitely didn’t mind.
Me and Huckleberry the horse, zebras walking off in the background.
Moving on from the zebras.
We walked most of the time, but with a lot of short galloping bursts in between. It was so much fun – I had to go full western style and ride with just one hand, holding on to my camera with the other. It received quite a few bumps and started acting up at one point, but came out alright.. I think..
Then, wildebeest! These were harder to get close to as they trust NOONE, not even horses. Nati said they were kinda stupid.
It was hard not to notice how red the earth was. It made a pretty stark contrast with the grey of the sky and the subdued green of the landscape.
These we were able to get very close to as well. I don’t think these are kudus – maybe springbuck? Eland? I never got the hang of the names. It’s either an impala, a kudu or a large or small african deer in my head. So, large african deer:
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Taking a rest while appreciating the african deer! The horses definitely worked up a sweat from the gallops, even though we kept them short.
What better view than from horseback, eh?
Red, red roads.. We drove this way when we came to Mlilwane the day before, and our tour guide repeated to us several times that we were NOT TO GO NEAR THE WATER’S EDGE!
Because there were both crocodiles and hippos in this lake. The staff at Mlilwane actually puts straw out by the edge of the lake to try and keep the hippos there, and prevent them from going into the camp itself.
Sure enough, a pair of big crocs.. and we spotted a hippo under the water at the opposite side of the lake.
Man I love having my picture taken when I’m on vacation!
The final stretch home.
When we were done we took off all the gear and thanked the horses for the ride. After that they were off to the stables, all on their own. They could run around freely just like all the other wild animals at Mlilwane. We had an awesome experience, and even though our tour guide said it was on the expensive side with 270 Rand/hour, it was all worth it.
Have you been horseriding on your vacations? How was it? I’d love to hear in the comments section.