A riding safari to the Maasai Mara, Kenya with Christine Bates of Bates Eventing

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Highlights

  • Galloping with Africa's iconic wildlife
  • Adventurous, active and adrenaline fuelled
  • The colour and handsome Maasai people
  • The wild freedom of endless savannah plains
  • 'The original and the best' safari outfitter
  • Travel with elite rider Christine Bates of Bates Eventing

Key Facts

  •   Kenya

  •   Great for active adventurers & equestrians

  •   12 days

  •   Escorted by Christine Bates

 

Join elite-level rider and internationally acclaimed horse producer Christine Bates on this unique, luxurious at times adrenalin fuelled horseback safari through Kenya’s world famous Maasai Mara.

Experiencing the spectacular unfenced and expansive wilderness eco-system of the Maasai Mara on the back of a horse is a journey like no other. Riding amongst elephants, giraffes, herds of wildebeest and zebra, and even leopards and lions, you are at once a participant, not a spectator. The tension is palpable and the sense of freedom and exhilaration indescribable.

The riding safari is operated by Gordie & Felicia Church of Safaris Unlimited, one of Kenya’s leading family run safari outfitters, who, with their expertly trained guides, will ensure your safety and comfort at all times. Gordie’s father, Tony Church, started the original riding safari concept in Kenya together they continue to offer authentic, unique and unforgettable safaris that not only have heritage but deliver a safari experience which is all class, full of punch and seriously stylish.

This eleven night safari will see you traverse the exclusive greater Mara Conservancies (which are adjacent to the busier Maasai Mara) on horseback, benefitting at all times from Christine’s unique insight and extensive equine knowledge and interpretations. You’ll explore a landscape which is the epitome of East Africa with vast savannah plains, dark green veins of riverine forest and the colourful and handsome Maasai people who are synonymous with the region. On horseback you will gallop with the herds of plains game, mingle with giraffes and zebras and access the hidden animal tracks that no 4x4 vehicle ever could.

From the Mara you will travel north to the beautiful Loisaba tented camp where you will have the opportunity to hike, bike and ride a more rugged, rocky landscape, spot species such as the African wild dog and enjoy the exclusivity of a small, luxury camp dedicated to supporting community orientated health, education and enterprise programmes. Those who wish may also sleep under the night sky in one of Loisaba’s exquisite star beds.

Riding with Christine, Gordie and the Safaris Unlimited crew is a safari unlike any other. The saddle truly is the best seat in the house!

Itinerary Details

Day 1 | Thurs 20 June | Inflight                

Fly to Nairobi, Kenya. We are happy to advise on flight times and assist with your arrangements.

Day 2 | Friday 21 June | Nairobi | 2 nights                

Welcome to Nairobi. On arrival check in to The Fairview Hotel, where you will stay for two nights. Since everyone will arrive at different times, today and this evening will be at leisure. If you would like to explore Nairobi we will happily assist with suggestions and arrangements.

Day 3 | Saturday 22 June | Nairobi

Enjoy a privately guided tour of Nairobi which will include the Utamaduni Craft Centre, David Sheldrick elephant orphanage, the giraffe sanctuary affiliated with the world famous Giraffe Hotel & the Karen Blixen Museum. 

Day 4 | Sunday 23 June | Greater Mara Conservancies

A private transfer will take you to Wilson airport ready for your Air Kenya scheduled flight departing at 10.30 a.m. Arrive in the Mara at approximately 11.15 a.m  where your professional safari riding guide, Gordie Church, will meet you for a briefing and game drive to your private canvas mobile camp arriving in time for lunch. The afternoon is spent settling‐in, followed by a game drive or a short ride to get to know your horse, which will be carefully matched to you. Riding distance : 5-10kms. 

Day 5 | Monday 24 June | Greater Mara Conservancies

Today presents a stunning area to explore by horse or vehicle. You may ford the Mara river, then ride under the iconic Siria escarpment where concentration of game is breathtaking and there is plenty of opportunity to jump fallen trees created by the resident elephant. Waterbuck, jackal and lion and many other species may be spotted. Riding distance : 15-20kms.          

Day 6 | Tuesday 25 June | Greater Mara Conservancies              

The camp will move location today meaning that you will depart from one camp and ride to your new camp, traversing a beautiful tract of wild land during a full day in the saddle. You will ride in a southerly direction alongside the Mara river with many large pods of hippo and the odd monster crocodile and then onto the Ololituroto plain, scattered with the occasional balanities tree. There are stunning views in every direction and the ground provides excellent going for the horses. Crossing the Mara river again on horseback, enter the famous Mara Triangle for a picnic lunch in a patch of thick forest often occupied by elephant. After lunch take a short ride followed by an ascent on foot to the top of the escarpment. Riding distance : 25–30kms.

Day 7 | Wednesday 26 June | Greater Mara Conservancies

You will have the option to ride or game drive in the triangle with spectacular views looking down towards the Serengeti and wonderful encounters with buffalo and elephant. In the afternoon you may visit a nearby village (Manyatta)  and sip bloody Marys in the bush. Riding distance : 15–20 kms.

Day 8 | Thursday 27 June | Greater Mara Conservancies                          

Another camp move day today will see the group descending the escarpment and heading due east to cross back over the Mara river and ride out across the Koiyaki plains. A lovely picnic lunch in the bush is followed by a great afternoon ride into the new camp on the Olare Orok. Riding distance : 20‐25 kms.

Day 9 | Friday 28 June | Greater Mara Conservancies                      

Today presents exceptional riding country to explore and two large prides of lion make this area their home, allowing for a sensational big‐cat experience. In the afternoon ride, drive or walk in this magical corner of the Mara, then you will have the opportunity to go out on a night drive with a spotlight to discover the nocturnal creatures. Riding distance : 15-20 kms.

Day 10 | Saturday 29 June | Laikipia | 3 nights                                                                          

Your last morning with Safaris Unlimited comes all too soon and you will have the option to ride or game drive before a hearty breakfast and saying your goodbyes.  Transfer for the scheduled flight to your onward destination, Loisaba Tented Camp, where you will spend the next three nights.

Days 11 to 12 | Sunday 30 June to Monday 1 July | Laikipia                                       

Enjoy the range of activities on offer at Loisaba Tented Camp including morning and afternoon game drives, guided bush walks, camel and horse riding and mountain biking. In contrast to the Mara the landscape here is rugged and dry and your explorations with the camp's specialist guides will showcase a whole new range of ecosystems, tribal cultures and wildlife.

Day 13 | Homeward bound

Today marks the end of your safari and a quick flight will take you back to Nairobi from where you will be free to continue with your onward arrangements or begin your journey home. Thank you for joining us on this unforgettable journey.

About Christine Bates

Christine has been an elite-level rider for the last 20 years producing many horses to international level. Originally from Perth, Western Australia, Christine moved to Sydney in 1994. Christine’s professionalism and commitment to her sport was most recently acknowledged in her receipt of the 2015 Anna Savage Best and Fairest rider award.

A seasoned professional, age proves no barrier - at 42, Christine continues to perform at the highest level of her sport. With an impressive track record, her sights are now firmly set on achieving success with multi-event winning horse, Adelaide Hill. This successful rider-horse combination was previously short-listed for the 2016 Rio Olympics and 2012 London Olympics.

Christine's many accomplishments include:

  • 1st - 2018 Sydney 3DE CCI3*
  • 1st - 2018 Berrima International Horse Trials CIC3*
  • 1st - 2018 Sydney Eventing CIC3*
  • 1st - 2017 Adelaide 3DE CIC3*

Moreover she is a warm and charming host who's endless equine knowledge and fascinating stories make her a fabulous travel companion. We are delighted to have her leading this unique horseback adventure.

Read more about Christine here


 

Key Facts

  • Hosted by Christine Bates of Bates Eventing
  • 12 days / 11 nights (plus time in the air)
  • 20 June to 4 July 2019
  • Begins & ends: Nairobi
  • USD $12,100 per person twin share. Excludes international flights.
  • For further details and a full itinerary please contact us
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