Ride Zimbabwe Horse Safaris


James Varden is a world renown professional safari guide, conservationist and horseman with an extraordinary understanding of the African bush and its wildlife. Together with his wife Janine, they run Ride Zimbabwe Horse Safaris out of the Matabele province of Zimbabwe. The horse riding holiday is a combination of wildlife and ancient culture that takes you through the 32,000-acre Cawston Wildlife Estate with its large herds of game to the Matobo National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site with balancing rock formations and ancient San rock paintings.

The first part of your safari is spent at Cawston Wildlife Estate, a 32,000 acre private reserve with large herds of sable, tsessebe and other free roaming plains game. The birdlife is exceptional and there is the occasional sighting of aardvark, wild dog or leopard. Long hours are spent on horseback crisscrossing the expansive reserve with its abundance of game.

Accommodation is a luxury safari camp, with modern day amenities and electricity. Life in camp revolves around an expansive thatched lounge/dining area, with swimming pool. At night you sit out on the deck, around a campfire watching game at the lit-up watering hole. Meals on safari are farm fresh, hearty and sourced within the local area, lunches are often cooked in camp but at times eaten out on the trail.

The latter half of your safari is spent at the Matobo Hills, a sacred area of broken granite hills with spiritual & historical significance that has shaped modern day Zimbabwe. There are battle sites, graves, ruins and San rock art that date back thousands of years. Mzilikazi, the first great king and founder of the Ndebele people is buried in a secret cave while Cecil John Rhodes atop World’s View.

You will enjoy canters along ancient footpaths in a granite wilderness home to zebra, giraffe, sable antelope & a free-roaming rhino population. Through it all, James’ bush knowledge is unrivalled pointing out brightly coloured lizards on giant rock boulders, leopard spoor in hidden caves and black eagles circling African skies.

Accommodation is traditional safari tents set under shady trees, with en-suite facilities and sweeping views. In the evening you sit around the campfire under starry skies, revelling in the warm comradery and five star hospitality.

Ride Zimbabwe Horse Safaris

The horses are a combination of South African Boerperds, with some larger mixed breeds. They are experienced with game, sure footed through the rugged terrain and responsive under saddle. They are ridden under snaffle bits and with a selection of saddle types for personal preference.

With the winds of change sweeping through what was once Africa’s most popular tourist destination, expect for an incredible holiday with Ride Zimbabwe.