Laikipia & Chyulu Hills Riding Safari

  • 7 Nights
  • Year Round
  • Kenya
  • £££
  • Authentic

Trip Overview

A tailor made itinerary that is ideal for those who want to return to the civilisation of a superbly comfortable lodge after an exhilarating day’s riding – or game viewing by vehicle or on foot.

Accepting that not everyone wants to ride, a lodge itinerary is the perfect solution, where alternative activities on offer include open topped game drives, walks, night drives, fishing and cultural visits. This itinerary can be entirely tailor made to fit the duration desired and the budget, this is one of many options.

The combination of Laikipia and the Chyulu Hills provides the opportunity for first rate game viewing in utterly contrasting areas and staying in some of the finest accommodation on offer in Kenya. The itinerary ends with time at the incomparable Kinondu Kwetu  situated on a private stretch of Galu Beach, south of Diani.

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Tailor made

Highlights of this itinerary

Often the best safaris involve looking beyond the obvious highlights. It’s about the myriad exhilarating encounters that will make your heart sing. These are encounters that nobody could ever predict, but that make your safari genuinely unique.

Trip Itinerary

Laikipia & Chyulu Hills Riding Safari

Karen Gables (1 Night)
1 Night

Karen Gables

Spend the night in Nairobi at Karen Gables relaxing after your International travels

El Karama (3 Nights)
3 Nights

El Karama

Take the early morning flight from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport to Nanyuki and then a road transfer to El Karama, Laikipia.

Settle in to your airy, thatched rooms, unpack and enjoy the river views as you take in the surroundings. Stroll over to the pool for lunch where you can taste the organic farm to fork menus and watch the birds feeding at their own colourful table.

Have a relaxing swim, shake off your flight and get kitted up to go and meet your horses and your guides Spanna and Claudia.
At 4 pm, once everyone is paired up jump on and ride out to see as much wildlife as possible in the heart of the conservancy.  End up with a sundowner stop on the Long Rocks. Non-riders will jump in a game drive vehicle to go and look for wildlife at the same time, meeting up for sundowners together.
While you enjoy your first G&T, the horses get taken back to the Lodge nearby for feeding and brushing down. Your lodge hosts will be in charge of getting you back to the lodge by car.
After sunset, head back to the lodge for a quick evening shower and enjoy dinner at the river dining room under candlelight with the team.
Day 2:
An early start and an early breakfast snack, before jumping in the saddle. Non-riders can head off on a game drive and enjoy a combination of a game walk and game drive, meeting up with the horses for breakfast later on.
Enjoy the sunrise and direct views of Mount Kenya almost as soon as you exit the Lodge gates. Now it’s time to explore the 15,000 acres of El Karama Wildlife Conservancy. Ride amongst reticulated giraffe and plains game, ride over the stunning rolling country for which El Karama is known.
Stop by the dam to water the horses, stretch your legs and watch the hippos from the rock hide.
Head North towards the river to a shady spot with a terrific view for late breakfast/brunch stop.  Enjoy the river pools and bird life all together, relax under the trees and when you are ready ride and drive back via the river systems to the Lodge.
Have a lunch in a pretty spot in camp and spend the afternoon relaxing in camp. Have a snooze, read a book, catch a massage or visit our shamba to learn more about how we grow and prepare our food.
At 430pm head out for a game drive  and find more Elephant, Lion, Grevy zebra and Gerenuk if you are lucky.  Enjoy a sundowner set up under the stars and head back to the Lodge for dinner and lots of fun and laughter by the fire.
Day 3:
An early start, then ride out over the river and an old bridge to the North of the conservancy ending up at a large water fall for a bush brunch
Stretch your legs and enjoy the view while the horses get some food and water, before following the plains and gulleys back around ending up at the boundary.
After three days with riding, say goodbye to your horses and meet the lodge cars and guides who will drive the group back to camp seeing more wildlife as you go.
A lunch in camp looking over the river leaving plenty of time to learn beading from Turkana ladies, take in a massage or body scrub at the little Bush Spa or just simply swing in your hanging chair and read under the yellow fever trees.
For your final evening, head out for one last drive and arrive to a bush dinner in a secret spot listening to the lions roaring and hyena cackling. Sit by the fire and enjoy open fire cooking over the coals.
Take the chance to have a night drive home with a spotlight for the last chance to see nocturnal creatures like white-tailed mongoose, leopard, aardvark and so much more
Arrive back to your cottage for a well deserved sleep listening to the sounds of hippo in the river below.
Day 4:
Departure day – have a lie in and pack up, make sure you have a full cooked breakfast before heading back to Nanyuki and the flight across to Ol Donyo Was

Experienced riders over the age of 12 years can ride in this exceptional terrain over 14,000 acres choosing from 3 hour rides to full day rides and over night bivouac experiences with the team. Designed for small groups of riders, two to six (80kg weight limit), this is one of the most incredible ways to experience El Karama Wildlife Conservancy. The horses are medium-sized bush horses, savvy to the eco system and animals. They are strong and hardy and led by two equine guides. Hours in the saddle always vary depending on the weather, aptitude of the riders etc and so no itinerary is set in stone and can a morning or afternoon ride may be flipped if due to conditions or the weariness of the riders. 

Ol Donyo (3 Nights)
3 Nights

Ol Donyo

Ol Donyo Lodge is located on over 111,000 hectares of private land in the heart of the Chyulu Hills, between Kenya’s Tsavo and Amboseli National Parks. The property, honed from the ancient lava rock spewed out of Kilimanjaro 360,000 years ago, creates a timelessness that touches everyone who visits. Safari experiences include horseback safaris, mountain bike safaris, guided walking safaris and open vehicle safari drives.

Ol Donyo Lodge is the perfect choice for those who wish to enjoy a riding safari, while staying in a luxurious lodge with swimming pool, massages, amazing views and top end service – and is perfect for mixed groups, some of whom can ride while the others game-drive, experience a walking safari or even try mountain biking through the African bush.

The horse riders will typically ride from the lodge either early in the morning or at sunset, and can of course also enjoy  enjoy game drives, bush walks as and when they choose.

Although Mount Kilimanjaro is the ever present backdrop, the habitat you ride though varies from the savannah plains, thick acacia forests, and the Chyulu Hills, the youngest range of volcanic hills in Africa. Within this area you may encounter all of the Big Five (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo) as well as lots of plains game (various antelope, giraffe and zebra) and a myriad of birds life.

Ol Donyo can cater for riders from intermediate through to experienced rider. There are a selection of very well-schooled horses which are used to the wildlife and terrain. The horses are normally ridden in lightweight English saddles, however South African trail saddles and Western saddles are available which fit some of the horses.

Experienced riders (after an initial riding assessment) typically enjoy a long morning ride (around four hours), sometimes stopping for or ending with a picnic or brunch. There are lots of opportunities for long canters across the plains and great game viewing opportunities. Novice riders will usually be taken by vehicle to meet their horse on the more open plains in order to minimise the possibility of surprising an elephant (and your mount) in the woodland, these tend to be shorter rides and are often in the afternoon. Experienced riders will normally have a long morning ride, then a relaxing afternoon by the hide at the water hole, or go on a game drive –  it is not normally possible to ride twice a day.

Kinondo Kwetu (3 Nights)
3 Nights

Kinondo Kwetu

After six nights on safari game-viewing it is time for some relaxation on the beach, which Kwindo Kwetu delivers in spades.

It is still possible to ride and as there there is horse riding on the beach and in the sacred ‘Kaya’ forests, with stables on site.

For the non-riders there are boat trips and visit to Kinondo Kwetu village and community workshops, there are vehicles to take guests to golf and Shimba Hills National Park; there is tennis, deep sea fishing, windsurfing, water skiing, paddleboards, scuba diving and two swimming pools – and of course the beach.

In the words of the Swedish owners, Ida and Filip Anderson, ‘we wanted to create an African ‘home away from home’ and this they have achieved in spades. Situated on a 16 acre plot south of Diana Beach and distanced from neighbours by rocky cliffs and endless beaches, this is a place to wind down completely and do nothing at all if the mood takes you but with the option to do a lot if not.  Each of the five cottages has its own personalised charm, furnished and decorated with Swahili handicrafts and antiques. Several are large enough to take more than two people, with Mama Tina being ideal for a family of up to six.   Three courses lunches and dinners are served daily in different spots – by the beach under the shade of trees or in the evening under the stars.  All the fruits and vegetables are locally grown and fresh fish and seafood is delivery daily to the doorstep.

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