The best horseback safaris to do in December

Matias Carrillat

30 September 2020

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If you were wondering what is the best season to go on a horseback safari in Africa, here we lay out good reasons to choose December’s humid season.

Why going on a horseback safari in December?

Contrary to what is believed, travelling to Africa during the humid season has its benefits. There are regions in which the dry season turns them to very heated and excessively heavy places for the animals that inhabit the reserves, that is why they stay hidden under the shadows or lying on the ground during the day. Conversely, during the humid months, you have more chances to see the wild fauna moving around, looking for water and fertile pastures, while predators, once their thirst is quenched, gather the strength to take action.


And it is not only animals that revive, landscapes also do. Green is plentiful along the ground and the colours that decorate the luxuriant plants boom during the humid season. 


The advantage that December offers is that, although it is still a season of short rains, and therefore, we will have to adapt to rain appearing unexpectedly, we can enjoy clear skies along with the fresh breeze and the smell of fresh grasses when the sky clears. If we add to that the decrease in tourism and the significant drop in cost rates, there is no doubt that it is an ideal month.


Following, we will show you the best horseback safaris Africa Horse Tours offers to do in December. 

The best horseback safaris in December: Serengeti

Tanzania is one of those countries that can be enjoyed in every season. Since it mostly has a tropical climate, temperatures do not fluctuate greatly between seasons.Therefore, the game is not affected by these factors. These regions are so well-prepared and ready for horseback safaris that animal sighting is magnificent at all times. One of the most appropriate places for this is the great Serengeti National Park. 


On this occasion, we offer an experience 100% natural Serengeti: The land known worldwide for the migration of mammals. We will camp in the middle of the plains, at the mercy of the animals that freely wander in their habitat. But the most thrilling part occurs when we are in action. During the day, we will cross rivers, go around plains, and meet exclusive places over the saddle, while we are being watched as foreigners by the animals that dominate the area [see more in Wild animals beyond the big five] and local tribes. 


No matter if it is sunny or cloudy, the magic lies in what surrounds us. For us, December is a month of endings and balances, but for some animals, it is the month where everything begins. Many antelopes, among other mammals, give birth during this season, which gives us two unique experiences. On the one hand, we will have the chance to witness this natural phenomenon, or at least, to see the reserve flourishing with small offspring. On the other hand, we must not forget that predators are faster than us, both to run and to intuit, so their presence and circulation through the reserve increases significantly when they perceive that their potential prey is reproducing.


Besides, during the humid months, the birds take advantage of it to nest and reproduce, that is why the migratory species tend to be residents. This will allow us to take pictures of an amazing and incredible variety of these creatures on a green and shiny background. 


Finally, once the day of adventure concludes, we will return to our camps accompanied by a reddish sunset, and we will have dinner by the light of a burning bonfire, sharing experiences with our mates, while nature embellishes the silence with its lovely tunes. 

The best horseback safaris in December: The Ancient Botswana

As a second destination, we offer a complete experience that combines one of the most exciting safaris with the chance to explore one of the oldest lands of Botswana, The Ancient Botswana. A journey full of mystery and beauty.


On this occasion, the game will take place in the fantastic and exclusive Tuli Game Reserve. This reserve is comprised of a group of private farms that make a predominantly green scenario, formed by mopane forests, swamps and river jungles. In contrast, the sandstone cliffs that follow form a lunar landscape of brown and orange shades. One part of this block corresponds to the Mashatu reserve, a wildlife conservation area that protects the flora and fauna biodiversity of this region. Our time there will allow us to vividly live the cohabitation of diverse animal species we find along the way, sometimes from a very close range. We will understand that we are the foreigners there, while the resident fauna lives carelessly on the vast fields which they know as home. If you want to know other adventures that include the Mashatu reserve, click here


We can also experience a horseback safari across the green and humid fields of the Okavango Delta. There, we will be able to go around freely, with no marked paths or measured time, as long as nature permits it. This part of the journey entails a thrilling challenge to all horse riders: unstable ground, roads flooded with water and a humid ground that splashes mud while we gallop. Yet, making our way throughout these areas constantly flooded in December has its rewards. In the corners of the Delta, we will be able to look for zebras, giraffes, antelopes and an endless list of species that waits for us to discover them [please see Wild animals beyond the big five]. But the best secrets are kept by the branches of trees. The flying fauna of Okavango is the most diverse and amazing one in the world.


Without a doubt, this experience will change us forever. The connection with the wildest species and most ancient sites will make us feel alive and one with the world.

The best horseback safaris in December: South Africa and the sighting of the Big Five.

In South Africa, in the province of Limpopo, an amazing adventure awaits us. We will be part of an expedition in constant movement in which we will have to cross rivers, meadows, and forests before finding shelter every night. In this journey along the great Southafrican plains, the premise is to know how to get lost but never lose track: the vast fauna can be waiting for us in the least expected places. 

The main area of exploration will be the Makalali Game Reserve, a private reserve that fosters the conservation of the land and wildlife within its territory. There, the sighting of the Big Five is assured, together with other endangered species that are especially protected by the reserve. We will stay in campsites with wicker ceilings, private bathroom, outdoor showers and air conditioning, essential for this time of the year [please see Choosing by accomodation type].


Among the attractions offered by this territory, we will navigate by the Makuthswe River, where we will be able to see hippos and crocodiles. In turn, we will have the chance to embark on night safaris on our pickup trucks to see the wildlife that is hiding from us and the sun during the day. We will be in the presence of owls, galagidae, even leopards and hyenas that prefer to get into action at night. These expeditions will confirm what we suspected about the night roars: fauna does not sleep.


On the other hand, we will share thrilling experiences with our horses. We will go “bushwhacking”: a challenging horse ride in which we shall make our way among bushes, fallen trees, and other foliage that abound in the mountains. The art of finding paths in places where they don’t exist makes us go deeper into the secrets of nature. We realize that only humans limit themselves by following predetermined roads, and that this adventure invites us to get rid of all conventions to submerge ourselves into our wildest instincts.

Africa is an ideal destination at any time of the year, at any time in your life. And December gives us the continent in all its splendor: an endless green ground, a sparkling night sky, fauna in movement, and experiences full of adrenaline. How many Christmases will you let pass by without having lived experiences in the wildest land of the planet?

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