From 2019 to the beginning of this year, I often had the pleasure to guide guests through the amazingly unspoilt Drakensberg mountains and Lesotho on horseback. These horse riding holidays in the Kingdom in the Sky are truly one of a kind and there is nothing that compares to the mountain passes you climb with your horse on this trail. In this blog you will get to know everything about horseback riding in wild Lesotho and the Drakensberg.
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Lesotho is a small African country that’s completely surrounded by South Africa, and honestly I didn’t know much about it before coming to work with horses here. I had already been in South Africa for a few years, but further up north where I was guiding horse safaris with wildlife. In Lesotho, you won’t get to see an abundance of wildlife, but what you do see is incredible. In this tiny and wild country, you get the chance to spot large herds of Eland. Eland are an impressive type of antelope, with a shoulder height of 160 cm, and to see them in large numbers in the wild is an incredible experience. The lowest point in the entire country of Lesotho is 1400 meters, and is therefore aptly nicknamed the Kingdom in the Sky. During your horse riding holiday you will climb to almost 3000 meters, allowing amazing panoramic views on the mountain range on clear days.
The three day ride into the mountains of Lesotho is for anyone who loves horses, and it doesn’t matter if you know how to ride or not! There are lovely horses available for riders of any ability. You do need to be quite tough and excited to learn new stuff, as you’ll be cantering on day one! You’ll be riding together with a group of riders that have a similar experience level as you, so you’ll always have a blast. With an overall decent level of fitness and excitement to cover large distances on horseback through the mountains, you’ll have a great time during these three days. Do keep in mind that occasionally you’ll need to get off your horse and lead them over the very rocky uphill paths, and that the distance (and therefore the day in the saddle) is long. On day one and three, you will be in the saddle between five and eight hours, depending on the weather and how much you are willing to trot and canter. Day two is a very relaxed day where you don’t need to cover a lot of kilometers, and the horses sleep in the same location so you are also able to skip the ride if you want to relax by the small river or hike around instead. If you are with your own private group you can also choose to do a short ride on day two. This is however, my favourite day of horse riding, as you get to ride down into a beautiful valley. In summer, the valley is filled with flowers, full of lush green grass, and an incredible river flows through it. During this day, you will be able to enjoy a long lunch break by the river, where you can swim through incredible rock formations, so I highly recommend not skipping the ride if you’re not too sore. For experienced riders, the three day horse riding holiday is also lots of fun and you’ll likely be less sore than beginners. Do expect to still have some aches by the end of day one though…
Also read: what is my horse riding experience level?
For experienced riders, there is the incredible week-long ride through the mountains of Lesotho. This ride is beyond incredible and completely unique, there is not another place in the world where you get to experience such impressive mountains, nature, and complete silence. You barely ever see another human during this week, and you ride from place to place every second day. You and your horse will tackle all sorts of terrain, and you need to be experienced and riding fit to have a great time on this horse riding holiday. Accommodation is basic and authentic, in rural, small village huts, and it’s comfortable. There is, however, no electricity until the sixth day, and hot water might be scarce, that’s all part of the experience though! You will cross rivers, gallop over the wide open plains, and climb mountain ranges you never thought would be possible. The horses are superstars in navigating this sort of terrain as they all grew up in the mountains. After the first mountain and river crossing, you’ll realise you can trust your sturdy steed with your life. You ride through national parks, encounter local wildlife, see ancient bushman painting, and you and your horse are totally alone in the wilderness of Lesotho. This horse riding holiday is the dream for any adventurer.
Also read: horse riding in the Drakensberg
You can contact me to book your horse riding adventure in Lesotho and I am more than happy to answer any questions you might have. I highly recommend booking your horse riding holiday during African summer, so between December and March. You will be surrounded by thriving flora and fauna, and the temperatures are pleasant as you’re at quite an elevation. I have guided this ride for a few years and know all the ins and outs, and also that this is such an incredible experience for anyone who loves horses! In the future, we might even do a meet-up right here in Lesotho as well. Sign up for my newsletter below to be the first to find out about upcoming meet-ups around the world!
If you are interested in joining me for a horse riding meet-up in the Kingdom in the Sky, please let me know and we’ll plan one!
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