Homoki Lodge ride summary
The Homoki Lodge is situated in the Puszta in South Hungary, a landscape in the heart of Europe and a place where two Austrians fell in love. Not far from the spa of Mórahalom, Birgit and Oliver Christen have created a boutique hotel where this feeling is reflected as well in their great love of detail. As for their knowledge of style, their credentials are tip-top: he is an architect, she an art historian; both grew up in Vienna, travelled far, and for many years have been partners in both life and business.
Incidentally, Homoki means sandy in Hungarian, a tribute to the ground forming the never-ending stretches of this prairie, once settled by the Magyars galloping from the faraway steppes of Asia. The ebony blackness of the star-spangled sky has never changed since.
When joining a Wild and Exotic Homoki Lodge ride you will ride in the Southern Puszta or Great Plain which lies between the Danube and Tisza Rivers. Just to the south is Serbia and the largest city in the region, Szeged, is an important artistic and cultural centre. The sandy soils of the Puszta are divided into small farms and broken up by pine, poplar and acacia forests, steppe, lakes and meadows. People still farm in the old way, producing meats, vegetables, fruit and wine for their own and their neighbours’ consumption. This is still a landscape of subsistence farming, a way of life which has been wiped out in many places in Europe.
Hungary is an equestrian nation, the original Magyar tribes arrived on horseback in the 10th century, and since then horses have played an important role in Hungarian life. Riding on the Southern Great Plain will be a different experience to riding at home. The flat landscape is criss-crossed with long sandy tracks which allow you to explore this rural idyll without gates to open or fences to hinder your progress. You can trot and canter for several kilometres at a time, you will be surprised at how quickly your horse covers the distances. The pace is mixed and generally the riding is at walk, trot and canter along sandy tracks, which take you across arable farms, past lakes and through forests. When riding at speed your guide will take you to wide areas of open land where you can spread out, take your own line and allow your horse to show you what he is made of.
This is a new and exciting destination for Wild and Exotic and we are looking forward to sending clients to Homoki Lodge.
Wild and Exotic Homoki Lodge sample itinerary
The following is an outline itinerary for the Homoki Lodge Ride, although you can arrive and depart any day, below is an example of what to expect during your time at Homoki Lodge. Please note that this itinerary is merely a guideline and may change depending on local weather conditions and the riding ability of your group, but always with your best interest in mind.
Day 1: On arrival into Budapest Liszt Ferenc airport you will be met and transferred to Ruzsa, a journey of approximately 1½ to 2 hours through the Hungarian Southern Great Plain. Towards the end of this journey you will leave tarmac roads and continue on sandy tracks to the secluded farmstead of Homoki Lodge. On arrival at Homoki Lodge you will be shown to your guest room, the farm and the horses. In the evening, you will have a typical Hungarian meal accompanied by the local wine.
Day 2: A Hungarian farmers’ breakfast is a great way to start the day followed by an introductory ride to acquaint you with your horse. This first ride will give you an opportunity to experience the openness of the country; the seemingly never-ending sandy tracks, meadows and forests. You will return to Homoki Lodge for lunch, which may be out in the garden if the weather is nice. Later in the afternoon, you will gather in the living room for tea and coffee before your second ride of the day. You will ride through pine forests, acacia and poplar trees. For dinner there will be seasonal, home-made Hungarian dishes.
Day 3 & Day 4: After breakfast, you will set off on a ride which will take you past fruit plantations and small farmsteads with crops of the local speciality, Hungarian red pepper or paprika, so hot it takes your breath away! You will return to Homoki Lodge for lunch, or you may stop for lunch by the side of a lake, where a local fisherman will prepare a traditional Hungarian soup for you called ‘Halaszle’. During this afternoon’s ride, you may be lucky enough to spot the Hungarian Longhorn Cattle. In the evening you may try “Bogrács” Goulash, a Hungarian dish cooked over an open fire.
Day 5: Today you will first pass through pine and acacia forests. You might spot some of the local wildlife including hare, roe deer, fallow deer or wild boar. A picnic will be prepared for you at a remote spot in the forest. Perhaps you will have a fast ride with long canter across the rolling plains this afternoon, where the horses can show you what they are made of! This evening you will take part at a real Hungarian “Mulatsag”, celebrate with the Hungarians and listen to some local zither music. You will be amazed, how easy it is to dance the “Csardas”….
Day 6: After an early breakfast, you will set off on a long ride through the forest to the legendary ‘Rózsa Sándor Tree’ which was used by bandits in the 19th Century to hide themselves from the authorities. You will ride to a small farm museum where you will find farm tools and utensils of the past and experience a typical lunch with lard bread, sweet paprika and seasonable vegetables. After lunch you will continue your ride past a tobacco plantation and through forests of oak back to Homoki Lodge.
Day 7: Today you will be transferred to Budapest in time for your flight home.
The above is an outline itinerary for the Homoki Lodge ride, please note that this is merely a guideline and the itinerary may change depending on local weather conditions and the riding ability of your group, but always with your best interest in mind.
During the summer months, especially July, temperatures can be high and it can get too warm to ride comfortably during the middle of the day. So if there is a spell of very hot weather, rides may go out in the early morning to avoid the heat of the day, return to Homoki Lodge for lunch and ride out again later in the afternoon. You may even stop at a lake to have a cooling swim! Also, please note that our rides from mid-June to the end of August are not as fast as at other times of the year. Winter Rides (December and January) have a slightly different itinerary, with fewer hours in the saddle.
The price is of this itinerary is based on two people sharing accommodation on full board basis and is inclusive of WIFI Internet, 4- 5 hours guided riding per day, 1 bottle of water per room per night, entertainment program, and free use of all facilities at the property.
The price does not include airport transfers, carriage drives, massages, international or domestic airfares, items of a personal nature, gratuities, etc.
As ATOL license holders (#6445) we can book seats on most major airlines at competitive prices. We are able to make the booking (and fix the best price, less taxes and fuel charges) up to a year in advance with payment not normally due until 8 weeks before departure – this means that we can release your seats at anytime up until payment is due without penalty.
Please note that it is the responsibility of the client to ensure they obtain the correct visa prior to travel. British citizens do not require visas to enter Hungary but you must have a valid British passport. If you intend to stay more than 90 days, you must register with the nearest regional Immigration Office.
Neither Wild and Exotic nor the operators or suppliers can accept any responsibility for changes to itineraries or dates that may arise due to weather or unforeseen circumstances such as changes, disruptions or delays to airline flights for whatever reason. This holiday is subject to Wild and Exotic’s terms and conditions, a copy of which is available on this website under the general info tab.
Wild and Exotic Fact Sheet on Homoki Lodge
Accommodation: Homoki Lodge is a Boutique Hotel located at the Homokhatsagi Tanya-Birtok in Ruzsa and provides a 20 ha property with agricultural land. All free standing charming buildings with thick adobe walls and thatched roofs. The lodge used to be a typical farmstead and is surrounded with adjacent free-stall, vegetable cultivation, fruit orchards, nomadic animal husbandry and a gallop for racehorses..
The rooms and common areas are furnished with an eclectic mix of antiques from Hungary and across Europe.
There are two standard bedrooms, one superior room and one twin room in the main farmhouse, each with it’s own bath or shower room. There are two other rooms available in a separate guesthouse with a private terrace, approximately 20 meters away, which can also be booked on a private basis.
Activities: The southern Carpathian basin is one of the last regions in Europe without fences, with hardly any roads and very little traffic. A unique paradise for those who want to hike and enjoy a picnic in the vicinity. Also the traditional coach rides are very romantic, taking you on a leisurely trip past fruit plantations, paprika and capsicum fields, and silver-gleaming forests of poplars. Game drives are available to see the wildlife of the plains. Seasonal trips to local feasts and festivals are organized and a city trip to Szeged is worth a vist. The National Memorial Park of Opusztaszer is about 40 minutes by car and shows an informative overview of the Hungarian history.
Children: Children over the age of fourteen who are experienced riders can be accepted on rides. Alternatively families may book a private week and the riding is then tailored to the needs of the family.
Drinks: At Homoki Dine you can purchase various alcoholic and none alcoholic drinks. There are homemade seasonal juices and also fizzy drinks available. The bar provides Hungarian beer and a large assortment of local and international spirits. At meals you will always receive a recommendation of the best wine and food pairings. Please note drinks are not included in the price.
Facilities: There are no televisions at Homoki Lodge. There are board games and a library with English, German and Hungarian books available. In the garden there are lots of romantic hideaway’s to be found under the trees, an outdoor sauna and nearby an out door pool with a sand beach and comfortable garden furniture. A thatched terrace provides a cool shadow during hot summer days. Games like badminton, boulle and are skittles are also available to use any time.
Activity and relaxation keep the balance at Homoki Lodge. The sauna is fired with aromatic acacia wood, and afterwards the strong at heart can jump into the natural pool in the garden. Wild tobacco grows in the fields of the Puszta, its intensively aromatic ethereal oil is used for the massages. Another wonderful way to relax is through Carpathian salt baths, using salt won from the remained salt stepped of the Puszta. Health & Beauty treatments that do body and soul a world of good. Nearby the Thermal springs of Morahalom offer various hot pools, a sauna and a wellness area.
Getting There: Bay plane: International flights arrive into the capital, Budapest. If you have booked a transfer you are met at the airport and transferred to Csorva Tanya. Please note that these transfers are at set times. The drive south to Csorva Tanya takes between one and a half to two hours. If your arrival is early of the day, you might consider visiting Budapest in the meanwhile. Baggage can be deposited at the Airport at LOST & Found booth for an extra fee. Detailed information for meeting points, see “Arrival Information” sheet. By car: If you are making your own way, you should take the M5 motorway towards Szeged, and leave it at exit 166 (Szeged-Nyugat). After that follow country road 55 towards Baja. Between kilometer-stones 24 and 25 you will see a sign of the road for “Homokhátsági Tanya-birtok”. The sign takes you to a small sandy track which you will have to follow for about 4 km, to arrive at Csorva Tanya. On the sandy tracks just follow the little wooden signs ‘H U T’, and they will safely guide you to your destination.
To plan your journey with Google maps, our GPS coordinates are: 46°15.110′ N, 19°48.575′ E. Detailed driving directions, please see “Driving Directions” sheet.
From & to Hotel: If you already booked a hotel in Budapest, pick up and drop off can be arranged at your hotel. (There is an extra charge applicable)
Group: The maximum group size is usually six riders.
Health Information: You should obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving your home country. The EHIC is not a substitute for medical and travel insurance, but entitles you to emergency medical treatment on the same terms as Hungarian nationals. Immunisation for Tetanus is recommended. If visiting from spring to autumn (March to November), you may wish to consider immunisation for Tick Borne Encephalitis. Tick Borne Encephalitis is present in parts of Hungary, although it is not confirmed at present in the area in which you will be riding. The areas affected are around Lake Balaton and the counties of Zala, Somogy, and Vas in the west, Nógrád County in the north, and along the Danube River. The transmission season varies, but ticks are most active between early spring and late autumn. As a general precaution against ticks we recommend wearing long sleeves and long trousers when walking in grassy or forested areas and applying insect repellent to exposed skin. You should also check your body for ticks and be aware of effective tick removal methods. For specific health advice you should consult your doctor. You must inform us of any medical conditions and dietary requirements before travelling. Anyone with severe allergies, heart or respiratory conditions or any other physical limitation must consult their physician before embarking on this ride. Please note that any medical condition that is not disclosed but which in the opinion of the guide could affect your ability to ride safely may result in you being refused to ride.
Horses: The Hungarian Warm blood or Hungarian Sport horse as it is also known was developed at the Mezohegyes State Stud in Hungary. Through selective crossing out of Gidran, Kisberi, Achal Tiki, Nonius, North Star Furioso and Arabs a Warm Blood Sport horse was established. It is now used mostly as a competition horse, including disciplines such as dressage, show jumping, cross country and combined driving.
Hunting: The unspoilt and remote countryside of the South Puszta has ensured that the surroundings of the Homoki Lodge are an ideal hunting terrain. The animal stock needs regulation, hunting is a necessity in the South Puszta, and not sport. Homoki Lodge organizes battue hunts for hare, pheasant, predators, game and hide hunting of roe deer, fallow deer, wild boar, fox and gold-jackal.
In The Saddle: Expect to ride for between three and five hours per day. Stop for a picnic lunch out on the ride or at Homoki Dine restaurant. In mid-summer and on the rides at either end of the season, you may ride for a few hours in the morning, return to Homoki Lodge for lunch and ride out again in the afternoon.
Location: The Great Plain of Hungary covers some 45,000 square kilometres and makes up half of the country’s territory, but is home to only about a third of the population. Much of the area was marshy swamp until the 1920’s when there was a big drainage programme. The large drainage channels are a major feature of the landscape.
You will ride in the Southern Pluszta or Great Plain which lies between the Danube and Tisza Rivers. Just to the south is Serbia and the largest city in the region, Szeged, is an important artistic and cultural centre.
The sandy soils of the Puszta are divided into small farms and broken up by pine, poplar and acacia forests, steppe, lakes and meadows. People still farm in the old way, producing meats, vegetables, fruit and wine for their own and their neighbours’ consumption. This is still a landscape of subsistence farming, a way of life which has been wiped out in many places in Europe.
Your base is the secluded Homoki Lodge a beautifully restored traditional farmhouse. Tracks radiate in all directions across neighbouring farmland and although the land is quite flat, there is tremendous variety of scenery.
Meals: Meals are prepared at the Homoki Dine Restaurant. A former stable has been transformed into so called Agricultural Guest Table, with a spacious dining area and lounge bar. All is traditionally furnished and provides space for dancing and musical evenings. Outside there is a huge terrace with BBQ and cozy pavilions combined with a fantastic view onto the nomadic animal husbandry and the Puszta.
The dishes are traditionally rural, with use of regional products. Mangalica pigs, Racka sheep and the Hungarian steppe cattle are raised through nomadic animal husbandry and fruit and vegetables come from ecological agriculture.
Some examples from the menu: Homemade sausages, cured hams, local cheeses and whatever fruit and vegetable is in season is a feature of many meals. Marinated meat called Bodonoshus is one of the specialities. Cooking in the cauldron over an open fire, this is called Bogracs, the traditional fish soup Halaszle is prepared in this way. Vegetarian and also gluten free dishes are served on request. Fruit juices a la Masion and wines from the region complete the culinary pleasures. Drinks are not included.
The majority of ingredients are either grown at Homoki Lodge or produced locally by neighbouring farmers. Great care is taken to provide guests with delicious and authentic Hungarian meals.
Money: The currency in Hungary is the Forint (HUF). It may be useful to have a few Euros to pay tips (see below). Money can be purchased at the tellers at the airport on arrival. Should you wish to purchase anything locally there are ATM’s in Szeged and the major shops accept credit cards. Homoki Lodge and Homoki Dine are accepting Visa and MasterCard. For all open balances and purchases with a credit card a surcharge of 3% will be added. Major currencies can be exchanged at Homoki Lodge.
Passport and Visa: You must be in full possession of a valid passport to visit Hungary. Your passport should be valid for at least six months beyond your return date. EU nationals do not need a visa for Hungary. Other nationalities should check requirements before booking.
Phones & Cameras: There is fairly good mobile phone coverage in the area. Mains electricity is 230 V. You are able to charge camera batteries at the farm using a two round pin adaptor for European sockets. There is a wireless internet connection at Csorva Tanya.
Presents & Souvenirs: There is also a possibility to buy nice, hand made souvenirs produced by local craftsmen, as well as food products and tailor made national costumes. For these you can pay in a currency of your choice, but at the property credit cards cannot be accepted.
Riding: Hungary is an equestrian nation. The original Magyar tribes arrived on horseback in the 10thn Century, and since then horses have played an important role in Hungarian life. Riding on the Southern Great Plain may be a different experience to riding at your home. The flat landscape is criss-crossed with long sandy tracks which allow you to explore this rural idyll without gates to open or fences to hinder your progress! You can trot and canter for several kilometres at a time; you will be surprised at how quickly your horse covers the distances. The pace is mixed. Generally the riding is at walk, trot or canter along sandy tracks which take you across arable farms, past lakes and through forests. When riding at speed, your guide will take you to wide areas of open land where you can spread out, take your own line and allow your horse to show you what he is made of.
Riding Ability: The horses are fit and strong and you can expect a lot of fast riding on this holiday, so you should be an experienced and confident rider to get the most from this trip. You must also be sufficiently experienced to control a forward going horses at speed in open spaces. The horses are Hungarian Warm bloods of approximately 16hh and are ridden unshod. They are most suited to confident riders who have had experience of riding at speed over a variety of terrain. Please note that the riding is much slower during the summer months of July and August and intermediate riders can also be accepted during this time. If a rider prefers to go a slower pace to enjoy the nature and wildlife, the group will be divided and met at a later point again to continue the ride together.
Riding environment: You will ride in the Southern Puszta or Great Plain which lies between the Danube and Tisza Rivers. Just to the south is Serbia and the largest city in the region, Szeged, is an important artistic and cultural centre. The sandy soils of the Puszta are divided into small farms and broken up by pine, poplar and acacia forests, steppe, lakes and meadows. People still farm in the old way, producing meats, vegetables, fruit and wine for their own and their neighbours’ consumption. This is still a landscape of subsistence farming, a way of life which has been wiped out in many places in Europe. Tracks radiate in all directions across neighbouring farmland and although the land is quite flat, there is tremendous variety of scenery.
Tack: Most of the tack is English but there are some Western, South African Trail and Australian Stock saddles also available. Guests may not assist with tacking up. We recommend that guests wear a properly fitted hard hat at all times when around the horses.
Tips: Tips are not expected but much appreciated if you feel the service has been exceptional. We recommend around 10 Euros per night which is split out amongst the staff. (You can also pay in Forint if you prefer)
Transfers: If you like, you can be met at the airport and transferred to Homoki Lodge. The drive south to Homoki Lodge takes between one and a half to two hours. Transfers to and from the centre of Budapest can be booked as well. Please note transfers are not included in the price.
Weather: Southern Hungary has a temperate Continental climate and each season brings its own colours, crops and weather patterns. Spring is a lovely time to visit this part of the country; wild flowers adorn the meadows and you will likely see some of the area’s wildlife. Summer can be hot, but the sunshine brings plenty of crops to the fields, lush green meadows and wonderful arrays of locally-grown vegetables and fruit. This season is for people who like Mediterranean weather and adore the sun. Autumn on the Puszta brings pleasant day-time temperatures, harvest time and the forests turn into pools of reds and golds as the Autumn colours take hold. Winters are usually dry and cold. Around Christmas time you can usually expect snow which creates a magical landscape and beautiful wintry vistas.
Weight limit: The weight limit is 95kg (approximately 14 stone 13lbs), although there are only two weight carrying horses available.