Offbeat ride summary
Offbeat riding safaris are perhaps the most exciting in all of Africa, and participants need to be competent riders to maximise their enjoyment. Safaris can be tailored to the requirements of a small group, however the normal format is for guests to join a set departure safari on itineraries that extend to 10 days. Two of these days are usually spent relaxing at Deloraine, the owner’s sumptuous colonial mansion near Rongai, and the remainder riding through either the Mara plains or the Laikipia plateau in northern Kenya. The Mara offers wide open plains and quantities of plains game unrivalled anywhere else in the world – rides normally begin from a delightful campsite beneath the Loita Hills and finish on the banks of the Mara River over one hundred miles distant. Some days call for early starts and long rides, on others guests use the campsite as a base from which to explore the surrounding landscape. Nights are spent under canvas in comfortable tents, and guests are served exceptionally good food by uniformed waiters. Although riding with Offbeat is both challenging and strenuous, every concession to guest’s comfort is made at camp, including hot water bottles, piping hot bush showers, ice cold cocktails, and an efficient laundry and shoe cleaning service.
Please click on the play button below to watch the stunning film clip to get a feel for the amazing experience of an Offbeat riding safari:
Offbeat also organise rides of a similar nature through the vast and remote Laikipia plateau in the north, where the wildlife is equally diverse, if not evident in such numbers as the plains further south. In 2004 Offbeat Safaris and Wild and Exotic collaborated to pioneer a third and equally exciting destination through Amboseli National Park close to the border with Tanzania. All safaris are lead by either the owner, Tristan Voorspuy, or one of his experienced and charismatic guides.
We offer four riding itineraries with Offbeat Safaris. The Mara ride is our most popular itinerary however there is also a Laikipia (Northern) ride and an exciting safari in the Amboseli National Park. We also offer a new seven or five day ride from and returning to Sosian Lodge in Laikpia. Please see the four separture itinerary tabs for more information including prices and departure dates.
Also, do contact us to discuss the detail of either Offbeat programme – we will be delighted to assist in the planning of your adventure, and having done several riding safaris in both locations, are eminently qualified to advise and help.
Wild and Exotic sample itinerary for Offbeat 8 night Mara ride & 2 nights Deloraine
Day 1: This morning you will be collected from Nairobi airport and transferred to Wilson airport for a charter or scheduled flight to Naibosho, a stunning flight over the fertile Kikuyu Highlands and the volcano studded floor of the Great Rift Valley. On arrival you will be met by your guide and transferred by vehicle to campsite, which is situated besides a small stream that flows beneath a grove of acacia trees, is located at the southern edge of the Loita Plains at Olare Lamun (meaning ‘the rhino salt lick’). The accommodation is in roomy twin bedded tents, complete with bedside table and personal washbasin and mirror outside. After lunch, there should be time for an evening ride. Dust from the journey is washed off underneath a piping hot bush shower. Dinner is served in the mess tent or underneath the stars besides a blazing campfire. Overnight Olare Lamun.
Day 2: Wake to the magical sounds of an African dawn, and the reassuring tinkle of hot water being poured into the washbasin outside your tent. Enjoy a delicious breakfast in the early morning sunlight before preparing for a full days ride in this remote area. Your horse will be presented to you fully tacked up and you have opportunity to ride across vast plains, populated by giraffe, gazelle, hartebeest, impala, wildebeest and zebra. This evening enjoy a hot shower before relaxing with a cold drink, as a prelude to a superb three-course dinner. Overnight Olare Lamun.
Day 3: Today is the first moving day and the longest ride of the trip, a journey of some 50 kilometres through acacia thickets, hidden valleys and huge savannah plains. As the day continues the ride encounters an increasing quantity of game on the fringes of the Mara River ecosystem, which is home to zebra, topi, giraffe, wildebeest, gazelle, elephant and buffalo as well as big cat predators. The riding is broken for a picnic lunch and siesta in a suitably shady location. The campsite for the next three nights is located on the edge of the Masai Game Reserve besides the Olare Orok Lugga (meaning ‘fig tree salt lick’). Shortly before arriving at the campsite the ride reaches a plateau from whose vantage can be seen the far away plains of Tanzania’s Serengeti wilderness in one direction, and the distant outline of the Loita Hills in the other. Whilst camping besides the Olare Orok Lugga, there will also be the chance to walk up the Olare Orok where guests can enjoy a refreshing swim in a deep, cool pool. At night both lion and hyena may be heard from besides the campfire. Overnight Olare Orok.
Day 4 & 5: The next two days are spent riding, walking and driving in search of game. There is the opportunity to ride out from campsite early every morning, or you may prefer to relax in bed and enjoy a late breakfast. There is the option of driving into the game park for some photographic opportunities. Whilst driving through a corner of the reserve you may see other vehicles for the first time. This is because the riding part of the itinerary operates beyond the confines of the Game Reserve, and therefore avoids any tourist activity. By taking to vehicles guests are provided with astonishing photographic opportunities, as it is possible to get close to larger game in absolute safety. An absence of Game Park restrictions also allows your guide to take you out by night on fascinating spotlighting expeditions to witness the astonishing nocturnal activities of the wildlife. Overnight Olare Orok.
Day 6: Another moving day. We head west across the Mara plains and reach the Mara River on the Park boundary. We hopefully ford the river (unless in complete flood) at one of the famous wildebeest crossings then head south west across the Mara Triangle where we have our well deserved picnic lunch, before ascending the Soit Olololol Escarpment to reach our camp in the forest glade overlooking the whole Mara ecosystem. Eventually reaching the summit of the Sira Escarpment to enjoy breathtaking views across Africa, including the faint outline of the Loita Hills where the ride began. Overnight Soit Olololol Escarpment.
Day 7: Today we ride south west along the top of the escarpment enjoying glorious views to the east before descending the escarpment on foot along a rocky cattle track and have a picnic lunch under some acacias at its foot. After lunch we ride back through the Mara Triangle below the escarpment before ascending on a game trail, where bachelor buffalo herds are a feature. Overnight Soit Olololol Escarpment.
Day 8: We descend the escarpment again and ride across to the same wildebeest crossing on the river. We head in a north westerly direction and after lunch find our final campsite set up on the banks of the Mara River After a relaxing afternoon an evening ride is a last opportunity to see Africa’s game from the back of a horse, before returning to the campsite for a final night under canvas. Here the waters boil with the activities of a huge resident hippo population, and as guests enjoy dinner, their raucous grunting permeates the night air. Overnight Mara River.
Day 9: Today you say goodbye to the bush, and after breakfast begin the journey back to Deloraine, the headquarters of Offbeat Safaris. If the group is sufficiently large the return to Deloraine may be by private charter flight; this decision is at our discretion. The drive passes through several fascinating African villages, as well as the green tea growing area of Kericho, where you will enjoy a picnic lunch, arriving at Deloraine in time for tea. Deloraine is a magnificent colonial mansion surrounded by mature gardens, complete with swimming pool and croquet lawn. Cocktails on the veranda are followed by dinner served in the spacious dining room.
Day 10: Enjoy an early morning ride into the hills behind Deloraine, and then visit Lake Nakuru or Bogoria with a picnic lunch. Nukuru is famous for its healthy flamingo population, as well as an abundance of other game including rhino, leopard and buffalo. The journey to Nakuru takes less than an hour, and is broken by a visit to the market place where there is the chance to bargain for souvenirs, or just soak up the bustle of this busy African town. You will return to Deloraine for a relaxed farewell dinner in the evening. Overnight Deloraine.
Day 11: There is the chance of a final ride this morning, or you may prefer to relax in the comfortable surroundings of Deloraine, and enjoy the swimming pool and gardens. Before leaving for Nairobi, guests are served a delicious lunch and are transferred by vehicle in the afternoon in time to check-in for the evening flight home.
Notes: Please note that the itinerary may be run in reverse starting with a two night stay at Deloraine, however the usual itinerary is 2 nights Olare Lamun, 3 nights Olare Orok, 2 nights Soit Ololol Escarpment, 1 night Mara River, 2 nights Deloraine to finish.
The price includes all food, accommodation and beverages as described in the fact sheet, plus all domestic flights and transfers, but not international flights. Please contact Wild and Exotic Ltd by telephone 01439 748401 or email email@example.com for latest availability, current prices and booking forms. 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 will be enclosed with your booking form.
Wild and Exotic sample itinerary for the Offbeat Laikipia Ride
Day 1: You will be collected either from Jomo Kenyatta Airport or your Nairobi hotel and driven across the famous Rift Valley to Deloraine, a fabulous colonial mansion built by Lord Francis Scott a prominent settler and politician in Kenya, and now the headquarters of your hosts, Tristan and Lucinda Voorspuy. You will arrive in time for lunch, with a choice of walking, riding, swimming, tennis and croquet available afterwards – or you may prefer to unwind besides the pool with a cold drink. Dinner and overnight Deloraine.
Day 2: Enjoy an early morning ride into the hills behind Deloraine, and then visit Lake Nakuru or Bogoria with a picnic lunch. The journey to Nakuru takes less than an hour, and is broken by a visit to the market place where there is the chance to bargain for souvenirs, or just watch the bustle of this busy African town. Nakuru is famous for its healthy flamingo population, as well as an abundance of other game including black and white rhino, leopard and buffalo. You will return to Deloraine for a three-course dinner in the evening.
Day 3: Drive from Deloraine, via Nakuru, Thompson Falls and Rumuruti to Sosian Ranch. This is a fascinating journey through African villages, farmland and bush. The delightful and secluded campsite besides the Ewaso Narok River is reached in time for a late lunch, after which there is an opportunity to enjoy an afternoon ride or game drive before dinner. Sosian is a stunning wilderness property recently purchased by a consortium of friends, including the owners of Offbeat Safaris. Although there is a small herd of breeding cattle, camel and sheep on the ranch, most of Sosian’s 24,000 acres are given over to indigenous wildlife including healthy populations of elephant, buffalo, giraffe, lion and leopard. Overnight Sosian.
Day 4: Today you will be woken at dawn for a magical ride across Sosian ranch, and possible encounters with elephant, buffalo and other game. Return to campsite for a delicious breakfast of fresh fruit, porridge and cream followed by a bacon, sausages and eggs. Afterwards head out in a specially adapted land rover for further game viewing, and the opportunity to get even closer to the big herds of elephant that populate this beautiful ranch. Lunch today is a leisurely affair, taken on your return to campsite during which the wine flows freely, and discussions centre on the morning’s adventures. Following an afternoon siesta, enjoy sundowners besides the Ewaso Narok River a few miles downstream from campsite. Here the waters plunge dramatically off the edge of an escarpment into a deep pool to create a delightful swimming spot – the adventurous can leap off the rocks into the cool waters some thirty feet below. Nocturnal game can be picked out by spotlight en route to dinner back at campsite. Overnight Sosian campsite.
Day 5: Today is a moving day, and you leave camp after breakfast for the five hour ride to Loisaba, although frequent detours may be necessary in order to avoid disturbing herds of big game that favour the dense scrub through which you pass. Lunch is taken under the shady veranda at Il Penguin ranch, the charming home of Nick and Heather Day, before riding on across Loisaba ranch and arriving at a delightful campsite set up beneath a stand of tall yellow fever trees. The nearby dam is a favoured place for lions to congregate, especially in the dry season when the surrounding environs are much favoured by other game needing access to water. After dinner explore Loisaba by spotlight from the safety of a land rover, and watch nocturnal animals such as the African wildcat, striped hyena and aardwolf. Overnight Loisaba campsite.
Day 6: Today is spent exploring some of Loisaba’s sixty thousand acres of wilderness, beginning with an exciting early morning ride before the temperatures heat up, and game has not yet settled down into thicker scrub for the day. Expect to find elegant reticulated giraffe, distinguished by the clean white lines that separate their rich chestnut markings, rare Grevy’s zebra with bulb-like ears, and perhaps a lithe cheetah bitch accompanied by her cubs, as well as impala, Thompson’s and Grant’s gazelle, kudu, Oryx and other plains game. After a couple of hours return for the usual substantial breakfast, and then depart by land rover for the Ewaso Ngiro River, where your guide will select a suitable place for swimming and a late barbeque lunch. As succulent lamb chops are prepared over the fire, enjoy a refreshing dip in the swirling waters, and then relax with an ice cold cocktail before sitting down to a magnificent lunch of meat, salads and quiches. On the way home search for game from the comfort of your land rover, and perhaps enjoy an encounter with one of Loisaba’s resident lion prides. Overnight Loisaba Campsite.
Day 7: Today you ride to the next campsite on Mpala ranch, owned by George Small, who has bequeathed the property to the Smithsonian Institute in perpetuity. This is a long journey of some forty miles through a richly varied landscape of hidden green valleys, sweeping escarpments, wide-open planes and thick scrubland where the cruel wait-a-bit thorn lies in ambush to tear and pluck at the unwary. After riding for an hour or so, breast the summit of a small rise and look out over miles of untouched wilderness to the twin peaks of your destination – the Mpala campsite – shimmering in the heat haze way out on the sunlit plains that stretch interminably ahead. On a clear day it may be possible to make out the silhouette of Mt Kenya peering through the clouds that roll in to cloak the mountain each dawn. Before reaching the Ewaso Narok River where you break for lunch and a welcome swim, you must first dismount from your horse and lead it down the steep Ewaso Narok escarpment on foot. When weaving through the thick thorn country beyond, expect to see huge flocks of vulturine guinea fowl taking to the wing in a shower of iridescent finery, or perhaps the shy gerenuk antelope – it stands on its hind feet to browse – or a Kudu bull disturbed from a secluded waterhole. By late afternoon you reach the charming Mpala campsite and discover tents set up besides the river on a level plain dotted with mature fever trees. Enjoy a well-earned cold drink or two before sitting down to dinner served beneath the stars. Overnight Mpala Campsite.
Day 8: This morning you leave after breakfast for a gentle five-hour ride to El Karama ranch, home of the Grant family. After weaving southwards through miles of whistling thorn and traversing part of the Segera ranch, you breast the lip of the gorgeous Suguroi lugga, a hidden valley frequently favoured by large and varied herds of game. You may have to follow your guide carefully as he circumnavigates herds of potentially dangerous cow elephants and their young, sometimes passing within metres of these ill tempered grey giants and their huge fanning ears testing the wind for noise. El Karama is reached early in the afternoon, and the Ewaso Ngiro flowing through camp provides a refreshing dip before lunch. After a siesta embark on a game drive in the cool of dusk, returning to the roaring fire of campsite in the dark. Overnight El Karama.
Day 9: This morning you set off after breakfast for the final campsite in the Loldaiga Hills, a five-hour ride eastwards across Ol Jogi, Mogwooni and Enasoit Ranches. As the ride moves into higher ground the landscape undergoes a subtle change to include magnificent cedar trees in the foothills and the paths become steeper and rockier as you climb into the mountains, until eventually the horses are picking their way up a precipitous elephant track that clings to the contours of a dramatic gorge. Lunch is taken besides a waterhole at the head of this steep valley, and from there it is an easy ride to the final campsite in the Loldaiga hills. Here the tents are pitched around on the grassy floor of a small valley surrounded by cedar forest, with peerless views across the plains to the jagged, snow capped peaks of Mount Kenya – now tantalisingly close, although the mountain was barely discernible from the safari’s starting point a week earlier on Sosian ranch. Overnight Loldaiga.
Day 10: The morning is spent exploring the lovely Loldaiga hills by land rover with game sightings that may include the rare Jackson’s Hartebeest, as well as the usual elephant, giraffe, zebra and other plains game. After breakfast the energetic may choose to climb to the top of a steep rocky kopi and gaze out across the plains towards where the safari began, before returning to campsite for lunch and then a final ride before night draws in and guests gather around the warm campfire, which dispels the chill mountain air.
Day 11: Say goodbye to this beautiful campsite and set off to Nairobi after a leisurely breakfast.
The cost of this itinerary is based on two people sharing accommodation on a full board basis for 10 days and is inclusive of all internal transfers.
Laikipia is a unique wildlife area and contains an enormous diversity of wildlife. It is famous as the last reserve of the Jackson’s Hartebeest and is home of several rare species such as the Reticulated Giraffe, Beisa Oryx, Grevy’s Zebra, Gerenuk and Somali Ostrich amongst others. In recent years landowners have turned their back on cattle ranching in favour of wildlife conservation, and even large predators such as lion and hyena are more abundant now than they were 25 years ago.
Please note that whilst the sample itinerary provides an accurate description of what you can expect to experience, campsites and itineraries are deliberately flexible in order to maximise game viewing opportunities according to the seasons and movements of game through the Laikipia region.
Wild and Exotic sample itinerary for the Offbeat Amboseli ride
This ride begins close to the border town of Namanga, and crosses through Amboseli national park en route to the Chyulu Hills away to the east, with Africa’s highest mountain, the snow capped Kilimanjaro, as a constant backdrop to your adventures. The distance in a straight line is some 90 miles, however you will cover a much greater distance exploring the bush.
Day 1: You will be collected from Nairobi international airport and driven to the first campsite at Lalahroi – meaning swamp of the buffaloes – near Namanga, stopping en route for a picnic lunch, there should be time for an evening ride before dinner. Overnight Namanga.
Day 2: Today you begin the ride towards Amboseli, heading eastwards parallel to the Tanzanian border. You are likely to see game such as giraffe, zebra, eland, gerenuk, a glimpse of a lesser kudu, impala, wildebeest, Grants and Thompson’s Gazelle on your way to the Ngorambuni rocks, where a huge boulder on top of a rocky kopje provides a cool and shaded picnic spot with panoramic views towards Amboseli. After lunch you ride across the dried up lakebed to a campsite at Soit Nado (red rocks), where your tents are pitched beneath a grove of lovely fever trees, some 200 yards from the Tanzanian border, and home for the next three nights. Overnight Soit Nado camp.
Day 3: From this base you are able to ride and drive out from camp in any direction, exploring the defunct Meerschaum mines, the extraordinary landscape of Lake Amboseli Lake, and the surrounding marshes. These provide shelter to thousands of head of game, including large herds of buffalo and the famed herds of Amboseli elephant who spend hours of their day like dinosaurs in the swamp before wandering out onto the desert like features of the lake bed with its shimmering mirage of heat haze. Overnight Soit Nado camp.
Day 4: Another morning exploring the area on horseback, perhaps crossing the border to explore the foothills of Mt Kilimanjaro. We will take a day drive into Amboseli with a barbeque lunch, so will be able to get some close up shots of big game from the landrovers. Approaching large and peaceable bull elephant of 70 lb+ tusk size per side by horse and landrover is one of the more exciting prospects from the Soit Nado area. Overnight Soit Nado camp.
Day 5: Today we move camp from Soit Nado heading northeast across the National Park, skirting the green swamps and passing large amounts of game as you canter across the lake bed, which provides near perfect going for horses without any of the dreaded aardvark holes to trap the unwary. You will break for lunch on the far side of the lake bed, and a welcome siesta beneath the shade of an acacia before riding a further 10 miles to camp at Risa, on the plains between Amboseli and the Chyulu Hills.
Day 6: The ride continues towards the Chyulu Hills, which rise from the plains to a height of 7000ft. These hills are recent volcanoes only 500,000 years old and some of the craters and lava flows are only 200 years old. This evening you will camp at the foot of a small hill, amongst beautiful groves of Balanites and Acacia Tortilis trees with craters rearing up at intervals as if the ride were passing through some kind of magical theme park. Overnight Millennium campsite.
Days 7 and 8: We will spend two full days at the Millennium camp from where we will do an early morning stalk accompanied by game scouts, to find fresh signs of the small but closely guarded black rhino population that live in the Lava flows of the Chyulus. We shall also do some game drives and take an energetic walk up Ol Donyo Sambu, one of the conical craters found towards the western end of the range. There will also of course be the opportunity for some early morning and evening rides in this stunning scenery with soft volcanic ash as great going for the horses. Overnight Millennium campsite.
Day 9: After breakfast you will fly direct to Deloraine for your final two nights in Africa. Deloraine is a fabulous colonial mansion built by Lord Francis Scott, a prominent settler and politician in Kenya, and now the headquarters of your hosts, Tristan and Lucinda Voorspuy. Here you can choose between walking, riding, swimming, tennis or croquet – or relaxing besides the swimming pool with a cold drink. Dinner and overnight Deloraine.
Day 10: Enjoy an early morning ride into the hills behind Deloraine, and then visit Lake Nakuru or Bogoria with a picnic lunch. The journey to Nakuru takes less than an hour, and is broken by a visit to the market place where there is the chance to bargain for souvenirs, or just watch the bustle of this busy African town. Nakuru is famous for its healthy flamingo population, as well as an abundance of other game including black and white rhino, leopard and buffalo. You will return to Deloraine for a three-course dinner in the evening.
Day 11: After an early last ride and breakfast we can relax in the comfortable surroundings of Deloraine, enjoy the swimming pool, gardens and attendant sports. We will leave for Nairobi after lunch by the pool by vehicle for an approx 3 hours drive on reasonable tarmac road. Arriving in time for your onward transfers as necessary.
The cost includes shared accommodation, food and drink (excluding champagne), internal transfers as mentioned in the itinerary and park fees.
The cost excludes international flights, staff tips, single supplements and visa fees. As ATOL license holders (no. 6445) we can arrange your international flights to Nairobi.
The single supplement charge will be waived for those prepared to share accommodation.
Please note that whilst the sample itinerary provides an accurate description of what you can expect to experience, campsites and itineraries are deliberately flexible in order to maximize game viewing opportunities according to the seasons and movements of game.
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 on the general information tab.
Our Sosian rides are all lodge type accommodation and especially suitable for families or guests who don’t wish to spend all day riding. These rides are very flexible and need only 2 guests to run at the published price. We ride well-schooled horses from Sosian on a journey through a stunning landscape out to Suyian Soul and the fabulous Loisaba Star beds, on to Laikipia Wilderness and then back to Sosian, guided by manager, Simon Kenyon. Guests ride for the morning only with bush breakfasts each day and lodge arrival in time for lunch. Afternoons are available for walks, game drives or simply for rest and relaxation. Every unique property offers different experiences; at Suyian the owner , who is one of Kenya’s leading botanists, offers fascination bush walks. At Loisaba we tend to go out for an evening game drive and sun downer; at Laikipia Wilderness the speciality is tracking wild dogs with Steve Carey. The shorter 5 night itinerary does not include Loisaba star beds.
Rather than just imagining what it’s like, click on the following link to view a video of the ride https://vimeo.com/151931548
Wild and Exotic sample itinerary for the Sosian ride
Day 1 – Nairobi to Laikipia: This morning you will either be collected from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, or your Nairobi hotel. You will be transferred to Wilson Domestic Airport in time for your scheduled flight with Safari Link, to Loisaba airstrip. It is approximately a 60 minute flight, depending on aircraft routing. You will be met on arrival by a representative from Sosian and transferred by road to Sosian lodge, in time for lunch. It is a very pretty 1 hour game drive with a high chance of getting your first glimpse of giraffe, plains game and even elephant.
‘Sosian’, the Samburu word for ‘Wild Date Palm’, offers luxury in the wild; ideal for those looking for a unique and intimate bush experience. The 24,000-acre private, working ranch sits on the Laikipia plateau, 80kms west of Mt Kenya, offering pure wilderness. Guests are accommodated in an elegant 1940’s farmhouse that has been beautifully renovated. The lodge sleeps 14 people with more space for children if needed and has a swimming pool, tennis court, organic vegetable garden and stable yard of 30 safari horses.
Sosian offers a huge range of activities including walking, camel safaris, game-drives, night-drives, fishing, tennis, cattle ranching, kayaking and swimming in the waterfalls behind the ranch house. However, exploring this area from horseback is an unbeatable way to experience this vast wilderness area, and this will be your main form of transport for the next 8 days!
After lunch by the pool and some time to relax and refresh you will head to the stable yard to meet your horses and have an evening ride with your guide. Overnight Sosian Lodge.
Day 2: Your days are tailored to you, but an early morning ride to a bush brunch will not disappoint. Whilst the horses cool off under an Acacia tree you can enjoy delicious home cooked food to fuel you until your next meal! Sosian is blessed with large numbers of elephant, as well as buffalo, hippo, giraffe, zebra, many antelope, plus all of the big cats. Leopard and lion sightings are regular and Sosian has also become known for its healthy populations of the endangered wild dog with excellent viewing opportunities…riding with wild dog is a rare and exciting privilege for those lucky enough to experience it. Overnight Sosian Lodge.
Day 3 – Sosian to Suyian: Leaving Sosian early we will ride in a north-easterly direction stopping for breakfast on the stunning Ewaso Narok River. Crossing the river with a couple more hours riding after breakfast, we will reach Suyian Soul, Laikipia’s ultimate ‘eco camp’. Suyian Soul is a simple, earthy camp set in a scenic paradise next to a natural spring and salt lick. The camp is owned and run by Anne Powys, whose family have been cattle ranchers in this area for nearly 100 years. Anne is also Kenya’s number one botanist and a fascinating raconteur.
The rooms are thatched open bandas with granite slab walls. The floors are also granite, covered with handmade pure wool rugs. Each room is carefully positioned for the best views and privacy, whilst being open and airy. There are no windows, but large comfortable beds with mosquito nets…you will feel real Africa whilst staying in this camp but also enjoy the luxuries of en suite bathrooms with beautifully crafted traditional safari showers and long drop loos.
After lunch we head out on foot with Anne and her guides, learning about the medicinal qualities of many plants and how they are used by the local tribes-people. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn from the best and one that we highly recommend! Overnight Suyian Soul.
Day 4 – Suyian to Loisaba: Leaving Suyian early in the morning we will head off on the horses in a northerly direction. With dramatic escarpments, exclusive valleys and expansive grasslands, Suyian offers some stunning riding country. Elephant, reticulated giraffe, ostrich, hippo, zebra, buffalo, lion and leopard, among other species are prevalent, plus large herds of oryx, eland and gazelle can be seen on the plains. With good opportunity for long canters across the plains and jumping any obstacles along the way this is a super morning of riding. Stopping for a bush breakfast on the way, we will ride onto Loisaba Conservancy, heading towards Kiboko Starbeds, in time for lunch.
Kiboko Starbeds comprise of 4 sleeping platforms designed for 1 to 2 people, plus the family platform accommodating up to 4 people. Each platform is en suite with plumbed showers and loos. The star beds are dramatically designed, handcrafted wooden raised platforms, partially covered with a thatched roof. The uniquely designed bed on wheels can either be wheeled onto the open deck area for a night under the stars, or left under the shelter of the roof. All the beds have complete ‘four-poster’ insect netting.
After a well-deserved lunch we head out on a game drive on this beautiful, wildlife rich conservancy. We can generally get closer to some species such as elephant and lion from a vehicle, than we can from the horses and it provides some very good photographic opportunities.
Returning to Kiboko for hot showers, supper and a night under the stars, this is a very special experience. Overnight Kiboko Starbeds.
Day 5 – Loisaba to Ol Donyo Lemboro: This morning we will change our direction and begin our journey back southwards. Riding through the morning we will reach our bush breakfast set up next to a shady dam where we can water the horses and enjoy a full English breakfast. After breakfast, we head back to the Ewaso Nyiro River, crossing onto Ol Donyo Lemboro Ranch and reaching Laikipia Wilderness Camp in time for lunch.
Laikipia Wilderness Camp is a small and personal bush camp, with just 5 tents for 10 guests. Each tent has its own veranda plus an en suite open-air bathroom with plumbed in hot and cold water. The camp has beautiful views of Mt Kenya and the surrounding wilderness, and blends sympathetically into this stunning area.
After lunch and an optional siesta, we can head out into the bush for a game drive and / or a walk with Steve Carey, owner and manager of Laikipia Wilderness Camp. Steve and his team are well known for tracking wild dog and such encounters on foot, are an exhilarating and thrilling experience not to be missed. Overnight Laikipia Wilderness Camp.
Day 6 – Ol Donyo Lemboro to Sosian: This morning we head off early again, into the lush and beautiful Mutara Valley. Winding our way through this ‘Garden of Eden’, following the seasonal river bed we’re likely to come across giraffe, elephant, eland and buffalo amongst others. Under the shade of a large Acacia tree, with plenty of fresh water for the horses, we’ll stop for a bush breakfast.
After breakfast, this is our last leg of the journey riding back to Sosian in time for lunch by the pool and an afternoon to relax and refresh.
You can then head out for an evening game drive or camel ride to sundowners and a bush dinner around the campfire. You may even be lucky enough to spot the ‘not-so-elusive’ leopard on the way back to the lodge for the night! Overnight Sosian Lodge.
Day 7 – Sosian Lodge: Today is entirely flexible to do as you wish. For those who wish to ride again, a morning out riding around the cross-country course is a lot of fun or if the dams are full enough, swimming with the horses is also great fun. Jumping off waterfalls, kayaking, cattle ranching, or simply taking it all in and relaxing by the pool, you can fill your day as much or as little as you want! Overnight Sosian Lodge.
Day 8 – Laikipia to Nairobi: Today is your last day and after breakfast at the lodge you will be transferred back to Loisaba airstrip in time for your scheduled Safari Link flight to Nairobi. On arrival at Wilson Airport, a representative from Offbeat Safaris (our sister company) will meet you and transfer you to the Fairview Hotel, where a dayroom has been booked for you (room only basis). Here you will have time for lunch and an afternoon to relax or go shopping in Nairobi. Later in the evening, a representative from Offbeat Safaris will pick you up from the Fairview Hotel and transfer you to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, in time for your international flight home.
Wild and Exotic fact sheet for Offbeat Safaris in Kenya
Accommodation: Spacious 10ft x 9ft sleeping tents with fly windows and built in floors. All are furnished with bedside tables, camp beds (double on request), mattresses, sheets and blankets, hot water bottles are supplied in the evenings, as are towels, soap and torches. There are gas lamps and hurricane lamps in each tent. Each double tent has its own private loo and hot showers are available at any time should you wish to clean off.
Activities: On non-moving days there is the opportunity to walk, swim and take game drives; sometimes we can arrange bird shooting. We can arrange breakfast hot air balloon rides and a trip to Lake Victoria for an extra charge and provided that Wild and Exotic receive sufficient notice. At night we take powerful spotlights and have often been rewarded with experiencing the sensational sights that normally take place under the cover of darkness.
Children: We will accept children on riding safaris but they must be competent riders. Children 11 years and under are half price.
Clothing List: A detailed clothing list is available on request, and will be sent to all participants at the time of booking. A complimentary laundry service is provided on all non-moving days and boots and shoes are cleaned daily by our staff. Participants must bring their own riding hats and ensure that they comply with our terms and conditions in respect of safety.
Distance and times: Deloraine is approximately 200kms from Nairobi (a journey of 3-4 hours by road transfer). The distance between Deloraine and the Mara is approximately 180 – 220kms depending on the route taken (a journey of approximately 45 minutes by charter flight). The plane used for the flight from Deloraine to the Mara is a 12 seater Cessna Caravan.
Drinks: All wine, beers, local spirits and sodas are included in the price, however guests are requested to make full use of their duty free allowance for any special spirits or liqueurs. As well as the International airports there is also an excellent duty free shop at Wilson domestic airport in Nairobi. Ice and lemon is supplied for drinks at all campsites.
Game: Is plentiful everywhere we conduct riding safaris, including elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard and cheetah, as well as the countless thousands of plains game that congregate in the Mara at certain times of year. Although we ride where dangerous game abounds, our guides are knowledgeable and conversant with the habits and likely reactions of the game in any situation. Guests must always obey their guide’s instructions.
How to Get There: There are daily flights from the UK to Nairobi. Unless you wish to spend a night in Nairobi (Wild and Exotic can recommend hotels and book on your behalf) you are advised to take flights that arrive into Nairobi the morning after departing London. Wild and Exotic Ltd can book discounted return fares with all major airlines flying to Nairobi as agents to ATOL license holders # 6445. A representative of Offbeat will meet you on arrival and you will be driven to join the start of the safari or transferred to your charter flight. Nairobi is three hours ahead of Greenwich meantime, so there is little adjustment required by the body clock.
Insurance: Adequate travel insurance providing cover for, but not limited to, personal injury, curtailment or cancellation of your holiday, is compulsory for all Wild and Exotic itineraries. The details of our recommended insurers are listed on all booking forms. Offbeat Safaris and Wild and Exotic Ltd both carry public liability insurance and take all possible care, however these are adventurous safaris and neither Offbeat Safaris or Wild and Exotic Ltd accept any liability for accidents that may take place on safari or elsewhere during your stay in Kenya. All guests are covered by membership of the Flying Doctor service whilst on safari. Please note that most insurance polices are invalidated unless riding hats conforming to a specific standard of safety are worn on safari.
Length of Rides: 4 – 6 hours in the saddle.
Luggage: Baggage on light aircraft must be packed in soft bags (not hard suitcases). There is a weight restriction for luggage of 15kgs per person for internal flights. Air Kenya applies an excess baggage charge per kilo over this weight restriction. Tropic Air do not have a charging policy and will only accept baggage up to 15 kilos.
Meals: Delicious full breakfasts that comprise fruit, porridge, bacon, sausages, eggs, tomatoes and fresh bread are served every morning. On moving days we meet the vehicles for picnics, otherwise lunches may be served at campsite or by barbeque over an open fire. Dinner is three courses of fresh ingredients served to us by candlelight under the stars beside a campfire. We carry dry ice and cubes, and are self sufficient for a week. Bread is baked daily on open fires and our chefs are extremely good and versatile.
Medical and safety: A medical kit is on hand in camp and in the saddle. We are in radio contact from camp with the Flying Doctor Service. Guests should take an anti malarial drug but we strongly warn from experience against the side effect of larium. There are currently no compulsory injections for visitors to Kenya.
Money: We suggest guests change US$200 on arrival and get $50 in small change Kshs.20, 50 and 100 notes. There are no opportunities to change money once you have left Nairobi and small attractive items are on sale from the Masai.
Non-Riders: We will take non-riders but this should be discussed with Wild and Exotic Ltd first. There are several days on each safari that suit non riders very well.
Power supplies: There is no access to power supply on safari except by using cigarette chargers on vehicles so guests should bring a 12 volt cigarette lighter adapter to charge cameras or videos. Camps at Mara and Meru do not have any power sockets in the tents. Sosian lodge and Deloraine have power sockets in all rooms.
Riding Ability: You should be comfortable at all paces and able to gallop out of trouble. We ride in big game country. You should be fit enough to ride between 4 and 6 hours a day.
Single Supplement: Is only charged for those who are not prepared to share accommodation.
Size of the Rides: Minimum of 4 and maximum of 12 guests on set departures.
Tack: English. Various saddles, polo, wintec, French trekking and Australian stock. Mainly snaffle bridles.
Terrain: Most of the rides in Masai land and the Northern ranches are on open savannah (black cotton soil) interspersed with bush. They are short grass plains ideal for riding. Care must be taken for aardvark holes, but canters and gallops are taken across the open spaces, where it is often possible to experience the unique sensation of galloping amongst herds of game numbering thousands of animals.
Tipping: This is a present from the heart and guests should only tip if they are happy with the service provided. There are no hard and fast rules, but US$10 is a rough guide. Tips are collected by the guide in any denomination you wish and distributed evenly amongst the staff.
Type of Horses: Well schooled thoroughbred and thoroughbred cross. Many are home bred out of the Voorspuy’s best mares and are used as polo ponies. They are responsive, tough and fit, capable of jumping bush obstacles, swimming rivers and galloping besides wildebeest.
Types of Safari: We operate riding and landrover safaris from our luxury mobile-tented camps in remote areas. All are supported by lorry and a full complement of trained and attentive staff. Riding safaris are always accompanied by landrovers, which drive ahead using a completely different route taken by the horses to prepare the new campsites. These vehicles are used for game drives, particularly with spotlights at night.
Visas: All UK visitors require a visa. Visas can be purchased from the Visa counter at Arrivals in the airport, or visas can be applied for online http://kenyahighcom.org.uk/wp-content/themes/kenyahighcom/forms/Form-22-Application-for-Visas.pdf. Visa processing time after application and payment is seven days, and is US$50.
Weather: There is no winter or summer, as we are so close to the Equator. There are two rainy seasons November and April to May. The hottest months are February and March, September and October but there are no hard and fast rules on this. We ride at an average of 5500ft. This makes for a cool climate, and also means there are very few mosquitoes and other biting insects.
Weight Limit: There is a weight limit of 210lbs or 95kgs.
Kenya general information and map
Getting there: Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta international airport is the hub of East African air transport, and it has connections to most European cities. The flying time to Nairobi is approximately 9 hours from London.
Time: GMT plus three hours
Try not to miss: The Masai Mara for breath-taking vistas and unrivalled game viewing opportunities that reach a peak during the migration of plains game and attendant predators between late July and mid September. Wild and Exotic have a selection of camps and lodges chosen for location and style of management that will ensure you are up close and personal with the action. A short distance away lies Lake Victoria, where the attractions include fishing for huge Nile perch and searching for the rare roan antelope in Ruma National Park. The beautiful Chyulu Hills also stand within the Mara ecosystem, close to Amboseli National park where large herds of elephant roam the plains against the backdrop Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro, just across the border in Tanzania.
The northern plateau of Laikipia sits beneath Africa’s second highest mountain, Mt Kenya, and is home to vast private and exclusive wildlife reserves where the visitor can enjoy fly camping, walking and camel safaris. Meru National Park is another far from the beaten track destination in Northern Kenya where we work with two fabulous lodges in pristine wilderness settings. For the adventurous we recommend a visit to the Northern Frontier District and Lake Turkana – otherwise known as the Jade Sea – and the Chalbi Desert, remote and wonderful destinations for the intrepid traveller.
After the excitement of the bush we recommend a stay beside the Indian Ocean, where deep sea fishing, diving, snorkelling, diving, and other water sports await the energetic. In our opinion the best Indian Ocean destinations in Kenya are to be found on the less populated and beautiful northern coastline close to Lamu, where we represent a handful of stunning and exotic hotels.
Visas: All UK visitors require a visa. From September 2015 these can only be applied for online http://kenyahighcom.org.uk/wp-content/themes/kenyahighcom/forms/Form-22-Application-for-Visas.pdf. Visa processing time after application and payment is seven days, and is US$50.
Weather: July, August and September are considered the best times to visit Kenya. June, November, December, January, February and March are also good times to visit. There are short rains in November, and long rains in April and May.
Why Kenya: It is often said that Kenya has been spoilt by mass tourism, and it is true that certain areas have suffered from exploitation. However Wild and Exotic have identified scores of remote and exclusive lodges in many different regions of Kenya, where the timeless beauty of this country remains as captivating and wild as ever. Few countries in Africa can match her extraordinarily diverse landscape that includes the fertile plains of the Masai Mara and the Rift Valley, arid deserts in the North, Lakes Turkana and Victoria, the snow capped peak of Mt Kenya, and the azure blue Indian Ocean. The standards of service and guiding are consistently high throughout Kenya’s national parks and there is no better country in the world in which to view Africa’s wildlife at its magnificent best.
‘I can’t say enough good about Tristan and his “gang”. Such good horses, company and we were treated like royalty. I really appreciated his laid back attitude so we didn’t have to feel like children in boarding school. Accompanied, of course by his years of experience reading the animals. Please feel free to use me for a recommendation in the future. Thanks again for your help putting this trip together’
“Tristan was even better than I had been led to believe.”
“The trip was fabulous. Tristan is a wonderful, safe guide. I have told my friends about it all and hope some of them can join at a future date. Thank you so much for helping me with all the details.”
“I had a wonderful holiday – it was such a pleasure to be somewhere where we could just have fun.”
“I think we all had a great time & Tristan was on v. good form as always. The problem is how can you improve on his Mara ride? Many thanks for all your help.”
“Our safari in Africa exceeded our wildest expectations! Tristan was the best guide and host that we could have ever asked for. The entire staff worked endlessly to keep everyone happy. I would recommend this trip to anyone who has a love of horses and nature at its finest. I can’t thank you enough. I will take these memories to my grave and if I can ever do it again, I wouldn’t hesitate for a moment.”
“It was a magnificent holiday and one which has had a profound effect on me. I had some idea of what it would be like from Ralph and from seeing photos of previous safaris, but it never really tells you what it is like. We loved our weekend at Deloraine and the safari was wonderfully organised.”
“The holiday was fantastic and all the organization ran like clockwork.”
“We are still coming back down to earth from our trip….but suffice to say for now it was just incredible!!!! Offbeat were brilliant and the whole experience was one we will never forget. We have already recommended the trip to some friends. It exceeded our expectations which were already high so thanks to all involved in a truly unforgettable safari. An experience of a lifetime!”
“The holiday was amazing from start to finish. Could not fault it, loved every minute. Thank you for all your patience sorting us lot out, couldn’t have been an easy task! Thank you once again.”