with James Varden



Ride Zimbabwe combines the thrill of an African safari with the pleasure of horse-riding, and is a great way to enjoy the beautiful landscapes and get close to the wonderful wildlife in a quiet, natural and unobtrusive way. Animals such as antelope, giraffe, zebra and wildebeest, even elephant and buffalo, and other non-predatory plains game, simply see horses as other similar four-legged creatures sharing their environment, and take little notice of their human riders on top.

On a Ride Zimbabwe horseback safari, you can stroll right up to a giraffe as it feeds in the acacia woodlands and trot across a grassy plain alongside a family of warthog, or let your horse munch grass near a herd of zebra or watch a herd of sable go to drink at a waterhole. These are magical moments that you just cannot experience in a regular game-viewing vehicle, which additionally have noisy engines and are often full of other people, and must stick to only the marked roads and tracks in wildlife areas.

Our special horses at Ride Zimbabwe are permitted to go absolutely anywhere, and you and your affectionate steed can explore beautiful wildernesses shared only with the grazing herds. Other advantages of safaris on horseback over vehicle safaris is that horses have finely-tuned senses to send signals to other game animals in the area to relax, and of course as a rider you are higher up so have the benefit of being able to see quite a distance across the African landscape.

Ride Zimbabwe operates multi-day horseback safaris for experienced riders in some incredible destinations, carefully chosen for both their scenic beauty and prolific game. We are based at Umguza outside of Bulawayo in Matabeleland in central Zimbabwe and run our safaris in the riding areas of Hwange National Park, Cawston Wildlife Estate, and Matobo National Park (CURRENTLY SUSPENDED DUE TO COVID) These are easily accessible from both Victoria Falls and Bulawayo airports and transfers are available, and there are many great add-on possibilities in this region too, including a visit to the world-famous Victoria Falls. THOUGH THE ULIMATE ADD ON FOR ACTIVE AND ADVENTUROUS RIDERS IS A CANOE AND WALKING SAFARI IN MANA POOLS.

We provide an exclusive and personal experience in the saddle with superbly-schooled horses and dedicated and highly-trained Zimbabwean guides, blended with mobile, ecologically-sound wilderness camps and selected fully-serviced lodges. Then there are the delicious home-cooked meals enjoyed in the bush and tranquil evenings sitting around the campfire sharing the day’s riding stories. If you love horses, adventure and the great outdoors, there is truly no better way to discover Africa than on a Ride Zimbabwe horseback safari.


Our Riding Safaris

In August this year, Ride Zimbabwe was chuffed to host ex-African Horse Safaris Operator, Louise Carelsen from Limpopo Valley Horse Safaris in Botswana, Louise is now living in America with her husband Cor and their two boys. To read about her ride with us, please click here.

Horse and Hippo Safari

This is the best combination of active and adventurous safari styles…incorporating riding, walking and canoeing. This is the safari for adventurers! Experience the best of horse riding safari and then the Mighty Zambezi!

Plains Game Extravaganza

This eight-day safari will allow you to experience the best of the Matobo hills, a UNESCO world heritage site, as well as enjoying the wildlife and tranquillity of Cawston Wildlife Estate. Mounted on fit, well-trained, and bush-savvy horses you will scramble around kopjes, walk with wildlife, or canter into the sunset. 

Kevan Zunckel, South Africa

This is a very special place run by very special people. Thanks James and Janine for a great stay. I sincerely hope I will be able to come back for much longer stay. Well done, for a well run and sustainable operation. All the best for the future and all your ideas and projects.

Kim, San Francisco, USA

James and Janine this is such and extraordinary place – I feel incredibly fortunate to have discovered it. Thank you for your warmth and hospitality and for all you are doing to the preserve the beauty and the wildlife. I can’t wait to tell everyone – well the right everyone’s!

Jonathan and Barbara, Harare

We had a lovely 4 days of high expansive views across flatlands and mountain peaks and fun swimming at Otter Pools. We loved the horse riding to Raffia Palms Oasis and sundowners up the Mountain. Many thanks to Nesbit, as energetic as a teenager and always ready to share his knowledge of the bush. The kids felt they had entered paradise and indeed it is.

Sarah and Mark, UK

Many thanks for a wonderful – week! So many amazing places and wonderful sights – what a relief the elephant went the other way… Fantastic hospitality and wonderful food too. This is a very special place – long may it last. Extra special thanks to your brave and clever horses, who did not falter through the rugged terrain – we will definitely recommend you!

Dawn and Liz, UK

Words don’t do what we have just experienced justice. We have been privileged enough to have spent 6 days riding over 140km from Hwange Main Camp to Somalisa Expeditions on wonderful, well cared after horses, being looked after all the way by our expert guides, James and John. The ride covered a variety of terrain and was mind blowing knowing all along we were riding horses that were enjoying their time as much as we were! We could fill this book with our experiences but as you will find out you will have your own. Thank you to Janine who doesn’t stop working to ensure every part of the safari was perfect!

Thank you James, Janine, John, all the grooms and the wonderful chef Stanley who restored our energy levels. Finally we need to mention Kabul and Government who were exceptional safari horses!

We don’t want to leave but we are leaving with memories the will last forever and new found friends!

Wishing you all the luck that your hard work, perseverance and dear love of horses deserve!!!

Love Dawn & Liz