Our Story

In 2017 Varden Safaris relocated and Ride Zimbabwe was born.

Still operating under the same principles and ideals of Varden Safaris, Ride Zimbabwe now operates in new riding areas which include Matobo National Park and Cawston Wildlife Estate in Matabeleland. These areas are easily accessible from the major tourism hubs of Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park and Bulawayo.  If you love horses, adventure and the great outdoors there is truly no better way to discover Africa than on the back of one of our beautiful safari horses.

Ride Zimbabwe is owned and operated by James Varden, a well-known and respected Professional Zimbabwean Safari Guide and his wife Janine.   Janine grew up in Australia where her love of animals and horses began.  She worked for many years as a Jillaroo on a sheep and cattle farm and then at Werribee Open Range Zoo in Melbourne, Victoria as a Keeper before meeting James and moving to Zimbabwe to create their dream of providing guests with a truly incredible safari experience.

James and Janine both have strong backgrounds in conservation having spent more than 15 years’ operating Horse Riding Safaris in the Mavuradonha Wilderness in the north of Zimbabwe, being involved in many conservation projects to help preserve wildlife and support local communities.    Janine and James firmly believe and know through their experience that wildlife and their habitats will continue to suffer without the benefit of community involvement.

Some major ways communities can benefit from living in harmony with wildlife is through Tourism.   Tourism provides employment, spinoff arts and crafts, conservation education in the local schools by Tourism Operators and exposure of local communities to many cultures through visits of international guests to name a view.  However, our biggest conservation achievement to date has been working for many years with Local Government to grant Mavuradonha Wilderness full National Heritage Status and protection by National Monuments and Museums which has led to an application for World Heritage listing for the area with UNESCO.

Ride Zimbabwe under its Varden Safaris brand was proud to have been featured as one the most ecologically sustainable camps in Africa for the Mavuradonha Wilderness in the independent audit of camps for the book “Africa’s Finest” (David Bristow & Colin Bell Published 2013 by Green Safari Pty Ltd)

In our new riding areas, Ride Zimbabwe will continue to strive and work to find new and innovative ways to make significant contributions to the conservation of both wildlife and their habitat as well as to local communities in Zimbabwe for the benefit of all to help preserve this truly remarkable part of Africa.    

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