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Jane experiences one of Kenya’s top riding safaris in Amboseli – January, 2011

“Can I justify travelling to Africa for just one week?” “Isn’t that rather a lot of money for one holiday?” “Won’t I be tired after travelling?” Having returned from a fantastic week in Kenya, the client that I travelled with said it was the best riding holiday he’d had (and he’s been on quite a few in both Africa and South America) and that it was well worth every penny.

We flew out of an icy cold London late at night to land in brilliant blue sunshine just eight hours later. The trip was to celebrate a special birthday and had been planned to minimise the time spent travelling. By lunchtime we were enjoying the most amazing Italian food at Tortilis Camp in Amboseli. That evening we saw lions and enjoyed sun-downers in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro. Whilst it can’t be guaranteed, Tortilis delivered on my request that we should wake up to spectacular views of the mountain the next morning: you’re entitled to have a few extra minutes in bed and feel a bit smug when you’ve previously stood on the summit at 5,895metres!

Zulu Ride KenyaThe following afternoon, our horses selected, we were in the saddle, looking for logs to jump right from the off! Ride Kenya operate tented trail rides in the Chyulu Hills and in Amboseli , as well as daily rides from Ol Donyo Lodge. Amboseli is the premier trail for those who have ridden with them before and are experienced riders. The open, sandy terrain is excellent for face paced riding, with long distances placing demands on both horse and rider.

The chef prepared the most amazing cuisine over just a camp fire. He’s very young and ambitious, having started out as a camp porter just a few years ago. He spent his most recent leave working in one of Nairobi’s top restaurants, and the variety and creativity of his food was quite remarkable. The grooms are friendly, caring and even bring your horses, all saddled up and ready to depart, directly to the breakfast table – time then for one more hot cookie?

There were magnificent views of Kilimanajaro every day, and this safari was made special by a combination of scenery, riding, impeccable logistics and great company. On the one hand the week flew by, on the other it felt a complete break from the UK winter. Another safari made in heaven. Particular thanks to Zulu – the second fastest horse on the ride!