South Africa

See rhino, zebras and wildebbest in the Waterberg and watch polo on the Cape, where Kurland is the polo head quarters of South Africa.

The Waterberg is malaria free and hottest in January / February. In the winter (our summer), you get clear skies and clod nights but warm days in the mid to high 20s.

  • Ant’s Nest, which occupies converted buildings, is a reserve which is hired out exclusively to one party at a time. It takes up to 10 guests, while the neighbouring, sister operation Ant’s Hill takes up to 12. The cost is around £190 per person per night (all inclusive), depending on numbers.
  • Horizon is a slightly bigger outfit, costing £128 per person per night (all inclusive). There is no supplement for singles if you stay in the main lodge. Seven-night saddle-bag safaris start at £1,081.
  • Transfers take around three hours from Johannesburg and cost £105 (driver and car) or £176 (driver and minibus)
  • The Kurland hotel and polo estate oozes luxury. It costs approx. £234 per person per night DBB. A day’s polo tuition costs £173, and hotel discounts may be available for those having lessons.
  • South African Airways return flights from London to Johannesburg start at £529 plus tax, economy. (tel: 0870 7471111) or visit www.flysaa.com
  • South Africa specialist Roddy Bray, a Brit based on the Cape has first-hand insight into scores of lodges, farms and hotels, and can arrange trips. Contact Roddy Bray African Dawn Touring, PO Box 22738, Scarborough, 7975. E-mail: riding@capetown.at, Website: www.capetown.at/africandawn

    Kenya

    Borana is the 30,000-acre home of the Dyer family, slap bang in the middle of central Kenya’s Laikipia region. The lodge has been operating for a decade, and itineraries can include a bush walk, game drive, sundowner, night drive or riding.

    Safari views are breathtaking, but you can do as little or as much riding as you like, returning each night to base or including overnight excursions.

  • July is as close to winter as things get in Borana. Though sometimes overcast, it is not too warm to ride and hot enough for bikinis many afternoons.
  • Boots and half chaps are ideal, and buy a white silk to keep the sun off your crash hat.
  • It isn’t possible to book with Borana direct. The trip was arranged by In the Saddle, Reaside, Neen Savage, Cleobury Mortimer, Shropshire DY14 8ES. E-mail: rides@inthesaddle.com or www.inthesaddle.com (Tel:01299 272997)
  • Seven nights at Borana is from £1,870 per person in green season (March – June and October – mid-December) and from £2,160 at other times
  • This includes seven nights full board; drinks; all riding and other ranch activities; all road and air transfers from Nairobi. International flights not included.
  • Kenya Airways fly daily from London Heathrow to Nairobi. Return flights cost from £330 economy, plus taxes of £40.60. For reservations (tel:01784 888222) or visit www.kenya-airways.com

    Canada

    Ranching in Canada provides a range of experiences that vary from the comical to the terrifying.

    The Willow Lane Ranch lies in the Albertan crease between Canada’s Rocky Mountains and the prarie, due south of Calgary. The owners have been accommodating guests for fourteen years, with business taking off after City Slickers came out.

    The Calgary Stampede is a ten day celebration of the cowboy. The whole population ditches suits in favour of snap-heeled cowboy boots, Levis and obligatory Stetsons and heads down to the “Greatest Show on Earth”.

    On the shores of the lake, the Emerald Lake Lodge nestles at the foot of the Emerald Glacier in British Columbia. Understated luxury is its tone – log fires in every room, Irish linen, exceptional food and every opportunity for deep relaxation.

  • Seven nights at Willow Lane Ranch costs $1,350 per person, full board, including all ranch activities. Cow Camp costs $1,330 per person, with several different packages offered, from day trips to two-week camps. Contact LeAnne Lane, Box 114, Granum, Alberta, Canada TOL 1AO (tel: 001 403 687 2284), e-mail: LeAnne@willowlaneranch.com or visit www.willowlaneranch.com
  • The ranch is open frommid-May until mid-October, and early booking is advised.
  • Emerald Lake Lodge costs between $150-200 per night. Visit www.emeraldlakelodge.com for bookings and information.
  • Flights were provided by Canadian Affair (tel: 0207 616 9999) www.Canadian-affair.com
  • For more information on Alberta, visit www.travelalberta.com.

    Spain

    South of Granada lies Spain’s highest mountain range – the Sierra Nevada. A national park covers much of the area, providing an unspoilt, peaceful and varied landscape.

    Camino Verde specialises in small group riding and holidays in the Sierra Nevada and Alpujarras in Andalucia, Spain. Trails lead from village to village on the Southern side, through chestnut and oak forests and up and down mountain valleys.

  • The eight-day Green Sierra trail costs £795; the eight-day Nevada blue ride costs £795 and the five-day Mountain Spirit trail costs £595
  • Food, some drinks, accommodation, riding and transfers to and from Malaga airport are included. Flights are extra.
  • Contact Camino Verde on (tel: 01205 311887), e-mail: ride@caminoverde.co.uk or visit www.caminoverde.co.uk
  • Recommended background reading: Driving Over Lemons (Chris Stewart), South from Granada (Gerald Brenan), Best Ever Mediterranean Cookbook (Jacqueline Clark).
  • A “what to bring” list is provided, but don’t skimp on sun protection, take boots with a good grip for walking, and half-chaps. Sunglasses or goggles are great to keep dust from your eyes. Don’t forget swimwear for the summer months. And take a camera to capture some of the beauty.