Harriet Walker’s African adventure: the last safari

  • I have just come back from my last safari — a three-day trip into the bush.

    It was a reminder of how beautiful this country is, although I wasn’t feeling 100% having suffered some kind of allergic reaction that resulted in a very swollen face!

    On my last game drive we saw a pregnant lioness, which was such a stunning sight.

    All the guides know the area and wildlife so well that they can tell you what animals belong to which families, so you get a real inside knowledge into their existence.

    I quite like knowing that despite the animals being wild, there are still people that would notice if one of them wasn’t there.

    There is nothing like nature to remind you that you are powerless in its hands.

    On a recent lodge to lodge ride one of the camps had an African bee hive and they apparently go crazy for fresh cut grass so started stinging the horses.

    All but one horse broke free and returned to the stables safely. It is amazing that despite it being 25km away as the crow flies, they all naturally knew to come back to the main base.

    Unfortunately one horse, Rhodes, stayed with the grooms and got stung so badly he passed away.

    We had a vet out here at the time that was doing a few days safari in exchange for treating all of the horses’ backs and doing their teeth. She helped ice bandage legs, treat stings and did all she could for Rhodes, but sadly he didn’t make it.

    One of the things I love about Limpopo Valley Horse Safaris is that the horses really are the priority. Louise is so particular about their care and management, whether it be bringing out a trainer to help teach the staff how to ride them more effectively, or a vet to keep them in peak health.

    This all adds to the guests’ experience and ensures the horses are in the best condition.

    I think this is the reason that companies like In The Saddle are so happy to work with them because they meet all the criteria, not just for an exceptional trip, but for the good of the animals as well.

    We always have a cook on site and unfortunately she was unwell towards the end of my stay, which meant that I had to step up to the culinary challenge of cooking afternoon tea and dinner for the guests.

    I absolutely loved it, especially as I am going to university in September to study food science.

    I have never cooked South African-style food before so it was great to learn. One dish I really enjoyed was called Bobotie — a curry with raisins, lots of spices and a layer of eggs on top.

    So not only have I learnt a lot about Africa but I got the chance to embrace my inner domestic goddess too!

    The experience at Limpopo Valley Horse Safaris has been amazing.

    I got to go on five game drives in total and see all the wildlife I could imagine. I was also able to school beautiful horses, including Foxy, who will always stay close to my heart. I didn’t want to leave!

    Having seen other safaris whilst I was on the reserve I can honestly say that seeing this part of the world by horseback is the best way to do it if you can ride.

    I have also made a friend for life in Kate, who is here teaching the local children — including Cor and Louise’s — at Limpopo Valley Horse Safari’s own primary school.

    Louise and Cor have been great hosts. I can’t thank them enough for giving me the opportunity to experience the equestrian world in such a different way!


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