By: Emma Seaman
When Doug and Gail called to invite me on an agent Fam Trip for their new Horse Safari operation in Simalaha I was initially rather apprehensive. The last time I rode a horse was many many years ago and I wasn't quite sure what was in store for me! I am happy to say that it was one of the best experiences I have had in a long time and I wanted to share my feedback on this fantastic new product with as many people as possible. We flew to Livingstone on Proflight and were met on arrival by Gail and Doug who drove us to their new camp in the Simalaha Conservancy. The drive took us about 2.5 hours - the first stretch through to Kazungula on an excellent road, the latter part of the trip on a very potholed road which slowed us down a bit. We are assured that there are plans for a new road and also options to charter clients into this area.
One of the first things that struck me on arrival was the big open plains that we found ourselves in. It reminded me of Liuwa - 360 degree uninterrupted views. The camp itself is delightful with so many wonderful touches giving it a very personal and special feel. There are 4 tented chalets with en suite bathrooms, a lovely main area with stunning views over the Simalaha Plains and a small plunge pool for cooling off during the heat of the day. During our 2 night stay we never ate a meal in the same place. Gail and the staff had us moving around to eat in different settings including an incredible sundowner out on the plains with our own special little Covid Snack Jars. Our final dinner was around a campfire under the stars. Delicious home cooked food and friendly and efficient service.
And what of the riding experience? As we were a group of agents Doug split us into 2 groups - experienced and novice (normally they only accept experienced riders on the safaris). The experienced riders went out on longer rides in the morning out on the open plains, riding amongst big herds of wildebeeste, zebra, giraffe and lechwe. My group did a lovely sedate walk not too far from camp, enjoying the peace and beautiful scenery surrounding us. The horses are in top condition and extremely well trained, following the commands we had been taught. In the afternoon we rode out onto the plains enjoying the most spectacular sunset.
The following morning Gail drove us to one of the villages just outside the conservancy. There we got to meet some of the locals involved in the project and get an insight into their day to day life. On our drive we saw the transient fishing villages set up on the banks of the Zambezi - with Namibia and the Caprivi just in the distance.
From Simalaha we then drove back to Livingstone and spent our final night at Chundukwa. The perfect end to this safari. Chundukwa is a wonderful little lodge - full of Gail's special personal touches and hidden treasures, an ideal spot to enjoy a couple of nights on the river and take part in some of the activities in Livingstone. For those who want to continue with their riding experience, Chundukwa also offer a variety of horse riding activities from the lodge.
For more information on Simalaha Horse Safaris please visit their page on our website
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