Having left my beloved horse in the UK to come to Kenya, I have been anxious to continue horse riding and where better to ride than in the wilds of Africa?! I have been visiting local stables where there is a small business known as Altitude Horse Riding which is managed by a British lady, Wizzy Doyne-Ditmus who has been in Kenya for over 10 years. She teaches many people to ride, along with their children and I have been lucky enough to assist Wizzy with the horses and ponies and I have been able to enjoy many wonderful rides out. The farm can be found in the village of Makima and is home to 4 horses and 3 ponies, along with a groom (or ‘Syce’ as they are known in Keswahili) called Kirua, and the gardener/handy man, John with his wife, Wambui and their children Sandra and Mikey. There are chickens and geese and 4 resident dogs and the farm has a lovely homely feel. The horse riding is fantastic with varied terrain both through the bush and across the savannah. Early morning rides are preferable to avoid the scorching heat but also, stunning views of Mount Kenya can be caught!
I have been able to spot some of the wild life that abounds the area such as camels, dik dik, bush hare, magnificent cranes, and the usual herds of cows, sheep and goats which graze the land. The area is known to be home to leopard and hyena but I have yet to see them. There has been a lion on the rampage in the area of late which is a stark reminder that the wild life here in Kenya is very different to that in the UK and much more care must be taken when out and about!
I have also been on a horse back safari which was utterly spell binding. I visited the home of Felicia and Gordy Church of Safarisunlimited in a place called Sangare and I was treated to a wonderful ride out into the African wilderness on a beautiful horse called Chemilil. He is a Somalian pony crossed with a thoroughbred and whilst he was the oldest horse there (and a little grumpy to boot), he matched the speed and exuberance of the zebra that we found ourselves cantering alongside! He was very experienced and knew his job and I felt completely safe when we stumbled upon giraffe, and even when we had to stealthily creep past a herd of very curious buffalo. He didn’t bat an eyelid at the startled eland and happily plodded along giving me the ride of my life! He also stepped up a gear when we found some logs to jump. I’m quite sure there is much more to explore and I am lucky to be able to feel the freedom of the wind through my hair from the back of a horse. The wildlife doesn’t appear to be overly worried by the presence of the horses and I can’t wait to continue with such adventures in the glorious African country side.