- 20 Maximum group size
12th July 2013 –
19th July 2013
- 8 View Itinerary
- Families (Children 8+) , Riders, Wildlife enthusiasts, Safari lovers
Shane Dowinton with Johna Turner
- View Accommodation
An Inspired Journey
A bush-tracking, star-gazing and riding family adventure with Shane the Bushman.
What makes this family experience so special is the variety and fun that each new day brings. With the staff and leading guides at Horizon Safari Lodge, we have designed an experience which will give children the independence to stretch their wings in a safe environment.
"We hope this is a way to bring families together on an adventure that is bursting with days of fun, colour and magical experiences."
Each day you and the children have the chance to learn a new skill, which will range from bush-tracking to star-gazing. While this trip will certainly appeal to those who have an interest in riding, that is by no means the only thing on offer and there is plenty to do for those who do not want to spend time in the saddle.
However, for the riders in the family or those who would like to learn, there cannot be a better place to do so.
The horses are extremely good-natured and sure-footed and the expert riding team at
the lodge are well-seasoned in looking after all levels of riders from those that have never touched a horse to those who have been riding all their lives.
But mostly, we hope this is a way to bring families together on an adventure that is bursting with days of fun, colour and magical experiences.
For the first time, this exclusive experience brings a huge variety of experts who will enhance this African adventure in a way that hasn't been done before. We've sourced local and expat guides to come to the lodge and pass on their incredible knowledge. With all the special touches we are adding on top, this is sure to be a family trip that won't be forgotten.
- Learning the skills of a cowboy
- Young wildlife photography competition
- Bush tracking
- Swimming in lakes and fun games with gentle and good-natured ponies
Day 1: 12th JulyArrival into Johannesburg and drive to Horizon Lodge
Day 2: 13th JulyFirst Skill: Billy Boiling
Day 3: 14th JulySecond and Third Skills: Kids to Cowboys and Star-Gazing
Day 4: 15th JulyTransfer to Camp Davidson and Fourth Skill: Young Wildlife Photographers
Day 5: 16th JulyFifth Skill: Wet and Wild
Day 6: 17th JulySixth and Seventh Skills: Arena Riding and Polocrosse
Day 7: 18th JulyBig 5 Game Reserve and Telekeyshi Lookout Point
Day 8: 19th JulyPampering and Prize-Giving
Arrival into Johannesburg and drive to Horizon Lodge
You and your family will be met at Johannesburg airport and privately driven 3 hours to Horizon Lodge in time for lunch in the sunny garden. You will be shown to your rooms, introduced to the staff and given time to relax, unpack and explore until afternoon tea is served on the verandah. During tea the guides will run through the week’s upcoming events and get to know you all.
After tea, those wanting to ride will be taken for an introductory exploration into the reserve to spot local wildlife such as giraffe, zebra, kudu, wharthog and hippo. Guides will assess riding techniques and carefully select appropriate horses and ponies accordingly. Once back at the lodge all the families will all get together for drinks at one of the hippo lakes nearby to watch the sun setting over the water before a sumptuous 3 course dinner is served in the cosy dining room by the fire.
First Skill: Billy Boiling
Today your children will be transformed into seasoned safari guides. Shane the bushman (our guide) will take the kids out for the day (on foot) to teach them how to track animals and demonstrate his bushman’s skills in order to utilize natural resources as valuable survival aids.
Meanwhile, parents can enjoy another gentle ride into the savannah, or take a guided bush walk to spot birds and local plant life with an expert naturalist guide. While out, the children will learn their first skill of the week: Billy Boiling, or fire building and cooking; a crucial challenge for all adventurers. The group will be split into teams and required to cook lunch using an array of South African produce and cooking a traditional Potjie (a stew cooked in a pot over the fire).
As a surprise for the kids, parents will be invited as guests to enjoy a bush lunch in the woods cooked, for once, by their own children. Back at the lodge in the afternoon, while parents can relax by the pool, the children will be tested on the various skills and facts they have learnt in order to become young safari survivors!
In the evening, to celebrate, sundowners will be served by the pool accompanied by the beautiful voices of the local gospel choir.
Second and Third Skills: Kids to Cowboys and Star-Gazing
The riders are back on their horses today learning how to become Western cowboys. The children will learn from Shane and expert cattle ranchers how to muster, cut and draft cattle on the ranch. Demonstrations on how to rope an animal will also be given and top marks awarded to anyone who can lasso a post from horseback. This can be done by those just learning to ride as well and there will be staff on hand to help riders of all levels.
Meanwhile, the parents may like a more cultural visit to the original homestead of the Baber family, either by riding or driving to the farm. Here you will be shown around this 5th generation farm giving you a fascinating insight into early tobacco farming and cattle breeding. Later, everyone will meet back at Horizon Lodge for a sunny braai (barbeque) lunch in the garden and a splash in the pool or you may like to challenge the staff to a game of volleyball. After tea, there are more Western cowboy skills to be learnt and we recommend parents come and watch the games to see what the children have achieved.
This evening, after another delicious dinner, we have arranged a very special night sky safari. Expert astronomer and PhD quantum physicist Dr Philip Calcott will take you beneath the canopy of stars and transport you into Space. A professional light beam pointer, telescope, and screen will aid him as he describes the mind-boggling truths about our solar system.
Transfer to Camp Davidson and Fourth Skill: Young Wildlife Photographers
After breakfast you will be asked to pack a small bag in preparation for a two-day wilderness adventure in the bush. You will leave the lodge and travel to Camp Davidson, where you will sleep in luxury safari tents surrounded by nothing but nature and the sounds of Africa.
The skill for this morning is photography. The striking African landscape and abundance of wildlife on the private reserve provides many wonderful photographic opportunities. We’ve arranged for a professional photographer to take the children out in an open top safari game viewing vehicle in search of winning images. Children can be taught how to get the most out of their own cameras, or they can borrow a camera for the morning. Parents can join their children or take a leisurely ride or walk through the reserve. All the winning photos will be displayed along with memories of the week in a photo book for you to keep at the end of the holiday.
Later, everyone will reunite at Camp Davidson where they will find their bags already in their tents and lunch bubbling away. After tea, you will all ride out in groups according to competence, and meet at Ghost Koppie, a beautiful viewpoint where sundowners will be served as the setting sun begins to slip over the savannah. Dinner will be lit by lanterns at the camp and enchanting stories recounted around the fire afterwards.
Fifth Skill: Wet and Wild
After a lie-in at the camp and a light breakfast on the deck, guests will be invited to spend the day at one of the beautiful lakes nearby. A scenic 2.5 hour horsehide or 10 minute jeep journey will take you through the game reserve and down to the water’s edge. On your arrival the chefs will already be busily preparing a hearty brunch for you all to enjoy. This is a fantastic opportunity to strip off your saddles and take your horse swimming in the lake bareback. It’s a wonderful feeling to glide through the cool water feeling the horses move beneath you as they swim with effortless grace.
After lunch, the children will learn more of their 7 skills, which will all involve water. Parents can fish for bass nearby, take the rowing boat out on to the lake, or just relax in the sunshine. They can watch as the children will be learning how to build rafts and compete to successfully cross water on them. Any bass caught by you or the children will be bought back to the camp and prepared by the lodge’s fantastic head chef Rynos and served up for dinner.
Sixth and Seventh Skills: Arena Riding and Polocrosse
After a last fireside breakfast at the camp, those who would like to can ride back to Horizon lodge with their guide or be driven if they prefer. Now it’s time to put riding skills to the test in the arena. Maureen, Horizon’s flatwork and dressage instructor will teach you valuable lessons in horsemanship as well as technical control, and each guest will be required to complete a course of simple dressage maneuvers. Afterwards, those who feel confident, can spend some time with Maureen in the show jumping arena for a chance to pop over a round of small jumps.
Parents can join children in the arena, or go with a member of staff for a shopping trip into town. Here, among other things, there is an eclectic shop filled with weird and wonderful local artifacts and some of the finest milkshakes in Africa. Lunch will be served back at the lodge with plenty of time for a siesta in the shade before afternoon tea.
The final skill to learn this afternoon is Polocrosse, which is, essentially, a game of Lacrosse on horseback. This is great fun for everyone and you don’t need to be an accomplished rider to enjoy the humour of it all.
Big 5 Game Reserve and Telekeyshi Lookout Point
Today everyone will have a full day’s rest from horseback and a chance to enjoy the Waterberg landscape outside of the lodge. You will travel together to a nearby Big 5 game reserve where you will have an exciting morning safari drive to see Africa’s larger game. This is archetypal African landscape and there is a very good chance of close-up sightings of elephant, lion and rhino from the safety of the jeep.
After lunch at the Big 5 reserve you will be driven to Telekeyshi, a tiny African village at the foot of the Waterberg Mountains. Local guide and legend Malasela will take you on a climb up through the rocks to the top of the escarpment where you can enjoy spectacular views of the Waterberg stretching out all around you. Along the way, Malasela will point out original bushman’s paintings on the rock faces and explain how young boys are initiated into African tribes. This is a fascinating and humbling experience and, if you’re lucky, the local community will show you their traditional song and dance before you leave.
Pampering and Prize-Giving
You can choose how to spend your final morning at the lodge and professional masseuse and beautician Kirsty Evans will be on hand to give anyone who wishes some luxury pampering. Alternatively, you may be the eager to mount up for one last ride into the bush. This is also a good time for some last-minute shopping at Beadles (Horizon’s community support project) where there is a great selection of handmade leather and bead accessories.
Before lunch the team at Horizon will host a very special prize-giving ceremony on the lawn with rosettes, trophies and presents awarded to all. After lunch there will be time to pack up, say your goodbyes and get ready for your private transfer back to Johannesburg airport in good time for your evening flight home.
12th July – 15th July
Horizon Safari Lodge
We have worked with Horizon Lodge, your base for this wonderful safari, for many years. The staff are sensitive to children’s needs and will always keep an eye out for anyone who might want an extra guiding hand. Knowing that they are being so well looked after, gives parents the chance to rest and unwind in a beautiful setting as well as joining in with the endless fun.
The homely chalets are dotted around the garden, each has a private terrace. There is a large swimming pool and extensive gardens and the home-cooked meals are child-friendly. The lodge sits in front of a beautiful lake with 8 resident hippo. The warmth of Horizon is felt in the African staff who always know your name and have the most wonderful laughs.
15th July – 17th July
This tented camp, only 10 minutes’ drive from the lodge, feels like another world away. Here you will enjoy a traditional safari, dining by candlelight, cooking over a campfire, and sleeping under canvas to the sounds of the African night.
Beneath the camp are wonderful panoramic views of the Waterberg massif and the picturesque Sunset Lake. All the guest tents are fully equipped and stylishly decorated with bedside tables, hanging shelves and lanterns. Each tent is en-suite and built on a raised platform with adjoining walkways.
This tree house effect enables fantastic views and keeps you safe from any creepy crawlies. To add to this adventure we are even able to create a kids’ dormitory style tent here for the ultimate sleep-over.
17th July – 19th July
Return to Horizon Safari Lodge
You will come back to Horizon Safari Lodge for your last two nights before flying home.
Shane Dowinton the bushman has worked with horses since 1987. Among other exciting ventures, he has worked in the Australian Daintree National Park taking guided rides through rainforest tracks and in New Zealand as a horseback stockman on cattle and sheep properties. His love of horses has helped him to train as a jockey's lad working with difficult and problematic horses and schooling livery horses. In 1993 he helped set up Horizon Horseback.
One of Shane's greatest gifts is his ability to bring a young horse on quietly, kindly and compassionately. He is a living Horse Whisperer and it is these skills and talents that he transposes so brilliantly to the development of the fantastic horses a Horizon.
Johna Turner is a Wildlife Expert and SA registered guide, registered as both a nature and birding specialist. His passion for the wilderness has taken him as far afield as Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania, Alaska and Australia and of course many areas of South Africa in particular in the Kruger National Park and the Waterberg.
Dr Philip Calcott
An astronomer with a first class degree from Oxford University in physics, Philip Calcott continued his passion with 13 years of research into semiconductor materials and devices, and published over twenty scientific papers. In 2003 Philip moved to the Waterberg where he founded Night Sky Safaris and the Waterberg Planetary Festival. Philip uses the latest astronomical technology to provide a captivating experience for his guests.
At the core of his setup is a modern computer-controlled telescope with a special astronomical video camera. The images captured by the camera are then projected live and in colour onto a big screen, so the audience can see exactly what the telescope is seeing in real time. Story telling is central to Philip's approach. The wonders of the night sky are shown using simple analogies and narratives that link directly to people's everyday experience - birth, life, death, journeys and myths all feature, and help explain the heavens in terms everyone can relate to.
Flynn the Horse
Flynn has been a member of the Horizon horse herd for well over ten years. He is a farm bred Boerperd, which is native to the bush areas of South Africa and a strong and hardy type, able to cope with the poor nutritional grazing and the difficult environment found here. Flynn has a gentle nature and enjoys being ridden, he is quiet and cautious with those he knows are nervous but as their confidence grows he will adjust to take them where they guide him. He has changed many riders who were frightened of horses until they met him and are now hooked for life.
We recommend the following flights:
Outbound with South Africa Airlines London Heathrow to Johannesburg 19:00 (overnight) 07:20 SA 235
Inbound with South Africa Airlines Johannesburg to London Heathrow 19:50 (overnight) 06:25 SA 234
Please contact us for a quote including these flights.
We can also include flights from the United States so please do let us know where you are travelling from and we will send you the best flight routes with a quote.
Prices per person, based on two sharing:
The price quoted includes the following:
All accommodation on a full board basis
Soft drinks, beer and house wine
All road transfers as specified
Guiding and excursions as specified
Park fees and other entry fees
The price quoted does not include:
International flights (We can quote on these if needed)
Premium drinks and tips
Any other extras
Single supplements (Please contact us for details)