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Old 10-29-2011, 12:03 PM   #1
roblin
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Horseback Safari in Masai Mara(Kenya)

Just came back from the coolest trip I have ever done.

cliffs:

We basically did all this:

Long story:

Horseback you say? Do guys actually ride horses, isnt that just for girls? One year ago I didnt know that normal guys I could relate to actually did ride, here in Sweden it's just girls so when my friend told he was going on a horse riding trip to Argentina I was intrigued. When I thought about it, sitting a bit higher and getting a better view, going where cars cannot go, being closer to nature, getting some exercise I realized I had to try it. So I went for one week of lessons and riding out and was sold. Forward one year I had done 3 more weeks of riding and me and my poker playing buddy had booked a trip to Kenya for a 10day horseback safari. A bit nervous but really excited we arrived in Nairobi and checked into Windsor Golf Club

Took some pool time and went to Carnivore Restaurant and had some Bull Testicles

and some crocodile steak, ostrich meatballs and a lot of vodka.

We were picked up and driven to Wilson airport where we met the group, in total we were 12, 11 riders and one non-rider.

We got into a small plane

and one hour later we where in Masai Mara. On the way from the airport to first camp we saw tons of giraffes


and zebras

and a horny(red) ostrich

we had one Masai guide with us, Netti

really cool dude who had mad lion spotting skillz.
Camp was cool

the beds very comfortable

and we went out for a short ride to get to know the horses

We found a ostrich egg that we cooked scrambled eggs on for breakfast

We went for a short walk with our Masai brining arrows to protect us from the wildlife

walked up to a hill with some nice views

learned the lesson never to stand next to black people in pictures

after the walk we went for a game drive with and saw some elephants

and cheetah

when you see it you will **** bricks

Spoiler:
our Masai saw this lion from 500m, I had trouble seeing it from 20m.
We saw some voltures finnishing the cheetahs kill

and the hyena bumhunter stealing the rest

went to some masai village and got scammed

they gave me a lamb

and showed us some of their dancing and jumping skillz

after 3 nights at the first camp we had a moving day we rode 50km with tons of long canters and no trotting

the horse without rider was a spare horse if one of the other horses got injured.
In most of the canters we caught of with various animals

and the more experienced of us did some jumping here and there.
In the next area we stayed for 2 nights and saw tons of lions

lion kills

elephants
[IMG]https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-AZpmq7wvllo/T****mRGj7I/AAAAAAAABjA/-ni_t09WzdY/s1600/DSC02256.JPG[/IMG]
more lions

a nightdrive and we saw a leopard

lion eating pumba jr

a hungry male

and a facepalmlion


It was very flat so the sunsets were amazing and the moon was huge


some cool light phenomena

we figured out what causes it
Spoiler:

We crossed the mara river filled with hippos:


at the other side we caught up the last of the wildebeest migration

had some nice cool weather

then we walked up the (tr)ololololo escarpment

were we found a reverse centaur

We saw some buffalo

2 nights at every camp, last camp was next to the Mara river

the hippos was really close to my tent
After the last camp we took a plane from the middle of the Mara

one hour to the north landing in Nakuru, famous for lake Nakuru

Saw some birds


and some rhinos

the horses got back to their home


All in all everything was perfect. The weather was perfect, 25°C in the days(1700m above sea level so cooler than the coast) and down to 10-15°C at nights. No mosquitos and very few flies which can be a problem for the horses at many other places. The guide was super cool

The horses were wonderful and had a nice herd mentality and could canter next to each other which few horses can without trying to cut line a putting their riders into danger. They were not scared of lions at all


it was a bit weird to sit on them 10m from two lions and the horse bends down and start to eat.

But what I will remember the most is how good I was feeling there. It was the cradle of mankind, you could really feel how good this place was for life. With good food, good exercise, friends around you, lots of drinks etc I was really feeling well.

This was by far the coolest thing I have ever done. I can really recommend doing it and it was worth learning to ride just to be able to go there and do it. Game drive(car) is not even close, the last days I would have preferred to sleep instead going on these awesome game drives because they paled in comparison to the horseback safari.

The Safari Company I went with:
http://www.offbeatsafaris.com/

The intinary:
http://www.offbeatsafaris.com/riding...itinerary.html

Price:
$7200(auch, thanks poker for making me able to do things like this!). But safaris are expensive and your time is valuable and horse riding is so much more intense than normal car safaris so if you are thinking about doing some safari consider doing it on horseback.

Last edited by roblin; 10-29-2011 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 10-29-2011, 01:29 PM   #2
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Re: Horseback Safari in Masai Mara(Kenya)

9 days of riding/$7200 and 1 day of car = $800/day.

Yes, Africa tourist stuff is that expensive. I've done a 1 day horseback in Africa and it is pretty awesome, though.
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Old 10-29-2011, 04:46 PM   #3
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Re: Horseback Safari in Masai Mara(Kenya)

Great TR! Horseback seems very authentic -- no annoying engines starting and stopping all the time

You have to have some horseback skills to do this?
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Old 10-29-2011, 08:47 PM   #4
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Re: Horseback Safari in Masai Mara(Kenya)

I am very jealous. I was in Africa a couple of months ago and I'm planning to go straight back as soon as I can afford it.

Need to win the Sunday Million first
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Old 10-30-2011, 02:32 AM   #5
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Re: Horseback Safari in Masai Mara(Kenya)

The reverse centaur picture was funny! Great trip report.
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Old 10-30-2011, 02:46 AM   #6
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Re: Horseback Safari in Masai Mara(Kenya)

Awesome trip report. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 10-30-2011, 05:33 AM   #7
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Re: Horseback Safari in Masai Mara(Kenya)

Top banana!

I'm a safari vet, been on loads. But a horseback safari in Botswana is on my bucket list, I'm not a good enough rider to go on one at the moment, but one day for sure.

Will probs do another horse riding holiday in the lead up to it to prepare fully.
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Old 10-30-2011, 06:21 AM   #8
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Re: Horseback Safari in Masai Mara(Kenya)

Thanks a ton for this.

Obvious follow up: How can this not be dangerous? Aren't lions and hippos aggressive? Wouldn't being on a horse not keep you safe from a hungry lion? Of course I must be wrong here, but can you explain a little...?
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Old 10-30-2011, 06:59 AM   #9
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Re: Horseback Safari in Masai Mara(Kenya)

Quote:
Originally Posted by chisness View Post
Great TR! Horseback seems very authentic -- no annoying engines starting and stopping all the time

You have to have some horseback skills to do this?
This company dont allow beginners. Other companies might. But I wouldnt do this with much less experience than I had. You should at least be able to canter for 5minutes before even considering going here. With the risk of scared horses some good balance will help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Csaba View Post
I am very jealous. I was in Africa a couple of months ago and I'm planning to go straight back as soon as I can afford it.

Need to win the Sunday Million first
good luck at the tables

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrFroggyX View Post
The reverse centaur picture was funny! Great trip report.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Vucking Vish View Post
Top banana!

I'm a safari vet, been on loads. But a horseback safari in Botswana is on my bucket list, I'm not a good enough rider to go on one at the moment, but one day for sure.

Will probs do another horse riding holiday in the lead up to it to prepare fully.
I am thinking about doing the okavango one. 3 in our group had done that one before, it is very similair except that that one has more water. The people who had done both before seemed to prefer to redo the Masai Mara or do the amboseli one istead.

I did one in Spain to prepare:
http://en.canjou.com/horsetrails/hor...a-trail-2.html

It's good to know how your body reacts to 7h in the saddle. Good value on that one, not the same quality of everything but a good way to prepare. After that one or something similar Africa shouldnt be any problem.


Quote:
Originally Posted by insidemanpoker View Post
Thanks a ton for this.

Obvious follow up: How can this not be dangerous? Aren't lions and hippos aggressive? Wouldn't being on a horse not keep you safe from a hungry lion? Of course I must be wrong here, but can you explain a little...?
The lions there are quite used to horses, the cubs can be curious and dont really consider us food. Horse is like 1.7m and with human like 3m. And we come in a pack riding into them, not very prey-like. They understand the deal. The lone elephant bulls can be some problem, they are not scared of anything in the wild nature so they dont understand us unless their friends have been poached. But horses outrun them, when the bull elephant takes a step forward 20m away from the horse the horses get a bit jumpy starting to run away but usually its just for show. And the guides will stand between the guests and the animals until all of the guests have gotten away. Hippos can be some problem but they are predictable. They only attack if you are between them and their water.

We got really close to the lions:
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Old 10-30-2011, 07:51 AM   #10
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Re: Horseback Safari in Masai Mara(Kenya)

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Originally Posted by roblin View Post

I am thinking about doing the okavango one. 3 in our group had done that one before, it is very similair except that that one has more water. The people who had done both before seemed to prefer to redo the Masai Mara or do the amboseli one istead.
I can certainly recommend the Okovango as a destination, I've been 3 times already and would go back in a heart beat.
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Old 10-30-2011, 08:03 AM   #11
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Re: Horseback Safari in Masai Mara(Kenya)

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I can certainly recommend the Okovango as a destination, I've been 3 times already and would go back in a heart beat.



(two from our group were actually in that video(in the boat))

one of the staff we met in deloraine(the last 2 nights) had worked for them for like 10years.

note that the elephants there havnt been poached like in kenya so they are more friendly to humans.

http://www.okavangohorse.com/
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Old 10-30-2011, 02:55 PM   #12
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Re: Horseback Safari in Masai Mara(Kenya)

Quote:
Originally Posted by insidemanpoker View Post
Obvious follow up: How can this not be dangerous? Aren't lions and hippos aggressive? Wouldn't being on a horse not keep you safe from a hungry lion? Of course I must be wrong here, but can you explain a little...?
OP can clarify, but this is probably in some big game drive park where there are a ton of these things going on and the wild animals are not really all that wild.

I mean, if you go to real wilderness, you will not get closer than 50 meters or whatever to a lion unless you're some expert animal tracker or something. And normally horses are very scared of lions and lions will attack horses. Same with elephants... the ones in the parks and near places with lots of people you can get very close... maybe within 10 meters. But if you encounter real wild elephants you won't get close at all as they will run or charge even from pretty far distance.

African safaris blur the line between wild, semiwild, and tame.

I have never been to Kenya - maybe things are a lot different there - but I have been to tons of pretty remote villages in 6 African countries and the only time Africans use this sort of tribal dress is for tourists or during some special holidays. I have never come across a village where people actually wear that stuff for real in life. They just wear western clothing. Maybe Kenya is different, though.

If you are a newb, you can still do horseback riding since most of the time these trips don't involve running the horse. They will just keep you a little further back from the animals. Your ass might hurt. Riding a horse is pretty fun in itself so the more practice you get, the cooler it might be. Then again, these trips will have downtime so you can use that time to learn to ride better. If you have never ridden a horse you should try to do a few days riding to see how you do and feel, but I wouldn't really take too much time out of my day to train for this.
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Old 10-30-2011, 03:35 PM   #13
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Re: Horseback Safari in Masai Mara(Kenya)

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If you are a newb, you can still do horseback riding since most of the time these trips don't involve running the horse. They will just keep you a little further back from the animals. Your ass might hurt. Riding a horse is pretty fun in itself so the more practice you get, the cooler it might be. Then again, these trips will have downtime so you can use that time to learn to ride better. If you have never ridden a horse you should try to do a few days riding to see how you do and feel, but I wouldn't really take too much time out of my day to train for this.
I think that would be a very bad idea given the unpredictability of the game in many of these parks. I've done a lot of research for these types of trips and there is a reason many of them only allow experienced riders, there will of course always be cowboy operators.

Its a bit like the odd company that will take people walking and for random reasons don't take an armed scout. Sure your gonna be fine 99% of the time, but on that one occasion there is a problem 'n all that.

Its just an unnecessary risk imo.
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Old 10-30-2011, 03:53 PM   #14
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Re: Horseback Safari in Masai Mara(Kenya)

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I have never been to Kenya - maybe things are a lot different there - but I have been to tons of pretty remote villages in 6 African countries and the only time Africans use this sort of tribal dress is for tourists or during some special holidays. I have never come across a village where people actually wear that stuff for real in life. They just wear western clothing. Maybe Kenya is different, though.
i believe it is. along the ride we often randomly met masais and they were quite often wearing red cloths. they are a very proud people and quite wealthy. average masaai owns like 100 cows $1k a piece. add some goats etc. not really poor people, some of them send their kids to expensive schools and into business life and the kids later decide that they preferred the masaai lifestyle. at least thats what the guides told us, dunno if it is true.


Quote:
If you are a newb, you can still do horseback riding since most of the time these trips don't involve running the horse.
not this one. we did 50km in like 6h, several 5-15min canters and you need to have control so you can focus on avoiding big holes in the ground. some in our group had their own horses back home etc and had trouble with their stamina in the long canters, 1500m above sea level and blazing sun didnt help...


Quote:
Then again, these trips will have downtime so you can use that time to learn to ride better.
we had very little downtime, it was wakeup, get dressed, breakfast, 3h ride, lunch along the way, powernap 1h under a tree, get ready, 3h more riding, short gamedrive, shower, drinks, food, drinks sleep.

on day 9-10 you could have jumping or polo lessons otherwise they didnt really comment that much on how to ride. they said that we should stand in the canter and told the ones who were used to sitting down in the canters how to stand. but they really dont teach riding.

Quote:
If you have never ridden a horse you should try to do a few days riding to see how you do and feel, but I wouldn't really take too much time out of my day to train for this.
i would recommend at least 2 weeks of riding, 1week of lessons mixed with riding out and one week of just trailriding. it is quite dangerous, if you dont have control you might have to focus on your balance and miss some tree. the more you can automate the less distracting the elephants will be.

we had 4 accidents during the week. one fall from jumping, one who cantered into a tree, one canter were the horse didnt see a 0.5m deep hole and fell into the ground and the rider had no chance of staying on the horse and one horse that slipped walking down some big rocks that could have ended really badly. probably most of these could have been avoided with some extra focus and skill.

we had one of britains top vets who have competed at high levels who was riding every day and had done lots of horseback safaris before who said last time she fell off a horse was 11years ago so i guess some experience really can make the difference.

i had done
1 week of 4-6h/day dressage/riding out
1 week of 4-6h/day dressage/jumping/some riding out
1 week of 5-8h/day trailride
1 week of 2-3h/day classical dressage
some random dressage lessons

that was probably enough but knowing what i know now i wouldnt go there without atleast eqvivalent of the 3 first weeks. and the classical dressage week sure helped making it a much more pleasant trip since my posture was better making my back less tired.


sorry for lazy english
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Old 10-30-2011, 05:56 PM   #15
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Re: Horseback Safari in Masai Mara(Kenya)

wow, awesome TR. Looks amazing.
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Old 10-31-2011, 04:48 AM   #16
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Re: Horseback Safari in Masai Mara(Kenya)

$7200 per person?
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Old 10-31-2011, 04:57 AM   #17
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Re: Horseback Safari in Masai Mara(Kenya)

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$7200 per person?
yes.

we managed to get 10% discount by going to a boring horse show, dont know it is possible to get more somehow.

it is expensive but safari in africa is expensive and horse riding is. most other safaris would cost like $4k for 10days so the premium is not that high compared to the much more intense experience you get. i will definitely do more horse safaris for about the same money in the future.

we booked the safari in april, they were fully booked until october(max 12/group) so they dont seem to lack takers at $7200.
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Old 10-31-2011, 08:58 AM   #18
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Re: Horseback Safari in Masai Mara(Kenya)

i'll def do that soon. sounds amazing

the problem is that only my poker buddies can afford $7.2k for a safari and i want to do it with some "normal" guys
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Old 10-31-2011, 10:11 AM   #19
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Re: Horseback Safari in Masai Mara(Kenya)

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i'll def do that soon. sounds amazing

the problem is that only my poker buddies can afford $7.2k for a safari and i want to do it with some "normal" guys
i know, that's the problem with these kind of trips.

in our group there were some single riders: 50ish brittish guy, 25 american girl, 40 american mother, 40 german mother, 30 swiss girl. the rest of the group were honeymooners and married but they were very open, the wives went to bed early and the guys stayed up drinking and smoking

i have been going alone on my other 3 trips and generally the people i have met have been super nice and exactly that kind of people i want to meet. outgoing, successful, openminded, relaxed, fit etc. a really nice way to get to know people, bond with them through the horses, get amazing memories only you share etc. i keep i touch with many of them and have met some of them again.

the brittish guy had called the safari company and asked about the different people who had signed up for the different dates and choose our group because we didnt have any big families, big group of german/french/spannish/italian-speakers and had some young mixed groups. i will try to check that in the future, when i went to italy there were like 6 germans and 6 italians and me and that kind of sucked.
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Old 10-31-2011, 12:25 PM   #20
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Re: Horseback Safari in Masai Mara(Kenya)

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i know, that's the problem with these kind of trips.

in our group there were some single riders: 50ish brittish guy, 25 american girl, 40 american mother, 40 german mother, 30 swiss girl. the rest of the group were honeymooners and married but they were very open, the wives went to bed early and the guys stayed up drinking and smoking

i have been going alone on my other 3 trips and generally the people i have met have been super nice and exactly that kind of people i want to meet. outgoing, successful, openminded, relaxed, fit etc. a really nice way to get to know people, bond with them through the horses, get amazing memories only you share etc. i keep i touch with many of them and have met some of them again.

the brittish guy had called the safari company and asked about the different people who had signed up for the different dates and choose our group because we didnt have any big families, big group of german/french/spannish/italian-speakers and had some young mixed groups. i will try to check that in the future, when i went to italy there were like 6 germans and 6 italians and me and that kind of sucked.
I've done 2 or 3 other safaris by myself too. Besides what you mention there I also check stuff like the dining arrangements and only go to places that have communal dining. It pretty much sucks if your there and they put the groups on separate tables and your there on your own.

One place did this and they got one of the guides to sit with me which was ok but not ideal, in hindsight I would probably rather have had the food brought to my room if I knew they were going to do that.
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Old 10-31-2011, 01:57 PM   #21
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Re: Horseback Safari in Masai Mara(Kenya)

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I've done 2 or 3 other safaris by myself too. Besides what you mention there I also check stuff like the dining arrangements and only go to places that have communal dining. It pretty much sucks if your there and they put the groups on separate tables and your there on your own.

One place did this and they got one of the guides to sit with me which was ok but not ideal, in hindsight I would probably rather have had the food brought to my room if I knew they were going to do that.
lol that sucks. at least they have always put us on the same table. our group was really nice, everyone was drinking and talking with everyone. i think horse-riders generally are more open and if you go to the expensive places you tend to get the more social adept people who get along with more people.


one night my friend got one of the girls really drunk at the dinner table. later around the fire she was throwing up and the guide said "it takes a lot of confidence and comfort with the group to get that drunk". we laughed our asses off but the statement was true. some tried pot for the first time there, we just felt really secure with the group
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Old 10-31-2011, 03:42 PM   #22
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Re: Horseback Safari in Masai Mara(Kenya)

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lol that sucks. at least they have always put us on the same table. our group was really nice, everyone was drinking and talking with everyone. i think horse-riders generally are more open and if you go to the expensive places you tend to get the more social adept people who get along with more people.


one night my friend got one of the girls really drunk at the dinner table. later around the fire she was throwing up and the guide said "it takes a lot of confidence and comfort with the group to get that drunk". we laughed our asses off but the statement was true. some tried pot for the first time there, we just felt really secure with the group
On the positive side cus I was on my own in some of these places the staff invited me to join them for drinks after everyone else had gone to bed a few times. Got absolutely smashed with them and they were a good bunch, even couldn't get out of bed for a couple of morning drives lol.

In hindsight we all agreed it was pretty irresponsible for us to get that drunk in the middle of the African bush, but it was fun at the time
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Old 10-31-2011, 07:00 PM   #23
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Re: Horseback Safari in Masai Mara(Kenya)

Could you do the same in Namibia?
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Old 11-01-2011, 03:58 AM   #24
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Re: Horseback Safari in Masai Mara(Kenya)

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Could you do the same in Namibia?
http://namibiahorsesafari.com/
http://www.okapuka-safaris.com/index...faris--part-2-
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Old 11-01-2011, 09:57 AM   #25
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Re: Horseback Safari in Masai Mara(Kenya)

Have you looked into going horse trekking in Mongolia next?
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