Saturday, 01 February 2014 09:44

Hapless on a horse or pro' on a pony?

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Whilst many are celebrating the New Year festivities of the Chinese Year of the Horse we wish to celebrate Pakamisa Lodge and Private Game Reserve, our very special property where one can enjoy all levels of horse-riding within the African bush.

Set high on the rolling hills of northern KwaZulu-Natal, Pakamisa Lodge enjoys an enviable position in this unspoilt setting.  It might surprise you that I highlight its lack of the ‘Big 5’ and predators as a plus-point, yet this very characteristic allows for a unique safari experience: horse-riding in the African bushveld, safe in the knowledge that one doesn’t have to contend with dangerous animals.  Whilst traditional game drives offer a fantastic way to see wildlife, the noise of the vehicles engine invariably heightens an animal’s desire to flee.  Sat quietly on horseback, the possibility to pass through a grazing herd of zebra and cause virtually no disturbance is significantly higher.

Isabella, the hands-on owner, is passionate about horses and over the years has developed a world-class stud.  The Arabs were brought in from Spain and Isabella has successfully cross-bred them with an indigenous South African breed to ensure an excellent stable.  Whether a beginner or advanced rider, guests will be paired with a horse best suited to their level of competence.  Those sitting on a horse for the very first time can partake in a short lesson to calm the nerves whilst experienced riders might choose to spend up to 5 hours out on the 2,500ha reserve with a picnic lunch.

All tack is kept in an excellent condition and English or endurance saddles are provided, as well as helmets and riding chaps.

For those less keen to sit in the saddle, one can enjoy game drives on the reserve or guided bush walks, which can be a leisurely stroll to a viewing point or a more invigorating expedition along one of the bush trails in search of wildlife or examples of the 200-strong species of birds that inhabit the reserve.  For those yearning to search the ‘Big 5’, afternoon game drives can be arranged at another nearby reserve.  Competitively-spirited guests might enjoy the challenge of archery, clay target shooting, or air rifle shooting which can all be arranged locally whilst angling enthusiasts may wish to wrestle a tiger fish from nearby Jozini Dam.

Pakamisa Lodge has 8 luxury suites individually positioned in the indigenous gardens to ensure breath-taking views across the rolling hills and valleys.  The rooms are generous in size, each with a large bedroom, substantial bathroom, and sunken lounge leading on to a spacious patio.  The suites can accommodate two additional beds and kids over 12 are charged the very competitive 3rd person rate.  In keeping with Pakamisa’s tranquil setting, the rooms are techno-free but internet connectivity is available in the Main House and mobile signal is relatively strong in most areas.

Pakamisa Lodge and Private Game Reserve is the perfect safari lodge for guests keen to experience a horseback safari in a safe environment.  It also works extremely well in conjunction with a traditional safari lodge, as clients are able to enjoy the best of a ‘big game’ safari and the many varied outdoor activities available at Pakamisa.

For those self-drive clients wishing to combine a safari in the greater Kruger with a beach stay on the KwaZulu-Natal coast, Pakamisa makes for a welcome break as it’s virtually halfway between Hazyview and Durban.  Those considering it as a stop-over are recommended to spend at least 2 nights at the lodge to ensure that they are able to fully experience all that this hillside retreat has to offer.

Although Pakamisa is not be celebrating the advent of the Year of the Horse with colourful parades and festive fireworks, they are offering a ‘stay 3, pay 2’ deal during May, June, and July 2014.

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