If you love horses, adventure and the great outdoors, there is no better way to discover Africa than on the back of one of our Beautiful safari horses.
Still operating under the same principles and ideals of Varden Safaris, Ride Zimbabwe operates in new riding areas which includes Hwange National Park and Cawston Wildlife Estate in Matabeleland. These areas are easily accessible from the major Tourism Hubs of Victoria Falls, Matobo National Park and Bulawayo. Ride Zimbabwe is owned and operated by James Varden, a well-known and respected Professional Zimbabwean Safari Guide and his wife Janine. Janine grew up in Australia where her love of animals and horses began. She worked for many years as a Jillaroo on a sheep and cattle farm and then at Werribee Open Range Zoo in Melbourne, Victoria as a Keeper before meeting James and moving to Zimbabwe to create their dream of providing guests with a truly incredible safari experience.
James and Janine both have strong backgrounds in conservation having spent more than 15 years operating Horse Riding Safaris in the Mavhuradonha Wilderness, north of Zimbabwe, being involved in many conservation projects to help preserve wildlife and to support local communities. Janine and James firmly believe and know through their experience that wildlife and their habitats will continue to suffer without the benefit of community involvement.
Some major ways communities can benefit from living in harmony with nature is through Tourism. Tourism provides employment, spinoff arts and crafts, conservation education in the local schools by Tourism Operators and exposure of local communities to many cultures through visits of International guests to name a few. Our biggest conservation achievement to date has been working for many years with the Local Government to grant Mavhuradonha Wilderness Full National Heritage Status and protection by National Monuments and Museums which has led to an application for World Heritage listing for the area with UNESCO.
Hwange National Park, the largest National Park in Zimbabwe, is home to 400 different species of bird and 107 types of mammals. The region of Hwange National Park that we ride in is underlain by deep Kalahari sands, the perfect terrain for our barefoot horses, the landscape is predominantly flat with no mountains or Kopjes in sight., making for some excellent riding conditions and unimpeded views of the vast amount of wildlife that call this area home. Zambezi Teak and Camelthorn tree woodlands surround a vast number of waterhole or pans, as they are more commonly known. Marvel in the intricate amazing shapes of these grand ancient trees; trees that have shaded and fed thousands upon thousands of animals over the centuries and will also offer you some respite from the African sun when we rest beneath their spreading boughs to enjoy a delicious packed lunch or snack with our noble steads grazing nearby. Throughout these pan fringe areas numerous mammals roam amongst the wonderful woodlands, in particular elephants and giraffe, and if that is not exciting enough, there may be opportunity to sail over a natural jump or two! Other types of habitats that we ride through and explore include Silver Terminalia, Coppiced Teak, Kalahari Apple Leaf, Kalahari Sand Acacia and the more open grasslands near the "pans." View the full itinerary
Cawston Wildlife Estate is an intimate 32,000-acre family run ranch offering exclusive and personalized safari on their little slice of paradise in the stunning scenic landscapes of Matabeleland, 40km north of Bulawayo. The secluded under the cover of a lush riverine forest with views overlooking an active waterhole, sightings of bushbuck, warthog and kudu are a frequent accompaniment to morning coffee.
Large herds of plains game such as giraffe, zebra, impala, eland, wildebeest, tsessebe, sable and many more mammalian species also call Cawston home and can be observed roaming the land from atop your equine altar. As the sun sets, the nightly chorus comes alive with the stirrings of the carnivores and nocturnal residents..... the stealthy prowl of the leopard, the playful leap of the serval and civet, the forlorn wail of the black-backed jackal, the busy shuffle of the porcupine and honey badger and the clandestine crawl of the shy brown hyena, one of the top three rarest carnivores in Africa. View full itinerary here