Horse-riding Safaris. Get up close to wild animals in a private game reserve on a superbly trained horse with knowledgeable and dedicated guides.
Morning and afternoon Lion Tours. Go walking with young lions and observe their nature and habits. Experience the feeding of majestic adult lions and interact with the young cubs. You will appreciate why we have to protect the king of the African bush for future generations.
Full-day Package – which includes a horse safari in the morning, lunch and lion tour in the afternoon.
Overnight Accommodation. Stay a few days and enjoy the peace and quiet of the bush and hear the majestic roar of our lions at night. Fill your days with all the amazing adventures we have on offer at our lodge, zipline over a deep gorge or abseil down a cliff face on the adjoining property. Visit the nearby historical village of Cullinan – where the largest diamond in the world was found. Relax with a superb hot rock massage by our resident masseuse. Enjoy the peace and splendour of the bushveld far away from any city lights and noise.
Wildlife Conservation. Horseback Africa is actively involved in many wildlife conservation projects. Dr. Colin MacRae has founded wildlife sanctuaries, managed wildlife reintroductions and successfully bred and released rare and endangered species including Serval and African Rock Python. Horse Riding Safaris in the African bush:
We are passionate about horses and have had many years of riding experience. We have competed or taught in various disciplines including Dressage, Show-jumping, Carriage Driving, Endurance and more recently Polo. Many people are enchanted by horses but have never had the opportunity to take formal lessons. With an experienced guide and a well-trained horse, you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve!
Our horse riding safaris are suitable for both experienced riders and complete beginners.
There are always a minimum of two guides on safari so the experienced riders have fun whilst not putting beginners under any pressure.
Out on safari you can expect to see wildlife from a different viewpoint. The wild animals see horse and rider as another animal … a very strange one… but still an animal! You can stroll right next to a giraffe or let your horse munch grass in the zebra herd. These are magical moments you cannot get on a safari vehicle.
Safety is our top priority
We provide comfortable lightweight helmets and half-leg chaps. Well-fitting safety equipment is a must for a safe, enjoyable ride! Although we challenge you to improve your riding skills, we are constantly aware of your need to feel safe.
Our horses are friendly, well trained and obedient.
Every horse is very special to us. We personally train and ride all our horses – they’re part of our family! They are super-responsive, obedient, loving and happy animals.
Horseback Africa is situated on our own private game reserve.
On safari you will see vast open spaces and pure unspoiled nature. There are no tourist cars or busses! You can view zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, kudu, impala, waterbuck, hartebeest, blesbok, and many other wild animals from very close by. We never disturb the wild animals and they are accordingly not afraid of the horse riders.
We only take out small groups – Maximum 10 riders.
This ensures that all our guests get a safe, exclusive and personal experience.
Walking with Lions Tour:
The Lion Tour is an interactive and educational tour. By teaching people about lions and their natural behaviour we are able to create a greater awareness of the importance of their conservation. Very few people are aware of the dire situation the lion population in Africa is facing and few realise that lions may become extinct in the near future. We take out small groups of people so that everyone can interact with the young (up to one year old) lions without stressing them in any way.
The tour is really laid back. Guests spend time in the garden feeding the baby lion cubs and any other rehab animals we might have at the time. Our guides are very knowledgeable and are always keen to share generally unknown and interesting facts about lions.
The once-in-a-life-time walk on the wild side is a highlight of the tour. These walks are very important for adolescent lions as it encourages them to explore their surroundings and to hone their hunting skills – essential for their successful release later in life. The lions love to stop for a cuddle or splash in the water. There are no leashes or restraints – the lions are free to play naturally, and they love to show off, so don’t forget your camera!
Touch, Feel, Learn
Spectacular Photographic opportunities
Exclusivity – there is a maximum 15 guests per tour
Morning and afternoon tours
The African Lodge:
Leave the stress of the city behind and let Horseback Africa weave it’s bushveld magic over you. This is a place you’ll feel at home from the moment you arrive. Come share stories around the campfire, enjoy sensational feasts in the outdoor boma or simply relax and unwind around the swimming pool.
Single, Double and family rooms with en-suite bathrooms
Dinner, Bed & Breakfast
Relaxing Spa and Massage treatments.
Lion Conservation at Horseback Africa:
Walking with lions and playing with lion’s cubs has been a controversial subject in recent times. There are a few animal extremists who campaign against this, which they believe to be cruel. As in all topics (religion, politics, ethics) extremist views should be taken with a pinch of salt. If you’ve ever owned a dog or cat then you have enough savvy to know if a cub is scared of you or stressed, it will totally avoid contact with you. 98% of our guests are animal lovers and are thrilled with the way the cubs engage them, seek contact and initiate play. Lions are social animals, and like your dog, they crave love and attention and cannot be left caged on their own, even if it is a big cage. Our lion cubs are not restrained or leashed, if one doesn’t feel like socializing, he’ll let you know by walking a little away from the group and keeping his distance. He has all the space and freedom to do so!
We don’t survive off donations and we don’t pay fundraising companies exorbitant fees that would be better spent on our own lions. A few years ago, elephants were the big hype and every ‘cruelty prevention society’ was collecting money to stop elephant interactions and to “protect” the elephant in Africa. Now lions are in the new hype and everyone has forgotten about the elephants. The irony is that many of these fund-raising societies don’t own a single elephant, lion or wildlife sanctuary in Africa. Have you ever spent the time to check what your donated money gets used for?
A recent study done by the SCI titled “Keeping the lion’s share” investigated 4 major animal rights groups in the USA and found that they spend a minimum of 50% and up to 75% of donated money for fundraising. In short, 75 cents of every dollar you give them goes to fundraising and only 25 cents go to the cause of lion protection. You are literally donating money to be used to sell you the story! Perhaps it’s time to make up your own mind about media hype statements like “All hand raised cubs get hunted”. You could be tricked into believing and donating, only to find that your money is being used mostly to fundraise. As soon as the lion issue becomes old news, your donation gets used to sell you the next big emotional issue. Wait for the coming appeal to “save” the African Pangolin – and the fund-raising organization!
After all is said and done, true lion conservation will only continue if it is sustainable. Over the last 21 years we have been here, offering lion tours and using the money earned for our small part protecting our wildlife, not just for this generation but for our children and their children too.
We are fully permitted with the Department of Nature Conservation. This is a government department that monitors and controls wildlife initiatives and ensures animals are kept happy and healthy.
We are members of WRASA (Wildlife Ranching Association of South Africa)
We are members of GAZ (Gauteng Association of Zoos)
We are members of WWF (World Wildlife fund)
Our cubs are bred from excellent genetic bloodlines and we concentrate on genetic diversity.
We adhere to our veterinarian’s strict deworming, immunization and feeding program to assure that the cubs are raised at optimum health.
We are a small dedicated business, we only take small tour groups and only twice a day, so our cubs have lots of quiet time to themselves. All cubs have different personalities and if we see that one is feeling stressed then he or she is immediately removed to the peace and comfort of the nursery.
We have 4 adult female lionesses and 2 male lions that are part of our family. We only allow the lionesses a few litters each year to ensure that they stay strong and healthy. Don’t confuse us with one of those establishments that have over 50 lions on the property!
After one year the lions are ready for the next stage of their lives. They are placed into a pride and introduced to large enclosures to prepare them to fend for themselves.
The lions we have released till now have had great success in hunting and surviving – this is mostly due to our walking program.
We only donate our lions to safe wildlife parks and go to great lengths to ensure they kept far from the “canned lion” industry.
Dr. Colin MacRae has been involved in research projects involving lions and other wildlife with the Onderstepoort Veterinary hospital and Pretoria Zoo.
Dr. Colin MacRae is a well-known and respected scientist, conservationist and lecturer. He obtained his BSc (Hons) degree in Palaeontology (the study of fossils and evolutionary biology) in 1975 from the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. He was awarded his MSc in 1978 and his Ph D (Palynology) in 1987. He joined the Council for Geoscience in 1978 and was head of Palaeontology Section from 1986 to 1993. Colin is an accomplished speaker and has presented numerous lectures ranging from popular levels for amateurs to international scientific congresses. Colin is the founder and was the first president of the South African Society for Amateur Palaeontologists. Colin and his wife started Horseback Africa Tours and Safaris in 1994, established the Elandshoek Nature Reserve in 2000 and the present Horseback Africa Game Park in 2004.
Massage and Spa Treatments in a beautiful outdoor setting:
Do you need to unwind and relax? Are your muscles stiff from all those holiday activities? We have the perfect solution for you!
Helen is an experienced and skilful masseur. She specializes in Hot Stone therapy and tension releasing neck, back and shoulder massages. In just one session you’ll feel like you have a new body!
The indoor massage room is quiet & peaceful and can also open up to the spa bonsai garden. The high stone walls provide all the privacy you need but still allow you a wonderful view of an adult lion camp. The lions enjoying a warm day siesta and are glad to see you too!
Dr Colin MacRae is the “father” and founder of Horseback Africa, which is a very successful business that has been operating since 1994.
Colin and Theony have been happily married for 38 years. They have four adult children, Brandon, Megan, Craig and Owen.
Dr. Colin MacRae obtained his BSc (Hons) degree in palaeontology in 1975 from the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. He was awarded his MSc in 1978 and his Ph D (palynology) in 1987. He joined the Council for Geoscience in 1978 and was Head of the Palaeontology section from 1986 to 1993. Colin is an accomplished speaker and has presented numerous lectures from popular levels for amateurs to international scientific congress.
Meet the Team:
Theony MacRae has a degree in Musicology at the University of South Africa (UNISA) in 1982. She obtained her Pianoforte Licentiate (LTCL) at the Trinity College of Music in London in 1980.
Craig Wiehahn is the Lodge Manager at Horseback Africa.
After school he obtained a MCSE (I.T.) qualification at CompTIA and has a decade of web design skills. He has over 15 years of management experience in small companies, big corporates and game farms. He is an avid and competitive horseman and has also obtained his FEI Level 2 (International) qualification for Show Jumping Course Building. Craig is also a big cat lover and has worked with lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, mountain lions, jaguars, caracal and genets.
Connie Stark-Wiehahn is the Stable Manager and Horse Safari Tour Guide. She is the daughter of the well-known Pieter Stark. After school, she went to the SANDF (South African Defence Force) for 10 years where she became a captain and commander of the Equestrian Mounted Wing.
She has competed internationally in show jumping, dressage and equitation and has also competed internationally in eventing and showing. She has also coached many students in all the above disciplines.
Following in her father’s footsteps as a Head Game Ranger of Ethosha National Park, she has now combined her love for horses with nature conservation.
Kedibone Dube has been working as a chef at Horseback Africa for more than 10 years. She has recently had the privilege to become the first franchise holder of the new Horseback Africa restaurant known as the Wild Horse Restaurant.
Tanya Liebenberg studied hospitality for 3 years after school. She spent 9 years gaining experience in conservation as a volunteer including working with Anthony Lawrence. She obtained a FAGASA (Field Guides Association of Southern Africa) level 2 qualification in Hoedspruit and later worked at the Kruger National Park. She has 11 years’ experience in anti-poaching, which is not limited to South Africa. Her loves for animals and people has brought her to Horseback Africa.