Louise very kindly wrote about her experience at the riding safari she chose to visit, Wait a Little Big 5 in South Africa – here’s what she thought of this fabulous prize.
It all started with a phone call from Jill to say I’d won a competition I had entered on the Horse & Hound Magazine stand at Horse of the Year Show, back in October 2015. I’d entered quite a few competitions that day while walking round the stands between classes and out of all of them, I couldn’t have won a better one. After the initial shock, I got on with sorting everything out with the help of Jill at Zara’s Planet. We went through their Luxury Riding Safari collection in Africa and she explained about the game, the riding and the terrain and after some thought, I came to choose Wait a Little Big 5 Safari in South Africa – had I made the right choice…………hell yeah!
This safari was advertised as a luxury safari and luxury it was.
When we arrived we were greeted by all of the staff at Wait a Little and shown to our tents. As I was a single traveller I was sharing with another single woman. The tent was amazing, it over looked the river, with our bath and shower overlooking it too and outdoors! It was huge with two 4 poster beds, a couple of sofas, wardrobes and seating out on the verandah, everything you needed to chill out and more.
The main living area where we ate meals and had drinks was wonderful, it felt homely with a big fire pit and seating next to a large dining room area. The food was to die for, something different every day. Wonderful freshly baked cakes at afternoon tea time. I couldn’t believe it, it surpassed any restaurant back home!
The horses, where do I start……………….they were all fantastic. All togged up with dressage saddles to keep your bum comfy all day. They were all mannerly and knew what they were doing. I got awfully attached to Waggle and Bitburger on my stay, I could have brought them both back. We did two rides a day, early morning 7am till 11 ish then 3.30pm till 6.30pm ish. It was wonderful, just the right amount of riding, with so much to see and lots of long canters which I loved. Added into that, we also went out for a couple of game drives to give our muscles a rest and to see game at a different level, even in the dark one evening!
The rides were action packed and animal packed we did not come away without at least 100 photos a day. We were completely spoilt. We saw the big 5 and they were incredible. Lots of different terrains to ride over lots of variation of things to see and places to ride. It was all beyond amazing.
Xidulu the private lodge we stayed at for 2 nights in the middle of the week was out of this world, it was on a neighbouring reserve called Makalali and over-looked a water hole where the animals came to drink frequently. We had hippos just outside our bedroom veranda, it was phenomenal.
And I cannot forget the Wait a Little team, all warm, fun and geared up to entertain and educate you about their home and the wild game. A big mention to our guide Rusty, who I trusted with my life, he got us the best and most close up encounters with animals that I never imagined possible. Nothing can beat getting within feet of giraffe, elephants and rhinos. Out of this world.
I’m trying to keep this short and sweet, as you can imagine, I could go on and on forever……………….in summary, if you are looking for the Big 5, trustworthy horses, great guiding, luxury accommodation, delicious food, unlimited drinks G&T style, excellent hosts and a superb team, you need Zara’s Planet and you want Wait a Little.
From start to finish, I had the most incredible, fun and uplifting time, I can’t thank you all enough, Zara’s Planet & Wait a Little!