Malawi: Horse Riding
The warm heart of Africa
Malawi isn't an obvious horse-riding destination, but there are a couple of excellent operations that will really get you off the beaten track, whether you are an experienced rider or complete novice.
Horseback safaris are popular in the Nyika Plateau National Park. This is in the north of Malawi where big skies and rolling hills make the most perfect riding country. It's a 3 000 sq km wilderness where you ride along elephant trails down secluded steep sided valleys, trot with herds of eland, roan, and zebra, or gallop across the grassy plains. Safaris run for 2-10 days and you overnight in camps set up alongside mountain streams while your horse grazes nearby.
Horse riding can also now be organised from the lodges at Chintheche on the northern lakeshore. The stables are situated on the edge of the beautiful Chissasira Forest Reserve near Kande Beach. They are home to 21 well-schooled horses that can cater for any level of rider. Interestingly, these horses were rescued from farms in Zimbabwe when their owners could no longer afford to keep them. The most popular ride is a three-hour ride through the forest reserve and the local Tonga Villages. It culminates in a swim on horseback in the calm waters of Lake Malawi and a gallop along Kande Beach.
You can also ride a horse on the Nyika Plateau, where safaris on horseback are popular, and on Zomba Plateau, where there is a dressage school.