So the other weekend I’m in Hluhluwe and I get cajoled into doing a horse safari. But horses terrify me. And all I can think about is the time I went camel trekking… That was a disastrous feat. Three days of ass rubbing and camel bucking in the sweltering heat of Rajasthan. (India).
Typically I land the grisly camel. An insolent grunting female who insisted on repeatedly walloping me off her hump and dumping me face down in the sand. Painful is an understatement – I was left internally bruised, seething with camel hatred and swearing never again.
The memory has forever haunted me, not to mention severely hampered my enthusiasm for horses, a breed that in my mind, is not far off the camel family.
But apparently a game drive doesn’t quite cut it anymore, now we can gallivant through the bush and spot Zebra on bareback.
I can’t say I was bounding towards the paddock. But I didn’t want to seem a sissy either. And my friends were all prodding fingers, desperate for me to join. So I swallowed the lump in my throat and reluctantly agreed.
My horse was called Grace. Unfortunately I lack the genetic compound that finds an ability to truly bond with animals. But I must be honest – Grace did a good job at coaxing me into some sort of affectionate inkling.
She was a slender feline, striking and beautiful. And she elegantly nosed me through the thorny sand forest bordering False Bay – a vast watery expanse that opens out to Lake St. Lucia.
Felicity (from Hluhluwe horse safaris) led the two-hour trail through False Bay Nature Reserve. She was a buxom and reassuring type, who kept check of the horses and made me feel at ease with her chat of being born on the back of a horse – thanks to her father who was an avid polo player.
We networked through acacia trees, stumbled on a warthog bathing in a watering hole, and watched him scuttle off into the thicketed distance. As the forest cleared, some Nyala darted across our tracks and skitted out of sight, leaving us with a horizon of flat sun streaked Lakeland.
I can’t claim to be a reformed horse lover, but my misgivings have lessened. This is definitely something to try, regardless of whether you’re a fearful cynic like me – it certainly offers something different to the standard game drive.