This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Responsible tourism: Horse riding safari in Uganda
The majority of this trip is spent in areas not usually visited by tourists; we will meet local communities and perhaps a few ex-pats, but very few travelers from outside Uganda. That’s one of the beauties of traveling on horseback; it gets you right off the established routes. There is no more environmentally-friendly means of transport than the horse: they are quiet and gentle on the environment and a natural part of the habitat.
All the lodges we use are solar powered, either entirely, or the majority of their power-demand comes from renewable sources. Being on the bank of the Nile, in a rainforest area, means that natural water is in abundance, so drinking water is readily available and the challenge of water conservation less poignant here than in many other places.
The rainforest in this much-overlooked corner of Uganda is vulnerable: it escaped development in the 1900’s because of economic factors. That is to say, the indigenous rubber trees of Uganda were not viable compared to the high-yielding rubber trees in SE Asia. Consequently the forest was not developed but left in its pristine state. As a result, the forest that now exists must be protected. In order for protection to be a viable entity there must be an income and horse riding provides this. This is a glorious area to ride through and horses are a natural part of it. The fact that we are here, buying accommodation, guiding services and horse husbandry services directly from the local people means that they (as well as we) have a vested interest in keeping this little-known rainforest intact.
On the trail we make sure to remove all waste from picnic stops; what can be recycled is done so, and safely burning everything else. Sterilized water is provided every day, eliminating the need for the use of plastic bottles. As the Guide is working in “his own back yard” he will uphold these policies diligently, and we ask guests to do the same in this fragile wilderness areas.
We are acutely aware of the economic, ecological and ethical impact tourism should have on indigenous communities and fragile environments. Our leaders, guides and entire company is trained to handle trips in a nuanced manner so that all stake-holders – including grooms, stable-boys, cooks, drivers, local suppliers of food and facilities, as well as the guides you interact with directly on a daily basis, and of course the habitats we pass through – all benefit. Having a zero impact isn’t good enough, we must leave everything slightly better than we find it.
Money is spent locally shopping for fresh veg, horses, accommodation and the hundred-and-one other things we need. Local people are therefore benefiting through employment, and you benefit from the opportunity of chewing the fat with all sorts of locals you wouldn’t normally cross paths with. Our group size throughout the trip is limited to 8 so as not to overwhelm both the communities we visit, and the environment.
Local people are recruited and trained in equine husbandry, stable management and the softer skills of dealing with overseas visitors. These skills are transferable and the wider safari business is Uganda’s largest sector, which makes our people eminently employable. Operating in the Mabira rainforest area also provides an avenue of employment that allows local people to remain in their home area rather than migrate to urban areas which the lure generally exceeds the reality.