As a contributor on horse safaris for our active safaris story, Martin Dodwell from Ride Kenya – and Equestrian Operations Manager for Great Plains Conservation – took the time to give us insight into the Masai Mara as a destination, some of his unique experiences in Kenya, and local knowledge for travellers.
What do you love most about the Masai Mara?
The diversity and numbers of the wildlife. There is always something to see which makes every day and every ride different.
What makes it a special place for horse safaris - and what makes horse riding in this place so special to you?
Miles and miles of rolling hills with rivers and drainage lines in between; good open areas for long canters often with wildebeest, zebra, topi, tommies, and giraffe; other areas of bush and trees with always the chance of coming across buffalo, elephant, lion, hippo, and occasionally a leopard.
Tell us the story of how you ended up in Kenya. What drew you there? What has made your passion for these places so enduring?
Ali and I met on a horse safari in Botswana and soon decided to spend our lives together. We could have ended up in the UK as I had a good job and a comfortable living but somehow Africa just drew us away. The thought of 12-hour days filled with sunshine and wild nature all around made it an easy decision. The first year was tough, living in a tent and learning the frustrations of the bush, but the bonuses far outweighed any misgivings. For the next 13 years, we built up horse safaris in the Serengeti, riding with the wildebeest migration every year and across the grass plains and savannahs of Tanzania. In 2016, we moved north by only 110km and set up in the Masai Mara of Kenya. We are within riding distance of the Mara River and have incredible riding terrain amongst an intense animal population. This is the best adventure horse riding country.