Type of horses:
Warmbloods, Thoroughbreds, local breeds, Friesian, American Saddler, Arab, Shire, Boerperd, Nooitegedacht, Basotho Pony. Appaloosa and cross breeds.
Nature of horses:
Gentle horses, well-schooled in trail riding in both English and Western style.
Height of horses:
90kg / 198lbs
Primarily McClellan trail saddles but English saddles are available.
Situated in the heart of the Cape Winelands in an area steeped in history, culture and known for its fine wine and dining, this stables offers riding holidays with a difference. You can enjoy excellent riding through varied terrain whilst also taking time to relax with wine-tastings, gourmet meals or perhaps even some spa treatments. Louis, Ellen and their team tailor make your stay so as to offer you the best of the region and to fit in with your preferences, whether you'd like to spend maximum time in the saddle or take an afternoon to visit Cape Town and the beautiful coastline. You have three choices of accommodation from staying on site at the farm to enjoying some luxury in a 5* hotel - the choice is yours!
The team is led by Louis Geyer, a dedicated rider with a passion for people and for sharing his extensive knowledge of the area. Louis has ridden all over Africa, spending time with great horsemen to observe their practices, ensuring that he himself has a rich insight and sensitivity towards his equine staff - gentle horsemanship is a way of life here and it filters through into every part of this wonderful ride. Louis' business partner Ellen is a gifted horsewoman and conscientious guide, especially notable for her high standard of horse care and her dedication to the horses' welfare. After all, the horses are an integral part of the team and the foundation of the business – happy horses and happy guests!
Louis is a certified tour guide with a Bachelor of Science degree in natural sciences and post graduate studies in education, so he has an intimate knowledge of the region’s history and wildlife. After horses, his particular passion is birding and local wildlife and he is happiest when outdoors. Louis lives by the motto, “What we have is not ours but has been given to us to share. If we keep it to ourselves we will lose it.”
There is a wonderful range of horses here and guests are well-matched to a suitable steed. The horses primarily live out in good company and are in excellent condition, fit and sensible. Whether you prefer a quiet, steady ride on an experienced horse or perhaps something more forward-going then you will find a new friend here! The horses are primarily ridden in McClellan trail saddles with a variety of bridles used, including some bitless which have been handmade for the horses suited to this way of going.
You can be assured of a warm welcome here, whether you come for a longer stay to make the most of the region or as an extension to a safari. Holly from Far and Ride visited in April 2016 (horses and wine are her two favourite things!) and would love to tell you more about this charming destination - please just get in touch!
You have three accommodation choices for your Cape Winelands riding holiday:
The Farm: the onsite farm accommodation is for guests wanting a close equestrian experience rich with all the sights, sounds and energy of a working stable yard. They offer cosy twin or double bedrooms that have been converted from old stables, all with views of the breathtaking Simonsberg Mountains. The rooms have an ensuite bathroom with a shower, safe and mini fridge stocked with a cold breakfast to be enjoyed in the comfort of your room. This relaxed farm stay option lets you immerse yourself in the Cape Winelands riding experience.
The Mid-Range Option: We have a new mid-range accommodation option for 2016, offering four star level rooms in a beautiful setting and with a really lovely atmosphere. The rooms are light and airy and there are charming views surrounding the property. They are undergoing some renovations with a new pool and upgrades to the rooms - please contact us for further information and some photos of this establishment (we have been to visit and can highly recommend it!).
The Luxury Option: The third option is a 5 star graded luxury intimate boutique hotel called Angala, where homely luxury blends with the pristine beauty of nature. Located in the heart of the winelands between magnificent mountains, it is a retreat for body, mind and spirit. It is situated high up on the majestic Simonsberg Mountains with spectacular vistas across vineyards to the Great Drakenstein Mountains, where guests can enjoy splendid sunsets and watch the mountains glow in the dusk light. All suites and cottages are fully equipped with special detailed attention paid to the decor. After a day's ride you can treat yourself to a variety of professional spa and massage treatments in the privacy of your own room or you can take a dip in the sparkling eco-pool, a feature which recreates the natural filtering process found in mountain streams and rivers. It is the first eco-pool of South Africa!
Guests will experience local fine dining and award winning wines on a par with the best in the world. From local cheese and wine tastings to gourmet meals, the gastronomical delicacies of the wine region and what will make your riding holiday complete in every way. With the exception of the odd picnic of local barbeque (braai) all lunches are enjoyed at restaurants where guests are able to order direct from the extensive a la carte menus.
Non riders can visit the nearby towns of Paarl, Stellenbosch or Franschhoek – all a short drive away and full of historical sites, world class restaurants and coffee shops, and other attractions.
Guests can go hiking, play golf, visit crocodile, ostrich, eagle, cheetah and butterfly farms or penguin colonies, go whale watching (in season), and enjoy wine, cheese or chocolate tasting. The spa facilities at the villa are also a great way to spend the day. Mountain bikes are also available should you wish to cycle on our farm.
Health requirements: Fit & Healthy
Age limit: Younger riders welcomed (with insurance in place)
Included: Your package is all inclusive of your choice of accommodation level, all riding, wine tastings, all meals (including restaurant meals), drinks (including house wines at the table) and drinks during and after rides.
At restaurants, house wines are included. Premium spirits and other wines are available but not included. Spa treatments are charged extra.
Not included: Flights, transfers, tips. Laundry service is not included but can be arranged for a nominal fee.
One of the team will both meet you on arrival and transfer you for departure from Cape Town International Airport. Your accommodation is a 40-minute drive from the airport.
The suggested arrival time is as close to 1pm as possible.
On the last day you will depart from your accommodation at 2 pm for arrival at the airport by 2.40pm. Please book onward domestic flights from 3.30pm onwards and international flights from 4.30pm onwards. (Domestic check-in is one hour before, international check-in is two hours before).
Airport: Cape Town
The riding terrain is soft underfoot and mostly along old tractor routes through, vineyards, orchards and forests. There are mountain climbs as well as ample flat areas for extended trots, comfortable canters and the odd full gallop for those wanting to experience the freedom on horseback to the fullest.
The following is a suggested itinerary only but Louis' team will always try and tailor make a programme where possible to suit the wishes and needs of the group. Programmes may vary according to seasons, weather, time of year and days of the week, to account for operating times and programmes of local wine estates.
You can arrive/depart on any day and stay for as long as you like (minimum 3 nights). We recommend between four and seven nights to fully explore the area, but the flexibility enables you to add this ride to the beginning/end of another African ride, or to just visit the Winelands if you prefer.
Please note: During the a seven night stay there will be one full day of rest for the horses. This is normally a good opportunity for some local sightseeing or a beach ride (from another stables) and whale watching as an optional extra.
You will be met on arrival at the airport and then it is a 40 minute drive to your chosen accommodation at the foot of the Simonsberg Mountain in the Cape Winelands. Once settled in you will enjoy a short gentle ride to familiarise yourself with the horse and the terrain. You will enjoy your first sundowners before eating a delicious sea food dinner together with some delicious local wines.
After breakfast you will saddle up and head into the local vineyards and orchards stopping at a lookout point with the magnificent Paarl Valley stretching out before you. You will head along the foot of the Simonsberg Mountain towards Anura Wine Estate, a route on which you can give your horse its head and enjoy a canter between the vines and along charming old farm roads. At Anura, you will enjoy a wine and cheese tasting before strolling over to the charming restaurant for an a la carte lunch with your preferred wine. You will head home through the mountains with an afternoon stop at the award winning estate Neil Joubert, a vineyard not normally open to the public but with whom they have secured exclusive wine tasting for their riders. You will arrive back at the yard at around 4 pm - it is time to relax before dinner which will be a culinary showcase of traditional Cape cuisine prepared by local chefs.
You should now be feeling relaxed and comfortable with your horse so today you will start with a long morning of exhilarating riding through peach, pear and plum orchards and onto a wine tasting at Backsberg, another internationally acclaimed vineyard, the first wholly organic wine estate in the region. From there you will head for the western face of Simonsberg Mountain, enjoying more spectacular views across the Paarl and Franschhoek Valley and over to the dramatic Great Drakenstein mountain range. The mountain trail takes you through refreshing eucalyptus and pine forests ending back at the stables. You will enjoy a later lunch hosted by another local wine farm. There is no afternoon ride today so you can relax at the accommodation or amble through the historical towns of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek or Paarl, a ten to twenty minute drive away. Dinner is at a local restaurant in whichever of these towns you prefer giving you another taste of local fine dining and wines - an experience on par with the best international restaurants.
This morning will take you into unspoilt terrain, through new orchards, vineyards and along estate dams. Riders can set their own pace but whether its a fast canter or lazy meander, its another exciting morning on horseback followed by lunch at a another winery. Spend your afternoon either relaxing or playing nine holes at the local golf course. For those wanting to venture further afield today, other full day excursions can be arranged. Please note that these optional activities are charged extra. Some of the most popular one day excursions are a beach ride and lunch in the nearby coastal town of Hermanus, to the Cape of Good Hope with a full day sightseeing, following the peninsula coastline with a visit to a protected African penguin colony. For the true adrenalin junkie you can book a Great White Shark Cage Diving experience. The day will end back at your accommodation and then it is another relaxed evening sampling fine local food and wines.
Today will give you the chance to play some Western games in their large sand arena before lunch, followed by a faster afternoon ride through Glen Carlou. You will spend the late afternoon strolling through picturesque Franschhoek, a small town famous for it gastronomy and with a historical Bastille influence evident in the charming culture, shops and eateries. Dinner is a relaxed affair back at the accommodation.
Today will be full day's ride out along the Simonsberg Mountain with a picnic lunch in the forest. This is a fantastic route for riders keen on a faster, more invigorating ride through the wood mill forests. A delicious dinner is either cooked by Louis or one of the locals who will do their best to ensure you have an authentic African dinner treating you as one of the family.
Today you will enjoy another morning ride venturing into unchartered trail routes if you are feeling adventurous. After some fun on horseback you will head to lunch at a popular cheese farm in the area. After lunch you will let the horses cool off in the dam while, if whether permits, you can swim with the horses. Your last evening will be spent at a local family owned restaurant, the perfect finish to your Winelands riding experience.
It is your last morning and they have saved the best for last. One final ride takes you up to one of the most spectacular view points in the Winelands where they will crack open some champagne and reflect on the week's highlights. After checking out of your accommodation you will be transferred to the airport. If you are on an evening flight out of Cape Town it may be possible to take you to the V & A Waterfront for some last minute shopping and sightseeing.
|Minimum group size:||2|
|Maximum group size:||8|
|Ability description:||Intermediate to experienced riders are welcomed. You should be happy and confident riding outdoors on a well mannered horse in all paces.|
|Type of ride:||Centre based or Trail|
|Total riding time:||4-6 hours a day|
|Departure dates:||2017: Dates to suit - you can arrive on any day and stay for as long as you like (min 3 nights).|
Four Day Programme:
Farm Accommodation £1180 (no single supplement)
Wine Guest House Accommodation £1460
£1760 single room
Luxury Accommodation £1780
£2240 single room
Seven Day Programme:
Farm Accommodation £1890 (no single supplement but min 2 pax)
Farm Accommodation £2065 (sole rider)
Wine Guest House Accommodation £2555
£3080 single room
Luxury Accommodation £3115
£3920 single room
Return Transfer Cape Town £130 (1-3 pax)
Return Transfer Cape Town £205 (4-8 pax)
This sensational new trail combines riding through the beautiful Cape Winelands region with wine-tasting and exquisite gourmet meals along the way. The trail takes you through more than fifteen different wine estates* and over a variety of terrain, travelling mostly at a relaxed pace but with plenty of opportunities to trot and enjoy long, loping canters. Meals are primarily sit-down dinners with a focus on local dishes which have become part of the area's history and culture - some are eaten in restaurants and others will be a local "braai" or barbecue. This is the ultimate horseback adventure for those who love great food and wine!
Due to the culinary nature of this programme, we recommend the ride for clients with no or only very minor dietary requirements.
Day 1 - Guests should arrive at the stables by 13:00 today (transfer from Cape Town available). The day starts with a welcome ride to ensure that everybody is comfortable with their new horse, followed by dinner at the home of a local wine-maker. Accommodation for your first two nights will be on a private wine-maker's guest farm near to the town of Stellenbosch.
Day 2 - Today is the first full day with wine-tasting and lunch along the way. Dinner will be back at your first accommodation, hosted by the wine farmer and with the wine-maker paying a visit as well. Dinner is presented with the wine from the estate that you are staying on.
Day 3 - Another full day ride with more stops along the way for wine and lunch. Tonight you sleep in a different accommodation located on another historic wine estate near to the town of Paarl. You will spend three nights here in total and dinner will be hosted by the wine estate in true local tradition.
Day 4 - Today is a rest day for the horses and guests. You can take the time to visit Cape Town or, for those of you who love as much riding as possible, there is the option of a private beach ride along the Atlantic Coast (additional cost). Alternatively you may just wish to relax by the pool and rest your body for the next riding days. Dinner will be at one of the award-winning fine dining restaurants in the town of Paarl.
Day 5 - Your journey continues along the edge of Simonsberg with tracks into the forest and then up to the mountain, stopping to take in the impressive views and to enjoy wine and food at another award-winning wine estate. Dinner will be back at the historic wine farm, hosted by the owners.
Day 6 - The ride continues onwards to more exclusive vineyards and wine estates with wine-tasting stops along the way. Your accommodation moves to another historic manor house where a butler will be at your service. Dinner is a private affair with wine and food fit for a feast.
Day 7 - Today is the last day of your journey. You will make the usual stop for lunch and wine-tasting before reaching the pinnacle of your adventure - views of the famous False Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. You will enjoy some champagne to celebrate the end of a great ride with new friends. Dinner tonight will be a banquet style meal in the old manor house, accompanied by fine wines from your hosts.
Day 8 - After a hearty breakfast guests are free to depart for home or to continue their stay in the Cape Winelands. Additional nights here can be arranged.
NB. The 17th - 24th April date is the first trail of its kind and guests should consider it as somewhat of an exploratory ride. Although all routes have been ridden regularly, timings and distances may vary slightly in accordance with the group.
* Wine estates covered during the ride include Knorhoek, Uitkyk, Kanonkop, Morgenhof, Delviera, Warwick, La Bonheur, Marianne, Anura, Backsberg, Neil Joubert Wines, Vrede en Lust, Plaisir de Merle, Boschendal, Zorgvliet, Tokara and more.
|Accommodation:||Accommodation is at three different wine estates: Knorhoek Guest Farm and Wine Estate (2 nights), Laborie Wine Estate (3 nights) and Plaisir de Merle Manor House and Wine Estate (2 nights).|
|Minimum group size:||6|
|Maximum group size:||8|
|Ability description:||Riders should be capable of riding at walk, trot and canter and fit to ride long hours. The pace is relaxed overall but does include many opportunities to trot and enjoy long, loping canters.|
|Type of ride:||Trail ride.|
|Total riding time:||5 main riding days, generally with a minimum of 4 hours per day, plus a short ride on arrival day. On the rest day there is the option to purchase an additional beach ride at added cost.|
|Departure dates:||2016: Set departures coming soon. Dates available on request for minimum of six, subject to availability.|
£2100 per person, based on sharing a twin or double room.
The price includes 7 nights of accommodation, all meals (except lunch on non-riding day) and transport during the riding programme. Wine, water, coffee, tea and soft drinks are included with the meals and drinks during the day on the rides will be provided. Room service and drinks at accommodation outside of set meal times will be at additional cost.
On the non-riding day riders can take an option beach ride excursion at the Atlantic Coast for an additional £100 per person, payable locally. Lunch is included with the excursion (otherwise lunch that day is at your own cost).
Single supplement for single room: 20% extra.
If you are willing but not able to share (because there is nobody else) then this fee may be waived, depending on availability for each trail.
Cape Town airport transfers: £150 per person, return fare.