Eastern Cape Explorer riding holiday in South Africa - Far and Ride
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Eastern Cape Explorer, South Africa




Programmes


• Beachcomber Trail

 

Reviews



My face hurt from grinning like a child all week. The last little treat was spotting dolphins surfing beside us. 120km ridden - what a great holiday! I've no idea what more I could have asked for. Dream holiday, difficult to fault.

Sue Thomas
In truth, I felt exhausted at the end of each and every day, but was up with the sun each morning excited to get the new day started. This trail is the perfect mix of exhilarating riding, adventure, discovery and most importantly; FUN! I met some absolutely amazing people and animals, laughed until my sides hurt and smiled from ear to ear for every second of this trip. I have made some truly incredible friendships and had some absolutely unbelievable experiences. To say that this whole experience has ruined the chances of my enjoying any future trail ride would be unfair, but I truly believe I would struggle to find a more fulfilling riding experience.

Natalie Garner, Far and Ride
 

Horses



Type of horses:

Arabian, Thoroughbred and Boerperd crosses.

Nature of horses:

Energetic but safe and well-mannered.

Height of horses:

14 hh - 16.2 hh

Weight limit:

100kg / 220lbs

Tack type:

McLellan saddles but some English saddles are available for those who prefer. Snaffle bits are used and horses are accustomed to neck-reining.

 

Weather



 

Ride Description

Ever thought that you would like to canter your horse along a beach or play in the waves? The sound of a horse's hooves splashing in the water beneath you is a memory not to be forgotten. What better way to experience South Africa than on the back of a horse, enjoying this new and exciting trail ride along the coast! You can canter these fit horses for miles along the firm sand of the unspoilt beaches, swimming in the sea and combing the beaches looking for hidden treasures or admiring shipwrecks.

Jono and Mel offer you this exhilarating ride based in Kenton-on-Sea, nestled in the heart of the Sunshine Coast in the Eastern Cape, this riding centre will give you the very best adventure-packed experience! Jono has been riding here since 1999 and since then, he has been giving safe but exciting rides for all types of rider. Whilst fast riding is on offer, their safety record is second to none. Jono is an experienced endurance rider who has lived in this area most of his life. He has studied Nature Conservation and is very familiar with local flora and fauna as well as being involved in all aspects of local life. His knowledge of the surroundings and his horses, many of whom are homebred, ensure a fascinating ride as you experience the wonders of the Eastern Cape bush. In addition to the beaches there are secluded valleys, cliffs, forests and farmlands, not to mention rivers which need to be swum across for a true taste of adventure.

During the rides you will be accompanied by a knowledgeable and friendly guide and your horse will be one of their beautiful Arabian crosses, bred for their temperament and stamina. The horses are bred using Arabian stallions and mixed crossbred mares, the result being a wonderful horse that can handle the hard work over the sand dunes and long distances. There is a good selection of horses for the trails ensuring a good match for each rider and spares should they be required. All the horses are ridden in snaffles and the horses are accustomed to neck-reining with loose reins. Jono uses McClellan saddles that are very comfortable for both horse and rider and offer security for the less experienced jockey, though there are English saddles for those who prefer. All the horses are well-socialised and get rotated so they enjoy plenty of rest in large fields when not in work.

This is a beautiful adventure for those who love adventurous riding on fit horses, unspoilt scenery, sunshine and endless beaches. Our first rider on this trail called it a "dream holiday, difficult to fault" and we hope to make many more riding dreams come true with this trail!

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

You will stay in several different places during the ride, all of which are clean and comfortable. Accommodation is based around shared rooms and most are reasonably upmarket, though some nights are a little more rustic such as when you stay at a backpackers lodge. They are all located on or near the beach.

A few of the accommodations do have a pool - most do not but there are plenty of opportunities to swim!

Please contact us for more specific information regarding the accommodation.

Meals are primarily created using fresh local ingredients. Picnic lunches will be taken en route and carried in saddle bags. Sometimes breakfast is 'DIY' where the items are provided for you.

 

Activities

Plenty of swimming, fossil hunting and maybe just sunbathing or walking along these glorious beaches.

 

Further Details

Languages: English

Health requirements: General good fitness is very much recommended.

Age limit: 10+ (children must be confident, competent riders!)

Tuition: No

Included: Full board accommodation including drinks with meals, guided riding as per itinerary and transfer of luggage as required.

Not included: Flights, travel insurance, gratuities, bar tabs and extra services not mentioned.

 

Travel Information

There are many flights to South Africa and you will not suffer from jet lag as these run primarily overnight. We can arrange transfer from the airport at additional cost and we recommend taking an internal flight to Port Elizabeth which is approximately one hour away from the ride start point. East London is also an option.

Please contact us for information and advice regarding flights.

Airport: Port Elizabeth

Alternative Airport: East London

 

Programmes


Beachcomber Trail



This trail is suited to the fit, adventurous rider who would like to explore some of the finest undisturbed coastline of the sub-continent. The Sunshine Coast of South Africa's Eastern Cape is a wonderland of endless beaches and untouched landscapes, home to a variety of wildlife and various fossils and shipwrecks. The trail offers the discerning adventurer a dream holiday with riding varying between 17 and 30km each day. There are miles and miles of clean, hard sand here so there are plenty of chances for lengthy canters along the surf. The pace can be fast in places but it is relatively easy riding for those in good health. At times you will enjoy a more leisurely pace so that you can explore the sand dunes and search for treasures. 

Example Itinerary:

Day 1

Arrival at Port Elizabeth airport. You will be transferred the 150 km to Kenton-on-Sea  and your accommodation at Fish River Light house, which is comfortable with sea views. Depending on your arrival time and preference, you may be offered a light lunch or beverage before changing into your riding gear. The horses will be waiting for you in a field close to your accommodation and you will be able to saddle the horses and go for an evening ride around the farm. You'll get the chance to bond with the horses and try out your mount, who will be your trusty transport for the next few days, carrying you over rivers and sand dunes. 

Dinner is homemade by Mel, likely a traditional “potjiekos” (a tasty South African stew). Specific dietary requirements can be catered for with prior notice and Mel is happy to discuss any preferences or dislikes you might have for the rest of the week.

Day 2

After an early cup of tea or coffee and a light breakfast of muesli, cereal, yogurt and fruit, you saddle up and head for Port Alfred. The beach along this section is remote and spacious allowing for plenty of long, fast canters interspersed with walking to cool down. The scenery is spectacular and the beaches are often deserted. Along the way you will stop for a light lunch of nuts, dried fruit and biltong etc before returning to your accommodation for drinks and dinner. In all you will cover c. 30km today.

Day 3:

Today you will likely set off early in order to catch the sea tides for your first long ride along the beach. Pass Ship Rock at low tide and then wade through the waist deep Kasuga River. Tonight you stay in a comfortable cottage in Kasuga, a quiet little coastal village where you experience a traditional South African braai (BBQ). After dinner you can take a night ride along the beach to Ship Rock - an amazing experience!

Day 4

You will depart again depending on the tide timetable and head along the coast toward Kenton-on-sea. It's advised to dress appropriately as today will see you swimming with the horses across the Kariega and Bushman's rivers - swimming costumes and shorts advised! (The river crossings are optional and will not happen if the weather is not good enough). It will be a long journey (around 30km) with miles and miles of pristine beaches to cover.

Upon reaching the first river you will have the opportunity to eat fresh oysters from the rocks. Here the back-up vehicle meets you and you are given a life jacket for the swim. The first river to cross is the Kareiga River and you then ride bareback for 3km in walk until crossing the Bushmans River. Your back-up vehicle will again meet you with your saddles and you ride along the beach to Beachcomber Horse Trails' base. Here you have a late picnic lunch.

The rest of the afternoon can be spent in the small seaside village of Kenton-on-Sea with the opportunity of a massage or a walk on the beach or lagoon. Return to your accommodation for dinner.

Day 5: 

Today you will have a non riding day after your three days of hard riding and will visit Addo Elephant National park for a game drive. This reserve offers the chance to see elephants up-close as well as spot many of the big 5 game animals, including lion and rhino, so don't forget cameras and binoculars at the ready! There is a main camp at Addo where you can buy curios and visit a natural history museum. Lunch is normally a picnic under the trees at main camp, with a watering hole in the background where you may spot the elephants again.

In the afternoon you will head back to your accommodation in Bushman's River and take a walk to a restaurant which overlooks the river you swam across yesterday.

Day 6

You will set off in the morning and enjoy an easy day of riding - at this stage in the trail it will certainly be appreciated! The next destination is only 17 Km away, so you can enjoy the late start and slow pace, taking in the scenery along the way. You will pass the shipwrecked Volo from 6 March 1886 and Diaz Cross (Bartholomew Dias was the first European to round the Cape and erected a cross at Mossel Bay, St Croix and at Kwaai Hoek on 12 march 1488, when he had to turn tail because of a mutinous crew). You will have the chance to explore the hidden remote coves and beaches along the way and take the horses for another swim in the tidal Boknes lagoon. This is great fun and the horses love to frolic in the deep water of the broad lagoon. You can also explore the ancient sand dunes and look for Stone Age pottery, ancient large mammal bones and artefacts to photograph in the shifting dunes. 

After lunch, which is taken at Diaz Cross and offers spectacular views of the coastline, you ride on to your next cottage which is situated right on the beach. Here you will enjoy an evening meal of fresh fish and chips with salads. 

Day 7:

Set off after breakfast and head along the coast. The first part of todays ride is along the sea shore and before you leave the sea behind you can taste the sweet water which comes from a permanent spring. If it is low tide then you can collect a few sea snails to sample later with the evening meal - they are considered a delicacy by locals.

Head away from the sea over spectacular dunes onto a dirt road and ride to Woody Cape Backpackers. Your packed lunch is taken overlooking the sea with breathtaking views and you normally arrive at Woody Cape in the afternoon. There is a large swimming pool where you can take a dip as well as an outside bar for relaxing. In the evening you can take a cold drink and walk onto the sand dunes to watch the sun set before dinner at the lodge.

Day 8

Breakfast is a "help-yourself" affair in your bungalow before a short ride up to the top of the hills for a final view before saying goodbye to your horses and friends and being transferred back to Port Elizabeth airport in time for your flights.

NB. The timings of the ride are, at times, tide-related and so sometimes early starts are necessary. This trail is subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances such as weather. 



Minimum group size: 1
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: Fit intermediate riders and above. You need to be capable of riding a fit horses at all paces in open countryside and for long hours, up to 50km a day. Please note that there are also some instances during the trail where you swim across rivers (if you cannot swim or are nervous then there are ways around this. Please note the swimming is just an option!).

NB. This programme can be altered to suit less experienced or more nervous riders so please get in touch and see what we can do for you.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 7 night trail programme, 3 - 6 hours per day (mostly 6).
Departure dates: 2017: 1-8 July, 5-12 August, 2-9 September, 7-14 October (FULL), 4-11 November (FULL), 18-25 November, 2-9 December.

2018: 20-27 January (FULL), 3-10 February, 3-10 March, 7-14 April, 5-12 May, 2-9 June, 7-14 July, 4-11 August, 1-8 September, 6-13 October, 3-10 November, 1-8 December.

2019: 19-26 January.
 
Pricing: 2017:

£1020 per person based on shared room accommodation.
Single rooms can be organised for those not wishing to share, but are not available every night.

Price includes all meals from dinner on arrival day to breakfast on departure day, with snacks, tea, coffee, bottled water, soft drinks, beer and wine, as well as 5 days horse riding as per the itinerary and an optional day excursion to a local safari park with game drive. Return Port Elizabeth airport or hotel transfers are also included.