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 Rugged Rocks cottages in Port Alfred and settle in to your accommodation right on the beach. 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 beach ride. 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 will set of early in order to catch the sea tides for your first long ride along the beach. Today you will cover about 25km of sand as you make your way past the "Seven Sisters"- three large rocky outcrops that jut into the sea - along the Waters meeting nature reserve coast with miles of open beach and lots of cantering space. If the weather is good (and even if it's not so good) you may have the chance to un-saddle your horses and take them for a refreshing swim in the Kasouga river before lunch.

Lunch is typically a picnic taken on the edge of the sand dunes overlooking fantastic views of the river and out to sea beyond. The afternoon ride takes you back along the beach to Port Alfred. You will arrive back at Rugged Rocks in time to un-tack the horses, wash them down, feed them and ready them for the night. Drinks and snacks for “sundowners” will be followed by an outdoor “braai” (barbecue) or another of Mel's delicious home cooked meal.

Day 3

You will depart again depending on the tide timetable and head west 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. You will pass ship wrecks and many bushman middens (stone-age sites). You will also pass Ship Rock at low tide, which will mark the half way point to your destination. You will be able to stop close to the small seaside resort, Kasuoga to water the horses and rest quickly before heading on towards Kenton. Leaving your saddles with the backup vehicle you can swim and wade across the tidal Kariega River. This is perfectly safe and a great experience! Afterwards, you can enjoy a bareback ride past the blue flag beaches and over the dunes to Bushman’s River. On the other side of the river, you will meet the backup vehicle and re-saddle in order to head up to the Beachcomber stables where the horses will overnight. 

You will then enjoy a late picnic lunch beneath the sheltered dune forest trees, before heading to your accommodation on the shores of the Bushman’s lagoon. Here you will have the opportunity to relax, perhaps a warming bath or leisurely stroll. The evening's snacks and beverages are followed by another hearty homemade meal; maybe “bobutie” or similar.

Day 4: 

Today you will have a non riding day, with the chance to go by car to Addo Elephant National park or Sibuya Game reserve for a game drive. These reserves offer the chance to spot many of the big 5 game animals, including elephant, lion and rhino, so don't forget cameras and binoculars at the ready! Depending on your destination, you will stop for a picnic lunch on the reserve, with the chance to spot some very interesting animals too.

In the evening you will head back to your accommodation in Bushman's River.

Day 5

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. 

You will also visit a natural spring in the sand dunes where the horses can be un-saddled and allowed to drink and roll in the shallow water. You will feel very well refreshed at this time and can enjoy a lovely packed lunch. Passing the cannons of Sao Joao Baptista (wrecked in 1622) you will arrive in Cannon Rocks in the afternoon. You are welcome to spend the rest of the day just relaxing or swimming in the sea. Here the accommodation is also right on the beach and there is about a meter from the edge of the garden to the start of the dune sand. 

Another tasty home cooked dinner and comfortable night's rest await.

Day 6

You will set off today according to the tides and head due west to your destination; the remote Woody Cape Backpackers Lodge. Here you will experience a taste of the largest dune field in the southern hemisphere. You will be well stocked with refreshments and appreciate the fit little horses that carry you expertly over the sand dunes. After a refreshing picnic lunch you will start to head inland from the beach toward the spectacular “Golden Mile” dairy belt with amazing views out to sea. See who can spot Bird Island first; viewed from the windswept slopes of the rolling grassy hills. Your route will descend off the slopes and take you down into the forest and finally to the lodge. 

You can ride straight to the bar for a refreshing drink - best enjoyed on horseback! Accommodation is in a chalet (dormitory style) with the horses tethered on running lines outside. There is a communal swimming pool and bar and “sundowners” on the sand dunes are very popular. Your host is a great character and is happy to impart his wisdom and knowledge of the area and the stars.

Day 7

After a light breakfast you will ride along the dirt road into the Alexandria State Forest and then enter a private game reserve with herds of Zebra, Eland, Oryx and even Cape Buffalo. The scenery here is breathtaking with forest, dunes, wooded hills and open valleys; the sand dunes and sea can be spotted in the distance. After a thrilling canter with the plains herds and perhaps a close encounter or two with some buffalo you will head out of the reserve and enjoy a packed lunch in the forest beyond. 

Your accommodation for tonight is a beautiful country cottage at the top of a very large hill in the middle of another private game reserve. The ride up will take you past herd of Red hartebeest, Eland and even a Giraffe or two. Your horses are allowed to graze amongst the trees in the cottage's private garden, with the curious game animals just beyond the fence. 

Your evening meal tonight (depending on your preferences) may be roast chicken or a wonderful braai with sundowners in the garden as you watch the sun set.

Day 8

After an early breakfast and quick shower it's time to leave this beautiful place... You can take the horses for a short final ride back down the valley to the main farm (about 4 km away). You will then say a final goodbye to your horses and friends before 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: 21-28 January (FULL), 4-11 February, 3-10 March, 22-29 April (FULL), 6-13 May, 3-10 June, 1-8 July, 5-12 August, 2-9 September, 7-14 October (FULL), 4-11 November (FULL), 18-25 November, 2-9 December.
 
Pricing: 2017:

£969 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.