Wild Coast Trails riding holiday in South Africa - Far and Ride
Home  >  Riding Holidays  >  South Africa  >  Wild Coast Trails

Wild Coast Trails, South Africa




Programmes


• Wild Coast Trail

• Surf and Turf

• Kei River Ride

 

Horses



Type of horses:

Mixed breeds including Anglo Arabs, Boerperd and Percheron crosses.

Nature of horses:

Mixed - some are sensible and calm whilst others are sharp and fast!

Height of horses:

14.2hh - 16hh

Weight limit:

95kgs / 220 lbs

Tack type:

South African trail saddles - Leon Liversage - with a high pommel and cantle which is comfortable for long hours in the saddle. There are saddle bags attached with two water bottles and space for small essentials. Bridles are English with many snaffle bits.

 

Weather



 

Ride Description

The Wild Coast is one of the best kept secrets in South Africa. Long stretches of sandy beach are often completely deserted and beg to be galloped along, whilst the crashing ocean waves reveal dolphins playing in the surf. Trails also head inland through the Transkaai communities and past adobe thatched huts and down into shady valleys and past waterfalls.

This is not just a beach ride - it's an adventure. Rolling hills, deep gorges and cliff tops that plunge into the ocean; exhilarating beach gallops, pristine environments and stunning views. The local Xhosa people are warm and friendly as you meander through their villages that seem long forgotten in this rural African wilderness.

Your host, Julie-Anne, has been running rides in this area for many years. Once an experienced endurance rider, she ensures that all her horses are extremely fit and easy to ride. They will all walk along the beach on a loose, long rein yet are happy to gallop when asked.

There are three main trails to choose from:

The epic Wild Coast Trail is for fit, experienced riders only as there are some long hours in the saddle and lots of fast riding is required to get to each accommodation inbetween tides. The route journeys along the coast and back again.

The Surf and Turf ride involves a shortened trail along the coast combined with a couple of days riding on a game reserve for the chance to view plains game from horseback. Suitable for intermediate riders upwards.

The Kei River ride is more of a centre based option with a short trail at the end of the week. This ride is easily adapted to different abilities and suits mixed groups of friends or family travelling together, as well as singles.

There is also plenty of flexibility - if you are a group and want a slightly shortened itinerary or something a little different then ask us and almost anything is possible! Open all year round except Christmas and New Year - there is a horse and a route to suit everyone.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

The accommodation varies depending on the trail chosen - see individual itineraries for further details.

The hotels in the area are clean and comfortable, ranging from comfortably rustic to five star luxury! This area of South Africa is popular with locals rather than overseas tourists and so the hotels reflect that, being less glamorous or modern than those you would find elsewhere. However, they each have their own charms and are beautifully situated.

Food is local, fresh and hearty.

Breakfasts are usually taken at the hotels and are self-service affairs where you can choose from a selection of cereals, rusks, bread, fruit and sometimes a cooked option.

Lunches are sometimes picnics out on the trail (sandwiches, fruit etc) or sometimes a pub lunch (basket meal or sandwich).

Dinners are taken at the hotels and will usually be a set menu although there's occasionally a choice. There is lots of good, fresh fish on offer and plenty of vegetables. Traditional South African meals are usually available as well and it's possible that you'll experience a braai (barbeque) during the week.

All meals are included, but drinks are to your own account. There are bars at the hotels where you can choose what you what to drink and settle up before you move on. Drinks are generally very reasonably priced and there are very good local ciders, beers and wines which are cheap.

 

Activities

It would be difficult for non-riders to join the trails as they are mobile and you move accommodation - whilst doing this is on horseback is relatively easy, the journeys by vehicle are not and involve long diversions. Non-riders could travel in the back-up vehicle with the luggage but these days would not be particularly interesting or allow for alternative activities.

The Kei River Ride can accommodate non-riders as you stay at the same place for five nights and spend just two nights at an easily accessible hotel along the coast. Activities on offer in the area, at extra cost and payable locally include: abseiling, boat trips, deep sea fishing, golf, township tours, Inkwenkwezi Big Five Jeep safari with possible elephant and cheetah interactions.

Most of the hotels have pools and one or two have a spa too, although treatments are all at extra cost. There are some free afternoons to make use of these facilities or to go for a walk or simply watch the ocean for whales and dolphins.

 

Further Details

Languages: English

Health requirements: No specific requirements - just general good health

Age limit: 12 years for Wild Coast Trail; 7 years for Surf and Turf.
Any age can be accommodated on Kei River Riding Holiday.

Tuition: No

Included: Accommodation, meals, riding, water

Not included: Flights, airport transfers, drinks

 

Travel Information

There are no direct flights to East London from the UK and so it is likely that you will route through Johannesburg. There are connecting flights with South African Airways - ensure you leave at least three hours at Johannesburg airport to allow for passport control and to collect and re-check-in your luggage.

You need to arrive late morning (c. 11:30am) to enable time to ride on your first afternoon. On departure day your flight should leave 4pm or later to allow time for a morning ride.

Transfers from East London airport to Kei Mouth are at additional cost of 1200ZAR (c. £70) each-way for the vehicle. Group transfers are available on Saturdays to tie-in with the flight timings above. The cost is then divided between everyone in the group and payable in cash to the driver.

If you arrive/depart on a different day or cannot make these timings then private transfers can be arranged for you although these may be more than the group transfer.

Airport: East London

 

Programmes


Wild Coast Trail



Join the best beach ride in the world - following the dramatic Wild Coast of South Africa with plenty of opportunities for fast riding along the endless, almost deserted beaches. The trail also takes you inland to explore the Transkaai, where rural settlements of thatched rondavels still scatter the hillsides.

Day One:

On arrival at East London airport you will be transferred to Kei Mouth, where you will have a light lunch at the Country Club and the chance to change into your riding clothes. You then meet the horses and set off on your adventure!

Head downhill to the Kei River which you will cross by small ferry - with the horses onboard as well! You then ride over rocky headlands and along endless stretches of beach before arriving at Trennery's - a quaint, authentic hotel that remains relatively unchanged since the 1940's. Here you can stretch your legs on the beach or unwind with a beer beside the pool before dinner. 

This first ride is only 1-2 hours and the perfect introduction after your long flight - it's a chance to get to know your horse and the saddle - if you aren't happy with your horse then speak up as it's easier to swap now than when you're further along the coast.

Day Two:

After awaking to the sound of the sea, it's a relatively relaxed breakfast before heading to the horses at 9.30am. You will head inland to some hidden waterfalls where you can take a swim and enjoy a picnic lunch. In the afternoon, head back to Trennery's by a different route, arriving in the late afternoon.

Day Three:

Today you will head off along the coast, covering a distance of c. 40km. You start by heading inland through rolling hills and past rural settlements where the locals still live in thatched huts, before heading back down to the beaches. You will cross a number of rivers - most likely at their source inland where they are simply a trickle and very narrow, but sometimes closer to the ocean (depending on tides and water levels). Stop for a picnic lunch on the beach before spending the afternoon riding along the endless beaches. This is your chance to really appreciate the thrill of riding your horse at speed along the sand with the waves crashing beside you.

Late in the day you reach Mazeppa Bay hotel which has its own island accessed by a suspension bridge from the beach. Relax at the bar watching the sun set over the ocean before dinner.

Day Four:

Today's adventure takes you through The Gorge - a beautiful river gorge with some tricky terrain. After crossing the rocky river bed, you head back to the sea along valleys and riverine, reaching The Kob Inn in time for lunch.

The afternoon is free for you to enjoy this beautiful location - with a bar sat on the rocks overlooking the waves and private sheltered beaches on both sides, you can kick back and relax. During whale-watching season you may even be lucky enough to watch these huge mammals as they migrate past the hotel.

Day Five:

After yesterday's relaxing afternoon, you will be ready for a full day in the saddle. Today's ride takes you along sheltered beaches and into hidden coves and beautiful lagoons. You will stop for a picnic lunch and a swim in a warm lagoon before heading back to the Kob Inn - I'm sure you'll enjoy yet another pacey canter through the surf!

Day Six:

It's time to head back down the coast again. The timing of your departure will depend on the tides and you will cross rivers, climb hills and speed along beaches all the way back to Wavecrest. After a ride of c. 30km you have some spare time to relax at the hotel or perhaps make use of the spa (at extra cost). You can also choose to take a boat trip into the mangrove forests or challenge your fellow riders to a game of tennis.

Day Seven:

Depart Wavecrest and continue your journey back to Kei Mouth, meandering through the villages, sand dunes and forests, as well as keeping the adrenaline pumping with regular blasts along the beach.

Your final night is spent in Kei Mouth, at one of a number of guesthouses in the area - the exact one depends on the size of the group. A final dinner and a chance to reminisce about your weeks riding.

Day Eight:

Time for one final, short ride before your transfer to the airport and flight home.

Please note that the exact itinerary is subject to local conditions, such as tides, river depths and weather, but always with your best interests at heart. Dates are set to coincide with the full or new moon for the best tides and lowest river conditions, but routes may need to be altered to keep you safe. 



Accommodation: 2 nights Trennery's: a popular South African resort with individual cabins/bungalows set in rows on the hillside.
1 night Mazeppa: slightly old fashioned feel but fabulous views of the ocean and a small island to explore across a bridge.
2 nights Kob Inn: set on the rocks beside the ocean and a beautiful spot
1 night Wavecrest: lovely individual cottages/rondavels beside the river estuary.
1 night Kei River guest house: either your hosts own guest house which has two rooms (a double and a twin with additional bunk bed) or a nearby guesthouse depending on numbers in group
Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 8
Ability description: You need to be at least a strong intermediate rider to join this trail which has some long hours in the saddle and lots of canters and gallops along the beaches.
Type of ride: Mobile trail
Total riding time: 7 nights / 5.5 days riding
Departure dates: 2017:
19-26 August; 16-23 September; 14-21 October

2018:
27 Jan-3 Feb; 10-17 February; 24 Feb-3 Mar; 24-31 March; 21-28 April; 26 May-2 June; 23-30 June; 21-28 July; 18-25 August; 22-29 September; 20-27 October; 17-24 November.
 
Pricing: 2017:

£1793 per person sharing

2018:

£1972 per person sharing

No single supplement if willing to share. Single rooms subject to availability.



Surf and Turf



Spend five days enjoying spectacular beach riding and then two days of game viewing on horseback on this fantastic combination ride in South Africa.

Day One:

You should plan to arrive into East London at c. 11:30 to meet the airport shuttle which transfers you to Kei Mouth - a journey of just over an hour. You will meet your guide at the Country Club where there is a light lunch and a chance to change into your riding clothes.

In the afternoon you start your riding adventure by loading the horses onto the small ferry across the Great Kei River. On the far shore you mount and ride along the beaches to Trennery's hotel - a relaxed ride of 1-2 hours, arriving at around sunset. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day Two:

Today is about exploring the local area and ensuring that you have been matched with the correct horse before you venture further up the coast. Your morning trail takes you through a kaleidoscope of rural Xhosa villages and past waterfalls, rolling hillsides and of course, along the beach for fabulous canters. After a picnic lunch on the trail, you return to Trennery's by a different route, with plenty more exhilarating canters.

Day Three:

Ride north, past the remains of the Jacaranda shipwreck, which has almost completely disappeared now. Depending on the rides, you either cross the river at the mouth or head inland through rural villages and cross it upstream. You maintain a steady pace of trot and canter, arriving at Wavecrest in time for lunch. The afternoon ride is a relaxed ride along the ocean edge and through ancient sand dune forests. Drinks on the deck at sunset are the perfect end to the day.

Day Four:

Your departure time today will depend on the tides. It is a fantastic three hour ride either up the beach and then back across country through the rolling hills, or the other way around depending on tides and river levels. Either way, you will get to ride on the hard, wet beach at low tide and the gallops are exhilarating!

Return to the hotel for lunch. The afternoon is free to make use of other activities on offer - perhaps a boat trip to explore the mangrove estuary of the Nxaxo river, go for a walk, make use of the spa (at extra cost) or simply relax.

Day Five:

Today you start your journey back towards Kei Mouth. Ride inland through the morning, crossing the river high up and away from the tides influence. The paths and tracks offer great canters as you wind your way back to the beach. Ride past Trennerys, stopping off for a pub lunch. Then continue towards Kei Mouth with some final thrilling canters before reaching the ferry and dropping the horses back at their paddocks at c. 4pm. You are then transferred to Miarestate Hotel and Spa which is situated on a private game reserve.

Day Six:

After breakfast you meet a new horse and head out to explore the reserve on horseback. You are sure to have some close-up sightings as the wildlife is used to the presence of the horses. The reserve holds many plains game such as giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, impala, blesbuck, kudu, bushbuck, warthog and a multitude of other species. After a picnic lunch you head back to the stables.

In the afternoon you can relax or take a stroll around the lodge, go bird watching or simply watch the game grazing in the gardens. There is also a spa (at extra cost).

Day Seven:

An early start to get the best out of the game viewing experience. The rolling hills offer lovely canters and stunning views across the bushveld and out over the cliffs to the ocean. Brunch is served at the lodge in the late morning.

In the late afternoon set off on a final champagne sunset ride - the views are breathtaking and this is a perfect wind-down to a week of beach and bush riding.

Day Eight:

There may be time for a short ride this morning before the shuttle collects you at c.2pm to transfer you to the airport.



Accommodation: 2 nights Trennerys and 2 nights Wavecrest: these are simple but delightful seaside resorts, designed for laid-back holidays.
3 nights Miarestate Hotel and Spa: a five star boutique hotel and spa situated within a private game reserve.
Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 8
Ability description: You should be at least an intermediate rider to get the most out of this ride and really enjoy the canters along the beach. There are options to sit out the afternoon rides on some days so you can be less fit on this ride than the Wild Coast Trail.
Type of ride: Mobile trail
Total riding time: 7 nights / (4-5 hours riding each day)
Departure dates: 2017:
30 Sept-7 Oct; 7-14 Oct; 4-11 Nov; 18-25 Nov.
 
Pricing: 2017:

£1793 per person sharing

No single supplement if willing to share. Single rooms subject to availability.

Not available in 2018.



Kei River Ride



Explore the beaches and rolling hills of the Wild Coast on this two centre holiday for the more budget-conscious. As you spend five nights in the guest house in Kei Mouth you can choose to ride a different horse on most of the days. This option is perfect for less-fit riders who can also opt to do less riding if you are feeling tired. Also perfect for families or groups of mixed ability riders - this ride will confirm for just one guest!

NB. This itinerary is completely flexible. We recommend seven nights as detailed below but you can tailor-make your trip from three nights duration.

Day One:

On arrival at East London airport you will be transferred to Kei Mouth guest house where a light lunch/snack is served. You will have time to change into your riding clothes before heading out to meet the horses. The first afternoon ride is about one hour and is a chance to try the horses and make sure you are comfortable. It will be your first opportunity to canter along the beautiful beaches.

Return to Kei Mouth guest house for dinner and to overnight.

Day Two:

After breakfast you head out for a full day of riding through a kaleidoscope of rural Xhosa villages, past waterfalls and rolling hillsides and along the beaches. After a picnic lunch on the trail (pack your swimsuit as you may be able to go for a dip!) there are more waterfalls and long canters across the endless hillsides and beaches to ensure you have fully explored the area.

Return to Kei Mouth guest house for dinner and to overnight.

Day Three:

Today's ride heads in the opposite direction and explores the magnificent Morgan cliff tops where you can appreciate being on the edge of Africa perched above the ocean. Stop for lunch at Yellowwood Forest where wood-fired pizza and forest fare is on offer - this eco-friendly establishment is off the grid and recycles everything.

You finish the day by cantering down the Morgan Bay beach before heading back to the paddocks and returning to Kei River guesthouse for dinner.

Day Four:

There are two options on offer today:

Option 1: a full day ride up the coast for a pub lunch

Option 2: a Big Five jeep safari and elephant interaction at a nearby game reserve (game reserve and transfers are at additional cost and can be paid in cash or by card on-site)

Day Five:

Today you head off on your overnight beach adventure. The whole day is spent riding along the coast with fantastic views and the chance of spotting dolphins playing in the surf as you canter along the beaches. A picnic lunch is taken along the route allowing you to soak up the sun and surf before you reach your hotel in the afternoon.

Dinner and overnight at Wavecrest Hotel.

Day Six:

Your departure time this morning is dictated by the tides. You will either ride for 3 hours up the beach and back across country, through rolling hills and traditional villages, or the other way around. Either way, you will ride on the hard, wet beach at low tide for exhilarating gallops.

Return to the hotel for lunch. In the afternoon you can choose to take a boat trip up the river exploring the mangrove estuary, go for a walk, fish, discover the spa (at extra cost) or simply relax.

Day Seven:

Time to ride back to Kei Mouth. In the morning you head inland, crossing the river high up and away from the tides, with fantastic canters on the many grassy tracks. Drop back down to the beach for some final canters along the sand. Just before Kei Mouth you board the small pontoon/ferry with the horses to cross the river and ride back up to the paddocks. A late lunch is taken in one of the local restaurants and there is time to wander about before heading back to the guest house.

Your final night is celebrated with a traditional Braai (barbecue).

Day Eight:

Depending on the time of your flight there may be an opportunity for a short ride before you are transferred back to the airport.



Accommodation: 5 nights Kei Mouth guesthouse: either your hosts own guest house which has two rooms (a double and a twin with additional bunk bed) or a nearby guesthouse depending on numbers in group.

2 nights Wavecrest Hotel - lovely individual cottages/rondavels beside the river estuary.

At your hosts guesthouse soft drinks, wine and beer are included, but at other accommodations you buy your drinks at the bar.
Minimum group size: 1
Maximum group size: 8
Ability description: This ride is suitable for strong novice/intermediate riders upwards. As long as you are comfortable riding outdoors in all paces then there is a suitable horse for you to ride. More experienced riders can be split into different groups if necessary and offered faster riding.
Type of ride: Centre based
Total riding time: 7 nights / 4 or 5 days riding
Departure dates: 2017: Rides are available throughout the year, except Christmas/New Year, usually starting on a Saturday.

2018: Available throughout the year, except Christmas and New Year, with flexible arrival date, length of stay and itinerary
 
Pricing: 2017:

£1244 per person sharing

2018:

£1361 per person sharing

There is a 30% supplement for those who are not willing to share a room with another rider of the same sex.

Please contact us for prices of shorter/longer stays