Cape Winelands riding holiday in South Africa - Far and Ride
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Cape Winelands, South Africa




Programmes


• Winelands Trails

• Cape Gourmet Wine Trail

 

Reviews



We made it safely back to the USA after a wonderful trip. Stayed in the area a few days after. Things could not have gone better. It is a wonderful place to ride and explore. Horses were great. Louis and Ellen were excellent hosts as well as guides. Claire and I loved it. Yes, I would go back. You and your staff did an excellent job in helping us from the whole stages of planning and booking. I also truly appreciated the hard copy of info you took the time to send me in the US. If and when I can do another ride, I will plan to use Far and Ride and most assuredly I shall recommend you to my friends.

Candi (2016)


 

Horses



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:

14.2-17 hh

Weight limit:

90kg / 198lbs

Tack type:

Primarily McClellan trail saddles but English saddles are available.

 

Travel Advice



Please ensure you read the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice before you travel.
 

Ride Description

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! Cathy from Far and Ride has also been lucky enough to ride here and will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

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.

 

Activities

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.

 

Further Details

Languages: English

Health requirements: Fit & Healthy

Age limit: Younger riders welcomed (with insurance in place)

Tuition: No

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.

 

Travel Information

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

 

Programmes


Winelands Trails



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.

Day One:

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.

Day Two:

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.

Day Three:

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.

Day Four:

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.

Day Five:

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.

Day Six:

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.

Day Seven:

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.

Day Eight:

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: 2018: Dates to suit - you can arrive on any day and stay for as long as you like (min 3 nights).
 
Pricing:
2018:

Special Seven Night Programme (6 days of riding and one non-riding day; not available 15 Dec-15 Jan):

Farm Accommodation: £1870 per person sharing
No single supplement if willing to share, but £186 to guarantee a single room.

Mid-Range Guest House Accommodation: £2714 per person sharing
Single supplement: £563

Luxury Accommodation: £3336 per person sharing
Single supplement: £885

Short Stays:

Farm Accommodation (up to 4 nights or Peak Season Stays (15 Dec-15 Jan): £336 per person sharing per night
Farm Accommodation (5+ nights, not Peak Season): £288 per person sharing per night (min 2 pax)
No single supplement if willing to share, but £27 per night to guarantee a single room.

Mid-Range Guest House Accommodation: £419 per person sharing per night
Single supplement: £88 per night

Luxury Accommodation: £513 per person sharing per night
Single supplement: £136 per night

If you wish to arrive early/depart late then there is a supplement of £103 per person for a full day of riding on these days.

Return Transfer Cape Town £147 (1-3 pax)
Return Transfer Cape Town £236 (4-8 pax)



Cape Gourmet Wine Trail



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 a range of 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. 

This ride is best suited to guests who enjoy all kinds of foods and who appreciate wine - you do not have to be fanatics to enjoy the riding on offer, but wine-tastings en-route and good food are part and parcel of this trail. Certain dietary requirements can be catered for with prior notice so please just get in touch with us to discuss it. 

This is the ultimate horseback adventure for those who love great food and wine!

Sample Itinerary:

Day 1 - Guests should arrive at the stables by 14:00 today (transfer from Cape Town available), coming after lunch. The day starts with a welcome ride to ensure that everybody is comfortable with their new horse and the riding procedures here - guests will be asked to untack their horse each lunchtime and at the end of each day, although they are generally tacked up for you (of course you can help if you like!). The trail stops back at the ranch on the second day so there will be the possibility to change horse if needed. 

This first ride will be around two hours, traversing the wine farms and orchards surrounding the yard. You will get a taste of things to come! After the ride drinks will be served at the yard before you head o your first accommodation where you will stay for two nights, taking some time to prepare for dinner - if a small group then guests will be accommodated on the farm itself, in homely yet comfortable rooms, otherwise in a local historic guesthouse. Tonight is a traditional meal around the table and guests will have a chance to get to know each other, as well as receiving some information about the trail route. 

Day 2 - Breakfast is served with departure following at around 08:30. You will be transported by car to Boschendal Farm where the trail officially starts - the horses will be tacked up and ready to go! The morning's ride will take you through the world-famous Boschendal vineyards and on to Plaisir de Merle wine estate where you will stop for a tasting and lunch. Lunch is a platter of cold meats, cheeses and preserves, served alongside the award-winning wines of this beautiful estate which dates back to 1693.

After lunch the trail heads on to Kunnenburgh Farm and offers spectacular views over the Franschhoek and Paarl Valleys which lie below. You will travel along the top contours of these vineyards, crossing at least eight different wine farms to reach the overnight rest point for the horses. Here there will be welcome drinks and time to chat and unwind before you are transported back to your accommodation, a short drive, with time to freshen up before dinner. Tonight is a traditional Cape Fish "braai" (barbecue) prepared by one of the staff in the traditional way - this is something quite unique to the Cape, where fresh seafood is the order of the day. 

Day 3 - After breakfasts it's another 08:30 departure and bags should be packed, ready to go to the next accommodation. You will be taken back to the horses and will ride out at around 09:30 for another day of adventure. The trail today will head onto the mountainside of Simonsberg, providing sweeping views of the Franschhoek and Paarl Valleys behind you. After around 2 - 2.5 hours of riding it will be time for another wine stop and a hearty lunch, prepared with local produce. With the wine-tasting this makes for a long, lazy lunch of the sort you would enjoy from a holiday in true wine country!

After lunch your ride continues on through more wine farms and orchards including those of Backsberg, Niel Joubert, Babylonstoren and more. Eventually you will arrive back at the horses' overnight stop which is tonight is back at the yard - the horses can enjoy a well-deserved rest for the next day. Post-ride drinks are offered before you move on to the next accommodation, a traditional manor house on one of the oldest wine farms in the Paarl region. Dinner tonight will likely be a traditional meat or venison meal prepared by a local chef, showcasing the cuisine which has helped make this region famous for its food. 

Day 4 - Today is a rest day for the horses and whilst guests are also free to relax today, your hosts offer a sightseeing trip in Cape Town to help you see more of what the beautiful Cape has to offer. After breakfast you will head into the city for a tour, stopping off at world-famous Table Mountain - you will have the chance to go up the mountain for wonderful views over the city. 

After Table Mountain you will visit the renowned Camps Bay and Atlantic Ocean beaches. There is a lunch stop here and guests are free to wander around and enjoy lunch at a seaside café of their choice. Afterwards your drive will take you around the coastal road towards Bantry Bay and Sea Point, ending at the waterfront. You will be left to explore South Africa's most visited spot with time to shop for souvenirs and to find a place for dinner. 

A guide will always be on hand today so that single travellers will never feel abandoned. Lunch and dinner today are not included and guests have the freedom to dine as their heart desires, with your guide very able to offer suggestions according to your preferences.

After dinner you will be taken back to your accommodation. 

Day 5 - You will be up for breakfast with bags packed and then back in the saddle by around 09:30 today. More spectacular views, forest trails and wine estates are the agenda for the day and you will have a wine or perhaps even a beer tasting mid-morning at Anura, before heading to your lunch spot in a secluded valley on the farm Marianne. Lunch today is another example of South African hospitality including local fare and wine, all laid out in this hidden gem of a location with a scenic pond and surrounding poplar trees. 

After some relaxation you will ride on through at least another five wine farms including Mont Destin, Natte Vallij, Uitspan, Le Bonheur and others, each either their own unique feel. Upon reaching the overnight paddocks you will be transported to your accommodation at Uitkyk grape farm. Dinner tonight is offered by a wine farmer and his wife who will present their wines to accompany a traditional dinner which is fit for a king! 

Day 6 - Another 08:30 departure today (with bags packed!) and you'll soon be in the saddle, ready for a ride over Klapmuts koppie (hillock) with views of the flatlands which stretch towards Table Mountain. You will ride for Warwick wine estate for a quick tasting before heading on to Uitkyk estate for a picnic lunch and more wine! This day is probably the longest riding day of the week and includes plenty of ups and downs, the horses are sure-footed and know their jobs well. Depending on the season, riders might have to dismount for short walks with their horses. 

After lunch today you continue on to Knorhoek wine estate where both horses and riders will spend the night. The riding day ends with refreshing drinks and the horses being turned out into their paddocks for the night. More South African home-cooking is on the menu for tonight as the owners from the farm accommodation where you are staying will prepare a meal served with wine from their own farm. 

Day 7 - Today is your last riding day of the week and you will start out with your horses for the final time! The trail heads to the mountainside offering views of the famous Stellenbosch, South Africa's oldest town, after Cape Town itself of course. You will be able to see as far as False Bay when you look to the Atlantic Ocean. After some more technical riding this morning you will reach Morgenhof wine estate, enjoying a tasting of their delicious wines which will accompany your lunch. 

The route after lunch leads you along the southern side of Simonsberg, passing through Remhoogte wine estate, almost at the end of your trips - they are keeping the best for last! Lovely views and photo opportunities away which champagne or MCC, as it is known locally, helps you to celebrate the end of this trail. Snacks and refreshments are on offer before you are transported to your last night's accommodation. 

There is a pool to be enjoyed tonight, weather permitting, and the dinner will be an experience to remember. 

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. 

Wine farms traversed during the trail: Boschendal, Plaisire De Merle, Donkerhoek, Vrede and Lust, Drakensig, Uitkomst, Keunenburg, Bloemendal, Le Bonheur, Babylonstoren, Backsberg, Neil Joubert, Anura, Natte Vallij, Mont Destin, Mt Vernon, Marianne, Mitre’s Edge, Arra, Warwick, Leibach, Kanonkop, Uitkyk, Remhoogte, Morgenhof, Knorhoek, L’ Avenir and many more.



Accommodation: The accommodation is offered at the following venues, subject to availability: Cape Winelands Riding, Lekkerwijn Historic Guest House, Laborie Jonkershuis, Uitkyk guest cottages and Knorhoek Farm. It is unlikely that venues will change, but final venues will only be confirmed on final confirmation of the number of guests booked for the trail (the organisers have an extensive list of alternatives to the same standard).
Minimum group size: 4
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: 2018: 14 - 21 April, 8 - 15 September.
 
Pricing: 2018:

£2649 per person, based on sharing a twin or double room.

A limited number of single rooms are available and incur a 25% supplement (for those who prefer not to share).

Price includes 7 nights of accommodation in mid-range venues, all meals from dinner on arrival day to breakfast on departure day (EXCEPT lunch and dinner on the non-riding day), drinks with meals*, wine-tastings and riding as detailed in the programme.

*Dinners are three courses from a set menu and include house wine, water, soft drinks, beer, cider, tea and coffee. Premium drinks and dessert wines are at own cost.