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
AWESOME! V.relaxed. Standard in our group was a good match. (Guides?) Excellent, V. accommodating and sociable. (Favourite memory?) Miles of gorgeous sandy beaches and rolling waves.

Su M.
Fantastic, brilliant, amazing beaches (even in the rain!), fabulous company what the other riders. Best holiday ever, great hospitality from Jono and Aiden. My horse, Bear, was super. Jono put extra sheepskin padding on my saddle after I got saddle sores from bareback riding in wet shorts/swimsuit. Jono (guide) was brilliant and great fun too. Aiden was super. (Favourite memory?) Fabulous long beach canters, laughing until my sides hurt and a lion kill at ADDO (game drive).

Cat D.
 

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.

 

Travel Advice



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

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 or willing Boerperds, bred for their temperament and stamina. The horses are mostly homebred from Arabian stallions and mixed crossbred mares, the result is 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 kept barefoot and ridden in simple snaffle bridles. They are accustomed to neck-reining whilst being ridden with a loose contact on the reins. Jono uses McClellan saddles that are very comfortable for both horse and rider as well as offering more security for the less experienced jockey. There are also English saddles available for those who prefer. All the horses are well-socialised, living out in a herd together all year round 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 on shared rooms and most are reasonably upmarket, though some nights are a little more rustic. However, these are all located on or near the beach, offering fabulous views out to sea. 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 a mixture of home-cooked dishes, primarily created using fresh local ingredients. During the days, lovely picnic lunches are taken at specially selected points en route, with table and chairs set up for your comfort. Lunches are generally simple but balanced to provide adequate energy for the day fo riding. Sometimes breakfast is 'help yourself' where various items, such as yoghurt, cereal, fruit, South African rusks, tea and coffee 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 flight options to South Africa. International flights will arrive at either Johannesburg OR Tambo airport or Cape Town (depending on route). From here it will be necessary to take an internal flight to East London (or Port Elizabeth) for the starting point of the trail.

Transfers are included from East London (closer) or Port Elizabeth airports on arrival day and then back to Port Elizabeth airport on departure day. One transfer will be organised in each direction, so please contact us for information and advice regarding flights before booking.

Airport: East London

Alternative Airport: Port Elizabeth

 

Programmes


Beachcomber Trail



This trail is suited to the fit, adventurous rider who would like to explore some of the finest undisturbed coastlines 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 a variety of very long and some shorter riding days. There are miles and miles of clean, hard sand here so there are plenty of chances for lengthy canters and gallops 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 East London (closer) or Port Elizabeth airport at around midday. You will be transferred the 150 km to Kenton-on-Sea and your accommodation at Fish River Lighthouse, which offers panoramic sea views. The horses will be waiting for you in a field close to your accommodation and you will be able to saddle up 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 this evening may be a traditional South African dinner accompanied by plenty of drinks and snacks and a chance to get to know your fellow riders and hosts for the week. Specific dietary requirements can be catered for with prior notice and your host is happy to discuss any preferences or dislikes you might have for the rest of the week.

Day 2

After a tasty breakfast, you meet your horses again and head for Port Alfred, following sandy wooded tracks down to the sea. The beach along this section is remote and spacious allowing for plenty of long canters interspersed with periods of walking to cool down. The scenery is spectacular and the beaches are often deserted. there will be a chance to take your horses swimming in a clear freshwater lagoon before continuing on to Kowie river. Here the horses will be transported to Rugged Rocks beach cottages, where you will spend the night. Drinks and dinner will be served at your cottage. In all, you will ride for 5-6 hours today, covering c. 30km.

Day 3:

Today you will likely set off early in order to catch the sea tides for another 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 may experience a traditional South African braai (BBQ). 

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 with miles and miles of pristine beaches to cover.

Upon reaching the first river a boat 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. You will again meet the boat with your saddles and a picnic lunch will be set up for you with tables and chairs. In the afternoon you can enjoy a relaxed ride along the beach to Horse Trails' base where the horses will spend the night.

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 and overnight.

Day 5: 

Today you will be 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 may be a picnic under the trees at main camp, with a watering hole in the background where you may spot the elephants again, or taken en-route whilst continuing the drive.

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. 

Leaving the horses at Cannon Rocks you will return to Kenton-on-Sea by car. After lunch, you can take a boat ride upriver with drinks and snacks, as well as an opportunity for more wildlife spotting along the banks.

Day 7:

Set off after breakfast to meet the horses and head along the coast. The first part of today's ride is along the seashore to reach an area know as Springs (so-called because of the sweet water which comes from a permanent spring here). If it is low tide then you can take some time to look among the rocks and find sea snails, octopus and large starfish in the pools. After a picnic lunch, you will head back towards the Horse Trails' base. Overall, a long and enjoyable day of riding with plenty of opportunities for long canters and gallops on the sand.

Day 8

After breakfast, there is usually time for a short ride in the morning and a final opportunity for a beach gallop to finish off the week. You can then say goodbye to your horses and friends and take the transferred back to Port Elizabeth or East London airport in time for your flight.

NB. The timings of the ride may be subject to the tide and so sometimes early starts are necessary. Due to the nature of the trip, this itinerary is subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances beyond our or the organiser's control. 



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: 2018:
3-10 November, 1-8 December.

2019:
19-26 January (2018 price), 2-9 February, 2-9 March, 6-13 April, 4-11 May, 1-8 June, 6-13 July. 3-10 August, 7-14 September, 5-12 October, 2-9 November, 7-14 December.
 
Pricing: 2018 (covers Jan 2019 ride as well):

£1015 per person based on shared room accommodation.
Single rooms can be organised for those not wishing to share, but are not available every night.

2019 (starts with the February ride):

£1306 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 a game drive. Return Port Elizabeth or East London airport or hotel transfers are also included.