Wild Coast Trails riding holiday in South Africa - Far and Ride
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Wild Coast Trails, South Africa





Reviews



Surf and turf extravaganza! Endless beaches and rolling hills and tracks = lots of cantering and galloping opportunities. My initial worry about being the only guest quickly transformed to joy as I was looked after by the team and had great horses to ride.

Jane L.
 

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.

 

Travel Advice



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

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 a number of different trail options to choose from, depending on your ability and how much time you have:

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 Qolora Trail isn't as challenging as the full Wild Coast trail but is still a full week of fabulous riding.

The Short-Break Beach trail is a four night option with a mini trail - perfect for adding onto another African itinerary or for those short of time. This option is quite flexible - open all year round except Christmas and New Year and there is a horse to suit novice to experienced riders.

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

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

The accommodation varies depending on the chosen programme - 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.

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 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.

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 - you should be relatively fit for the Wild Coast trail and have general good health for all others.

Age limit: 12 years for Wild Coast Trail; Any age can be accommodated on the other trails.

Tuition: No

Included: Accommodation, most meals (except lunches on Kei River ride), riding, water

Not included: Flights, airport transfers, drinks, lunches on Kei River ride

 

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 first ride.

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.

Overnight at either your hosts own Guest Lodge or another in the same village, depending on numbers.

Day Two:

Set off 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. 

If Trennery's is not available, then Seagull's is just a little further along the coast and you'll stop there instead.

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: 1 night Trennery's: a popular South African resort with individual cabins/bungalows set in rows on the hillside (or Seagull's if no availability).
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.
2 nights 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. First and Last night.
Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 6
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: 2021: 22-29 May, 19-26 June, 17-24 July, 21-28 August, 4-11 September, 2-9 October, 30 October-6 November, 13-20 November, 4-11 December

2022: 15-22 January, 12-19 February, 12-19 March, 30 April-7 May, 28 May-4 June, 25 June-2 July, 23-30 July, 27 August-3 September, 8-15 October, 5-12 November, 3-10 December.

Other dates may be possible - please enquire - but the above dates have been chosen to coincide with the best tides.
 
Pricing: 2021:

2147 per person

Price includes 7 nights shared room accommodation, full board meals and 5.5 days of riding as per the itinerary.

Single supplements will not be charged for single travellers if you are willing to share. Single rooms are subject to availability - please check with us if you would prefer your own room.

2022:

2248 per person

Price includes 7 nights shared room accommodation, full board meals and 5.5 days of riding as per the itinerary.

Single supplements will not be charged for single travellers if you are willing to share. Single rooms are subject to availability - please check with us if you would prefer your own room.



Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding.

All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.



Short-break Beach Trail



Add-on some fantastic beach riding to your safari elsewhere in South Africa, with this short-break option with an overnight ride to nearby Wavecrest.

Trails start at 1pm on the first day and finish between 2pm and 4pm on the last day, but it's possible to add accommodation at their guesthouse before/after the trail to enable you to more easily fit around airline schedules.

All abilities of rider can be accommodated, with novices taking the direct route and experienced riders following longer routes. 

Example 4 night trail itinerary:

Day One:

On arrival at East London airport you will be transferred to the Kei Mouth guesthouse for a light lunch or snack. Depending on the time of your arrival, you may be able to change into your riding clothes before heading out to meet the horses for the first time. An afternoon ride of about one hour will be offered and is a chance to try out your horses to ensure you are both comfortable with each other. You may have your first opportunity to canter along the beautiful beaches fo this region.

Return to Kei Mouth guesthouse for dinner and overnight.

Day Two:

Today's ride will see you head off on an overnight beach adventure! The whole day will be spent riding along the fantastic coastline with some truly phenomenal views and the chance to spot wild dolphins playing in the surf. You will have plenty of chances for long canters along the beaches and through the waves. A picnic lunch will be taken in a secluded spot along the route with some time set aside for you to soak up the sun and enjoy the surf too if you are feeling brave! Finally, you will reach the Wavecrest hotel in the afternoon.

Dinner and overnight at Wavecrest Hotel.

Day Three:

This morning's ride departure time will be dictated by the tides - so be prepared for an early start if needed. This will also affect the direction in which you head out today as well. If the tides are good early morning then you will ride for 3 hours up the beach and come back across country, through rolling hills and traditional villages. If the tides are in your favour in the afternoon, then you will do the route the other way around as the hard, wet sand at low tide offers the best chance for exhilarating gallops.

You will return to Wavecrest hotel for lunch and in the afternoon have the option to take a boat trip up the river to explore the mangrove estuary, go for a walk, do some fish, discover the spa (at extra cost) or simply relax on the beach.

Day Four:

After breakfast this morning, it's time to head back to Kei Mouth guesthouse. You will begin today's ride by heading inland, crossing the river high up and away from the tides. There will be opportunities for fantastic canters on the many grassy tracks on this route, before you drop back down to the beach for some final canters along the sand. Just before Kei Mouth you will have the unique experience of boarding the small pontoon/ferry with the horses to cross the river and eventually ride back up to the paddocks. A late lunch will be taken in one of the local restaurants, with some free-time to wander about before heading back to the guesthouse for dinner.

Day Five:

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



Accommodation: 1 night Kei Mouth
2 nights Wavecrest (or Trennerys, depending on availability)
1 night Kei Mouth
Minimum group size: 1
Maximum group size: 6
Ability description: Novice riding abilities can be accommodated, but you should be able to walk, trot and canter on a well-behaved horse.
Type of ride: Mini trail
Total riding time: 3.5 days riding
Departure dates: 2021: 9-13 May, 12-16 July, 20-24 September

Other dates are possible, arriving Monday and departing Friday - please enquire
 
Pricing: 2021/22:

4 night/5 day: 909 per person

No single supplement payable by single travellers who are willing to share.



Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding.

All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.



Qolora Trail



This itinerary isn't as challenging as the full Wild Coast Trail. Ride to both Trennerys and Wavecrest to experience the fabulous beaches and bush without having to push on further up the coast.

Day One:

Arrival at Kei Mouth Guesthouse. Time allowing you can have a short introductory afternoon ride to get to know your horse.

Day Two:

Full day ride along the Morgan Bay Cliffs before heading inland, stopping for lunch at Yellowwoods along the way. Return to Kei Mouth Guesthouse.

Day Three:

Cross the Kei River on the ferry with the horses and then ride along the beaches and inland past waterfalls to reach Trennerys Hotel. A picnic lunch will be taken along the route. Overnight Trennerys.

Day Four:

A full days ride to explore the area, including The Gates and the beaches of Qolora, returning to Trennerys to overnight.

Day Five:

Ride along the coast to Wavecrest hotel in the morning. In the afternoon, either take a river cruise, book a spa treatment (extra cost) or take an afternoon ride. Overnight Wavecrest.

Day Six:

Stunning morning beach ride with glorious ocean views, returning to Wavecrest for lunch. Afternoon is free to use the use the river paddles, book another spa treatment (payable locally) or perhaps ride. Overnight Wavecrest.

Day Seven:

Depart Wavecrest and ride back to Kei Mouth, either stopping for lunch at a cafe or taking a picnic along with you. Overnight Kei Mouth Guesthouse.

Day Eight: 

Departure. 



Accommodation: 2 nights Kei Mouth
2 nights Trennerys
2 nights Wavecrest
1 night Kei Mouth
Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 6
Ability description: You need to be an intermediate rider - capable in walk, trot and canter across open terrain on a well behaved horse.
Type of ride: Mobile trail ride
Total riding time: 7 nights/5.5 days riding
Departure dates: 2021: 7-14 August, 11-18 September, 16-23 October

2022: 29 January-5 February, 26 February-5 March, 14-21 May, 11-18 June, 9-16 July, 6-13 August, 24 September-1 October, 22-29 October, 19-26 November

Other dates may be available on request for a minimum of 2 people, preferably Sat-Sat.
 
Pricing: 2021:

1642 per person sharing

Meals, accommodation and riding are included, but airport transfers and drinks are extra cost (payable locally).

2022:

1743 per person sharing

Meals, accommodation and riding are included, but airport transfers and drinks are extra cost (payable locally).

Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding.

All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.