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The Wild Coast horse trail in South Africa is not just a beach ride, it's an adventure! Explore the rugged, unspoiled natural beauty of the Wild Coast with miles and miles of empty beaches, remote rural villages, spectacular countryside, and fantastic riding. The safari is carefully planned to ensure the optimum riding experience balanced with rest periods for the hard-working horses whose responsiveness and enthusiasm are complemented by their fitness and stamina.
You will spend seven nights on the Wild Coast, namely two nights at Trennery’s, one night at Mazeppa Bay Hotel, two nights at Kob Inn, one night at Wavecrest Hotel, and one night at Kei River Guest Lodge and Backpackers.
Trennery's Hotel has an old fashioned feel and is a favorite South African holiday resort. Mazeppa Bay Hotel is a thatched building with palm-fringed beaches and an island that make this a unique stop-over.
The lovely Kob Inn is located on rocks on the edge of the sea, while Wavecrest Hotel is also stunningly situated along the coast, and its thatched rondavels make this a very nice retreat. Finally, you will stay at Kei River Guest Lodge and Backpackers for the last night, depending on group size and accommodation availability.
A malaria-free area, the Wild Coast offers an unparalleled riding experience over rocky headlands, through the rolling hills of the former homeland of the Transkei and along vast tracts of unoccupied golden beaches.
This trail takes riders along the coast from Kei Mouth into the southern region of the Wild Coast, staying at coastal hotels along the way, which provide comfortable, unpretentious stop-overs for horse and rider alike. The safari is carefully planned to ensure the best riding experience balanced with rest periods for the hard-working horses.
Riding and itinerary are subject to change due to variations in local conditions, riders' abilities, the weather, and influences of the sea tides, as well as during the rainy season and the conditions of the rivers at the time of riding.
On arrival at East London Airport (ELS), you will be transferred to Kei Mouth and the beach base of Wild Coast Horse Trails and their equestrian colleagues. A light lunch will be served at the Kei Mouth Country Club, then you will change into your riding clothes. Your horse riding adventure starts now!
The afternoon ride will take you across Kei River on a ferry, over rocky headlands, and along endless stretches of beach before arriving at Trennery’s Hotel, a quaint, authentic hotel that remains relatively unchanged since its inception in the 1940s, giving guests a taste of traditional South African holidaying.
Here, you can stretch your legs on the beach or unwind with a beer by the pool before enjoying an evening of delicious food and companionship, and maybe even a bit of dancing for those in the mood!
Fully relaxed after a good night’s sleep, you will awake to the sound of the sea, prolific bird life, and the solitude of being somewhere on the edge of Africa. Your unhurried itinerary will give you plenty of time to explore the hotel or go for a short beach walk.
You will be in the saddle by 9:30 a.m. and off to explore the local area and waterfalls where you will find an ideal spot for a picnic and swim in the rocky pools. Then, it is back to Trennery’s in the late afternoon for another relaxed evening.
It is time to move on today with a distance of 40 kilometers to be covered. The departure time is dictated by the sea! The day’s riding takes you further up the coast, meandering through hills and valleys as you explore the interior. Heading out from Trennery’s, you will continue up the coast, traversing rolling hills and sandy beaches and passing through rural settlements and holiday villages.
After crossing a number of rivers via the drifts, the ride then veers back to the sea for a breakfast or lunchtime picnic on the beach, depending on the tide. The afternoon is a breathtaking ride on long, unspoiled beaches. Flatter ground will mean faster riding and you will really get a chance to experience the thrill of riding a good horse in a great location.
Another traditional beach hotel, Mazeppa Bay is characterized by its own island, which is joined to the main beach by a suspension bridge. A pleasant evening spent soaking up the relaxed atmosphere gives riders the opportunity to unwind after a challenging day in the saddle.
The next leg of your adventure can be tailor-made depending on how riders feel after the previous day’s adventure. You can choose to explore the local area before heading for the Qhora River for low tide and an early end to the day.
The alternative route takes you through a beautiful gorge and over some tricky terrain. Once through the river, the ride takes you through valleys and riverines before reaching your next destination, the Kob Inn.
Whichever route you have chosen, you will have some opportunity to relax and soak up the laid-back hospitality of another coastal treasure. With a pub on the rocks overlooking the wild seas and sheltered private beaches on either side, this is an exquisite location in which to kick back, relax, and truly embrace ‘Africa time’.
After having had some opportunity to relax the previous afternoon, you should be fresh and ready for a full day in the saddle. Today’s riding will take you along sheltered beaches, into hidden coves and beautiful lagoons. During the ride, your guide will select a beautiful, sheltered spot for you to enjoy a picnic lunch and swim in a lagoon before heading back to the Kob Inn for another evening of good conversation and delicious dinner.
It is time to start heading back down the coast again. Once more, the timing of the day’s riding will be dependent on the tides as you cross rivers, climb hills, and speed along beaches on your way back to Wavecrest. After a good 30 kilometers ride, you can choose to indulge in a little pampering at the Wavecrest Spa, explore the rare mangrove forests by either boat or canoe, or challenge one of your fellow riders or guides to a game of tennis.
Alternatively, you can get back in the saddle and enjoy a leisurely afternoon ride that takes you along sandy coastal paths, which provide excellent whale and dolphin-watching opportunities, and through forest trails that cut through a section of ancient indigenous dune forest. This beautiful, relaxing ride will take you back to Wavecrest in time for a quick canoe ride, a massage, or a walk on the beach, depending on your preference.
Another evening of coastal hospitality awaits you as you relax and allow yourself to be spoilt by the Wavecrest team.
Departing from Wavecrest, you will continue your journey back to your starting point with a horseback meander through villages, dune forests, and rolling hills, with a smattering of beach work to keep the adrenaline pumping!
At lunch time, you will pop into Trennery's Hotel for another delicious pub lunch. With no time pressures or tides to consider, this is a relaxing day of riding as your trail draws to an end. Your last night on trail will be spent at a delightful guest house, where you can share all your trail stories and pictures, and indulge in the pampering of your host for the evening.
The shuttle will pick you up to transfer you back to the airport at 1 p.m. and there is an opportunity to enjoy one last ride before it’s time to say goodbye to your horse and head home or onto new horsey horizons.
This horse trail is for strong intermediate and advanced riders only! The horses are of a very high quality and are well schooled. They are gentle and reliable enough for the holiday rider, but also of such a standard that the more experienced rider will have a good time. The trail pace varies from walking through the countryside to enable good wildlife viewing, to long trots and canters on open plains, and fast gallops down the beaches if wanted.
This safari will take place in the Wild Coast region of South Africa. Based in Kei Mouth, the trail will take you on horseback along the southern region of the Wild Coast between the Great Kei River and Bashee River.
All meals are included in the price of this safari. Breakfast is your choice of continental or full English dishes. Lunch changes from day to day, ranging from a pub lunch to a set lunch at one of the hotels or a picnic along the way. Dinner is at 7:30 p.m. and is a set menu of three or four courses.
Please book your flight to arrive at East London Airport (ELS). Transfer from and to this airport is available upon request and will be charged separately. A driver from East Coast Shuttle will meet you in the arrivals hall, holding a sign saying Wild Cost Horse Trails. Alternatively, you can arrange to be picked up at Baz Bus points.