Experience everything that South Africa is known for on this unforgettable week-long trail; clean, deserted beaches that stretch on for miles, rocky outcrops to explore by horseback and rivers to swim through on responsive horses. Each day, you'll be covering between 10-20 miles riding along the stunning beaches beside the Indian Ocean. This is a ride to suit intermediate riders onwards, part of the trail includes crossing rivers on horseback, which will involve riding bareback. Once you've had your fill of creek crossings and beach gallops you can explore a game reserve on horseback with the chance of seeing elephant, buffalo and giraffe.
In addition to the thrilling riding on offer at this destination you'll also be taken on a river boat trip (also in a Big 5 area) and you'll spend many evenings sitting on the rocky outcrops with a cold drink watching the sun go down. Accommodation along the trail is in twin or double rooms at beach-side guesthouses and cottages, varying from comfortable to rustic - you can relax listening to the waves from the comfort of your room. This week-long stay includes all meals and you can expect home-made food with picnic lunches and multi-course dinners. The horses are Arabian crosses and your ride leader is is an experienced endurance rider with a passion for maintaining and preserving the wildlife of this region. This is a thrilling and affordable trail for intermediate riders onwards who want beach riding, swimming, wildlife spotting rolled into one action-packed week.
Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.
Review received from ML of London on 14/11/2019
Meet at Port Elizabeth airport around midday and transfer to the start of the trail at Port Alfred (a two hour drive). In the evening, change into riding gear and head off for an evening ride on the beach. Snacks and drinks are enjoyed while waiting for the evening meal and settling in to your guesthouse accommodation or taking a quick dip in the pool.
After an English breakfast you'll head off to a small coastal village; Kasuga. The beach along this section is remote and spacious and the ride is normally quite fast with long canters between walks. You'll often swim with the horses at one of the clear water lagoons, especially the Kasuga lagoon. You can look among the rock pools during the lunch stop for edible sea snails and then cook them for starters for the evening meal. The scenery is spectacular and the beaches often deserted. You'll ride for between 5 and 6 hours.
You'll set off according to the tide. Today you'll be crossing the two tidal rivers at low tide as the water starts to come in. It is normally a highlight of the trail. You will have to ride for 3km without saddles between the rivers before relaxing with a picnic lunch in the solitude of the sheltered sand dunes. After lunch, you'll saddle up and head inland along the shores of the river. The scenery here is beautiful and you'll ride along the steep slopes of the river until reaching the luxury tented camp, your accommodation for the evening. You'll enjoy sundowners around a fire and a nice warm home cooked meal.
Today you'll head off to ride in the Sibuya Game reserve and ride among 4 of the “Big 5”. The views are breathtaking and we ride over a large area with the chance of seeing elephant, rhino, buffalo, zebra and giraffe. It’s mostly slow riding with limited cantering in the reserve. You'll have a pack lunch overlooking the spectacular Kariega River. You'll ride back to the tented camp in the evening and enjoy a few drinks and a braai (South African barbeque). You'll also enjoy a boat trip up the river to look for animals or swim in the river. You'll be provided with drinks and snacks on the boat.
Today is a non-riding day but it is a welcome rest from three hard riding days. You'll spend the day in the Addo Elephant National Park touring in private vehicles. You'll have the opportunity of seeing elephants up close in their natural habitat as well as a . possibility of seeing any of the big 5. There is a main camp at Addo where you can buy curios and visit a natural history museum. For lunch you'll enjoy a picnic under the trees at the picnic site, which is surrounded by very tame birds. Animals that can be seen are lion, elephant, buffalo, zebra and many others. In the evening you'll walk to a pizza restaurant overlooking the river that you swam across the day before and eat dinner. Overnight at the tented camp.
Today you'll leave the tented camp and head off to Cannon Rocks. You'll have to swim the Bushman’s River at low tide and this is always a popular adventure. It is a slower pace of riding and you'll take time to explore the coves and outcrops on horseback. You'll hunt for stone-age pottery in the ancient human middens (stone-age rubbish dumps) left behind by the Khoi San who were the original inhabitants of the area. You'll visit the famous Diaz Cross, from the first European to sail around the tip of Africa. Depending on the weather, you can normally swim in the in the Boknes lagoon. The views of the coastline here are spectacular and you'll spend the night in a pretty seaside village.
Today we ride to Woody Cape nature lodge. It is very remote along this section of the coast and often you can ride the whole beach section and see no other people. After a lunch stop at a natural fresh water spring on the coast we head inland past towering sand dunes and onto a gravel road with spectacular views of the coast and Bird Island in the distance. At Woody Cape there is a swimming pool and an open air bar selling refreshments. You'll be able to take a short forest walk and watch the sun going down over the sea.
You'll be able to enjoy a last short ride in the morning with a final gallop to finish off the week. Then you will be transported back to the airport for your afternoon flight.
Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.
The horses here are a hardy mix of Arabian crosses. They are safe, well mannered and are very lively when needed but also happy to plod along with less experienced riders. The saddles provided are comfortable trail riding saddles and soft bits are used on all the horses. Guests can assist with grooming and tacking up their horse but help is available to do this.
The riding is a mix of paces to suit the different terrain and is fast in places. You need to be confident riding in open spaces and in control at a fast pace. This trail is not suitable for very nervous or novice riders. You'll be riding in trail saddles, made locally, designed for the comfort of both horse and rider alike. We recommend you wear half or full chaps with comfortable riding boots and a light weight riding helmet, preferably with good ventilation. There are a limited number of chaps and helmets at the stables, but we recommend that you bring your own for a good fit. The bareback part of the ride is ridden at a walk.
To make the most of this trail, we recommend that riders are healthy and have a relatively good level of fitness (although you'll get fitter while on the ride!). This trail needs a degree of physical fitness, as these rides are not recommended for inexperienced or unfit riders. This trail includes different types of riding including long canters on sand, to relaxed walks with the wildlife we encounter along the way. We also swim with our horses through two rivers and do a few shallow crossings so you need to be happy doing this and riding bareback (in-between river crossings) for short periods.
The weight limit for this ride is 231 lb/105 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
It’s important to spend the evenings in comfortable accommodation after long days in the saddle. You will stay each night in a variety of accomodation including beach houses, guest houses, beach hostels, a luxury campsite and a quaint farm cottage. Accommodation is in twin or double rooms with private bathrooms, on some nights there may be single rooms available but this is not guaranteed and depends on availability. All the accommodation is either on the beach or very close to it and many of the rooms have sea views. The first nights accommodation has a swimming pool for those who want to take a refreshing dip after the days ride. The tents during the 3 camping nights are quite private but close together each with two comfortable beds in. The bathrooms are rustic but comfortable with hot water, flush toilets, a bath and a shower.
You'll be able to enjoy homecooked or restaurant meals while on this trail. Breakfast is usually served around 8am, lunch is usually a packed lunch or picnic around 12.30 and dinner is normally around 6.30pm. You can expect a varied menu which could be a barbecue with salads, pizza at a local restauran or a speciality potato bake followed by a home-made carrot cake for dessert.
Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.
Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. You must be in possession of a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after your return date and has at least 3 blank pages. If Visa’s are required the requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country. Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate on request.
NEW RULES ON TRAVELLING WITH CHILDREN - DEC 2019:
Children who are foreign nationals from countries where visas are required will no longer have to carry supporting documents. This is because they would have been required to provide these during the visa application process.
Children who are foreign nationals from countries where visas are not required may be asked to produce supporting documents upon entry. Even though producing supporting documents is no longer compulsory, travellers are strongly advised to carry the supporting documents.
In the case of countries that endorse the particulars of parents in children’s passports, or other official identification documents, these documents shall be sufficient to establish the identity of the parents of the travelling minor.
General Entry Requirement Information:
A valid passport is required for travel to South Africa for U.K. or most other European nationals. Visas are issued on arrival to South Africa, please check there are two clear blank pages in your passport and it is valid for at least six months. In the UK the British Foreign Office gives travel advice on 020 7008 0230/0233.
In South Africa the UK High Commission is at No.19 Parliament Street, Cape Town, 8001, Tel +27 21461 7220.
The High Commission for the Republic of South Africa in the U.K is at South Africa House, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DP. Telephone: (020) 7451 7299. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Overall, the Eastern Cape region's climate is typically Mediterranean, with warm, dry summers and mild, moist winters and low summer rainfall. Near the coast, summer’s temperature rises from a pleasant low of 15º C to a heart warming 27º C. Inland temperatures are some 3-5º C higher. Coastal winters see the mercury dropping to a mild 7º C at night and rising to a comfortable 18º C by day. Away from the beach, morning wakens to an invigorating 5º C and midday peaks at 22º C. To many, March and April signal idyllic weather. Summer's heat subsides, the wind settles and autumn casts its brightly coloured mantle, generating red, burnished colours spreading from the mountain tops to the sea. In keeping with its sunny, tranquil character, a temperate climate with gentle, intermittent precipitation complements the warm summers and mild winters.
Awareness of Malaria risk and bite avoidance is recommended and if travelling to an area of Malaria risk in season we recommend speaking to your doctor about antimalarial medication. Current Malaria areas are; North-eastern Kwazulu-Natal, low altitude areas of Mpumalanga and low altitude areas of Limpopo. Malaria season is in the summer or rainy season. All travellers should avoid insect and tick bites day and night by using insect repellent and should wear adequate sun protection during the day.
According to the 2018 UNAIDS Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic South Africa has the biggest HIV epidemic in the world, with 7.1 million people living with HIV. HIV prevalence is high among the general population at 18.9%. You should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS; avoid contact with bodily fluids and keep any cuts or wounds properly clean and covered.
We advise speaking to your doctor at least 8 weeks before your trip, to check the latest country-specific health advice and to see if you need any additional vaccinations or precautions while travelling. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation. There is no reciprocal health care agreement between the United Kingdom and South Africa.
Health and medical facilities are generally of a good standard and readily available near larger centres. If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 10177 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/ medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
The electricity supply requires a 3-holed, round pinned adapter. If you have a European two pinned adapter you can buy an adapter at Johannesburg Airport.
There is electricity available on all nights and most of the accommodations do also have wifi, however this cannot be guaranteed as it varies from place to place.
• Jodhpurs or riding pants.
• Riding chaps or long boots.
• Riding hat (available to borrow)
• Shorts for walking and hiking.
• Walking shoes or boots to ride in.
• Flip flops or sandals.
• A couple of light long sleeved shirts with collars to protect you from the sun while riding.
• T shirts and tops.
• Light long trousers.
• Something comfortable to wear to dinner in the evenings.
• Warm clothing 1 x jersey (jumper/fleece) to ride in and a nice one for the evenings!
• A good warm rain proof coat.
• Light weight rain jacket/wind breaker that can be tied to your saddle.
• Sun block. Factor 50 is recommended!
• Swimming costume and swimming towel.
• A torch (flashlight)
• A camera
• South African plug adaptor
This is an 8 day / 7 night programme on set dates available year round. Departures are usually the first Saturday of each month.
2019: 16, 30 Nov.
2020: 25 Jan; 8 Feb; 7 Mar (FULL); 4 Apr; 2 May; 6 Jun; 4 Jul; 1 Aug; 5 Sept; 3 Oct; 7 Nov; 5 Dec.
2021: 23 Jan; 3 Apr
|Riding days||Product item description||£|
|2019/20 - 7 nights||8d/7n||6||double pp||1,165|
|Riding days||Product item description||€|
|2019/20 - 7 nights||8d/7n||6||double pp||1,349|
|Riding days||Product item description||$|
|2019/20 - 7 nights||8d/7n||6||double pp||1,525|
|Riding days||Product item description||SEK|
|2019/20 - 7 nights||8d/7n||6||double pp||15,425|
A boat ride up a river at sunset is included in the tour.
This ride includes a a day at the Addo Elephant National Park as well as riding in the Sibuya Game Reserve. You can see elephants here in their natural habitat as well as the possibility of seeing any of the big 5. Animals that can be seen are lion, elephant, buffalo, zebra and many others.
South Africa's land area is 1,228,376 km.2 (larger than The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy & Germany combined). It borders Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland & Zimbabwe to the north, and entirely surrounds Lesotho (a total land border of 4,750 km.) It has a coastline of 2,954 km, with few natural harbours.
The average day in South Africa starts early so the main work of the day is complete before the sun starts to really burn. Shops are open from around 07.30am and it is also acceptable to call people at that time.
South Africa is an exhilarating, spectacular and complex country. With its post-apartheid identity still in the process of definition, there is undoubtedly an abundance of energy and sense of progress about the place. The infrastructure is constantly improving, the climate is kind and there are few better places to see Africa's wildlife.
The international dialing code for South Africa is +27 and they use the metric weights and measures system, so kilometres and kilograms instead of miles and pounds. There is approximately 1.6 kilometres in a mile and 2.2 pounds in a kilogram. The time zone is GMT plus two hours.
Always collect your luggage on arrival at any local airport and take it through customs. Most of the South African smaller airports don’t have customs clearance. Even if the airline tells you that your luggage can be checked through, it is not true.
At local airports there are a lot of porters who can be of great help if you are in a hurry to find your check in counter or your gate. However they sometimes ask for a lot of money. R 50,00 is more then enough to give them when they have been of great help, if they have only pushed the trolley, R 20,00 should be enough.
If you travel by car and police stop you for speeding or something else you might have done wrong, don’t give them any cash money, always ask for a ticket. If they persist, ask to speak to their supervisor. Also the toll gates don’t take international credit cards.