farmstead
rooms at the farm
rooms
riding
caves
Drakensburg
Kruger ellie
Kruger lion cub
Kruger lion
Kruger bush walk
Kruger leopard
Kruger elephant

Enjoy riding in the iconic Drakensburg Mountains on horseback, home to famous Panorama Route with sights such as God's Window and the Blyde River Canyon. Near a tiny historic gold mining village set in the middle of vast forests where wild horses roam we ride with a well known horse whisperer of the region, famous for his fantastic team of trail horses. This holiday combines excellent riding and accommodation in restored historic forestry houses with a 3 day trip to the world famous Kruger Park where you will be able to view the Big 5 by open safari vehicle. Game drives, night drives and a visit to a local community project  - no riding with dangerous game but all the excitement of fast riding and big game!

For a group of 4 or more riders (i.e. excluding the number of non-riders) the group as a whole can choose either to camp overnight in a remote wilderness camp (Option 2 on the itinerary). Please note in 2017 due to tree felling the usual campsite is not available, please contact us for alternative options. 

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Please note that there is no camping available in early 2017 due to tree harvesting, so no option 2. If you would like this option, please enquire for more information on alternative plans.

Option 1

Day 1:
Arrival at Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA) and transfer to the farm, approximately 1 hour's drive. Check in to the farm-style accommodation and enjoy a light lunch followed by an introduction to the horses, guides and the facilities. You will enjoy a sunset introductory ride before dinner and overnight.

Day 2:
Early risers can observe the horses being herded in by motorcycle. Breakfast is enjoyed while the horses are being prepared for the morning ride. After a two to three hour ride, lunch is served back at the stables followed by some time to relax before the afternoon ride takes guests along a different route on the 17000 ha farm. Dinner and overnight.

Day 3:
Breakfast is followed by another spectacular morning ride, perhaps on a different horse. Lunch is followed by a visit to the Blue Swallows Reserve for sighting of the Adams Calendar site, magnificent views overlooking the De Kaap Valley and the Kaapsehoop wild horses. Dinner and overnight.

Day 4:
After breakfast the last ride follows more scenic routes. The ride returns to the stables with time to refresh, packing of bags and lunch before the transfer to the Kruger National Park accommodation (1.5 hours drive). Dinner and overnight.

Day 5:
An early start to the day with a game drive in a ten-seater open game viewer into The Kruger National Park, South Africa’s most famous game reserve where the Big Five (leopard, lion, elephant, rhino and buffalo) as well as many other smaller animals and birds can be watched in their natural habitat. Breakfast and lunch will be enjoyed at one of the picnic spots/restaurants in the park. Late afternoon departure from the Park back to the hotel/lodge for dinner and overnight.

Day 6:
More exploring of the Park and all its marvels and in particular some of the hidden wonders of the bush. While still on the lookout for the Big Five, the game ranger will concentrate on the smaller animals and birds accompanied with the engaging bush lore. Breakfast and lunch will once again be enjoyed at one of the picnic spots/restaurants in the park, returning to the hotel/lodge around sunset. Dinner and overnight.

Day 7:
A short morning game drive gives the chance to bid goodbye to the bush and new friends made on this week-long adventure before drop-off at KMIA airport.


Opt
ion 2

 Day 1:
Arrival at Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA) and transfer to the farm, approximately 1 hour's drive. Check in to the farm-style accommodation and enjoy a light lunch followed by an introduction to the horses, guides and the facilities. You will enjoy a sunset introductory ride before dinner and overnight.


Day 2:
Early risers can observe the horses being herded in by motorcycle. After breakfast the ride departs through the Hobbit-like country, passing through the old mining village of Kaapsehoop and onto the Blue Swallow Reserve grass plains. Here the blue swallow (most endangered bird species in Southern Africa ) nests, the wild horses who originate from the gold mining and Boer war days roams as well as other small game. For riders it is a lovely area to enjoy a gallop as the trail leads to the bush camp where lunch awaits. Time to relax before an afternoon walk with a view of the old mines and the magnificent waterfalls high above the Barberton valley, followed by interactive feeding and grooming of the horses. Dinner is served next to a log fire under the stars before a comfortable night’s rest at our wilderness camp.

Day 3:
Breakfast is followed by another spectacular morning ride all along the escarpment with its scenic panoramic views and through the coolness of the pine and eucalyptus plantations. Lunch and resting time is followed by a drive to the Blue Swallows Reserve for a visit to the Adams Calendar site which is believed to be the oldest man made rock structure on earth. Dinner around the camp fire and overnight.

Day 4:
After breakfast, luggage is packed, horses prepared and riders return to the farm following a different scenic route back. Refreshment and lunch time before the transfer to the Kruger National Park accommodation (1.5 hours drive). Dinner and overnight.

Day 5:
An early start to the day with a game drive in a ten-seater open game viewer into The Kruger National Park, South Africa’s most famous game reserve where the Big Five (leopard, lion, elephant, rhino and buffalo) as well as many other smaller animals and birds can be watched in their natural habitat. Breakfast and lunch will be enjoyed at one of the picnic spots/restaurants in the park. Late afternoon departure from the Park back to the hotel/lodge for dinner and overnight.

Day 6:
More exploring of the Park and all its marvels and in particular some of the hidden wonders of the bush. While still on the lookout for the Big Five, the game ranger will concentrate on the smaller animals and birds accompanied with the engaging bush lore. Breakfast and lunch will once again be enjoyed at one of the picnic spots/restaurants in the park, returning to the hotel/lodge around sunset. Dinner and overnight.

Day 7:
A short morning game drive gives the chance to bid goodbye to the bush and new friends made on this week-long adventure before drop-off at KMIA airport.

If you are looking for a wonderful ranch experience in a remote setting surrounded by nature and wildlife with some cattle work this is the riding holiday for you!

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.

Horses & Riding

The first 4 days are spent on horseback exploring the highlands and escarpment, gateway to the Kruger National Park. You are based near an historic gold mining village set in the middle of vast forest where wild horses roam. Your host is a well know horse whisperer of the region and has a fantastic team of trail horses. The horses vary in height from ponies to substantial 17hh horses that are easily capable of compelting a cross country course. Most horses are boerperd cross or have some warmblood or shire blood in them. They live out, roaming free in the mountains and are sure footed and agile. They are very well schooled, responsive but lovely and light to ride with gentle natures and in general are obviously used to loving treatment. There are some of a more schoolmaster style and also some a bit more sparky, all well behaved with no vices. The horses are shod on the front only. Very comfortbale English tack in excellent condition is utilized and there is a small selection of hard hats for beginners only.

Rider requirements

Experienced and fit riders only, i.e. riders need to be comfortable at a trot and a canter and gallop. We do reserve the right to limit a guest’s riding should he/she prove to be a less experienced rider than stated; this is not only for the particular person’s own safety and comfort but also for the sake of the other riders as to not distract from their riding enjoyment and experience.
The rider’s safety is top priority and all riders are required to wear a riding hat. Hats are available should the rider not have his/her own.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 15 st/209 lb/95 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

On the first 3 nights you will stay in restored forestry cottages and camp in a wilderness camp. The main cottage has been sensitively decorated with local art work and origional pieces of restored furniture, retaining all the character and charm of this building from the 1800's. There are 3 double or twin bedded rooms, a lounge, verandah with a sweeping view over open fields and surrounding forest, kitchen, one bathroom and separate toilet and shower. It also has it's own barbeque/fire area outside. There are 2 further cottages and 12 people can be comfortable accommodated here. The wilderness camp is set in a remote area with large dome tents for 2, mattresses. Cooking is done over an open fire. The following 3 nights are spent in a small securely (electric) fenced tented camp in the Kruger National Park. There are 18 dome tents on wooden platforms with chairs outside, 2 beds in each. The tents are secluded and can be reached by lit walkways at night. There is a communal tented shower and toilet area, a luunge and bar area, swimming pool and dining area, all under canvas.

Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.

Climate Summary

This ride covers the escarpment, thus including the slightly cooler highveld and more hot and humid lowveld. In the Lowveld summer temperatures can climb to 40 degrees celsius while the highveld remains pleasant for riding. Rainfall in the Lowveld averages 800 mm per annum, and falls mainly during the summer months, which results in humid, sultry weather. The rainy season usually starts in late October/November and can last until May with rain falling in heavy showers on some afternoons. This ride can be done in the summer months and the riding remains pleasant. The scenery in the Kruger Park is then very green and many baby animals can be observed, born to take advantage of the lush growth.

The climate in the dry winter months of June, July and August: the days are mild (20C and sunny) and the nights a little cool or cold. Winter is also ideal for game viewing in the Kruger National Park, because the shrubs and trees don't have so many leaves to obstruct the view. Since it hardly ever rains in winter, the game must come to the waterholes to drink in the mornings and afternoons.

Climate Chart
Packing List

Jodhpurs or any kind of riding trousers, half or full chaps, light cotton trousers to wear under chaps or in the evenings, shorts for the midday break, long sleeved shirts give protection from the sun while riding, T-shirts, Swimming costume, sandles, Riding shoes comfortable riding boots with thin tread and low heels, casual evening outfit, sweat shirt or jersey, warm jacket in winter (May to August, layers are best as it is very cold early and late but up to 20C in the daytime), hat, suncream, sunglasses, riding gloves, torch, insect repellent, Antihistamine Cream, camera, film, binoculars.

Programmes

This is a 7 day/6 night programme with riding on 4 days, available on request throughout the year.

Departure Dates

2017: available anytime up to 31/10/2017 except Easter.
2017 Confirmed departures: 12 Feb; 19 Mar; 24 Oct.

Pricing
No single supplement payable if willing to share with someone of same sex. Should you wish to book a single room, please see supplement price below.

None available

No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
20177d/6n4double pp Option 11,349
20177d/6n4single supplement49
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
20177d/6n4double pp Option 11,529
20177d/6n4single supplement56
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
20177d/6n4double pp Option 11,829
20177d/6n4single supplement66
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
20177d/6n4double pp Option 114,555
20177d/6n4single supplement525
Wildlife

The forestry are of the ride offers protection to between nine and twelve pairs of the globally threatened Blue Swallow and is designated as an Important Bird Area. It is also a good locality to see Southern African bird endemics. A 470ha portion of the grassland falls under protection of the Natural Heritage Site while the state owned forestry company owns a another substantial expanse of grassland wedged between the reserve and town.
The Kruger National Park is world famous and home to 147 mammals, 507 birds, 114 reptiles, 34 amphibians, 49 fish and 336 trees. The big 5 (leopard, lion, buffalo, rhino and elephant) as well as other large mammals such as giraffe, zebra, springbok, kudu, impala, warthog, baboons,vervet monkeys, cheetah, wild dog, hyena, jackal etc are all commonly spotted.

Other Information

The Wild horses
Many fairy-tale stories exist with regards to the origination of the wild horses which roam the old gold mining village. Approximately 160 to 200 feral horses roam the 17 000 hectares of forestry and grassland. The breed type seems predominantly Boerperd with herds ranging in size from bachelor herds of +- 3 to larger more structured herds of 15 to 20 horses. They are enjoyed by visitors and locals alike.

Other Country Information

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.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Kruger Airport (KMIA)
Transfer:
Included from Kruger Airport. Transfer from JNB can be arranged for R1700.00
Flight Guide:
London - Johannesburg return not included: from £400 return
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