Parked horses !
Galloping on the beaches

A horse riding holiday in South Africa offering fabulous beach riding and riding into the African countryside. On this holiday you have the opportunity to canter down endless beaches and wonder through rural Xhosa villages all from the back of beautiful, well-schooled horses. This ride will give you an authentic taste of South Africa as you stay in three different locations around the Wild Coast area.

Once you have arrived at Kei Mouth, you will have the opportunity to freshen up before visiting the stables for your first ride of the holiday. Non-dangerous game will cross your path as you ride through the rolling hills and canter over cliff tops. Throughout the week there will be many chances to gallop along sandy beaches and slow things down a bit riding through rural villages.

This ride is ideal for most riders who are comfortable in the saddle (can walk, trot & canter on a well-schooled horse), non-riders are welcome to join the group as there are plenty of walks and things to do. Advanced riders will be delighted with the different pace options on responsive fit horses. Beginner and novice riders can be accommodated with advanced notice, subject to availability.

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 MH of Bantry on 28/02/2016

Ride Summary

What was your overall impression of the holiday

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7
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Day 1
You should to plan to arrive in East London on SA flight 471 at 11.30. A shuttle will meet and transfer you to Kei Mouth (approx. 1hr). You will be welcomed at the Kei Mouth Guest Lodge with a light lunch and have an hour or so to unwind and relax before venturing up to the yard to meet the horses and enjoy a late afternoon ride. Dinner & overnight Kei Mouth Guest Lodge.

Day 2
After a light breakfast, you will make your way to the horses, and off on a relaxed day out exploring “this side of the river”. You will ride the majestic cliff of Morgan Bay, play in the sea, and stop for lunch at Yellowwood forest, a rustic and charming out door restaurant hidden in the forest. Then in the afternoon there is time for one more sprint up the beach before dropping the horses off at the yard. Dinner & overnight Kei Mouth Guest Lodge.

Day 3
Today you cross The Great Kei River. The ferry ride takes you into another world of rural Africa, and the morning ride depends on the tides as you make your way to Trennerys Hotel and a friendly pub lunch. During the afternoon you explore the surrounding villages and cliff tops before drinks in the pub at sunset. Dinner & overnight Trennerys Hotel.

Day 4
The trails during the morning take you through a kaleidoscope of rural Xhosa village, mysterious waterfalls, rolling hillsides and of course a canter along the beach. After a picnic lunch, more water falls, and long canters over the endless hills sides ensure that you have had a good days riding! Dinner & overnight Trennerys Hotel.

Day 5
Heading north, you ride to the Kobenquaba River and depending on the tide either cross the river at the mouth or turn inland across country and through rural villages to cross the river further upstream. The horses set a steady pace at trot and canter as you head towards Wavecrest in time for lunch. During the afternoon, enjoy a relaxed outride along the ocean edge and through ancient sand dune forests. Drinks on the deck at sunset ends a perfect day. Dinner & overnight Wavecrest Hotel.

Day 6
The departure time this morning is dictated by the tide. It is a fantastic 3-hour ride either up the beach and back across country through rolling hills and traditional villages or the other way around, depending on the tides. Either way you get to ride on the hard, wet beach at low tide – the gallops are exhilarating. We are back at the hotel in time for lunch. Alternatively, if the weather and tides are favourable we may take a picnic. This afternoon has a choice of activities. You can take a boat trip up the river and explore the stunning mangrove estuary of the Nxaxo river by boat, walk the beaches, or just kick back and relax in the Jacuzzi! – this afternoon is flexible as there are so many options to experience!!! Dinner & overnight Wavecrest Hotel.

Day 7
Today you start your journey back to Kei Mouth. You ride inland this morning, crossing the river high up and away from the tides influence. The slay paths and track offer great canters as you wind our way back to the beach. You ride back past Trennery’s and call in for a great pub lunch. You then head towards Kei Mouth and the pontoon crossing before dropping the horses off at the paddocks around 4 o’clock. Tonight, you Braai (BBQ) like a South African and celebrate the end of your taste of the Wild Coast. Dinner & overnight Kei Mouth Guest Lodge.

Day 8
The shuttle will pick you up to transfer you back to the airport to fit in with your flight, time permitting 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.

Please note that it is compulsory for all riders to wear a protective hard hat when mounted. There are a selection of hats available at Kei Mouth, however it is advised that riders take their own where possible.

Airport Transfers
Riders will be collected from East London airport on Saturday mornings between 11.30am and 12pm. Recommended flight SA471 from Johannesburg arriving at 11.30am. The transfer will arrive in Kei Mouth, for the beginning of trail at about 1pm

Riders will be collected from the last nights’ accommodation at 1.pm on Saturday. This allows for a short early morning ride and brunch at Sunray Farm before departure. The transfer will arrive at East London airport between 2 and 3pm. Recommended flights should depart from East London after 4pm.

Should a rider not be able to arrange their travel to fit in with the above transfers or arrive during the week, the ride are happy to organise a private transfer with the shuttle company. Please enquire for costs.

Single rooms
There is no charge for single room occupancy, but single rooms are subject to availability.

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

There is a large selection of horses to choose from including Arab crosses, Anglo Arabs, Thoroughbreds, Boerperds and Percheron crosses. They all stand between 14.2hh and 16hh and mostly ridden in snaffles. The trail pace varies from walking through the game reserve to enable good game viewing, long trots and canters on open plains, to optional fast gallops down the beaches The horses are selected and trained for trail riding with great care; they are the other half of the team that makes your holiday a fantastic experience. Just as your guides are professional and know the area in which they operate, so the horses are familiar with the environment and conditions in which they are ridden. Each horse is handpicked and trained for trail riding. They are sturdy, comfortable to ride, beautiful, forgiving, easy to ride and control, yet lively at command and enjoy their work. The saddles are especially designed for trail riding by Leon Liversage. The saddle distributes the weight equally on the horses back and is very comfortable for the rider. The design with a high pommel and cantle makes one sit straight automatically and is therefore better for you and the horse. Each horse has its own saddle to ensure a comfortable-and perfect fit. Each saddle is equipped with a splash-proof saddlebag carrying 2 water bottles and can hold a camera and other essentials while out riding for the day. The tack and equipment is scrupulously maintained. The pace of the riding on this ride is above average and a secure seat is required. Riders can help with grooming and tacking their horses but this is not required.

Rider requirements

Intermediate level riders who are comfortable at walk, trot and canter. The horses are fit and forward going but gentle and reliable enough for the holiday rider, and also of such a standard that the more experienced rider will have a good time. The trail pace varies from walking through the game reserve to enable good game viewing, long trots and canters on open hilltops, to optional fast gallops down the beaches. Riders are required to wear a hard hat on this ride.
Children are welcome on this ride, there are several excellent ponies available. Children must be regular riders and happy at walk, trot and canter to keep up.

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.

Kei Mouth: A comfortable ‘homestay’ style accommodation with en suite rooms in a tranquil area. There are tea making facilities in the room as well as free wifi. A communal sitting room and dining are available.

Trennery’s: With its swimming pool, bar and their range recreational facilities this is a haven of cool and peace. The hotel is set among lush indigenous gardens and a private beach is a short walk past the tennis courts. The rooms are comfortable twin or double rooms with en suite bathroom and this historic hotel has a decidedly "colonial" feel. The food is good and wholesome and usually includes the traditional Wild Coast seafood buffet.



Wavecrest Hotel: stunningly situated on the banks of the Nxaxo River estuary. The sand dune forests, beaches, mangrove trees and ecology of the area is breathtaking. The rooms are all en suit and overlook the river, beach and sea. They have recently been re decorated and have a comfortable “African” feel to them. The meals are good. The hotel is owner run and the staff is very attentive and friendly.



Meals: Breakfast: A variety of cereals, farm yogurt, toast, home made jams & preserves, home made butter, free range eggs, home made sausage, bacon, tomatoes, fruit juice and filter coffee and tea. So you can choose between a traditional English breakfast and the continental equivalent. Lunch: A variety of cold meats, cheese, salads, fresh bread, pudding, fresh fruit juice and fresh fruit are available. Most days we enjoy a pub lunch at one of the local hotels. In the late afternoon, we savor the last glow of the day while enjoying a selection of wine and malt available. This gives you the perfect opportunity to relax and relive the day's events. Dinner: At the restaurants there will be a variety of entrees to choose from, including fresh seafood. One evening there will be a traditional South African "braai” or “potjie" with its trappings. Sizzling tender farm style beef and venison steaks and mussels bubbling on the coals satisfy a hungry rider after a long day in the saddle and in South Africa many friendships are made around the campfire. A selection of good South African wines will be available to complement the meal and finish with a nightcap of local liqueurs (not included).

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

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

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: general@southafricahouse.com.

Climate Summary

In June, the days are dry and warm with blue skies and cool nights. The sun sets early, but the weather is so fine you can be out on your horse all day. Good riding weather.




Climate Chart

Health

Malaria förekommer ej i dessa områden.
Stelkramp & polioskydd bör vara uppdaterat.
Vaccin som bör kollas upp/uppdateras: Haverix/Hepatit
I övrigt inget annat

Electricity

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.

Film and Camera Equipment

Film and batteries can be purchased at East London before you arrive at the Wild Coast but we do recommend to stock up before you travel.

Packing List

Jodphurs or riding trousers
Half chaps over short riding boots or long rubber riding boots. A spare pair of shoes can be useful but is not essential.
Hard riding hat
Shorts for walking and hiking
Flip flops or sandals
Light long sleeved shirts with collars to protect you from the sun.
T-shirts and tops
Light long trousers/jeans.
Smart outfit to change into for dinner at the hotels.
Warm clothing such as a jumper or fleece, especially for early mornings and evenings
A good warm rain proof coat.
Lightweight waterproof jacket that can be attached to the saddle when riding.
Sun hat (that stays on) and sun block
Swimming costume and swimming towel.
A torch
A camera (on a shoulder strap or in a pouch that can be firmly secured to your belt), plenty of film and batteries or a battery charger and binoculars.
A book/reading material.
Items of a personal nature.

Programmes

This is an 8 day/7 night programme with 8 days riding available on set dates. For groups of 2 or more it may be possible to set an alternative date, please enquire.

Departure Dates

2019: Dates and Prices available on request

Pricing
A single room can be booked for no extra supplement when available.


Recommended Reading

‘Land Mammals of Southern Africa’ – Smithers; ‘Memories of a Game Ranger’ – Harry Wolhunter; ‘Birds of Southern Africa’ – Ken Newman; ‘Cry, The Beloved Country’ – Alan Paton, ‘Jock of the Bushveld’ – Fitzpatrick, ‘A Chain of Voices’ – Andre Brink, ‘Long Walk to Freedom’ – Nelson Mandela. For the equestrian traveller who would like to see what is possible on horseback visit www.thelongridersguild.com also a fantastic place to acquire your equestrian travel books is www.horsetravelbooks.com

Wildlife

The flora rejoices in a vast array of indigenous coastal forest, prehistoric Cycads, tree orchids, Kiepersol, Sneezewood and Yellowwood. Lush vegetation with plentiful water, forest and fruit trees provides a beautiful environment for over 250 species of birds. Inland, coastal and sea birds rub shoulders and compete for sky space. Above it all, the regal Fish Eagle can be heard to shriek his haunting cry.

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):
East London Airport, South Africa
Transfer:
2019: Set group transfer 1,200 ZAR one way, per car (c.£73) payable on site to the driver in ZAR only. Transfer time is approx. 1 hour.
Flight Guide:
London - East London, South Africa and Johannesburg - London £850-£950
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