05 December 2012 by Denise Slabbert

Top spots for horse riding in South Africa

South Africa is an adventure destination, and there’s lots on offer for those who want to saddle up and hit the country on a horse-riding safari.

Horse riding on a Wild Coast beach

South Africa’s dramatic scenery lends itself to exploration on horseback. The country has a host of horse-riding trails that take the rider on to beaches, into mountains and valleys, along riverbeds and into forests. You can even tour the Cape Winelands on a horse, or view game on horseback.

Here are some of the top horse-riding spots to choose from.

Wild Coast
A horse trail in the Eastern Cape’s rugged Wild Coast offers many geographical delights. A number of adventure operators conduct horse trails here, which last a couple of hours to a couple of days. The terrain yields sand dunes, forests, endless kilometres of sweeping bays, rivers and lagoons. Riding in this part of the country is challenging and memorable. Wild Coast Horseback Adventures is a well-known operator in the area, and there are numerous community outfits to choose from. 

Fish River horse safari Fish River horse safari

In the mountains
If it’s mountains you are looking to take on, the theatrical Drakensberg is the obvious choice. Trails range from gentle to steep, and include rivers, bushveld and grassland riding. Similarly, the craggy Cederberg in the interior of the Western Cape offers good mountain terrain for horseback trails, which often include stops at caves to view rock art paintings. In the Free State, the Golden Gate Highlands National Park and the area around Clarens offer scenic trails, surrounded by sandstone cliffs.

Garden Route horse safaris
A number of horseback trail operators are dotted along the Garden Route, where safaris of up to 10 days are offered. These rides take you into indigenous forests, up mountain trails, to waterfalls and other pretty places.

National parks
Guided horse trails are conducted in a number of the country’s game parks, often enabling closer encounters with wildlife than afforded by a vehicle. Visit the SANParks website for inspiration.

You can even tour the Cape Winelands on a horse, or view game on horseback.

Western Cape
In the beautiful Western Cape Winelands, it is possible to marry wine tasting with horse riding. There’s something quite old world about galloping up to your chosen cellar on a 4-legged animal, before cantering on to the next estate. Visit the Cape Winelands Riding website for more information

Closer to Cape Town, the Atlantic Coast beach of Noordhoek, shadowed by the impressive Chapman’s Peak, is a favourite horse-riding venue. Rides can be arranged with a number of stables in the area. Sleepy Hollow Horse Riding is a popular choice in the area. The Overberg is another popular spot for keen riders.

For information on horse-riding operators and other adventures in South Africa, visit the Dirty Boots website.

Nothing quite beats horse riding on the beach Nothing quite beats horse riding on the beach

Category: Adventure

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