Did you know?
Cintsa (also called Chintsa) has glorious, uncrowded beaches so typical of the Wild Coast.
Girlie was so weak and malnourished when she arrived at New Hampshire Equine Rehabilitation Centre that she had to be supported in a sling.
With the help of love, good food and electrolytes, this brave little horse eventually stood on her own four hooves. She has since become one of the best trail rides at Cintsa Horses, just north of the coastal city of East London, at the start of the Wild Coast.
Legs, a former showjumper, was passed from owner to owner, his hooves and legs deteriorating all the while. Now he’s happy at Cintsa Horses, and loves cantering on the beach.
Pint was a racehorse, and was given steroids that made her so over-hyped that she won 3 races, only one of them with a rider on board. These days, she’s calm and friendly.
Georgie and daughter Penny Dickerson used to just run horse trails along the beach at Cintsa. But because they have soft hearts, they couldn’t resist rescuing abused horses.
Some of these old, broken or abused animals can never be ridden. Others, including those that have been successfully rehabilitated, are the ones that earn enough money on trail rides to keep the rest in food. 'Horses working for horses,' Georgie calls it.
Volunteers have become invaluable in helping with the rehabilitation, she says.
'They help us by grooming them, getting them used to being handled, picking out their hooves, helping with the feeding. Some of them don’t even know how to ride, but that doesn’t matter.'
The volunteers, most of them horse-mad, come from all over the world. Many find that helping animals and living a simple farm life is quite addictive. 'The beach and bush trails are just a perk,' most of them will tell you. They’re the ones that come back year after year.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0)43 738 5141
How to get here
East London (which has an airport) is very close to Chintsa/Cintsa - only 40 minutes' drive away on the N2 north of the city. But do call Georgie or Penny for careful directions to their place. It's not well signposted at all. In fact, rather get them to meet you somewhere at Cintsa, and follow them back. If you'd prefer, there are always transfers from the airport.
Around the area
Inkwenkwezi Private Game Reserve is very close, and has the Big 5, plus lots of antelope.
If you're a volunteer at Cintsa Horses, they will help you with transportation.
What will it cost
The longer you stay, the better value it is.
Length of stay
Volunteers generally stay between 2 and 8 weeks.
What to pack
There'll be no dressing up. Just bring comfortable clothes, jeans or riding gear. Good strong walking boots will be useful.
Where to stay
Cintsa Horses has basic accommodation, otherwise the very popular Buccaneers Backpackers is nearby.