Did you know?
The Wild Coast is so named both for its untamed natural beauty and its perilous coastline.
Horseback safaris along the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape are one of the most exciting and riveting ways to see this magnificent slice of South Africa's coastline. An absolute must for your Wild Coast holiday, horse riding trails allow you to truly experience this diverse region in all its natural splendour.
Ride for a week, a day, even an afternoon; trace sheer cliff paths for endless ocean views, with whale and dolphin sightings along the way; pause for ship wrecks and ancient shell middens, evidence that the earliest San people once gathered molluscs for sustenance here.
A number of routes, of varying lengths, are available, including beach trails, bush-and-beach packages, and combined beach and cross-country routes. This provides for varying riding conditions, from undulating hills to lofty cliffs, rolling green savannah to coastal forests. All the trails provide ample opportunity for you and your trusty steed to enjoy a cool dip in the ocean.
Almost all the trails pass through small coastal hamlets, bursting with the warm and friendly hospitality for which the Wild Coast is famous. Overnight trails – of up to 14 nights – include stays at these rural retreats which, with their hearty meals and comfortable (if often basic) accommodation, will leave you refreshed and ready for another day in the saddle.
The Wild Coast is steeped in culture and dotted with traditional Xhosa villages that maintain the tribe's customs and rituals of years gone by. Most horseback safari operators include visits to these villages as part of their trails, allowing you to meet the people, immerse yourself in their culture and enjoy a genuine African cultural experience.
The trails cater for all levels of riders, including children and beginners, are conducted by professional guides, and utilise reliable, well-schooled trail horses that are familiar with the landscape and terrain.
The Wild Coast is an exceptionally beautiful area, and in between rides you can enjoy boat rides, beach walks, bird watching, game viewing, fishing and sunset river cruises. There are also a number of backpacking trails in the area.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Wild Coast Horse Trails
Tel: +27 (0)43 831 1087
Mobile: +27 (0)82 567 0972
How to get here
Many of the trails are within an hour’s drive of East London. Fly direct from any of South Africa’s major cities to East London or, if you’re driving, from Johannesburg take the N1 highway to Bloemfontein and then the N6 to East London; from Cape Town and Durban take the N2 east and west respectively to East London. Beware, though, the drives from Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban are long and arduous ones.
Best time to visit
The Wild Coast is an all-year-round destination due to its temperate climate. The dry winter months (April to August) are particularly suited to horse riding.
Length of stay
Anything from a weekend to two weeks.
What to pack
As you will be spending much of the time on horseback and outdoors, make sure to pack appropriate riding gear (jeans and boots), a hat and plenty of sunscreen.
Where to stay
Most operators include accommodation as part of the package deal, but check before you sign up.
What to eat
Fresh seafood anywhere in the region, especially crayfish. Meals are usually included as part of the package deal.
Traditional arts and crafts including beadwork and woven goods at Xhosa villages throughout the region.