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HHorse trails in the Cape Winelands are a refreshing alternative to a self-drive trip or tour bus outing. Picture yourself on an invigorating ride, enjoying the fresh air, as you canter through fynbos fields, pausing to admire the scenery and visiting wine estates.
Horse trails in the Cape Winelands are as varied as the landscapes they allow equestrian enthusiasts to explore. The natural beauty of the Cape Winelands region makes it a popular horse-riding destination, with the added bonus of being able to visit wine and olive farms and enjoy a leisurely lunch along the way.
Guided horse-riding trails are available across virtually the whole of the Cape Winelands, with each region offering different riding and sightseeing experiences.
In the Overberg, between June and November, it's possible to ride along Walker Bay, with Southern Right whales breaching just metres away; while the Klein Karoo promises freedom and wonder as you gallop across its wide open plains.
Stellenbosch is another favourite horse-trail destination offering a combination of protected fynbos landscapes, vineyards, nature reserves and mountains to explore, with plenty of wine farms in close proximity. Franschhoek and the Breede River Valley are also sought-after options.
Though best suited to riders with some previous time in the saddle, Cape Winelands horse trails can be tailored to suit all levels of riders.
Shorter, 2-hour to half-day trips on easy-going terrain is recommended for novices or families with young children. For those who prefer not to mount up at all, some operators offer horse-drawn carriage and wagon rides. Enjoy a nostalgic, wind-in-your-hair outdoor experience with none of the saddle-sores.
For longer and multi-day horse riding trails, riders need to be over a certain age (typically no under 12s unless experienced) and riding fit.
In season (April to September), the Cape Hunting Club offers exciting drag hunts, where expert riders can experience the thrill of the chase, across farmlands usually closed to the public, and, best of all, no foxes are harmed.
TTravel tips & planning info
Who to contact
Horse About Trails, Tulbagh
Cell: +27 (0)82 884 9881
Fynbos Trails, Wellington
Cell: +27 (0)82 335 8132
African Horse Company,Stanford
Cell: +27 (0)82 667 9232
Wine Valley Horse Trails,Paarl
Cell: +27 (0)83 226 8735
Cape Winelands Riding,Franschhoek
Cell: +27 (0)82 924 6728
How to get here
Your guide will provide directions on how to reach the stable or starting point of the trail. Self-drive or employing the services of a shuttle operator are probably your best options.
Horse-trail options range from ponies for the kids to Arabian thoroughbreds and horse-drawn carriages. If you’re skipping horses altogether, it’s easy to drive between wine estates. Some areas, such as Franschhoek and Hermanus, offer a hop-on, hop-off wine-tasting shuttle.
What will it cost?
Trails range from a few hundred rand per person for a day outing to a few thousand rand for a catered multi-day outride.
Length of stay
Horse trails range in duration from 1 hour to several days.
What to pack
Guests should preferably bring their own riding gear. Some operators can assist with chaps and helmets. Livery will be provided by the operator. Sunglasses, sunscreen and insect repellent would come in handy.
Where to stay
A number of operators offer packages that include accommodation and will tailor a package to suit you – from 5-star luxury hotels to casual self-catering cottages.
What to eat
The Cape Winelands abounds with good restaurants and picnic options. Most packages include a certain number of wine tastings, but check if the price includes meals.