Have you ever dreamed of getting on the back of a horse and riding into the sunset, with your hair flapping in the breeze? Perhaps you’ve done it many times but your kids have never tried it. Or maybe they take riding lessons and you’re too scared to try it yourself. Either way, rest assured. There are a multitude of places around South Africa where you can get your family together for a fun time spent on the back of a horse in a spectacular setting.
There are so many places we could mention and hopefully over time we’ll have a (near) complete list. The ones we include here are ideal for beginners and perfect for children of all ages. So, get your jeans and boots on, and don’t forget your cowboy hats.
Hollybrooke Adventure Farm, Hartbeespoort
A mere 40 minutes drive from Johannesburg and Pretoria, the farm offers guided horse trails along the banks of the Magalies and Skeerpoort rivers. The guided Magalies River Trail covers natural indigenous bush area through the cattle camp and crosses the farmed lands with fields of Lucerne. It can be enjoyed by the whole family and is paced according to the experience of the riders. The cost for riding is R350 per person. Hollybrooke also offers two self catering chalets and a coffee shop where you can get picnic baskets.
Bokpoort Cowboy Ranch, Clarens
Overlooking the Clarens Valley and surrounded by a spectacular view of the Red Mountains, Bokpoort Cowboy Ranch is a place for adventurers. Their two-hour horse rides cost R300 per child and R400 per adult. Pony rides for toddlers cost R100 per child. In addition to horse riding and kids horse camps, they also offer hiking and mountain bike trails, clay pigeon shooting and archery. Accommodation consists of rustic chalets, camping sites and a dormitory.
Contact: Tel +27 83 744 4245, www.bokpoort.com
Wild Coast Horseback Adventures, Kei Mouth
If you are on holiday in the Kei Mouth / Morgan Bay area, Wild Coast Horse Trails is ideally placed for a day of horse riding on the beach. The Kei Mouth Beach Ride is a lovely one and a half hour ride, suitable for the whole family. Perfect for beginners and children on lead rein are catered for.
The cost is R300.00 per person.
Nearby accommodation: Trennerys
Contact: Tel +27 82 567 0972, www.wildcoasthorsebackadventures.com
Black Horse Trails, Wilderness
The farm is situated above Wilderness, at the foot of the Outeniqua mountains. The rides venture out into the forests of the Outeniqua mountains in the Wilderness outlands. The horses are suitable for any level of experience and everyone is welcome.
Saddle Up Horse Trails, their sister business, is conveniently based at Timberlake Organic Village on the N2 between Wilderness and Sedgefield. They offer a lovely one-hour ride over the pine scented hillocks overlooking the Wilderness lakes. This ride is perfect for children and beginners and costs R250 per person. Riding times: 9:30, 11:00. 14:30 and 16:00.
Nearby accommodation: Teniqua Tree tops
Cape Riding Horse, Pretoria
Cape Riding Horse offers outrides at the Voortrekker Monument Nature Reserve in Pretoria. Suitable for inexperienced riders, these Cape Riding horses are well disciplined and patient. You can join their riding club or simply take your family for a relaxing horse ride in nature. The Voortrekker Monument consists of 340ha, and animals such as zebra, impala, springbuck, and black wildebeest are often seen on the outrides. A short ride of 30 – 35 minutes costs R80 per person (weekends R100) and a one-hour ride costs R120 per person (weekends R160)
Contact: Tel +27 82 828 6323, www.caperiding.co.za
Horse About Trails, Tulbagh
The Scenic Trail, a spectacular one and a half hour ride, is ideal for families and novices. The route meanders through through magical forests and indigenous fynbos into the foothills of the Witzenberg Mountains, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the valley. They have horses to suit beginners or advanced riders, from kids to adults. The cost is R250 per adult and R200 per child under 12.
Contact: Tel +27 82 884 9881, www.horseabout.co.za
Giba Gorge Horse Trails, Durban
Situated in the Giba Gorge Valley, the horse riding center’s trails include rivers, waterfalls and an abundance of magnificent scenery and wildlife. They are at Swallow Farm, next door to Boot-camp S.A and close to the Giba Gorge Mountain Bike Park. Trails are guided and it’s a great experience for families. Swallow Farm by the river is a great spot for picnics. The cost is R250 per hour, R150 for half an hour, and pony rides for children are R70 for 15 minutes. Entrance at the gate is R10 per person, which allows you to enjoy the full amenities of the Bike Park and Restaurant.
Contact: Tel +27 82 623 3783, gibagorgehorsetrails.co.za
Harties Horse Trail Safaris, Hartbeespoort
Situated at La’WiiDA Lodge, the safari trails are easy enough for anyone to join. No horse riding experience is required. Get up close and personal with giraffe, zebra, nyala, impala, ostrich, kudu, blue wildebeest, springbuck and more, while enjoying the ride with a professional guide. The one-hour Sunrise Safari costs R280 per adult and R220 per child (6 – 12 years). 2. a ) The one and a half hour Safari costs R370 per adult and R330 per child (6 – 14 years).
Contact: Tel +27 82 333 4675, www.hartieshorsetrailsafaris.co.za
Heavenly Stables, Port Elizabeth
Heavenly Stables offers scenic two and a half to three hour rides through the Sardinia Bay Nature Reserve, where you could catch a glimpse of bushbuck, duiker, grysbok, vervet monkeys and a large variety of bird life, before a relaxing ride along the beautiful Sardinia Bay beach. Enjoy the spectacular scenery and the crashing waves of the Indian Ocean. They cater for all levels of riders, so it’s ideal for families. The Beach and Trail Horse Ride costs R450 per person and the Trail Horse Ride costs R350 per person.
Contact: Tel +27 81 890 7080, www.heavenlystables.co.za
Journey’s End Horseback Rides, Sir Lowrys Pass Road
Our horseback outrides meander through various vineyards and through surrounding wine farms such as Mount Rozier, Highberry and Journey’s End. Both the natural bird life and awesome splendor of the mountains will add to the tranquility and beauty of the ride. Our horses and ponies cater for riders of all levels and kids of all ages. The cost is R200 per person for one hour and R300 per person for one and a half hours. Cheese platter picnics with wine are available for R180.
Contact: Tel +27 82 391 1693, horsebackrides.co.za
Hog Hollow Horse Trails, Tsitsikamma
Various trails are available. During the two-hour forest trail, you can enjoy indigenous ancient rain forests, following a 150-year-old woodcutter’s path and wagon trails. Get close to impala, baboons, monkeys and indigenous birds. You have the option to trot or canter over beautiful fields with views over the surrounding forest, mountains and ocean in the distance. Experienced guides offer interesting facts and stories regarding local history, fauna and flora. The cost for this trail is R600 per person.
Nearby accommodation: Hog Hollow Country Lodge
Contact: Tel +27 82 771 3745, www.horseridinggardenroute.com
Garden Route Horse Trails, Wilderness
Enjoy remarkable horse riding trails into the stunning indigenous forest of the Garden Route National Park. You can spot the local wildlife and even have a swim with the horses after the ride. Various trails are available. The one and a half hour trail takes you through a gumtree forest and is suitable for a family with small children. It’s a very tranquil ride there’s a chance of spotting baboons and other small game. The cost is R350 per person.
Contact: Tel +27 71 092 8888, www.gardenroutehorsetrails.co.za
Ant’s Nest, Waterberg
Experience some of the greatest game viewing in Africa. The pace can be as fast or relaxed as the riders would like and no experience is necessary. Children of all ages are welcome and basic lessons for non-riders are available. As the horses live out in the bush and graze in and amongst the game, riders can enjoy the closest wildlife encounter on horseback. Children under 4 years old will be led on a pony in and around the lodge area as they are still too young to be taken out on long outrides. The cost is included in your stay.
Contact: Tel +27 83 287 2885, waterberg.net
Alpine Heath, Northern Drakensberg
The resort offers a Horse Play program at the Equestrian Centre, where you can meet, feed and wash the horses. They also offer lessons at their riding school for the basics you need to know before an outride. For the little ones, scheduled pony rides are available. Outrides are one or two hours during which you will go through streams and over beautiful hills with extraordinary views of the surrounding Drakensberg.
Contact: Tel +27 87 075 0864, aha.co.za/alpineheath
Kob Inn Beach Resort
The three-star family hotel on the Wild Coast is situated right on the sea. This resort offers full board and loads of activities for the whole family. There are a variety of horse back trails to choose from, including an amazing beach ride.
Contact: Tel +27 83 452 0876, www.kobinn.co.za
Bhangazi Horse Safaris, St Lucia
Enjoy horse riding in the unspoiled and beautiful iSimangaliso Wetland Park in Kwa-Zulu Natal. Experience magnificent game viewing while riding from the waters edge of the Indian Ocean, through the game reserve to the shores of Lake St Lucia Estuary. Rides are one to two hours and you can choose from a beach safari, game safari or a combination of the two. Riders must be over eight if they don’t have experience. The cost is R350 per person for a one-hour beach or game ride, R700 per person for a two-hour beach or game ride, and R900 per person for a two and a half hour beach and game combo.
Contact: Tel +27 83 792 7899, www.stlucia-adventureactivities.com
Kaapsehoop Horse Trails, Nelspruit
All our trails are guided and run through rolling grasslands, pine forests and along the edge of the breathtaking escarpment. Trail options include a one-hour scenic ride suitable for beginners and the not-so-fit rider and a two-hour ride aimed at more experienced riders. You can choose to ride to Kaapsehoop village for lunch at one of the local restaurants or you can select one of the various routes across the plantation, with a packed lunch supplied.
Contact: Tel +27 76 108 0081, www.horsebacktrails.co.za
Saddle Creek Adventures, Hekpoort
Situated in the Hekpoort Valley at the foot of the magnificent Magaliesberg Mountains, Saddle Creek Adventures is the perfect destination for a fun filled family day out. Enjoy an unforgettable horse riding experience in the peaceful countryside, with beautiful mountain scenery and lovely bush trails. Beginners, children, families and experienced riders are all welcome. The cost is R220 per person for 30 minutes, R400 per person for 60 minutes and R550 per person for 90 minutes. Many other activities are available, including quad biking, archery and mountain bike trails.
Contact: Tel +27 79 467 9906, www.saddlecreekadventures.co.za
Harties Horse Academy, Hartbeespoort
Enjoy an unforgettable hhorse riding experience at the foothill of the magestic Magaliesberg. Spot wildlife like Giraffe, Kudu, Honeybadger, Zebra, Warthog, Impala, Blue Wildebeest, Blesbuck, Waterbuck and superb Bird life with up to 350 bird species on show, up close and personal. Various trails are available, including a Warthog Trail, Zebra Trail, Giraffe Trail with optional picnic, and a Teen Birthday Trail. The cost of a one hour trail is R250 per adult and R200 per child under 12 years.
Contact: Tel +27 82 458 5964, www.grootverlange.com
Horse Riding Adventure, Pretoria
Enjoy a 13km horseback trail through a 150ha farm about 3km outside of Rayton. The first part of the trail is through rocky terrain followed by savannah-like fields with lovely trees in between. The path leads down to the stream where the horses go through the water. Keep your eyes open for warthogs, small antelope and bush partridges. They have horses especially for beginners and will teach you the basics of horseriding. Beginner outrides cost R350 per person and a braai or picnic costs R150 per person .
Contact: Tel +27 82 302 6564, horseridingadventure.co.za