South Africa has a variety of unspoiled landscapes. From pristine beaches to wild bush and majestic mountains, the country deserves its place on any nature-lover’s bucket list.
There are also a number of ways to get acquainted with its environment. One is to ride along some of South Africa’s horse trails. They’re scattered throughout the country and make for thrilling adventures.
Here are five regions worth visiting for a ride when traveling in South Africa:
Lying just south of the country’s northern border, Waterberg is a malaria-free region full of bushveld savannah, rocky outcrops, river valleys and mountains. It’s the perfect destination if you’re interested in doing a horseback safari.
Remember, riding is an intimate way to take in the African bush. Among other things, it lets you canter across plains with herds of Zebra, and see basking hippos and lounging giraffes without disturbing the ancient flow of things.
All in all, you can expect to partner with responsive, happy and healthy horses, and to enjoy riding at different paces. You’re bound to find something you like here, regardless of how accomplished you are in the saddle.
Visit the south east to ride along the renowned Garden Route. There are some excellent trails around the base of the Outeniqua Mountains near Wilderness.
Rides will take you under the shade of blue-gum trees, between rows of pines and into the cool damp of the region’s indigenous forests. There, you’ll see monkeys, baboons, and bush buck as you ride past streams. Come snack time, you’ll dismount at the area’s waterfall.
The beaches along South Africa’s west coast make for amazing horse-riding. Beyond the exhilaration of galloping across pristine beaches, you can look forward to scenes that include deep gorges, rolling hills and cliff tops that plunge into the sea.
Kwazulu Natal Midlands
Kwazulu Natal has an impressive variety of rides. Head towards the interior and enjoy adventures across grassy plains, next to rocky mountains, through pine plantations and along gushing streams. Expect to see Zebra, antelope and other wildlife.
Or, stay out on the coast and enjoy the wilderness along the Indian Ocean. Rides will take you down to the water’s edge, where you’ll journey across clean white sand. Your view will include humpback whales during whale season, as well as dolphins, hippos and crocodiles.
Each region within the Cape Winelands offers something special. Visit the Overberg for a ride along Walker Bay, and you can expect to see Southern Right Whales breaching meters away from your trail (provided you go between June and November).
Or, make a trip to the Klein Karoo if you see yourself galloping across wide-open plains.
You could also ride in Stellenbosch or Franschhoek, where the scenery includes the dramatic Cape mountains, grape vineyards and fruit orchards.