Moolmanshoek Horse Safari

7 Nights: From GBP £1460 pp sharing

ESCAPE TO THE WILDLIFE AND HORSE PARADISE OF MOOLMANSHOEK

Ride across the vast open landscapes of the Moolmanshoek Reserve, taking in the spectacular scenery and returning to the cosy and family-run Lodge each evening.

Nestled in the enchanting Eastern Free State of South Africa, Moolmanshoek beckons horse enthusiasts to a captivating equine haven shadowed by the majestic Witteberg mountains. This game reserve, teeming with diverse wildlife, invites you to explore its plains adorned with herds of springbok, wildebeest, zebra, giraffe and more. Moolmanshoek is paradise for horse lovers, boasting two award-winning studs for South African Boerperd and Arabian Endurance horses. The young horses, raised in the wild mountains, exude sure-footed grace, offering thrilling rides through wooded ravines, technical mountain ascents and exhilarating canters amidst the wildlife.

Explore scenic trails and enjoy long free canters across the grassy plains. During a seven-night stay, three full-day rides beckon exploration—a journey to discover bushman paintings with a picturesque picnic, a venture to Rosendal hamlet with a lunch stop, and an ascent to Sekonjela’s Hat Mountain summit followed by a picnic by the pools – perfect for a dip in summer! Furthermore, for the adventurous, an overnight camp at Holkrans cave awaits, weather permitting.

The horses, guided by simple snaffle bridles or curbs, navigate technical terrains with remarkable sure-footedness. Breastplates and cruppers add to the rider’s comfort, allowing complete trust in these seasoned companions. Moolmanshoek promises not just a horse ride but an exhilarating journey through diverse landscapes, from grassy plains to mountain paths with awe-inspiring views—a unique opportunity for riders seeking both adventure and tranquility in the heart of nature.

DATES AND RATES

Open all year round – there are certain 7 night set dates below, but we are open to other dates and shorter stays should there be 4 or more guests.

2024 RATES

2024 DATES FOR 7 NIGHT STAYS:

17 - 22 February 2024

11 - 18 March 2024

04 - 11 April 2024

19 - 26 April 2024

06 - 13 May 2024

03 - 10 June 2024

08 - 15 July 2024

01 - 08 August 2024

08 - 15 September 2024

03 - 10 October 2024

01 - 08 November 2024

17 - 24 November 2024 (Cherry Picking Ride)

Shorter stays can be arranged on request - subject to availability.

 

2024 RATES:

Executive Suites Sandstone Luxury Rooms - Double Room

7 nights: From ZAR R34831 / GBP £1509* per person sharing + transfers

7 nights: From ZAR R38556 / GBP £1676* per person single + transfers

 

Standard Rooms Sandstone Classic - Twin Rooms

7 nights: From ZAR R33656 / GBP £1460* per person sharing + transfers

7 nights: From ZAR R37106 / GBP £1614* per person single + transfers

 

Mountain View Cozy Rooms

7 nights: From ZAR R32431 / GBP £1410* per person sharing + transfers

7 nights: From ZAR R35518 / GBP £1537* per person single + transfers

 

*subject to change depending on the exchange rates

EXTRAS – SUBJECT TO CHANGE

TRANSFERS (Subject to change)

1 - 2 People: GBP £271 per vehicle one-way transfer from Johannesburg to Moolmanshoek

3 - 7 People: GBP £328 per vehicle one-way transfer from Johannesburg to Moolmanshoek 

Bigger group transfers available on request

CHECK AVAILABILITYARRANGE A CALL

INCLUDES & EXCLUDES

Price Includes:

  • All accommodation on a sharing basis
  • All meals
  • Tea, Coffee, Water & Selected Drinks
  • Personal and expert guidance throughout your trip
  • Riding on well-trained and responsive horses
  • Game drives and activities stated in the itinerary

Price Excludes:

  • Flights to Johannesburg International Airport
  • Comprehensive Travel and Medical Insurance
  • Visas
  • Return road transfers
  • Drinks such as soft drinks, alcoholic drinks and premium spirits
  • Any activities and excursions outside of your planned itinerary at Moolmanshoek
  • Gratuities for camp staff and guides
  • Items of a personal nature

QUICK FACTS

Location: Moolmanshoek, South Africa
Airport: OR Tambo (Johannesburg) International Airport or Bloemfontein Airport
Month: All Year Around 

Duration: 7 Nights

Tailor-made

Group Size: Max 8
Skill Level: All Riding Abilities
Weight: 95kg / 205lbs 
Accommodation: Family-Run Lodge
VIEW GALLERY
7 Nights: From GBP £1460 pp sharing

SUITABLE RIDING LEVELS

  • Beginner
  • Novice
  • Intermediate
  • Intermediate Plus
  • Advanced
WHAT RIDING LEVEL AM I?

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • At Moolmanshoek every ride provides stunning and varied landscapes, from open grasslands to thrilling and technical mountain trails
  • Encounter zebras, wildebeests, giraffes and many types of antelopes as you ride across the plains
  • Immerse yourself in equine paradise with over 200 horses on the farmstead
  • Enjoy the comfort and homely nature of the lodge, your haven after a day of horseback exploration, completing the perfect blend of adventure and relaxation
  • Enjoy non-riding activities such as game drives, hiking, mountain biking, bushman painting interpretation and sleep outs
  • Learn from the man, the legend, Mongel Derby runner-up and owner of Moolmanshoek – Weisman Nel about his breeding programme and endurance riding

TOUR REVIEWS

We had an amazing 3 night stay at Moolmanshoek, such a beautiful tranquil setting, with stunning game. we enjoyed hikes, horse rides (you get so close to the wildlife while on horse back), a night game drive and the most divine meals. I am a vegetarian and the chef went out of his way to create the best vegetarian meals ever for me. The breakfast was served on the patio with the beautiful backdrop of the mountains, the croissants and muffins were amazing. All the staff were phenomenal and went out of their way to make sure that we had a lovely stay there. My son hiked 47kms with Scouts through Moolmanshoek, the hike was challenging but they had an amazing time. There are different options of hikes to suit everyone's needs. We would definitely recommend Moolmanshoek to anyone wanting a few days break from City life. Can't wait to go back again soon

ChrisMoolmanshoek, South Africa
READ MORE REVIEWS

YOUR ITINERARY

** Please be aware this is a sample itinerary only.  The following is a description of possible rides you might do. The order of the riding routes may change depending on the number of guests, your preferences, weather and wildlife. Any changes that are made, will always be with your best interests at heart.

Day 1: ARRIVAL AND LODGE ORIENTATION

Most guests fly into OR Tambo (Johannesburg Airport) where you’ll be met for your 4 hour road transfer to Moolmanshoek. Upon your afternoon arrival, enjoy a light lunch on the veranda taking in the incredible scenery.  You have the afternoon at leisure to get to know the lodge, the stable yard and the magnificent horses. If time allows, you’ll have a first ride in the late afternoon light.  Return to the lodge to enjoy drinks and a sumptuous dinner at Bamboebos Restaurant.

Day 2: OLD WAGON TRAIL ADVENTURE

Awaken to the charm of Moolmanshoek with breakfast on the veranda. The day unfolds with a morning 3-hour Old Wagon Trail Ride, climbing the old wagon trail behind the sphinx outcrop leading to incredible panoramic views. Traverse the boundary fence to the left side of Versierskerf Mountain, riding down to discover the 7 pools trail. A light lunch on the veranda precedes the afternoon ride, culminating in sundowners overlooking the plains. A warm dinner awaits at the Bamboesbos Restaurant.

Day 3: BUSHMEN PAINTINGS PICNIC

The day begins with an early breakfast before a picnic lunch ride to explore the Bushmen Paintings. Journey through the Endurance blue loop, encountering wildlife such as rooi hartebeest, giraffe, and sable antelope. Explore overhangs with ancient bushman paintings estimated to be over 400 years old. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the valley under the willows. Large herds of rooi hartebeest, black wildebeest, impala, giraffe and sable antelope can be discovered on the ride.  A short ride down into the valley to enjoy a picnic lunch under the willows, where we can relax in the shade as our horses graze nearby.  This trail is a slower pace, with some long canters before we climb up the mountain.

Conclude the day with a three-course dinner at Bamboesbos Restaurant.

Day 4: HOLKRANS MOUNTAIN SUMMIT

Indulge in a breakfast on the veranda before departing on the Holkrans Ride. A breathtaking ride through the donga forest with some exciting canters up steep trails, following a scenic route up the mountains with beautiful views into Lesotho. As we summit Sekonjela’s Hat, the second highest peak in the Witteberg Mountain Range we discover unbelievable views from the summit back to Moolmanshoek over Lesotho. All our young horses are raised in these mountains and can often be seen on our ride.  Working our way back to the shower pools where, in the summer months, we enjoy a refreshing dip in the pools before indulging in a delicious picnic lunch as we warm up on the sandstone rocks.  Mounting up, we follow narrow trails, passing the rare mountain bamboo that was discovered on the reserve, resulting in it becoming registered as a Natural Heritage Site.  We ride on to discover Holkrans, a large cave chamber where a unique water break has resulted in the rocky overhang, looking out over the Sandstone Ledges.

This unique cave offers an overnight experience for the adventurous, where, in the company of friends both old and new, you warm up around an open fire.  One could almost imagine how the cave dwellers of old would gather around a similar fire, sharing stories and the history of their culture.  Sleep on comfortable stretcher beds and fall asleep to the sounds of nature, as the fire casts its glow on the beautiful sandstone overhang.  Your horses graze contentedly a short distance away.

However, winter months are incredibly cold, therefore overnight stays are restricted to the summer months in fair weather.

Day 5: SCENIC DESCENT AND GAME DRIVE

Awake to the inviting aroma of coffee brewing over an open fire. Ride past Sugarbush Protea trees, relishing incredible views as you head back to the lodge (this is if you have done the sleep-out and not returned to the lodge the previous evening). The descent down the mountain slopes includes sagewood, red hairy heath, ouhout, and various fynbos species. Lunch back at the lodge is followed by an afternoon game drive for a change of pace.

Day 6: ROSENDAL ADVENTURE RIDE

Embark on a full-day Rosendal ride, accessing mountain passes above Langesnek Farm to the Hamlet of Rosendal. Enjoy long canters along sandy tracks, with lunch in charming Rosendal before the return trip. Experience a faster pace and a sample of the Endurance Horses Competitive Gait on a 12km stretch of a sand road. Marvel at the wonderful views as you ride up and over the dividing mountains.

Day 7: PYRAMID MOUNTAIN TRAIL

Savor another scrumptious breakfast on the veranda before an exciting ride up the Pyramid Mountain Trail. Climb the Pyramid Mountain, heading down over the side of the second pyramid onto the plains. Revel in the nice canters to the rocky outcrop overlooking the savannah, with game grazing contentedly on the steep mountain slopes. Enjoy amazing views and lovely rolling canters on the return ride, concluding with the sight of large herds of plains game on the open savanna en route back to the lodge. The afternoon offers leisure or a short late afternoon game viewing ride on the plains.

Day 8: DEPARTURE

Early morning coffee or tea and rusks at the stables, before a final ride on the reserve before departure.

THE ACCOMMODATION

MOOLMANSHOEK LODGE

Constructed in the early 1990’s from repurposed farm buildings, both the lodge and guest bedrooms embody a charming blend of history and contemporary comfort. The accommodations consist of six luxury rooms and six classic rooms. The luxury rooms, distinguished by their spaciousness and scenic views, all feature both a shower and a bathtub. Meanwhile, the classic rooms, though equally well-furnished, may vary in their views, and have showers only. The luxury rooms exclusively feature queen size beds, whereas the classic rooms include a mix of twin and queen size beds. Whether you seek the warmth of a cozy fireside chat or a relaxing soak in your private bath, your stay at Moolmanshoek guarantees wonderful relaxation.
Indulge in the vibrant flavors of the Free State through the gourmet dining experiences. The accomplished chefs curate farm-to-table dishes that artfully showcase the region’s finest ingredients. The lodge facilities encompass a billiard room, an honesty bar, a library, and an upstairs terrace that provides a captivating panorama of the reserve and surrounding mountains.

SANDSTONE CLASSIC STANDARD ROOMS: TWIN & QUEEN

There are 6 Sandstone Classic rooms at the lodge, either on the veranda or in the courtyard.  Three of these rooms are twin rooms, and the remaining 3 have Queen Beds. Most of them have fireplaces or Queen Ann stoves for winter days. They are all en-suite, although only 3 of them have both a bath and shower.

EXECUTIVE SANDSTONE LUXURY: QUEEN + FAMILY

There are 5 Sandstone Luxury rooms at the lodge, and 1 Luxury Family Suite. These rooms are larger, have sweeping mountain views and cozy fireplaces for the winter. Room 4 has a wonderful balcony and mountain view, Room 8 is the honeymoon suite, and Room 15 is the family suite with a Queen bed and two Twin beds for  kids under 16. These rooms are all en-suite with both a shower and bath.

MOUNTAIN VIEW COZY ROOMS

There are 3 small Mountain View rooms, all on the verandah (stoep) with breath taking views. These are smaller than the other rooms and only offer a shower.

THE DESTINATION

MOOLMANSHOEK RESERVE

Moolmanshoek, once a crop farm, underwent a transformative shift led by the Nel family, evolving into a private game reserve and wetland habitat over the last 40 years. Recognizing the importance of restoring disrupted ecosystems, the Nel’s prioritized preserving a natural environment. The reserve now teems with diverse wildlife, from antelope to black-backed jackals, caracals, porcupines, mongooses, and meerkats. Birds like the black eagle and eagle owl grace the skies. A realization prompted a shift in focus, emphasizing nature and community over profits. Moolmanshoek now aligns farming activities with sustaining a large variety of  wildlife, adopting sustainable practices and restoring depleted soils for a flourishing, eco-friendly landscape.

Horse safari at Moolmanshoek Lodge in South Africa

HOW WE CARE FOR OUR HORSES

Our horseback adventures are hand-picked for their quality and care of their horses. Here’s how the horses at Moolmansheok  are kept in tip-top shape for your safaris. Our horses are on top of the hierarchy and receive very special care:

At Moolmanshoek, the well-being of our horses is paramount, carefully curated for quality and meticulous care to enhance their performance in safaris and endurance races. Our dedicated approach to horse care includes the following practices:

  • Our horses enjoy a year-round existence in a herd, fostering a natural lifestyle alongside other reserve animals like zebra, eland, and oryx. Daily checks by horseback stockmen ensure their welfare
  • As an Arabian and Boerperd Stud farm, breeding stock and youngsters reside in the mountains, developing climbing skills that translate into hardy, sure-footed rides after backing. Daily monitoring by horseback stockmen ensures their well-being
  • Some of the horses are brought in twice a day for feeding, checking, and grooming by our devoted team.
  • Extra care, including rugs and additional food, is provided during winter and for older horses requiring special attention or for those training for endurance races.
  • Regular physiotherapy and dental visits occur at least once a year for all horses. The farrier visits every six weeks to shoe horses, with an emphasis on keeping as many horses barefoot as possible
  • Specially designed trail saddles prioritize horse comfort, evenly distributing the rider’s weight and preventing back issues. Regular checks and cleaning maintain tack to the highest standards
  • A meticulous record tracks each horse’s workload to ensure they receive adequate rest. Endurance horses follow a structured program to maintain race fitness, guided by our onsite horse trainer who keeps them in optimal condition. Our commitment to these practices underscores our dedication to the health and happiness of our equine partners

Please let us know if you have any more questions about this.

HOW TO SIGN UP FOR A HORSE SAFARI

Fill in the form on our website/social media describing your dream African Horse Safari

A Horse Safari Specialists will get in touch to help you plan the perfect escape

Confirm your ride and dates by paying your deposit

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