Polo Playing and Training in the foothills of the Drakensberg

Polo, known as ‘The sport of Kings’, is one of the most exhilarating, exciting and fast paced games in the world.  Here, nestled in the foot hills of the Drakensburg Mountains, is a polo ranch that not only offers an unforgettable week of fun and polo playing in South Africa, but also promises to improve your quality of game. This polo riding holiday is tailored to suit your level of ability and training sessions will be geared specifically for your level of experience. A stay here is a training experience, but also an insight into life in rural South Africa, and a chance to embrace the stunning beauty and peaceful nature of the Drakensburg Mountains. You will stay in a traditional colonial house and share meals with your trainer – Selby Williamson – and his family. Leave the real world behind and escape into this idyllic setting where only good company, good food and most importantly, good polo matters.

The facilities are excellent, providing for beginners through to hardened pros, and is combined with world class instruction from Selby Williamson. Selby is currently a 5 goal player and was recently captain of the South African Polo team. He has played extensively abroad in Argentina, Australia, Chile, Ireland, India, Kenya, Nepal, Paraguay, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Singapore, Malaysia, Nigeria, United States of America and England – and brings a huge amount of fun and enthusiasm to the game.

Tailor-made packages can cater for all group sizes, from intense individual coaching, to groups of up to 10 or more players. Tournament play can also be accommodated for. There are currently over 60 playing ponies.

Highlights

  • Escaping into rural South Africa and the stunning scenery of the Drakensburg Mountains with a group of friends
  • Improving your polo skills under world-class instruction
  • An evening ride up one of the neighbouring mountains for a braai and stunning sunset
  • Getting to test your new and improved skills in the tournament held at the end of your stay

Quick Facts

  • Arrival and Departure It is advised that you arrive/depart at Durban/ Pietermaritzburg Airport and then drive to Swartberg in Southern Drakensberg
  • Length Minimum of a 4 day stay
  • When Open all year round
  • Rates £220 per day for players and £75 per day for non-players
  • Riding Level Suitable for novice riders and above and beginner to high intermediate polo players
  • Group Size Join an existing polo clinic or come as a group - can cater for 10 + groups

Destination Description

Turn off at Swartberg in Southern Drakensberg and head into the beautiful, rolling foothills of the Drakensberg Mountain Range. The polo club and ranch is set to the backdrop of dramatic and enchanting mountain formations, the rolling green hills contrast beautifully with the reds of the mountain rock. It is hard to imagine a more idyllic setting to play polo and live it up drinking great wine, sitting round the pool and cooking delicious meals on the braai.

Explore the surrounding mountains on foot or by horseback and enjoy some of the stunning vistas once you reach the top. A stay here really does feel like you have entered your own private and pristine wilderness with crisp mountain air and clear skies. You may even spot some of the resident zebra or passing antelope.

  • This is only a sample itinerary for a 8 day trip and is flexible depending on the groups riding and polo abilities.
  • Day 1: It is advised that you arrive at Durban/ Pietermaritzburg Airport and then drive to Swartberg in Southern Drakensberg. On arrival you will be briefed and there may be time for some stick and ball, depending on when you fly in.
  • Day 2: After waking up to a glorious African morning in the Drakensburg, you will head down to the polo fields. Once paired up with several suitable horses, you will begin with some stick and ball so that Selby can get an understanding of your ability.

    Training will then begin – this may include time on the wooden horse, in the arena working on your horsemanship or some practice chukkas.

    Beautifully exhausted you will return to your accommodation to freshen up and relax.
  • Day 3: Take breakfast on your veranda, looking over the valley or in the main house before heading down to the polo club.

    Start with a training session in the morning, before stopping for a tea break, with delicious homemade biscuits & cakes. Continue, perhaps with one on one horse instruction before lunch at the club house, followed by time lazing by the pool.

    In the afternoon continue with instructional chukkas. A quick tea and cake break and then more chukkas, followed by a tactics discussion.

    End with well-earned drinks at the club house before returning to your accommodation for a traditional South African BBQ (Braai) with locally sourced meat.
  • Day 4: Look at schooling, shadow marking, general horse care, farrier demonstration, team strategies and tactics and of course outdoor chukkas.
  • Day 5: Train in position play, anticipation, tack and put what you’ve learnt into practice with outdoor chukkas.
    Perhaps finish training early this afternoon and take a ride across Selby’s estate, climbing a nearby mountain in time for sunset and dismount for an evening spent round a campfire, with incredibly views and watching the sun sink behind the Drakensburgs.
  • Day 6: Take a look at umpiring, fouls and penalties, penalty hitting and of course instructional chukkas.
  • Day 7 & 8: Gear up for a mini tournament, possibly with players from the local areas, and show off your newly improved polo skills. Enjoy a mini prize giving at the end where all your efforts and improvements will be recognized.

Dates:
Open all year round

Rate:

£220 per day for players and £75 per day for non-players

We request a 50% deposit to be paid on confirmation of your booking

Included:

  • Chukka fees and horse hire
  • Expert tuition from Selby Williamson
  • Accommodation
  • Laundry
  • All Meals, Teas and Juices
  • All alcohol is included in this price (mainly beer and wine)
  • For bookings and further information contact us at the above.

Not included:

  • International flights
  • Transfers to the ranch
  • Visas

There are several different types of family-style accommodation situated in idyllic settings. “The Side” and “Ubala” are two neighbouring farms set in the foothills of the Southern Drakensburg of Kwa-Zulu Natal and are home to your hosts, the Williamsons.

The Side offers several lovely and comfortable cottages with stunning views of the mountains.  There is ‘Wooden Horse Cottage’ – a double storey two bedroom, one bathroom cottage and two Garden Cottages – both one bedroom, one bathroom.

Lou-se-khaya is a beautiful authentic wood cabin which sleeps 6. There is one main bedroom with en suite, two additional bedrooms with a shared bathroom and a lounge with fireplace, bar, kitchen, patio and balcony library.

Ubala Lodge which has six bedrooms, five bathroom units and sleeps twelve people comfortably. This unit has a satellite TV.