THE ULTIMATE BEACH RIDE PLUS A RIDING HOLIDAY IN THE LAND OF THE GIANTS
Immerse yourself in the extraordinary fusion of wildlife and waves by combining the pristine coastline of the Wild Coast and the untamed beauty of the Tuli Trail.
Nothing quite beats a bush and beach horse riding holiday. The bush offers endless savanna plains, and the chance to see some of Africa’s incredible wildlife on horseback. We all know most equestrian enthusiasts would rather spend their time cantering across white sand beaches than lying on them! As a result, we’ve created the perfect equestrian escape which perfectly combines horse riding in the Wild Coast in South Africa and riding with wildlife giants in the Tuli area of Botswana.
Leave civilization behind and travel back in time to ride through sleepy villages, rural African farmlands, and endless deserted beaches. Explore the rugged, un-spoilt natural beauty of the Wild Coast on horseback. Rolling hills, deep gorges, and cliff tops that plunge into the ocean ensure that this is not just a beach ride; it is an adventure on the edge of Africa!
Returning to Johannesburg, spend the night at one of the local airport hotels before a light air charter flight into Botswana. Start your wildlife adventure in the “Land of Giants” in the Tuli Block. This is an area of great bio-diversity, incredible views, ancient civilizations and dramatic rock formations, bordered by the great Limpopo River. This exciting 7-night trail ride takes you through some truly wild landscapes largely untouched by man. Home to a variety of wildlife species, you can expect to encounter elephants, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest and even lion on horseback. The riding varies from informative walks through the bush to fast canters winding along the ancient elephant paths.
Riding between 3 very different camps offers you the chance to cover over 100 kilometres during your week’s adventure. Five or six hours in the saddle has you arriving at the next camp in the early afternoon with time to relax before an evening walk, game drive or epic sundowner drink overlooking the dramatic landscape. Fall asleep to the sound of Africa, listening to the call of the jackals and the flutter of owls above you. After the adventure of a lifetime, it is likely to be a teary farewell to Africa, but you’ll soon be back for another taste of freedom only found in Africa!
- Experience two incredibly different areas of Africa on one extended horse riding holiday
- Enjoy the unparalleled thrill of seeing wildlife from horseback, including encounters with giraffe, elephant, and a variety of plains game
- Sleep in luxury tented camps, treehouse nests, open-air camps, and quaint seaside guesthouses, all while experiencing warm African hospitality.
- Indulge in the true joy or riding in Africa – the feeling of freedom of riding through vast open country without boundaries
- Throw caution to the wind as you gallop across the windswept beaches of the Wild Coast
READ MORE REVIEWS
”African Horse Safaris helped me book my three week riding adventure on the wild coast, South Africa. Only knowing that I wanted to go riding somewhere in Africa, African Horse safaris helped me with coming up with several tempting riding holiday options that suited me and what I wanted to do on a holiday. I'm so happy with my decision to travel and I am so pleased with all help I got when booking. I got quick responses to all my millions of questions throughout the booking process and I ended up having a fantastic holiday. Would book any riding holiday with them again. Thanks so much for organising such wonderful trip and I have now memories to last a lifetime!Maria NordvallWild Coast, South Africa
** This itinerary is subject to change – it is an example and not an exact timetable
There are 2 options, either to do a 4 night trail or the full 7 night Wild Coast Trail followed by the Tuli Trail. The 4-night mini trail is generally a great introduction to Africa and covers some beautiful inland areas of the Wild Coast with plenty of empty beaches to canter across. The 7 night trail is planned according to the tides and is an exhilarating ride, riding over rocky headlands, through rolling hills and galloping across vast tracts of empty golden beaches.
The adventure begins! Board your 2-hour flight from Johannesburg to East London Airport. You’ll be met at the airport for your road transfer to Kei Mouth. Driving through the old Transkei, it’s like travelling back in time to a simpler era. Settle into the charming guesthouse and change into your riding clothes before enjoying a light lunch. Head to the stables to meet your new steed and set out on a trail to get to know each other. This is an easy ride down to the river mouth with your first canter along the beach. A relaxed, friendly evening meal awaits you back at the guesthouse along with a good night’s sleep. Overnight at Kei Mouth Guest Lodge.
After a light breakfast, it is back up to the paddocks and another day in the saddle. Riding on the Wild Coast can be unpredictable and rides are planned according to the tides. There might be times when the rivers are too deep to cross so you’ll head inland, riding through the highland fields and forests before getting back to the beach again. The beach trails vary from long endless beaches around Wave Crest to shorter golden beaches broken up by rocky headlands. It’s an adventure like no other!
Your guide might show you the secret waterfalls and hidden valleys where you will have a picnic lunch with the horses tethered nearby. Then it’s off to Wavecrest Hotel, a quaint hotels that give guests a real taste of traditional South African holiday life. Here you can stretch your legs on the beach or unwind with a beer by the pool before enjoying a great dinner.
You will awake to the sound of the sea, and the solitude of being somewhere on the edge of Africa. The timing of the day’s riding will be dependent on the tides as you cross rivers, climb hills, and canter along beaches. Enjoy a thrilling 4 hours in the saddle heading inland or along the deserted coastline. You’ll have the afternoon at leisure to relax, hike, swim or take on some of the Wild Coast’s other adventure activities such as hiking, fishing, swimming or kayaking.
Today is a full day’s ride, exploring further inland and stopping for a pub lunch en-route. The inland paths offer some great narrow paths and endless views of the beaches below. Then hit the beaches at low tide for some great canters in the afternoon before arriving back in Kei Mouth. Your last night of trail is spent, once again, at Kei Mouth Lodge, where you will be treated with a typical South African Braai; finishing off a few days of unforgettable riding with the warm hospitality that the Wild Coast is known for.
Depending on your flight time, you will have a lazy breakfast and a last canter across Morgan Bay or ride up to see the cliffs. Saying goodbye to the Wild Coast, you will be driven back to East London Airport for your flight to Johannesburg. Arriving in the evening, we recommend staying in one of the hotels near the airport and most of them have complimentary shuttles.
Make your way back to Johannesburg Airport, where you’ll meet your fellow adventurers and driver at the International Arrivals terminal. Hop into a small bus for the short road transfer to Lanseria Airport. Then the true adventure begins with a short, scenic flight to Limpopo Valley Airfield. Here you will be met by your friendly guide and taken to the stables. Enjoying an alfresco lunch in the shade of the trees – you will feel like you’ve entered a horse lovers’ paradise!
After lunch, head down to the stables to be introduced to your new four-legged adventure companion. Horizon takes great care to match horse to rider based on a guest’s riding experience and professed ability. However, before the safari, you will have a simple riding test in order to ensure that you are suitably balanced in the saddle and are able to control your horse at all paces. While the safari is not an endurance test, it does involve long hours in the saddle and, with the possibility of close encounters with elephant and the big cats, and riders need to be able to gently and confidently control their mounts. If you’re unsure of your horse, you’ll have the chance to swap horses.
You’ll have time to get acquainted and see that you are comfortable with your horse and the tack before embarking on your first ride out to Two Mashatus Camp which is around 11km. This will be your first opportunity to experience the beauty of the Mashatu Game Reserve and view the wildlife on horseback. As you ride along the trails created by the animals, you’ll feel truly immersed in Africa. Cold drinks and warm showers await you at camp. As evening falls at Two Mashatu Camp, relax in the cool of the thatched lounge and dining areas, before enjoying a three-course dinner, listening to the sounds of the African bush.
Sunrise, the dawn chorus and tea or coffee which is brought to your tent, sounds the start of your first day. After breakfast, it’s time to mount and depart from the dense woodland that hugs the Limpopo River, and head towards the rocky hills that delineate the edges of the great river valley. As the ride traverses the heartland of Mashatu, you will encounter plentiful game: plains game, many giraffe and herd of elephants. Signs of the many predators that make these rich riverine environments their home are bountiful, and chance encounters possible.
Having meandered across the hills with vast views back towards South Africa, the ride arrives at Tree Camp in time for lunch. The ride typically takes between four and five hours, and riders start to form a true bond with their horses.
After a welcome rest in the comfort of the camp, nestled in the cooling shade of the majestic Mashatu Tree, a hearty tea will be served. This is followed by a guided bush walk up the Majali River in search of crocodile and other game. Kudu, warthog, klipspringer and eland are all present in the area around the camp, as are elephant, lion and hyena. Waterfowl fly low past the camp and birdsong abounds. This is a truly beautiful place and it is impossible not to immerse oneself in nature and experience the exceptional qualities of Africa’s wilderness areas.
Watch the sunrise from above the trees then saddle up for another day of adventure. After a quick breakfast, riders set off on the one of the journey’s longest rides – up onto the edge of the mini escarpment and then down, through the Valley of the Elephants and on towards the distant sandstone citadels guarding the Limpopo and Motloutse Rivers.
The first part of the journey is not to be hurried, as the horses wind along well worn elephant paths, past giant baobabs and the occasional shallow watering pan. Soon, however, the country opens up and the horses can start to stretch their legs along soft ground leading to the headwaters of a stream flowing off the ridge and down towards the Limpopo. This is prime elephant country and the guides are always on the lookout, using all their sharpened senses. Once the path leaves the river, the terrain is once again more open and the pace faster.
Riding alongside the banks of the Motloutse River, you’ll come across the old Leadwood ‘Kgotla’ (or enclosure used for the traditional law court of a Botswana village). This open-air enclosure forms the perfect, secure camp for a night spent under the stars.
Whilst big cat sightings from horseback occasionally happen, the best opportunities to approach lion, cheetah, leopard and spotted hyena occur whilst on game drives. In the afternoon, you’ll set off on in a vehicle in search of the area’s resident lions, hyenas, and elusive leopards. Celebrate your day’s adventure with sundowners at the ancient “Amphitheatre” rocks with some of the best views of Africa. Back at the Kgotla, dinner is cooked on the large open fire and you’ll enjoy an evening of incredible food and endless conversations. The night is spent with a ceiling of stars and Africa’s night-time melody to sing you to sleep; a rare experience which is just about as far away from city life and the modern world as anyone can imagine.
Another dawn beckons as you enjoy coffee and fresh bread baked on the coals of last night’s fire. The riding this day is more relaxed and tailored to the group, since a different camp does not need to be reached by nightfall.
Ride through the famed sandstone formations and learn about Southern Africa’s oldest civilizations. The incredible landscape is ancient and timeless and combined with marvelous wildlife sightings, it makes for an incredible riding experience.
This afternoon, hop in a game drive vehicle for a short drive to the Mmamagwa Hills where you’ll have a short climb to the top. Here, you’ll be rewarded with the most awe-inspiring sundowners with views that stretch all the way to South Africa and Zimbabwe. The drive back to Kgotla in the dark provides more excellent opportunities to spot lion, leopard and hyena.
Following a light and early breakfast, set out on horseback through the Mopane bush in search of elephants. On this day the journey turns northeast and follows a series of river trails on the way back to the centre of the reserve. Life in this arid environment is always concentrated near water, and the ride promises sightings of elephant, zebra, giraffe and wildebeest.
Home to the largest herd of wild free-roaming elephants on private land in Africa, it is almost assured that there will be great viewing of these incredible creatures! Ride through Elephant Valley along ancient trails stamped into the soil by centuries of migrating elephants. Head north towards the upper reaches of the Majale River whose banks are crowned with enormous baobab trees. After an exhilarating ride through this timeless countryside, enjoy a relaxing lunch back at Tree Camp.
This afternoon the group has a choice of an afternoon guided bush walk, or an exciting game drive in search of big cats. This opportunity, while provided at an extra cost, should not be missed as the near guaranteed sightings of lion and leopard, and sometimes of cheetah, are legendary. The guides are very knowledgeable about the structure and whereabouts of the various prides and individuals, and failure to find them is very rare indeed.
With an early departure from Tree Camp, this ride offers sweeping views to the east and south. Today’s riding promises great game viewing from horseback as we explore the Pitsane River Valley. Drinking holes, dug by elephants along the course of the Pitsane, attract thirsty herds of game. An area, where history has it, there was a skirmish during the Boer war which destroyed Bryce’s Store, an old British supply post.
There was a stagecoach line, called Zeederberg’s, that ran from the towns of the Transvaal in South Africa to the newly forged settlements of Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. Those coaches crossed the broad Limpopo and followed the Pitsane River into Zimbabwe.
The final part of the ride is first across open plains with some fast canters, and then through cool riverine vegetation along the approaches to Two Mashatus Camp. This is the original Tuli Trail camp and is beautifully situated nestled amongst giant mashatu and apple leaf trees close to the banks of the Limpopo River. This area typically boasts the highest density of elephants in the reserve, who sometimes roam through the camp in a gentle yet determined way. It is also excellent for lion and leopard as well as baboon, bushbuck and waterbuck.
After four to five hours in the saddle, this is the perfect place to relax. On hot days the swimming pool is always welcoming.
Set off through scenic plains between the Majale and Pitsane rivers, with abundant game and spectacular views into the Limpopo River Valley. Explore the old fort and then ride down to the cooler wetland area for a splashy canter in the Summer months. The wetland areas attract a vast number of animals and birds that you might not have ticked off your safari checklist yet. There is time to relax in camp with a book or swim, before either a slower afternoon ride or bushwalk. Spend your last night in Botswana around the campfire chatting to your forever friends that you’ve made in the bush before falling asleep in your tent.
The last ride in the Limpopo Valley is a great opportunity to take one last picture of elephants and enjoy a long and winding canter through the scattered Mustard bush with your guides. Arriving back at the stables and reception mid-morning, there is plenty of time for a hot shower and a tasty brunch, before saying a sad farewell to your safari companions, newfound friends, and incredible horses. You’ll have a last glimpse of the bush from the air as you fly back to Lanseria Airport, followed by a short drive back to OR Tambo International Airport. Then it’s time to wave farewell to Africa as you board your flight back home (or further afield!) Book your departure flight after 20h00 to avoid missing your flight if there are any delays.
Kei Mouth Guest Lodge offers comfortable accommodation in the heart of the seaside village. The Lodge is situated in a tranquil street, just off the main road, central to most amenities, and within walking distance to the pubs, restaurants, the beach, the Kei River, and the stables.
Situated on a pristine, mangrove-lined estuary, surrounded by magnificent dune forests and endless expanses of beach, this offers a scenic and cozy retreat. Tucked away on the Wild Coast, it holds a lot of history and offers comfortable seaside accommodation and warm hospitality.
TWO MASHATUS CAMP
This beautiful camp is built in the shade of two hundred-year-old Mashatu trees. The camp is made up of two traditionally built Lala palm rondavels, which make up the dining and lounge areas. Guests are accommodated in a series of A-frame walk-in tents which are built on teak platforms. Each spacious tent has an en-suite bathroom with flushing toilet and hot showers. Between rides, relax on the private deck, have a swim in the pool, or enjoy a book in the lounge area.
This is a very unique camp and fulfils any childhood dream of sleeping up in a private treehouse. Nestled in the bough of a giant Mashatu tree and two ancient Leadwood trees, the deck is 4 meters off the ground. There open-air sleeping pods with comfy beds set out in a semi-circle around the main dining and living area. This camp has shared (but wonderfully private and secluded) outdoor showers and separate toilet facilities.
This is an old tribal court from a nearby community that was relocated to the banks of the Motloutse River. The boma is an open-air enclosure made up of leadwood logs standing upright and creating a unique sanctuary. Guests sleep on beds around a large log fire which blazes at the centre. Fall asleep with a canopy of stars above you.
The Wild Coast
One of South Africa’s most remote stretches of shoreline. This shipwreck-strewn coastline rivals any in the country in terms of beauty and wilderness, stretching over 350km from just east of East London to Port Edward. It is a place of steep green hills, rugged rockfaces, plunging cliffs; a land of untouched pristine white-beaches, forests, untameable waves, and deep history. The 200 kilometer coastline is virtually inaccessible to all but those prepared to hike it, or venture forth on horseback, making it the ultimate escape for the adventure traveller.
The Tuli Block
In south-eastern Botswana, hugging the Limpopo River lies a rugged landscape unlike anywhere else in the region. The Tuli Block, or ‘Land of Giants’ as it is often known, is located between Zimbabwe to the north and east, and South Africa to the south. The Limpopo today does not always have year-round surface water, but large pools attract incredible wildlife including herds of elephants, lions, cheetahs, zebra, wildebeest, and giraffe. Beyond the deep shade of the riverine woodlands, the dramatic sandstone “kopjes” stretches far from the river into the plains beyond. With its numerous prominences and viewpoints affording spectacular vistas, it is a region quite unique in Botswana – there is absolutely nothing like it anywhere else in the country and it entirely alters the nature and the ‘feel’ of the game-viewing experience.
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 are kept in tip-top shape for your safaris. Our horses are on top of the hierarchy and receive very special care:
- Our horses live out year-round in a herd environment, allowing them to live as naturally as possible. In the Tuli, the horses sleep in stables, but go out during the day into huge paddocks where they get to interact with their equestrian friends. On the Wild Coast, the horses live in large grass paddocks, coming in twice a day.
- They are bought in twice a day to be feed, checked, groomed and temperatures taken by devoted guides
- The farrier comes every 6 weeks to check the horses which are barefoot (As many horses as possible are barefoot)
- The saddles are specially designed for trails which means they are comfortable for the horse, distributing the rider’s weight evenly, preventing any back issues. The tack is checked and cleaned regularly to ensure it is kept to the best possible standards
- A careful record is kept of how much work each horse does to ensure they have rest days and are not overworked