South Africa, Port Elizabeth - Beach Ride
If you want to experience an exciting ride along "The Sunshine Coast", this is unbeatable.
Along with Jono and his endurance horses, many raised himself, you can gallop for miles (without exaggeration) along pristine beaches. Jono is an experienced endurance rider who has lived here most of his life. He has a passion for maintaining and preserving wildlife, which makes him a fascinating guide.
You ride between 17 and 30 km (10-19 miles) per day, so it's important to be in good shape.
The tide plays an important role on this trail ride. In some parts you need to swim with your horse, which is a new and very fun experience for most riders.
Cozy picnics with time for a dip in the ocean provide much needed rest for weary riding muscles.
Besides the beaches, you ride through green valleys, along cliffs and through farmland. Some days you may encounter wildlife such as lynx, leopard, kudu, monkeys and antelopes. You will also visit the small charming coastal towns on the way and a sanctuary with more wildlife and have the chance to see the "Big Five".
You spend the nights at various beach hotels, beach houses or guesthouses, each with its own story to tell.
After a long day in the saddle and a good meal, it is easy to get stuck with a glass of wine in front of the campfire and enjoy all the exotic sounds.
Preliminary day-by-day program
Day 1: We meet at the Port Elizabeth airport preferably at around midday or, if self driven, we will meet you in Kenton-on-Sea and escort you to safe parking. We arrive at the Fish River Light house in the afternoon and take an evening farm ride and get to meet the horses. In the evening we will have drinks and snacks and an evening meal with a traditional recipe. The accommodation is comfortable with sea views.
Day 2: After a breakfast of yoghurt, muesli, cereals and toast we saddle up and head for Port Alfred. The beach along this section is remote and spacious and the ride is normally quite fast with long canters between walks. The scenery is spectacular and the beaches often deserted. Along the way we have a pack lunch of nuts, dried fruit and biltong etc. We cover about 30km on this day. Back at Port Alfred we enjoy drinks and a nice hot home cooked meal.
Day 3: We set off after breakfast and we try to travel according to the tide. We pass Ship Rock at low tide and wade through the waist deep Kasuga River and water the horses. This night we stay in a comfortable cottage in Kasuga, a quiet little coastal village and we have a traditional South African braai. After supper we take a night ride along the beach to ship rock, an amazing experience!
Day 4: This day we pack swimming gear in the saddle bags and head off to Kenton-on-sea. When we get to the first river after some very nice beach riding we will have the opportunity of eating fresh oysters off the rocks. We the n meet the backup vehicle where you will be provided with a life jacket for the swim. The first river to cross is the Kareiga River and then there is a 3km walk without the saddles and then we cross the Bushmans River. We saddle up again after the Bushmans River and ride along the beach to the base. Here we have a nice picnic lunch. The rest of the afternoon can be spent in the small seaside village of Kenton with the opportunity of a massage or a walk on the beach or lagoon. We normally have beef steaks for the evening meal.
Day 5: Today is a non riding day but it is a welcome rest from three hard riding days. We spend the day in the Addo Elephant National Park touring with our private vehicles. We will have the opportunity of seeing elephants up close in their natural habitat as well as the possibility of seeing any of the big 5. There is a main camp at Addo where you can buy curios and visit a natural history museum. We normally have a picnic under the trees at the main camp with the watering holes in the background often with elephants to be seen while eating lunch. Animals that can be seen are lion, elephant , buffalo, zebra and many others. We take a walk to a restaurant overlooking the river that we swam across the day before and eat pizza. The stay overnight is in the same place as yesterday.
Day 6: On this day we take a slower pace of riding and we take time to explore the coves and outcrops on horseback. We hunt for stone-age pottery in the ancient human middens(stoneage rubbish dumps) left behind by the Khoi San who were the original inhabitants of the area. Depending on the weather we unsaddle and swim in the sea or in the lagoon of the Boknes River. At a hidden small bay between big outcrops of rock we take a break and look for sea shells among the thousands that get dumped here by the sea. We have a packed lunch on top of Diaz Cross (a memorial to the first European to round the tip of Africa). The views of the coastline here are spectacular. We ride to the next cottage which is on the beach and about 17 km from the start. We will enjoy an evening meal of fresh fish and chips and salads. Amazing scenery!
Day 7: We set off after breakfast and head off along the coast. The first part of the days ride is along the sea shore and before we leave the sea we taste the sweet water that comes from a permanent spring. If it is low tide we collect a few sea snails to sample later with the evening meal which is a delicacy with the locals. We head away from the sea over spectacular dunes on to the dirt road and ride to Woody Cape Backpackers. We have a packed lunch overlooking the sea with breathtaking views of the coast line. We normally arrive at Woody Cape in the afternoon and go for a swim in the large swimming pool in summer. They have an outside bar where we have our meals and socialise and this is next to the pool. In the evenings we normally take a cold beverage and take a short walk to the sand dunes overlooking the sea and watch the sun go down. The evening meal is provided by the lodge. The evening is spent in the outside bar area.
Day 8: Breakfast is self-help in your bungalow. We do a short ride up to the top of the high hills before coming back and heading off to the airport to catch the plane at around midday.
Accommodation and Food
You stay at beach hotels and bungalows of varying standards, but all are clean and comfortable. Some have a pool - most do not, but there are plenty of opportunities to swim!
Meals are primarily made from fresh local ingredients. Picnic lunches are eaten along the way and carried in saddlebags. The lunch usually consists of dired meat, dried fruit, nuts, something sweet and a juice box. Sometimes you will help to prepare breakfast.
Jono has about 40 horses. Many of them he has bred himself. The horses are mostly Arabians and Arabian crosses, about 140-165 cm (55-65 in) at the withers. They are in very good condition as Jono also competes in endurance events. You can try several horses until you find one that suits you.
The climate is generally moderate with temperatures from 12 ° C to 25 ° C (53 – 77 F) in summer (October to March) and from 8 ° C to 18 ° C (46 – 64 F) in winter (April to September). The main rainy season is in the summer (September to April) with a chance of a little rain throughout the year. The weather can be unpredictable, you can experience all four seasons in one day. The wind can be quite hard sometimes, make sure that your hat is secure and will not blow away and that your jacket does not flap or rustle.
Ability description: Trail Ride Level 2-3 >>
Included in the price: 7 nights, 5-6 days riding, full board incl. wine/beer with meals, return transfer Port Elisabeth airport.
Not included: Flights, insurance, drinks and extras not mentioned.
Travel: Book flight/rental car >> We help you book your flight if you wish.
Fly to Port Elizabeth.
Transfer: Book in advance with HorseXplore and inform about your flight times.
From the airport to your first accommodation, about 2 hours. The best time to arrive and depart at the airport is around 11 am.
Vaccination: This area is malaria free.
Single room: Can be booked with a supplement. For price click on ”Book on request” under Dates & prices.
Currency: South African Rand (ZAR). The safest is to bring a credit card so that you can withdraw cash from the ATM at the airport. Filling stations do not usually accept credit cards, but most supermarkets etc do.
Credit card: The Riding Centre does not accept credit cards. However, you can pay in Rand, USD, Pounds or Euros.
Tipping: Not expected.
Wifi: There may be access to WiFi at some of the overnight stays but not everywhere.
Electricity jack: 3 plug (type M). There is some adapters to borrow.
Group size: Min. 1, max around 8 persons.
Age limit: 10 years old.
Special diet: Inform when booking.
Saddle bag available: Yes
Shower gel, shampoo: Please bring your own.