South Africa, Sunshine Coast
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 kudu, monkeys and antelopes. You will also visit the small charming coastal towns on the way and a game drive with more wildlife and have the chance to see the "Big Five".
You spend the nights in a safari tented camp and at various beach 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
Saturday: We will meet you at the airport on Saturday and drive by mini-bus to Kenton and stay at the comfortable tented camp. After getting changed into riding gear we will go for a short ride followed by drinks and snacks. The evening meal is normally fresh fish.
Sunday: We have a full English breakfast and then we get in the bus and drive to the start of the trail at the mouth of the Fish River. The scenery is very beautiful and the beaches mostly deserted. We have a pack lunch and we have this at the rocky outcrops of the “3 sisters”. After lunch we have long canters which are often in the surf as the tide pushes in. We then walk through town and back to our accommodation in Port Alfred. The ride is over 30km.
Monday: After breakfast we head off on the horses to Kenton-on-Sea. We try to go with the low tide so it can be an early or a late start. The beaches are similar and very beautiful to the previous day with long canters. After 25 km we cross the Kariega River and have a picnic lunch on the sandy banks of the Kariega River. After lunch we then head off along the river banks to reach the tented camp in the late afternoon. We normally have a barbecue and enjoy snacks and sundowner drinks on the deck overlooking the river and Sibuya game reserve.
Tuesday: After breakfast we get on the horses and ride to the game reserve. It’s a short ride to the gate. Here we will look for elephant, giraffe, buffalo and many other game animals. We ride most of the day and leave the reserve by 3 pm. We then get changed and head off in the bus for a boat trip up the river. This is a good opportunity to swim and enjoy the tranquility of the long tidal river. We take drinks and snacks with us so it’s a lot of fun.
Wednesday: Today is a rest day for the horses. We head off to Addo Elephant national park and spend the day driving around in the reserve looking for animals. They have all of the big 5 and it’s the best place in the world to see African Elephants. We return again to the tented camp.
Thursday: After a full English breakfast we pack clothes for swimming and after mounting our horses we head off to Cannon Rocks. We have the Bushmans River to cross which is always a highlight. On the other side we will have a picnic lunch in a secluded spot. We then head up the coast to the next stop. The beaches are spectacular here. Along the way we will visit a Stone Age pottery site and Diaz Cross, the first European to round the tip of Africa. The accommodation is a beach house with very nice views.
Friday: Today we ride back to the tented camp. On the long hard sandy stretches of beach we sometimes do a gallop depending on the horses and the group. We cross the Bushman’s River again and we wade through the deep water of the river as we make our way to the camp. This night we will have a braai and a few drinks around the fire.
Saturday: After a short morning ride we head off to the airport.
Accommodation and Food
Five nights you stay in tented camp. The horses graze around and you enjoy the great views of the river and listen to the sounds of nature. The tents are quite private but close together each with two comfortable beds in. The bathrooms are rustic but comfortable with hot water, flush toilets, a bath and a shower. Two nights you stay in comfortable bungalows close to the beach.
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 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 1,5 hours. The best time to arrive and depart at the airport is around 12 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 8-10 persons.
Age limit: 10 years old.
Special diet: Inform when booking.
Saddle bag available: Yes
Shower gel, shampoo, towel: Please bring your own.