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 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 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 start of the ride is down a very steep sand forest path that leads to the sea. We 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. We often swim with the horses at one of the clear water lagoons. The scenery is spectacular and the beaches often deserted. Along the way we have a pack lunch of sandwiches. We ride for between 5 and 6 hours. We meet the transport ten-seater bus at the beach near the Kowie River and the horses get loaded onto the truck and we make our way to Rugged Rocks beach cottages a few kilometres away. We normally have a relaxing evening with a fondue.
Day 3: We set off after breakfast riding from the beach cottages and we try to travel according to the tide. The beaches are deserted here. We pass Ship Rock at low tide and have our pack lunches amongst the sheltering rocks. Normally in good weather we swim the horses in the clear Kasuga River. We ride to the accommodation and dismount at the house. This night we stay in a comfortable 80’s style cottage in Kasuga, a quiet little coastal village with tame antelope that walk around the town. We have a traditional South African steak braai with salads and delicious potato bake (and extras for the vegetarians).
Day 4: This day we pack swimming gear in the saddle bags and leave from the cottage again 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. Here we meet the boat at the Kariega River where you will change into swimming gear and put on a life jacket. The saddles are put in the boat and we swim across the river on well trained horses. There is a 3km walk without the saddles and then we cross the Bushman’s River. After the Bushman’s River you will enjoy sharing Old Brown Sherry together on the river bank. After the river we have a picnic lunch waiting for us with tables and chairs and fresh bread and cheese. We saddle up again after the Bushman’s River and ride along the beach to the base. 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. The accommodation here varies but it’s always spacious and comfortable with a large dining area. We will come back to this house for the remainder of the trail and will go by ten-seater bus to where the horses are and where we ride from.
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 ten-seater air conditioned bus. 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 picnic site surrounded by very tame birds. Animals that can be seen are lion, elephant, buffalo, zebra and many others. It’s normally a full day at the park. Back in Kenton-on-sea, in the evening 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 drive to where the horses are. 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 (stone-age rubbish dumps) left behind by the Khoi San who were the original inhabitants of the area. We visit the famous Diaz Cross, from the first European to sail around the tip of Africa. Depending on the weather, we normally swim in the in the Boknes lagoon. The views of the coastline here are spectacular. We end up at Cannon Rocks where we leave the horses and go back to our comfortable home in Kenton via the bus. In the afternoon we go upriver for a ride in the boat and enjoy snacks and drinks on the river and look for animals along the riverbank. This is always a popular treat. The stay overnight is in the same place as yesterday.
Day 7: We set off after breakfast and meet up with the horses in Cannon Rocks. We are back on the sea and head further west until we get to a rocky outcrop called Springs, named after the natural fresh water spring. Here we look among the rocky shore for interesting sea life, like octopus and large starfishes. We have a lunch break and then head back to the stables. It’s a long and enjoyable day with lots of nice long canters. In the evening we will have a nice meal discussing the week’s events.
Day 8: We normally do a short ride in the morning with a last fast gallop to finish off the week. Then you will be transported back to the airport.
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.