Horseback riding trails and Horse safari holidays in the Overberg, Western Cape, South Africa.Based 180 km from Cape Town, in the Western Cape’s unspoiled Overberg, the African Horse Company offers multi–day horse trails and out-rides of an hour to the better part of the day. On offer are 1-6 hour beach and mountain out rides and 2-10 day overnight trails catering for beginners to advanced horse riders. Our home, the Overberg region, is one of the hotspots of the the Cape Floral Kingdom, (“fynbos”), the richest of the Earth’s six floral kingdoms and restricted to the Western Cape of South Africa. The Cape Floral Kingdom is a World Heritage Site and by far the best way to discover its richness is by riding on horse back through this botanical wilderness. This part of the Western Cape is also the mating and breeding grounds of the Southern Right Whale. Galloping along the shores of the pristine Walker Bay between July and December, you will – as a rule more than as an exception- see whales breaching in the ocean less than 100 meters away. Not surprising that the Southern Overberg is perhaps known better by the many as the “Whale Coast”
Starting at our base station, the nature retreat and private nature reserve of our partner “farm 215” (located in the hinterland of Gansbaai between Stanford at the Hermanus lagoon and Cape Agulhas at the Southernmost tip of South Africa and a sustainable operation certified by Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa), the horse trails move through national parks, nature reserves, the Walker Bay Conservancy and some of the routes of the early settlers in the Cape. You will ride along kilometers of unspoiled beach, climb rugged mountain terrain with your horse , ride through indigenous forest, cross private farms and vineyards and swim with your horse in dams filled with the purest mountain water. An astounding array of fynbos flora and different landscapes awaits the rider with habitats ever changing. Along with this come a rich –and partly endemic- bird life and the Southern Right Whales, which give birth and mate within the safe waters of the Walker Bay (stretching from the Hermanus Lagoon at Stanford past De Kelders to the fishing village of Gansbaai) between July and December.
In the Southern Overberg, nature rules supreme. Human development is naturally limited and nature based tourism an obvious source of income. The African Horse Company has associated itself with the Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative (ABI) and works closely with landowners dedicated to conserving the integrity of the floral kingdom and maintaining an ancient natural landscape which survived intact between the semi-desert of the Karoo and the ocean from a time long before humans set foot on this earth. The horse trails of the African Horse Company lead to remote spots in the Overberg which practically look the same as when the first modern man made his residence here more than 70’000 years ago. Klipgat Cave in the Walker Bay Nature Reserve is the finding place of some of the oldest remains of modern man in South Africa and the world.
Principles of balanced and integrated development form the vision of the Overberg region in the Western Cape. Horse trails are routed through the varying terrains of beach, mountain, agricultural lands and dune, to places of historical and cultural interest. The horses used are local South African Crossbreeds (Arab and Boerperd blood). Surefooted, enduring and fully adapted to the environment with regard to grazing, weather and terrain, they are the true horses of South Africa and the key to a special opportunity to ride through the wonderful, untouched nature of the region.
The horse trails are tailor-made to suit personal requirements and horse riding experience. A wide array of accommodation is available: from the deliciously luxurious –but strictly laid back- sustainable accommodation on our base station farm 215 to cottages on our other stations on private reserves in the Overberg and heritage farmhouses within the Agulhas National Park.
Just let us know and we’ll suggest an horse riding itinerary and accommodation options. In any case let us open the door to some of the treasures of the Western Cape’s least discovered and most surprising region “the Overberg”, only a two hour drive from Cape Town and let us give you an insight into the land and its people.
Depending on what accommodation type you choose (food is prepared by the chef on farm 215, the surrounding communities or your horse guide himself) it will always have a strong local flavor and high organic content and will always provide the opportunity to meet the local people over a meal and a glass of one of our splendid local wines. After all, this area is the newest wine region of South Africa: the Agulhas Wine Region. Blessed with excellent soil conditions and cooling evening sea breezes, the Agulhas Wine Region produces award winning wines. What is perhaps even more worth mentioning is that a growing number of vineyards in the Agulhas Wine Region and the adjoining Hemel en Aarde and Walker Bay wine regions, are producing wine in accordance with the standards of the Biodiversity Wine Initiative, a Western Cape project to conserve pristine nature in between vineyards and the way forward to amalgamate nature conservation and sophisticated agriculture.
Our horses roam freely as a herd in the reserve of farm 215, part of the Walker Bay Conservancy, and live and function in a fully natural state. They move from pasture to pasture and along the way nibble from some natural shrubs to add some essential ingredients to their diet. What applies to them, applies to us: “In company of horses, in balance with nature”. You could not ask for a more ideal partner and friend for many trails days in a truly beautiful part of South Africa.