No of guests: min. 2 – max. 6
This horse trail starts about 150 km North of Cape Town on top of the remote Piketberg Mountain and takes us down through magnificent wetlands with quiet lakes known as Rocher Pan and Verlorevlei (lost estuary), as well as through the only area in the world where potatoes are grown in pure white sand, irrigated in large circles, and finally to the West coast of the South Atlantic, where the pristine and lonely beaches seem to be stretching for ever. The area is called the West Coast Region and is famous for its profusion of wild flower carpets in August and September, the so-called Namaqualand daisies. The last night is spent in a uniquely preserved, old, Cape Dutch Farm where since 1770 not too much has changed. Contrary to our GRAND WESTERN CAPE HORSE TRAIL this is a circular ride of some 225 km, during which we do without any transfer by car and only our support vehicle brings the guests’ luggage forward.
DAY 1 (Saturday): Arrive at Cape Town International Airport in the morning. We start with a fascinating tour of the Townships of Cape Town with a traditional African lunch in the smallest Hotel in the Cape, VICKY’S in Khayalitsha (www.etownship.co.za). Thereafter we drive for 2 hours northwards through the so-called Swartland to the Excelsior Farm hidden in the Piketberg Mountains. www.excelsiorfarm.co.za
DAY 2 (Sunday): With the horses from the farm, ride along the mountain for a while, covered in Cape Mountain Fynbos – the indigenous flora- and then take a steep path down to the valley below (Walking and leading in places) where we dismount to view some Bushman rock art paintings. We will stay overnight at Kaptein’s Kloof Farm in comfortable, restored, so-called Sandveld cottages. +/- 4 hours riding of approximately 20 km.
DAY 3 (Monday): We ride south following the valley, a sandy agricultural area, and then turn west to the small town of Aurora where the characterful restaurant, belonging to a local Austrian, is full of memorabilia. On the way we will picnic at a dam where we can swim. +/- 28 km riding – approximately 4 ½ hours in the saddle.
DAY 4 (Tuesday): Riding west, we now head towards the coast of the South Atlantic across the sandy (Sandveld) potato growing area +/- 35 km riding. On arrival we can swim in the ocean and spend the night in a modest Farmhouse, called Seefontein, situated above the beach, without electricity but with gas, hot water, bath and candle lighting. Evening Braai (barbeque).
DAY 5 (Wednesday): In the morning we start our long beach ride north along the deserted shoreline, stretching ahead of us into the seemingly unending distance. The area is unpopulated and dolphins, seals and whales can often be observed playing in the waves. Over the dunes we cross into the Rocherpan Nature Reserve. This is a pan with wetlands, giving cover to many bird species, as well as small game and is often visited by big flocks of pelicans and flamingos. After a 25 km ride we reach an oasis called Draaihoek Lodge (www.draaihoek.com), thatched and hidden behind high sand dunes, a very comfortable guest-house with an excellent seafood restaurant.
DAY 6 (Thursday): Continuing north along the beach towards Elands Bay (a small fishing village known for its crayfish packing factory) we stop for a trailside lunch and to view some other Bushman rock art paintings. At Elands Bay, after some total 50 km riding along the shore, we leave the beach and turn eastwards towards Verloren Vlei (an estuary) to our guesthouse Vensterklip (www.vensterklip.co.za) on the banks of the vlei, which has many different wetland birds. +/- 30km.
DAY 7 (Friday): We ride east along the south side of Verloren Vlei, first up along the crest of a long hill, running parallel to the estuary, on sandy tracks and with stunning panoramic views onto the vlei below and passing some wonderful sandstone outcrops. Then the path leads down to the shores where we pass old farms that used to survive on the fish of the estuary. These farm buildings consist of Sandveld mud and thatched huts. We have a picnic lunch at one such farmhouse before continuing to a Sandveld hamlet called Redlighys, where we stay in a comfortable old-fashioned guesthouse serving traditional cape cuisine. +/- 28km.
DAY 8 (Saturday): Continuing around the Dreifontein Mountain we enter a valley below the Aurora Mountain, which is a Lemon growing area. After only 20 km we overnight in the Sandveld Country Cottage, which gives us an afternoon’s rest before the last day’s trek up the mountains.
DAY 9 (Sunday): We stop for lunch at a local Swiss farmer’s house, after which we head back up the mountains towards the Excelsior farm where we will have our farewell dinner. +/- 40 km.
DAY 10 (Monday): After breakfast we leave the farm and drive down the mountain towards the Berg River where we arrive at the Guest Farm Kersefontein (www.kersefontein.co.za) a unique, Cape Dutch homestead in the hands of the Melck Family since 1770 and where not too much has changed since. After lunch, in the late hours of the afternoon, as an optional extra and weather permitting, the farmer Julian Melck takes us in 1 ½ hours on a spectacular flight in a Cessna following the entire route we rode in the last 8 days, followed by a Cape Dutch Dinner in Style.
DAY 11 (Tuesday): After breakfast we depart for Tulbagh in the Boland, where before lunch we visit the Old Drostdy – the old magistrates court, for a conducted tour and some wine tasting (www.drostdyhof.co.za), followed by lunch at the Paddagang Restaurant. Church Street, in this village, boasts the largest number of buildings with historic monument plaques in South Africa. After lunch we continue our drive through the famous Bain’s Kloof to Stellenbosch. Here we pop in to the unique bric-a-brac curio shop – Oom Samy se Winkle (Uncle Sam’s Shop) before we continue to the airport where you catch your return, overnight flight home.
The entire horse trail is about 225 km long, a distance covered in 8 days in the saddle. Our safety standards are high and every effort will be made to follow this itinerary. However this program is subject to changes or substitutions to the same high criteria without prior notice, if for example inclement weather makes this necessary.
Our safety standards are high and every effort will be made to follow this itinerary. However this program is subject to change or substitution for rides and accommodation to the same high standard without prior notice.
We will gladly advise or assist guests who wish to extend their stay in Cape Town to visit some of the other truly unique tourist attractions the Cape has to offer. Suitable Accommodation can be pre-arranged on request.
From beginning of May to end September the Cape Hunt And Polo Club (Est.1822) organizes drag hunts on every Sunday on a different location. We can arrange for competent riders to ride in the Hunt – a truly unforgettable experience!