South Africa is located (not surprisingly) on the southern tip of Africa. Often overshadowed by political controversy over the years, South Africa is actually one of the most beautiful and diverse countries in Africa. From Johannesburg and the “Highveld” to the unending beaches of the west coast, and the unerring beauty of the Cape, South Africa is a land full of richness and treasure. Safari and big game trips are at their best in South Africa, with an infrastructure (and amazing game reserves) to support the tourist numbers. Hidden Trails offer four memorable South African horseback vacations and equestrian safaris, each promising unique wildlife encounters and scenic adventures.
Horse Riding in South Africa
South Africa is the powerhouse of Africa, and is bordered by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland. Wholly-enclosed by South Africa, and situated in its eastern central plain, is the independent kingdom of Lesotho. South Africa is a treasure chest of unforgettable scenery, from lofty mountains to sun-baked deserts and dramatic coastlines washed by the Atlantic and Indian oceans. Its game viewing on horseback equals the best in Africa, and where else can you find both penguins and elephants?
Hidden Trails offer the always excellent Western Cape Ride, near Cape Town. This deluxe horseback tour takes place on a big 5 game reserve, and can accommodate horseback riders and non riders. Riders will ride amongst unbelievable wildlife, along beaches and through vineyards; non riders can enjoy day trips – meeting up with their riding companions at lunch and dinner.
In the Waterberg region, Hidden Trails has two spectacular horse riding holidays to choose from. The Big Five Safari combines four nights in and around the Waterberg Mountains, with four nights in Botswana at the Mashatu Game Reserve (Land of the Giants). The Waterberg Safari Lodge is based at a private game reserve, with overnights in a beautiful colonial homestead. Horse riding around the reserve can be mixed with mountain biking, target shooting and guided walks.
Our final trips are on the breathtaking beaches of South Africa on the “Wild Coast”. This wild stretch of coastline is between East London and Port Edward, and offers exquisite coastal horseback riding, along unending beaches and past towering cliff faces. These are the absolute very best of coastal riding in Southern Africa.
The Waterberg area in the north-western part of South Africa is rich in minerals like iron, coal, tin, platinum, zinc, titanium and vanadium and crops like tobacco, groundnuts, maize, grain sorghum, sunflower seeds, wheat, cotton, citrus fruit and rice are grown here.
But this is also one of the country's premier wildlife areas and hosts the Lapalala Game Reserve and the Mabula Game Reserve. The Lapalala Wilderness Reserve is one of the last truly wild places in the country and was created as a sanctuary for rare and endangered animals. At Mabula Game Reserve, visitors can see the big five and many more African animals.
The wildlife reserves are of diverse topography and vegetation ranging from wide-open plains to beautiful mountainous areas, enabling to naturally sustain the widest variety of game possible. They boast over 40 species of game including the rare sable antelope, nyala, oryx, eland, giraffe, buffalo, white rhino and well over 300 species of resident and migrant birds. In addition to game drives, the reserves offer a safe and secluded environment to allow guests of all ages to enjoy guided bush walks, horse rides, cycling and game drives.
The Western Cape
Every year more and more visitors flock from all over the world, to this once unknown region with unrivaled geographical diversity. The Western Cape's 'West Coast' has beautiful unspoiled beaches, magnificent mountain ranges, and the most spectacular wild flowers which bloom in the spring. The West Coast area of the Cape consists of three main areas, West Coast, Swartland & Sandveld and Olifants River Valley.
The fertile green valleys of Cape Town's winelands are surrounded by proud mountain ranges. Towns and villages have many historic homesteads and monuments, and every so often fruit orchards are to be seen, whose produce may be found in all corners of the world. It is the Mediterranean climate and winter rainfall area of the south-western Cape that produces some of the best wines in the country. The rich, fertile soils along the Breede River and especially the areas of Somerset West, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl, have become world famous for their whites, reds, sherries, ports and brandies.
The Breede River Valley is the largest fruit and wine producing valley in the Western Cape and is South Africa's leading racehorse breeding area. The area stretches from Gouda in the west and McGregor in the south, to Montagu in the east and the Tankwa-Karoo National Park in the north. This semiarid area, part of the Little Karoo, offers magnificent scenery and is known for its indigenous fynbos and proteas. The clear mountain streams are in stark contrast with their rugged surrounds and the wildlife in the reserves offer visitors a chance to get a taste of the real African bush.
This unspoiled tropical paradise takes visitors back to a better time when simple, authentic things mattered like a beautiful sunrise or a walk on a pristine, deserted beach.
Blessed with sea, sun and plenty of things to see and do, the Wild Coast offers a lifestyle that allows one to forget about the rest of the universe. Here on the East Coast of South Africa where waterfalls tumble into the sea, visitors can slow down and breathe to the heartbeat of Africa. A horseback vacation or horse safari along the Transkei Wild Coast is exhilarating and exciting; One Sweeping bay after another, rolling hillsides, river crossings and warm lagoons ensure adventure filled days of fabulous horseback riding. You will be enthralled by the wonderful combination of endless beaches and unrestricted cross country horse riding!
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