Mkulu Kei Horse Trails and Riding Holidays has been leading riders on horse holidays since 1998 on the Wild Coast, and is now offering the rides with super-fit, well-trained horses along the exciting pristine coastline of the Sunshine Coast with its deserted white sandy beaches. Experience and explore the Sunshine Coast and perhaps combine it with a safari on horseback during a multi-day riding vacation. Many travellers ride with this award-winning horse riding company on South Africa's Sunshine Coast and in a nearby private game reserve on multi-day guided horse riding holidays.
Ride in the waves and experience the splendor of the coastline. The beaches are secluded, wide, and endless and offer more opportunities to canter. There are sand dunes to explore and safe rivers to swim, undisturbed ancient shell Middens, evidence of the earliest San people, huge coastal forests, shipwrecks, old cannons, rocky coves, cliff tops with stunning views out to sea and a complete contrast of gently rolling fertile hills.
See dolphins, whales and penguins, as well as many different types of coastal and land birds, cheeky Vervet monkeys and various species of buck. Rock pools abound with sea urchins and jellyfish as well as an array of brightly colored seaweed–– all adding to your coastal multi day horse trek. It is the quality of riding along the coastline and its long open beaches that make this riding vacation a must.
This coastline is steeped in South African history. Your guide, a horseman with plenty of knowledge of the area and a conservation background, will add more interesting facts and information.
Spend a day or two quietly following game in a private reserve. The chances are high of seeing a wide variety of wildlife as you explore their natural environment, making for a diverse South Africa riding vacation.
Equine Holidays for Riding Students and Non-Riding Friends
If you are looking for a working riding equine holiday as a riding student, enjoy Cher-a-Don, a family run equine and adventure center and the home base to Mkulu Kei Horse Trails. This is a great opportunity for equine enthusiasts to learn a holistic approach to horses, work and ride horses and make a difference to an underprivileged child’s life. Non-riding friends can take the social development option. Experience a new culture while enjoying all that South Africa has to offer in a safe, home environment.
This is an exciting new venture where groups of youth can experience an adventure camp, obstacle course, canoeing, abseiling and other fun activities including equine assisted learning. You have the opportunity to lend your skills and learn new skills as an equine volunteer only working with the horses or you could be involved with the youth at the camp and take advantage of the adventure activities and ride. Whatever you decide you want to be involved in, your daily rate covers your costs and contributes towards underprivileged youth in South Africa who would not be in the position to pay for a camp.
The working riding equine option is a great and inexpensive way to extend your stay in South Africa with us before or after your horseback riding holiday.
Horse Riding Holidays on the Sunshine Coast
Mkulu Kei Horse Trails and Riding Holidays offers horse riding holidays on the Eastern Cape of the Sunshine Coast, the “Adventure Province in South Africa." These equestrian vacations cater to all ages and riding abilities on the coast and advanced riders in the game reserves. We start on the first Friday of the month and ride out from Kleinemonde and can trail rider for 4-6 hours in a progressive manner, so no two days are the same and every night is a different B&B. You have the option to add a few days of a horse safari, riding with game, to your riding adventure.
7-Day Beachcomber Horse Trail Sample Itinerary
Combines swimming with horses, game viewing, beach gallops and more!
Day 1: Arrive and meet at Port Elizabeth airport. Drive the approximately 84 miles (140 km) to Kleinemonde and settle in at the accommodation on the beach. Depending on arrival time, lunch will be salads and cold meats, bread rolls and fruit. The horses will be tied up on running lines at your accommodation waiting for you to start your South Africa riding vacation. There will be time to settle in and then at around 4pm, we will tack up the horses and go for an early evening beach ride. Here you will meet the horses and try out your mount and saddle that will be your trusty transport for the next few days, carrying you over rivers and sand dunes. Dinner will be traditional potjiekos (tasty stew) followed by an early night.
Day 2: After an early cup of tea or coffee and a healthy breakfast of muesli cereal and yogurt and fruit, we set of early or as the tide dictates for Rugged Rocks beach cottages in Port Alfred, about 14 miles (23 km) away. On this stretch we will pass “The Three Sisters”, three large rocky outcrops that jut into the sea followed by miles of open beach with lots of cantering space on the wide hard sea sand. We will have a picnic lunch on the way. As we approach the small coastal town of Port Alfred, we will pass the pier and start seeing fishing boats moving in and out to sea from the Kowie River. We pass the Kowie River using the bridge and then ride along the quiet streets back towards the beach and to our second night’s accommodation at the very scenic Rugged Rocks. Here we then un-tack the horses and wash them down and feed them cubes and hay and leave them to munch for the rest of the day while you relax in the sparkling sheltered swimming pool or take a stroll on the beach. The beach is a few meters away. Drinks and snacks for “sundowners” will be followed by a braai (barbeque) with the sea crashing nearby.
Day 3: We will depart again depending on the tide and head west again for Kenton on sea. Today we will have to dress appropriately for swimming rivers and traveling light. It will be a long journey of about 19 miles (30km) with miles and miles of pristine beaches to cover. We will pass shipwrecks and many bushman middens (stone-age rubbish dumps). We will need to pass Ship Rock at low tide that is about half way to our destination and also close to the small seaside resort, Kasuga where we will water the horses, have our picnic lunch and wade through the Kasuga River.
We then arrive at the Kariega River and leave our saddles with the backup vehicle and then swim across the tidal Kariega River. We then ride bareback past the blue flag beaches and over the dunes to the large Bushman’s River that we will also have to swim across. We time the river crossings so that the tide will be coming in and it will be too deep for the horses to touch the bottom so they will have to swim. You will be briefed before the crossing. This is a highlight with lots of laughing and we all get very drenched. At the other side we meet up with the backup vehicle and put on the saddles and head up to the Beachcomber stables where the horses will stay in their home camp for the night.
We will then have a late picnic lunch under the sheltered dune forest trees before going to the beautiful Milkwood Manor on the shores of the expansive Bushman’s lagoon. Here you will have the opportunity to relax and enjoy swimming and walking and exploring the coves and pools of Carriage Rock, the Puffadder blowhole and Shelly bay all close to where you will sleep. At this stop you will feel completely at home and your hosts are well known for their old fashioned Eastern Cape hospitality. The evening meal on this day of the riding holiday could be anything and here there is no set menu but it is always tasty.
Day 4: Today we start early with a full English breakfast and head towards Sibuya Game reserve. We will explore the reserve and see if we can spot Elephant from across the river. This reserve has 4 of the big 5 but in the area that we ride we have a river, which naturally separates the elephants from the horses. We will look at the useful and edible plants of the area and enjoy the abundant bird and animal life. The landscape in this reserve is incredible with sheer cliffs and hidden valleys. We will meander over plains and gorges and follow an ancient wagon route that used to be the only road between Port Elizabeth and East London. We will stop at the valley under a giant wild plum tree and have a picnic lunch with the horses tied up nearby. There will be an option to swim in the warm water of the Kariega River. After a light lunch we will continue on to the campsite. Here you will learn to pump out mud prawns at low tide and try your hand at fishing. Later that evening we will take a cooler box and have sundowners (beverages) on horseback overlooking the Kareiga River. That evening we will enjoy the campfire and an evening meal outside the horses will stay at the camp with us.
Day 5: We will leave at about 9am and at this stage of the trail you will feel less energetic and need an easy days riding. The tide is not important on this day. The next stop is 11 miles (17 km) away and we will take it slow and enjoy the scenery along the way. We will pass the Volo shipwreck that happened on 6 March 1886 and Diaz Cross (Bartholomew Dias was the first European to round the Cape and erected a cross at Mossel Bay, St Croix and at Kwaai Hoek on 12 march 1488. Here he had to turn around because of mutinous crew) we explore the hidden remote coves and beaches along the way.
On this day of your South Africa equestrian vacation, we will have the opportunity to swim the horses in the sea and in the Boknes lagoon. This is a lot of fun and the horses love to frolic in the deep water of the broad lagoon. We will also explore the ancient sand dunes and look for Stone Age pottery and interesting large mammal bones and artifacts to photograph in the shifting dunes. We will dig for water and sample the tasty fresh water that the Stone Age tribes lived on for thousands of years. We will also visit a natural spring in the sand dunes where the horses can be un- saddled and allowed to drink and roll in the shallow water. We will be well refreshed at all times from a well stocked saddle bags and will have our packed lunch on the way. We pass the shipwreck of Sao Joao Baptista wrecked in 1622. We will arrive in Cannon Rocks in the afternoon and spend the rest of the day just relaxing or swimming in the sea. Here your B&B is also right on the beach and you are about one meter from the edge of the garden to the start of the dune sand. The horses will be tethered nearby and will patiently wait munching hay all night until the next morning. It is always nice to look outside the window and see the horses standing happily eating their hay and tethered to their running lines.
Day 6: We will set off also this day according to the tide and head off still due west and our destination is the remote Woody Cape Backpackers. Here you will experience a taste of the largest dune field in the southern hemisphere. We will be well stocked with refreshments and appreciate the fit little Arab crosses that carry us over some mountainous sand dunes. After a refreshing picnic lunch at the start of the farmland, we will ride along the spectacular “Golden Mile” dairy belt with amazing views miles out to Sea of Bird Island viewed from the windswept slopes of the rolling grassy hills. Our route will descend off the slopes and take us down into the dune forest area where the lodge is situated. Here the swimming pool is always very welcome to wash away the heat and dust of the day. The bar and eating area is at the pool and there is a very relaxing atmosphere at this remote stop. The horses love this stop and are allowed to run freely and by now we are part of their herd and although they are fenced off in a large area they normally hang around the pool area near their riders and munch on the short grass. Here the views from the nearby lookout are fantastic and we will enjoy sundowners and snacks while sitting on the high dunes watching the waves breaking miles down the coast as the darkness closes in. Dinner is served in the open bar area with horses quietly grazing nearby just beyond the campfire.
Day 7: Today we will explore the forest and farms and travers hills and dales and spectacular views are the order of the day. We will leave the horses grazing in the fields adjacent the forest and step into a wonder world of giant trees and vines teaming with life and sounds. Here you will find an abundance of animals like Bushpig, Bushbuck, Kudu, Lynx, Leopard, Vervet Monkeys, a large variety of birds and hundreds of insect’s snakes and spiders! You might glimpse the brightly coloured Knysna Touraco but here you normally hear much more than you see. Here we will examine plants and animal tracks and learn about some of the useful survival tricks that humans in this area have known about since before Europeans arrived. We will enjoy a picnic deep in the forest and then make our way back to the horses and then back to the same lodge for a swim or afternoon siesta followed by sundowners and dinner where we will sit around the campfire sharing yarns until sleep beckons.
Day 8: This day we normally get up bright and early and saddle up the horses and head back towards the sea and Cannon Rocks, which are 11 miles (17 km) and a good couple of hours riding away. Depending on the tide we like to do this ride with plenty of canters and few stops. This being the last day of your horseback riding vacation we are flexible and work around flight times. A lunch of cold meat and salads will be served and there will be an opportunity to have a shower before you leave for the airport. By now you will be worn out and your recent urge to be on a horse will be temporarily satisfied!
All home cooked. Vegetarian/ vegan on request.
Beach and safari riding, game and birdlife viewing, swimming
Rich history, pristine coastline, abundant sea and birdlife.