African Beauty From the Horses Back
Horseback riding trails and horse safari holidays, in the company of horses and in the balance with nature.
African Horse Company is an eco-adventure company that offers outrides and overnight trails, ranging from one day to ten days. Based in the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom, the terrain covers unspoiled white sandy beaches, fynbos, and vineyard-covered mountain slopes that offer you a fauna and flora feast for the eyes, mind, and soul. There is something truly special about the bond between horse and rider and something magical that happens on the rides. Memories that will be cherished for years to come are created and the trails are great for bird watchers, wildlife photographers, nature enthusiasts and those riders just needing to disconnect and gear down from their busy lifestyles.
Depending on the adventure you choose, rides can be from an hour up to 13 days.
Please clear age and weight restrictions with us when booking your horse rides.
Packages available including accommodation, horse rides, meals for the day and luggage transport.
closed shoe (preferably with a heel)
rain or sun protection
two sets of suitable clothing
something warm as the weather changes
rain and sun protection
cap or hat
good boot or shoe
swimsuit for summer trails
chaps or half chaps (can be rented)
jodphurs (if desired)
gloves (if desired)
All bookings to be made in advance. Nothing less than 20 days notice will be accepted.
All rates are quoted in South African Rand and are subject to change.
The full (accommodation) price is payable 8 weeks prior to arrival or –in the case of reservations made less than 6 weeks before arrival- a week after the invoice date
cancellations made 30-7 days prior to arrival: 50% of full accommodation payable
cancellations made 7-0 days prior to arrival: 100% of full accommodation payable
no provisional bookings are accepted 20 or less days prior to arrival
credit card fees will be added to the invoice amount for payments of STO prices with credit card
Click to See Additional Info on this Adventure
African Horse Company trails go through varying terrain. Distances of up to 45km a day will include beach, dune, rugged mountain, streams and wetlands. Through fields of fynbos, up rocky slopes or galloping on the beach, our horses need to be sure footed, fleet and enduring.
The horses used, and most suited, are South African cross breeds: Boereperd, Arab, Saddler and Friesian crosses.
The horses range as a natural herd over the 800 hectares of Farm 215 with an intimate instinctive knowledge of the local shrubs, herbs and grasses. Neither pads docked nor stabled, are they alert, in tune with their environment and free of stress, thereby ideally suited for the type of trails that we undertake. Ranging from 15.5 to 16.5 hands, they will carry a weight up to 95kg over testing terrain. There are 16 working horses with varying temperament and speed. Horses are available for Beginners up to advanced and extreme riders. New trail horses are only recruited from the herd. Once they are strong and developed enough, foals start to accompany their mothers on outrides and learn the trade “on the job”.
Temperament varies from bombproof to lively allowing for proper matching of rider skill to horse. This makes for a rewarding experience without pushing boundaries.
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 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 horseback 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 a 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.
African Horse Co evolved out of the Oude Molen Farm Project.
In 1996, an organic vegetable project began within the Valkenberg Hospital grounds in Observatory, Cape Town. Situated along the Black River, on the site of the first windmill in the Cape, the Oude Molen Farm was the perfect place to bring the history of the horse back into focus. Here horses are used to plough the land and a horse drawn wagon delivers vegetables into the suburb.
In January 2000, Oude Molen Stables riding school, started as an added attraction to the farm. This was an opportunity for families to bring their children to an environmentally aware and friendly area, where ponies and horses were available for a range of activities.
The next progression was exploration of the area. In keeping with the historical significance, routes were followed that the early Dutch and English settlers would have followed in their exploration of the Cape. This led us to ride all through the city from Pinelands to Hout Bay, Constantia to Scarborough, and Observatory to the Waterfront.
An opportunity arose to establish a horse trail entity in the Stanford-Hermanus Overberg region. The link was established between Oude Molen and Stanford and the African Horse Co was born. The focus is on the natural environment and on what roles the horse can play in these days of modern exploration.
The ethic underlying African Horse Co is one of bringing the horse back into modern society as working partner and friend.
We are witnessing a change in environmental management and seeing huge development in the protection and resuscitation of the nature in the Overberg.
AHCo hopes that the horse will play a large role in this new way forward. Projects, including tourism, alien clearing, ranging and maintenance of the land, are areas where the horse can fulfil its age old purpose of partnering humanity on its way.