Best Horse Trails in South Africa

©Roger de la Harpe
Horse riding in the Drakensberg, KwaZulu-Natal.

Guests on a South African holiday will be happy to know that there are various great horse trails to explore all around the country. Whether you prefer the beach route, bushveld safari or rolling grass plains adventure, Mzansi has got you covered!

Beach Routes

©Roger de la Harpe
©Jacques Marais
©Jean Tresfon

The coastline of South Africa is as expansive as it is beautiful. SA boasts an array of scenic horse trails along both the Eastern and Western shoreline, with gorgeous views of the country’s indigenous biomes, beaches and coastal mountain ranges. And if you are lucky, you might even see whales or dolphins frollicing in the waves!

Starting at the top of the East coast, you find many trails along KwaZulu-Natal’s beaches. The Hibiscus South Coast offers beach rides along Marina Beach in Southbroom, and Iphiva Beach at the northern end of St Lucia has trails along the pristine white beach, perfect for a sunset photo opportunity. Durban’s stretch of beach make for an ideal horse ride, with time to stop for a light lunch while you admire the view. 

Further south lies Kenton-on-Sea, which is a scenic ride suited to both novice and experienced riders. There is a lot to discover, like a cross on top of one of the headlands, which was erected by Bartholomew Diaz in 1488. The Overberg is the home of the southern right whale, which makes it a great source of trails for marine life lovers. You will also get to see the Klipgat Cave in the Walker Bay Nature Reserve, which has some of the oldest remains of modern man in South Africa and the world.

More to the west coast side, Cape Town has splendid routes along its coast that caters to the individual rider’s needs. Noordhoek beach is a long stretch of beach, great for galloping through the cool waters. Up the West Coast, the are trails from Langebaan that will entice any beach fanatic. 

Although there are not a lot of indigenous forests in SA, there are a few beautiful spots that offer horse trails. The Tsitsikamma forest in Knysna, Western Cape is a worthwhile destination to discover on horseback. 

Bushveld Safaris

©Roger de la Harpe
©Roger de la Harpe
©Roger de la Harpe

If you are heading inland, expect a fun horseback safari like no other. The South African bushveld is alive and well with indigenous fauna and flora that’s definitely worthwhile exploring. 

The Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces have scenic trails that lead through the Lowveld, grass plains, mountain ranges and sparse landscapes where an array of wildlife can be spotted. The Waterberg Biosphere Reserve horse trail will take you past a beautiful lake, and you’ll see game like hippo, giraffe, kudu, eland, zebra and impala. 

The Drakensberg in KwaZulu-Natal has a network of horseback trails that go through nature reserves and conservancies. You can combine a trail with game viewing, bird watching or hiking. It’s for any and all adventure lovers. Gauteng is home to various reserves with trails on offer, as well as the North West Province. Expect to see scenic natural landscapes and plenty of animals. 

The inland areas of the Overberg in the Western Cape has trails through the indigenous fynbos biome, and mountain routes with gorgeous views of valleys. Hotspots are the Witzenberg Valley, Berg River Valley and the Cederberg Conservancy.

By Carla Lottering