Day 1, Sunday
Welcome in Johannesburg! We will go straight to our first attraction, the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria. Special horses are waiting for us already: the so called Boerperds, well known for their sure footedness, agility and friendly character. They take us around in the nature reserve surrounding the Monument where we are able to spot zebras, wildebeest and antelopes from horseback.
After our visit the Monument itself, we do a short Pretoria city tour and head towards east.
In the quaint little town of Dullstroom, we spend our first night. The rolling grassy hills and mountain streams are reminding of the Scottish highlands. The chefs of our lodge will spoil us with a three course dinner.
Traveling distance and what’s included:
About 300km, entrance Voortrekker Monument, one hour horseback ride, visit Unions Buildings Pretoria, accommodation and dinner (Dunkeld Equestrian Estate, Dullstroom)
Day 2, Monday
After a scrumptious breakfast, the Estate’s horses await us to take us through the magnificent landscape of Dullstroom.
After a short refreshment we visit the panorama route: the Blyde-river-canyon is the third largest canyon in the world and renowned for its scenic beauty. Waterfalls, spectacular view points and rock formations are waiting for us.
From here, we leave towards the South African Lowveld, where the famous Kruger National Park is situated. Our lodge where we spend the next two nights is right next to the Olifants river (elephant river) and we may be able to see hippos and crocodile from our own veranda. This is Africa as we know it from movies – the acacia trees, the savanna, home of the Big Five. What sounds of the bush are we going to hear tonight, …hyenas, jackals or even lions?
About 300km, entrances, accommodation and dinner (Bushriver lodge, Hoedspruit)
Day 3, Tuesday
Close to our lodge , African Dream Horse Safaris is waiting for us. The owner Traci will take us for a ride for about three hours on her well kept horses (various breeds) and we can experience game like zebras, wildebeest and giraffes from horseback.
After our ride, we have a light lunch and head off to see the Big 5 live. The private game reserve Kapama stretches over 17 000 hectares and is home not only to the Big 5 but also to the rare cheetah. There, we go on an open safari vehicle game drive for about three hours and will also enjoy a sundowner.
Back home at our lodge, a proper bush dinner under the open wide African sky is waiting for us.
About 100 km, breakfast, 2 hours horseback ride, refreshment, game drive in the open safari vehicle, accommodation and dinner (Bushriver lodge)
Day 4, Wednesday
After breakfast, we depart for the Kingdom of Swaziland, one of South Africa’s landlocked neighbours. Swaziland is a sovereign state and one of the last proper monarchies found on earth. Here we will spend the next two days in one of Swaziland’s biggest game reserves, the Mlilwane Game park. This is home to both our next riding trail and the quaint Reilly’s Rock lodge, our accommodation for the next two nights.
Arriving in the late afternoon, will still leave time for a walk or a game drive or just to relax in a beautiful setting.
About 250 km, accommodation and dinner (Reilly’s Rock Lodge, Mlilwane Swaziland)
Day 5, Thursday
Today we will meet the friendly team from Chubeka Trails. Their horses are mainly thoroughbreds. Our ride through the splendid nature reserve will be about three to four hours, with breaks to give the horses and ourselves time to rest and enjoy the scenery.
The rest of the day may be used for walks, game drives or a ride on a mountain bike, or simply relax and enjoy tranquility and beauty of nature.
No driving (except game drives), breakfast, 3 -4 hours horseback ride, accommodation and dinner (Reilly’s Rock Lodge)
Day 6, Friday
We leave Swaziland behind and are heading towards the Indian ocean. The little town of St. Lucia is situated directly at the iSimangaliso-Wetland park, a UNESCO world heritage site. Nature there is unique and stunningly beautiful: from the estuary one can observe hippos and crocodile, at the beach you might see wales and turtles, and you have the lush vegetation of the tropical rain forest. So here we have the opportunity to watch game from horseback and also enjoy a proper gallop at the beach! Our rides will be scheduled according to the time of the tides. In the evening, we can listen to the ocean and enjoy a fish BBQ at our lodge. Our riding time in St. Lucia will be about four hours.
About 380 km, breakfast, horseback riding (about 4 hours in two days) accommodation and dinner (Forest Lodge, St. Lucia)
Day 7, Saturday,
Today we will have a day to explore St. Lucia and the park, – horseback riding, going for a long walk on the beach, swimming, go on a speed boat trip or relax at the pool. (optional activities).
About 40 km, breakfast, horseback ride, accommodation and dinner (forest lodge).
Day 8, Sunday
From St. Lucia we depart for the buzzling city of Durban. During a short city tour we will have the opportunity to taste some of the typical curry dishes and enjoy the Golden Mile next to the ocean. Later in the afternoon, we arrive at our luxurious Hartford Hotel, which is situated right next to a world famous stud, the Summerhill stud, which is producing the finest racing horses. In the evening we will be spoilt with a 5 course gourmet dinner.
About 330 km, breakfast, accommodation and dinner (Harford Hotel, Mooi-River)
Day 9, Monday
Today a very special horseback ride is waiting for us: at the “Zulu Waters Game Reserve” we can approach not only antelope, zebras and warthogs, our reliable Appaloosa horses might also take us next to some rhinos and buffalos! We will spend about three hours in the 3500 hectare big private game reserve.
The rest of our day we may either spend at the lodge, enjoying the luxurious surroundings (or the spa?) or we visit the Nelson Mandela Museum near Howick.
About 50 km, breakfast, horseback ride (about three hours), accommodation and dinner (Harford Hotel)
Day 10, Tuesday
After breakfast we enjoy a tour of the Summerhill stud and their famous thoroughbred stallions. Then once again we will go to Zulu Waters game reserve, where we can either go for another horseback ride or enjoy an open safari vehicle game drive or a bush walk.
From here, we move towards the magnificent mountains, a fascinating view of the Drakensberge is waiting for us. Our next hosts, Chantal and Vaughn, the owner of the Berghouse Cottages, are going to spoil us this evening.
About 140 km, breakfast, horseback ride or game drive, accommodation and dinner (Berghouse, Bergville)
Day 11 and 12, Wednesday and Thursday
From Bergville we drive towards northwest to the province freestate. Moolmanshoek is not only a farm but also a nature reserve. Wiesmann Nel, the owner, is breeding long distance horses, and has more than 300 horses growing up and living free in this wild environment. These horses are able to climb slopes and move through a terrain which might seem impossible or frightening first.
Today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow we can enjoy long rides, climbing mountains on horse back, help Wiesmann bringing in herds of young horses, go visit the meerkats (very rare to spot!), enjoy nature, and of course, also the chef will spoil us properly.
About 230 km, breakfast (2x), horseback rides (about 8 hours), dinners (2x), accommodation (Moolmanshoek, Ficksburg)
Day 13, Friday
Early in the morning, we go for a horseback ride. After a hearty breakfast, we will have our last little road trip and reach Johannesburg again, from where you fly back home.
About 380 km, breakfast, horseback ride, transfer to O.R. Tambo international airport.