The African Horse Company, established in Cape Town and operating in the Overberg region (Hermanus to Gansbaai), offers overnight horse trails in co-operation with several private nature reserves and national parks.
Trails meander between the Walker Bay Whale Conservancy and Cape Agulhas, Africa's southern-most point, now part of the newly formed Cape Agulhas National Park. The Overberg-horse-trails of the African Horse Company are part of the Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative (ABI), an ambitious project aimed at a combination of conservation of vast amounts of pristine mountain and coastal reserves on the one hand and the development of sustainable nature based tourism activities on the other hand.
African Horse Co evolved out of the Oude Molen Farm Project.
History of the Africa Horse Company:
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 the African Horse Company to ride all through the city from Pinelands to Hout Bay, Constantia to Scarborough, 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 fulfill its age-old purpose of partnering humanity on its way.
The African Horse Company offers an opportunity to experience the horse in its role of travelling partner and friend. AHCo has established itself in the Western Cape specifically in Cape Town, Hermanus, Stanford and the Overberg area. On offer are one to three hour beach and mountain outrides and two to ten day overnight trails catering for beginners to advanced riders.
Through the fynbos of the Cape Floral Kingdom, (a world heritage site) the rides cover rugged mountain terrain and kilometres of wide beach and dune coastline. Horses used are South African crossbreeds, the bloodlines being Boerperd, Arab, Saddler and Friesian. The horses range freely as a herd and are fully adapted to the environment with regards to grazing, weather and terrain. Noted for their endurance and sure footing, these horses are the ideal partner and friend for many day trails.
Walshacres Farm Trails:
One to four hour rides in the Kleinriviersberg Mountains, Experience river and mountain fynbos. Suited to all skill levels.
Details: Walshacres Farm is situated on the R43, fifteen minutes from Hermanus on the way to Stanford. We ride through private nature reserve along the Klein River and up into the mountains.
The one hour ride is ideal for big groups and beginners, following the river edge and returning through the valley fynbos.
The two hour ride climbs halfway up the mountain range giving stunning views of Kleinriver valley, the coastline and the mountains themselves. Rich in diverse fynbos this ride takes you along mountain paths down to farm tracks where the horses are able to stretch their legs and run. For advanced riders there is the opportunity to race cross-country through wooded areas, rivers and paths.
The four hour ride follows the path of the two hour and then climbs to the top of the mountain range. This is a taxing ride and suited to riders of some experience. Gallop along the mountain top with views to the North and South, West and East.
Mosaic Farm Trails:
One to six hour trails on 8 000ha of private farrn and coastal nature reserve. Travel through coastal dune fynbos, along the beach onto lagoon edge and home to the estuary. This is a unique journey through the entire ecosystem of this peninsula.
Details: The main attraction of Mosaic Farm is the three hour beach ride. This ride travels deep into untouched coastal fynbos areas with very little human impact. Incredible birdlife and pristine fynbos make for a strong nature experience. From the dunes, you access Die Plaat beach. This is a 20km stretch of beach far away from the maddening crowd. Fishermen speckled here and there, are the few people you will come across.
Gallop the beach or stop to swim. From August to December this ride offers some of the best Whale watching from horseback in the world. Leaving the beach we cross a small river and make our way home along the lagoon edge. The diversity of flora and fauna, along with the open terrain are ideal for horse riders of medium to advanced experience.
One and two hour rides available along the estuary and into the "Downs", the rolling hills covered in fynbos, alive with birds.
For the keen rider, a six hour ride is available along the beach to the "Gruis Duine" the dune system adjacent to De Kelders. This is a special ride including swimming opportunities and a lunch.
African horse company offers guided horse trails through the most pristine and varied parts of nature in the overberg. These one to ten day horse trails are all inclusive. The horses are boerperd-arab crosses, remarkable for their endurance and ability to move over testing terrain. Good meals and all other snacks and drinks of the day are taken care of and we'll have your favourite wine waiting for you in the overnight accommodation. Along the trails, you will stay in spacious, very well equipped and charming accommodation in the middle of nature. All accommodation has been selected with an eye to its secluded, beautiful and tranquil location. The guides are very experienced horse riders and horse riding guides with an intimate knowledge of the trails and the nature in the area.
The Africa Horse Company is equipped with English Style tack. Saddles used are: General purpose English, Australian Stock, Universal military and Trail Riders. No Western available. Horses are ridden with snaffle bits. Hard Hats are provided for.
Equipment riders should bring:
- Long pants and a closed shoe preferably with heel;
- Rain/sun protection;
- Overnight trails; and
- Saddlebags water containers, cooking equipment all provided for.
Personal clothing and equipment to bring:
- Two sets of suitable clothing, one for day one for night;
- Remember weather fluctuates along the coast, always have some warmth;
- Rain/sun protection- Do not forget a cap or hat;
- Sleeping bag, warm jacket;
- Chaps or half chaps (half chaps can be rented on request);
- Jodphurs (if desired);
- Gloves (if desired);
- Good boots or shoes; and
- Swimsuit for summer trails.
African Horse Co offers a unique opportunity to experience whales along the beach and proteas in the mountains, follow the routes of the early settlers in the Cape, stay in rustic farm cottages or up-market guesthouses, savour the wines and cuisine of the Cape, swim with your horse in the ocean and sleep under the stars in a truly beautiful part of South Africa.