Horseback Safaris in Natal's World Heritage sites
Experience our fantastic scenery and ride close up with our 'Big Game'
After your arrival at King Shaka International airport, Durban, you collect your hire car and transfer by road to the foothills of the southern Drakensburg Mountains. But to the base of the Pass only below the famous road shown here-
Drakensburg or Dragon Mountains in Afrikaans, the mountains are the uKhahlamba (Barrier of spears) to the Zulu. The Zulu in the early 1800s sent Impis or armies throughout southern Africa where they wiped out the local populations and brought back to Zululand all the riches – maize, cattle, women – of the defeated nations. Only the Sotho on top of the impenetrable 'barrier of spears' escaped the ravages of the Zulus remaining independent of South Africa to this very day.
The Barrier of Spears is not actually as inpenetrable as the Zulus thought. Ignoring the manmade and world famous Sani Pass route to reach the heights and modern day Lesotho, we are going to take you there via an old game trail. You may ride for hours without seeing another person apart from our group. You will be surrounded by mountains, valleys and the big African sky.
This is a three day trip in the 'old Africa'. We shall overnight in 'basic' accommodation. We are many kilometres from any mains electricity and the running water sometimes is more consistent than at others. All part of the 'Real Africa' experience.
King Shaka airport to Sani Pass, 245 kms 3 hours drive.
After a full English breakfast, we mount up at the base of the Bushman's Nek Pass. The day's ride involves climbing 1,000 metres through incredible rock formations and beautiful views for 5 hours – which time includes breaks for rest and for lunch.
Again a full breakfast prepares us for the day's ride. Passing through Sehlabatebe village, we ride down to the river and follow it through the gorge. There are lots of opportunites to see Bushman paintings some of which are thousands of years old. Overnight is in a local Basotho village.
We return to base by a largely different route passing through the Valey of the Wild Horses and stopping for a while at the Tsoelikane waterfalls. Overnight at basecamp. All meals are provided for Day 1 - Day 4.
You transfer by road from the southern Drakensburg to Champagne Castle Valley in the northerly section of the mountains.
190kms 3 hours drive.
Dinner is a traditional South African Braaivleis (Bar-B-Q).
Full day horse trail in the Drakensberg mountains brings us to the Bell Park, Culfargie area, with breaktaking view over the Champagne and Cathkin valley.
5/6 hrs riding - Lunch on route.
Dinner is at the nearby Thokosiza Restaurant.
After breakfast we go out for an other full day ride in an other area of the Drakensberg starting from the farm. With visit of 2 bushmen caves.
5/6 hrs riding with lunch on route.
Transfer by road to Royal Natal Park - 94 kms and 1 hour 45 minutes drive.
Accomodation is in a self catering bungalow in the park at Thendele camp. Your bungalow has a full kitchen and all meals are self catered. Thendele Camp has spectacular viws of the Amphitheatre - a 5km long, 1,000 metre high rock wall. Mount aux Sources at it's highest point is the source of 5 major rivers. The Tugela River plunges 948 metres in 5 clear leaps making it the second highest waterfall in the world though recent measurements at Angel Falls suggest ours is actually THE highest waterfall in the world..
6 hour ride into the Reserve mountains.
3 hour morning ride in the Reserve.
Drive from Royal Natal Park to St Lucia village in the World Heritage Isimangaliso Wetlands Park.
517Kms 7 ½ hours
Accomodation is a hotel in St Lucia village on a Bed & Breakfast basis. St Lucia village has several top class restaurants (Seafood, Italian, Portuguese) as well as the usual 'Fast Foods'. The choice is yours.
Ride in St Lucia reserve. Please see here for details of the ride in St Lucia 'Big 5' Reserve.
A second day's ride in St Lucia 'Big 5' Park.
Self drive visit to Umfolozi/Hluhluwe Reserve. No-one should visit South Africa without visiting these Reserves which saved the White Rhino from extinction and are currently in the forefront of efforts to save the Black Rhino from that fate.
St Lucia has the 'Big 5' but lions are located far north of where we ride. Man on horseback is not seen as either foe or food by Leopard, Cheetah, Rhino, Elephant or Buffalo. Lion see man on horseback as a tasty human Hors d'Oeuvres with main course horse to follow. Hluhluwe/Umfolozi have lots of lion throughout the reserves making horseback visits impossible.
Drive from St Lucia to King uShaka airport, Durban
2 ½ hours 220 kms. Flight home.
Notes on your Safari:-
You are going via an official border post into Lesotho on Day 2 which is a country completely independent from South Africa, so you must have your passport with you.
In our wintertime (May – September) warm clothing and good boots are essential.
We are in Africa but at sometimes at altitude and the evening particularly can be very cold.
In our summer, a good sun screen and a hat protecting the head, face and neck are essential. Experienced local riders carry army surplus water bottles or - the latest fashion - an army 'camelback' water container.
Total road mileage 1,266 kms