If you are interested in horses and horse safaris you will find yourself hard pressed to find a region in South Africa that offers more whether in the mountains, the bush or across the battlefields. The Drakensberg presents opportunities for both the experienced and the beginner to ride this magnificent countryside on horseback.
Horse safaris in the Drakensberg are a great way to spend the day, and the full length of the Berg is negotiable on horseback.
If you are a novice rider, your mountain holiday is the ideal time to acquire some horse riding skills, as there are numerous bridle paths that can be comfortably managed by the inexperienced horse rider.
If you are confident in the saddle, this is an opportunity to explore the foothills and experience the true magic of the mountains.
Almost all the resorts in the Berg offer guided horse safaris, and several include overnight adventure safaris for groups of five or more.
Great horse riding experiences need not be restricted to the mountains. There are grassland and bushveld rides that are simply too good to miss.
Game rides bring you closer to game than you can possibly achieve on foot. Imagine that incredible feeling as you move amongst a large herd of giraffe or wander with a white rhino across open savannah. Or simply view a large herd of impala against a backdrop of shimmering water and mountain at Spionkop Dam.
Then there are battlefields experiences. Horses were used extensively in the various wars to move quickly and effectively across this rolling terrain. Today groups of up to 20 horses can be hired to trot across the bushy thornveld near Winterton, where you can ford the Tugela River at Skietsdrift, the point at which Andries Pretorius and the original Voortrekkers crossed the river on their way north, before they held off the Zulus at the battle of Blood River. Or you can take a battlefields guide and ride to the various battle sides.
There are vaious overnight options available, including a two day horse trail that will take you through rolling, bushy hills, past tall aloes that flower golden in season, to the high grasslands on top of the historic Spionkop mountain.
Llama trekking is an unusual but comfortable hiking option. Whilst it is your pack rather than yourself in the saddle, it is a great way to explore the countryside.
Whilst the average hiker can handle about 16 kgs on his back (which increases with every step), the Llama is a pack animal able to carry up to 40 kgs with ease. Admittedly an ugly animal that is seldom seen to smile, it's neertheless a friendly, sure-footed worker that will carry your tent, camping eyuipment, food and perhaps that extra case of beer without complaint. Hikers are trained in Llama handling before trekking out for a day or two across the beautiful Ingogo area near Newcastle.
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