How well do I have to be able to ride?
Our horses are of a very high quality and are well schooled. Our 6 to 10 night holiday is for riders who have ridden before and are comfortable and confident at a trot and canter. The horses are gentle and reliable enough for the holiday rider, but also of such a standard that the more experienced rider will have a good time. The trail pace varies from walking through the country side to enable good wild life viewing, long trots and canters on open plains, to fast gallops down the beaches if wanted. If in doubt it is a good idea to contact us and discuss your needs and expectations. We can put you in touch with another guest, probably in your own country, who has visited us in the past.
Is it all right for me to travel alone?
Our riding holiday is quite different from your usual package destination and many people travel alone. We only cater for small groups, so you soon get to know others during your stay with us. You are sure to meet and make new friends. There is no single supplement if you are prepared to share with someone of the same sex. We will try to provide you with your own separate bed room; however this is subject to availability. Horse riding holidays are a great way to meet other adventurous-and active people.
How safe is it on the ride?
Horse riding always has some inherent risks which is why safety is a priority with us. We regularly assess the quality and the temperament of the horses, maintenance of saddlery and equipment, safety briefing of riders, training and attitude of trail personnel, trail principles in force, quality of first aid/medical care available and we make adjustments as circumstances change. We fully comply with all local regulations and indeed the standard of our guiding is excellent.
How fit do I have to be?
If you choose to, it is possible to have a rest day if you are feeling stiff or tired. It is only on the last day of our trail that we have a full day in the saddle with a short break for lunch, otherwise there is plenty of time to relax and stretch during the day. If you do not ride on a regular basis, we suggest you go for a few weekend riding breaks or day rides to get fit. We know that in England unicorntrails.com can advise on just such rides. You will enjoy your holiday a tremendous amount more if you are riding fit.
Do I need any special passport, Visa, or health certificates?
A full passport valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of your return travel is essential. Please check with the South African Embassy or consulate in your home country for specific visa requirements. Health: The eastern Cape is Malaria free. However you are advised to consult your doctor before departure regarding health precautions recommended for travel to your destination. In the UK full information for health requirements for travelers are available from the Medical Advisory Service for Travelers Abroad, who can be reached on 0891 224 100.
Do I have to wear a safety hat?
We strongly recommend that you wear a hard hat when in the vicinity of horses. We have a selection, but it is always best to bring your own to ensure a good fit. We recommend you also bring a wide brimmed hat for protection from the sun before you leave.
Intermediate level riders who are comfortable at walk, trot and canter. The horses are fit and forward going but gentle and reliable enough for the holiday rider, and also of such a standard that the more experienced rider will have a good time. The trail pace varies from walking through the game reserve to enable good game viewing, long trots and canters on open plains, to optional fast gallops down the beaches.
Weight limit: The maximum weight for riders is 220 lbs (95 kg). We can accommodate heavier riders but reserve the right to charge a supplement, and riders will be required to alternate between two horses while on trail. We have one horse available that is able to carry about 100 kg’s and riders must accept that he is not quiet as fast as the other horse!
Age limit: Competent riders of any age are welcome.
HORSES AND TACK
The horses are selected and trained for trail riding with great care; they are the other half of the team that makes your holiday a fantastic experience. Just as your guides are professional and know the area in which they operate, so the horses are familiar with the environment and conditions in which they are ridden. Each horse is handpicked and trained for trail riding. They are sturdy, comfortable to ride, beautiful, forgiving, easy to ride and control, yet lively to command and enjoy their work.
The saddles are especially designed for trail riding by Leon Liversage. The saddle distributes the weight equally on the horses back and is very comfortable for the rider. The design with a high pommel and cantle makes one sit straight automatically and is therefore better for you and the horse. Each horse has its own saddle to ensure a comfortable-and perfect fit.
Each saddle is equipped with a splash-proof saddlebag carrying 2 water bottles and can hold a camera and other essentials while out riding for the day. The tack and equipment is scrupulously maintained.
Temperatures in summer: 15-26° C (60-80° F) with highs up to 32° C (90° F) occasionally in Dec, Jan and Feb.
Temperatures in winter: 10-22° C (50-70° F)
January / February: It’s summer, and the weather is hot & humid with afternoon thunder showers, we have to be aware of flooding rivers! While riding, one cools of by swimming the horses in the sea and lagoons.
March: Days are long and warm, still some chances of rain as the wet season tapers off. The riding is good and the sun is not as harsh.
April / May : Autumn, with warm days and blue skies. Good riding weather.
June. July / August: Winter days are dry and warm, with cool nights. The sun sets early, but the weather is so fine you can be out on your horse all day. Good riding weather.
September: The end of winter. It can be windy and wet.
October / November / December: Lovely time of year, everything is green and fresh as the spring rains bring relief to the parched earth. Riding is mostly fine during the day, with late afternoon rainstorms and we have to watch the river crossings. The temperatures are pleasant until around mid-December when the summer heat kicks in.
December/January is the summer & Christmas holidays. Trails are only available in the first two weeks of December and the last two weeks of January.
The price of the trip includes all meals, horses, tack, guides, accommodations and taxes. Includes road transfers from East London Airport & a back up vehicle on trail.
The standard gratuity is about 10%, but this amount is entirely at your discretion. The gratuity can be paid in US dollars, Euros or SA Rand. It should be given to the guide at the end of the safari, and will be split fairly among the trek staff.
Please have South African Rand available to pay your drink accounts at the hotel. Spa treatments and laundry is also payable direct to the hotels.
Guests are advised to have full medical insurance, and trip cancellation insurance.