New Zealand has taken over the mantle as the adventure capital of the world. From bungy jumping to rafting, from mountain biking to hiking. What people sometimes forget is that you can do all these activities and more, right here in Cape Town. We just don't shout about it as much.
A 30-minute drive from the centre of town past the elysian Constantia valley and over the mountain pass will take you to the sleepy community of Noordhoek. This rural outpost is perhaps most famous for its beach. The white sand stretches for over eight kilometres and is bordered by wetlands of the national park and the natural boundary of Chapmans Peak on one side and the man-made Kommetjie lighthouse on the other. The clarity of light is hypnotic. With the sun shining and views over the breaking Atlantic waves to Hout Bay, there is perhaps no more beautiful vista in the world.
The great director David Lean shot the beach scenes of the classic film "Ryan's Daughter" on this beach. It was supposed to be the west coast of Ireland, but as happens so often in that country, rain and no clear light was too much of an interruption, and so South Africa became Ireland.
With nature making its beauty so abundant and large, it is natural that so many locals ride and keep horses on their properties. There are several riding schools in the area, but Sleepy Hollow Horse Riding stands out. For over a decade, they have been pioneers in South Africa in hippotherapy and riding for the disabled. For the abled but not so competent riders like myself, they organise outrides on the beach on a daily basis.
Under the watchful Germanic eye of my instructor Nadine, I mounted their largest Frisian horse, Black Velvet, and after a short walk past several residential properties, we meandered through the dunes to the vast expanse of white beach. The winter rains provide large pools of water to trot through and arrive on an endless tract of sand. We headed to the skeletal remains of the SS Kakapo, a steamship that has been wrecked on this beach since 1900. The wreck provided the furthest point we travelled down the beach, and we turned around, cantering back westwards. I try to bluster over my lack of skill with enthusiasm on the saddle but the ever watching Nadine helped to correct my posture.
I must admit I was distracted by the view: the sea giving out to a beach, then to wetlands and finally, magnificent mountain slopes, densely overgrown with green coastal fynbos. Your mind does wander over the ride; sitting high on your horse looking at such vast and pristine nature. We dismounted back at the yard and for myself, with a certain tightness in my thighs. The yard has a certain harmony and tranquillity; dogs were lazing on the grass with horses grazing overlooked by the mountain range. I could not think of a better way to spend four hours.
My thanks once again to the team at Sleepy Hollow.
Horse Riding In Cape Town by Uyaphi.com
- Kruger Family Friendly LodgesThese are our favourite lodges and camps in and around the Kruger Park that offer family-friendly facilities and activities. Most lodges say that they take kids but there is only a handful that have the facilities to keep them busy, these lodges offer daily activities, kids safari options and baby sittings options.
- Romantic Kruger Park LodgesWhen it comes to romance these are our best options. Lodges that do not take children, lodges that offer privacy, large rooms with lots of space and large baths and outdoor showers. This is what romance in the African bushveld should be. Perfect for honeymooners, those in love or those wanting to fall in love.
- Best Baths in AfricaYou can never be as relaxed as you are as in a bath. Now image that bath having one fantastic view out over the plains of Africa with wildlife and birdlife passing you by. That is what this page is all about, simply "The best Baths in Africa".
- Africa's Ultimate Bucket ListIt has become very fashionable to compile a list of things to see and do before one meets their maker. Here at Uyaphi.com we already have our "Ultimate Bucket List" of things in Africa that we have to do and see.
- Best Spas in the KrugerLife on safari is not always about game drives and walks 24/7, there should always be a bit of relaxation time, and this is where a Spa comes into play. Take a few hours off to indulge in a tranquil Spa treatment at one of these excellent lodges. All of these lodges offer in-house facilities and a broad range of treatments.
- Africa's Most Luxurious LodgesIt might come as a surprise to many that some of the most luxurious and desired accommodation establishments on earth are found right here in Africa. This is our showcase of the most luxurious options that we have on offer.