In The Saddle’s Festive Round-up: Christmas in South Africa

Posted on December 23, 2021

Christmas in South Africa

If you’ve always wondered what it might be like to spend Christmas on horseback in snowy Iceland, or sunny South Africa, then you might enjoy our next few blog posts. In the run-up to Christmas, we’ll be sharing how ride operators around the world usually spend the festive season.

Next up is the Wild Coast, along the rugged Eastern Cape in South Africa.

Run up to Christmas

Christmas on the Wild Coast is summer holiday time in South Africa.  The small villages of Kei Mouth and Morgan Bay, where the Wild Coast riding holidays are based, erupt into buzzing holiday destinations.  The local population swells from a few hundred local residents to 1000’s and not a room or bed can be found.

The horses take a break from the week-long adventure trails and instead do shorter beach rides for the holiday makers.  Between Christmas and New Year, it can get a little crazy as these rides are normally fully booked.

This time is invaluable for the young horses as they learn how to relax.  The horses get desensitised to traffic, children, balls, kites, dogs and 101 other distractions. They are very spoilt by the children on holiday that bring them lots of carrots and hugs.  It is perfect “leg building work” and is also ideal for the horses that are coming back into work after a rest or injury. This year the “A Team” will work through December, whereas normally they would have had a holiday for a month after a busy year of long trails.

Christmas Eve

It is normally very busy on Christmas Eve with beach rides, deep sea fishing charters and jaunts up the Kei River on the river barge.  At sundowners, everyone gets together, pours a couple of ice cold drinks and sets up the Christmas tree.

Some of the Wild Coast staff and volunteers setting up the Christmas tree

Christmas Day

In the morning, the guides and volunteers go out to the horses to check they are all okay and give them a quick feed.  The horses have the day off to lounge around the paddock and hang out with their friends.  The staff go back to the house to change for Christmas breakfast.

Wild Coast traditions

At the Wild Coast, Christmas breakfast is a feast of good old fashioned bacon & eggs with loads of trimmings.  It involves lots of family and friends around a huge table with Buck’s Fizz, Christmas crackers, mince pies, chocolate and strawberries with whipped cream.

It’s traditional for each person at the table to make a small toast and gifts are passed around. Once the champagne is drunk and tummies are full, everyone gets to relax for the rest of the day. Then everyone heads to the beach which surely is the only thing you can do when you live on the Wild Coast.

The beautifully decorated Christmas table

Most memorable Christmas

At the Wild Coast, every Christmas is memorable.  It’s time to connect as a family and with close friends. A day to bring out the crystal and the silver and just appreciate being together.

Enjoying the sun at Christmas

Many thanks to Julie-Anne from the Wild Coast for sharing this lovely insight into Christmas in South Africa.

If you are interested in riding in South Africa, then please do email us on or call +44 1299 272 997 for more information.


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