What’s So Addictive About the Wild Coast?

Posted on April 24, 2024

The Wild Coast

In a little-known corner of South Africa’s Eastern Cape lies a hidden gem. The Wild Coast boasts endless stretches of pristine beaches and dramatic coastal scenery, and yet it draws relatively few tourists. It’s this winning combination which means the area is home to the best beach riding anywhere in the world.

The Wild Coast is a hidden gem (image credit: Louisa)

Riding on the Wild Coast

On a Wild Coast riding holiday, not only will you explore deserted beaches, but you’ll also journey along tracts of unspoilt coastline, cliff-top paths, rolling hills and rural Xhosa villages. These trail rides were originally established by Julie-Anne Gower, a lifelong equestrian and successful endurance rider. Julie-Anne now has a team of experienced guides who lead the rides, whilst she focuses on managing the operation.

Following rural trails (image credit: Louisa)

Chosen for their temperament and reliability, Julie-Anne’s much-loved horses are easy to control, yet responsive and really enjoy their work. The herd is made up of a variety of breeds including Boerperd, Percheron and Anglo-Arabs, mostly standing between 15hh and 16hh.

Horses & riders catching the ferry (image credit: Louisa)

Wild Coast Addicts?

With such spectacular beaches, wonderful horses and riding, it’s little wonder that the Wild Coast tempts riders back again and again. Now we’re going to hear from three ITS guests who are committed Wild Coast fans…some might even say they are Wild Coast addicts!

Donna has recently returned from her fourth visit to the Wild Coast. Here are Donna’s highlights:

“This is the ultimate beach ride. Lots of long canters, and the famous Wavecrest gallop. Fabulous riding in the sunshine.

The horses are all forward-going, fit, healthy and fantastic. Tack is in excellent condition and the saddles are comfortable. Phil’s horse just loved the water, heading into the waves every time he hit the beach.

Phil D

Phil enjoying the water (image credit: Donna)

Accommodation throughout the trail is excellent, as is the food – plentiful and good quality. We love the little hotels en-route.

The guides are great and really make the riding special.

Oh how we love you Wild Coast! We keep going back as the ride is fabulous. We loved every minute and we’ll be booking for another two years’ time!”

Enjoying another Wild Coast adventure (image credit: Donna)

Tony has ridden on the Wild Coast an incredible eight times. He not only goes back for the deserted beaches and fast riding, but for the love of a certain four-legged beauty called Tzarina:

“62 km/hr gallops along never-ending stunning deserted beaches – what’s not to recommend?


Blasting along the beach (image credit: Tony)

Without a doubt the top beach ride anywhere in the world. It just hits the spot for me in terms of great horses, great riding, stunning locations and last but not least, it is great value.

While not luxurious, the overnight stops are all in idyllic and isolated locations with views of the Indian Ocean so you get a real ‘away from it all’ feel.

As for the horses, I hit the jackpot. Tzarina lived up to already stratospheric expectations. We won two Wavecrest gallops by a country mile.

A thoroughly enjoyable ride and Tertia was an excellent guide, as usual.

The Wild Coast was great once again, which is why I keep going back, and will continue to do so.”


The best beach riding (image credit: Tony)

Linda has clocked up four Wild Coast holidays and says, “We had another amazing week – exciting, fun, fast riding on the beaches and lots of canters inland too. Challenging at times when negotiating rivers and steep inclines inland, relaxing to meander through the villages.

Horses are amazing, sure footed, keen to run on the endless deserted sandy beaches but with brakes. They are a pleasure to ride and are clearly well loved and cared for.

Fantastic to ride along the beaches and cliffs while spotting whales and dolphins. We had a blast!”

A rider’s paradise (image credit: Tony)


Finally, let’s hear from ITS clients who were on their first trip to the Wild Coast:

Having been on a whopping 23 ITS trips, Adrian has a great deal of riding holiday experience from around the world. He says, “A fantastic beach trail and excellent quality horses. Fast riding over beaches and grassland, quite a lot of fast canters and an occasional gallop. One of the best trail rides I have done.”

Sarah has done 17 holidays with ITS and tells us, “Amazing horses, scenery, organisation, great guides. It had it all. One of the best horses I have been paired with on a trip. The riding was fast, with lots of canters on the beach and inland. I normally don’t return to rides as there are so many new ones to do, but I think I’ll be back.”

Time for a snack (image credit: Tony)

Having been on 9 ITS holidays, David says, “Cantering, and occasionally galloping along deserted beaches was an experience to be remembered. And the inland riding, with its river crossings was also memorable. For those riders who like many hours in the saddle daily, and periods of long sustained canters, I couldn’t recommend this ride more heartily.”

Louisa, who has been on numerous riding trips says, “Having been privileged enough to ride in some extraordinary places around the world, this ride really is one of the best. Endless canters along empty beaches, crossing tidal inlets, fit horses, super-comfy saddles and one of the best trail horses I have ever had the pleasure of riding. Stunning scenery, exceptional horses, well paced riding and with enough downtime to kick back a little. Most of the people I rode with had ridden there multiple times, and I have a feeling I will also be one of them soon!”

Another exciting day draws to a close (image credit: Louisa)

A huge thank you to everyone who has contributed their feedback and images. We’re very pleased to have so many Wild Coast addicts!

What are the Options?

There are three main options for riding on the Wild Coast. For fit, experienced riders there is the week-long Wild Coast Adventure Trail which features some longer days in the saddle (c. 5 hours). The Qolora Trail doesn’t go as far up the coast, so this is a bit more of a relaxing seven night option. There’s also a four night mini-trail, which is perfect if you want to combine beach riding with a safari, or the Cape Winelands.

How Do I Book?

If you’d like to learn more about riding on the Wild Coast, please call one of the In The Saddle team on +44 (0) 1299 272 997 or email rides@inthesaddle.com

2 responses to “What’s So Addictive About the Wild Coast?”

  1. Fika Perié says:

    I was booked on this trip after my Botswana trip but due to Covid I was the only one who could go (UK residents were forbidden) so my trip was cancelled. I’d like to go although not looking forward to the long plane trip. when in 2025 is the best time to go?

    • Abigail Wood says:

      Hi Fika, thank you for your comment, it is lovely to hear from you. The Wild Coast offers good riding pretty much all year. We’ll email you directly with the 2025 dates.

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