Horseriding in the Drakensberg

south africa

Khotso Lodge and horse trails is a stunning farm in KZN, South Africa. The Lesotho border is about 45 minutes away and the farm borders on world heritage site the Drakensberg, which means spectacular views. Khotso means peace, and when you arrive at the farm you’ll understand why. Besides the nature, there is another very important reason to come to Khotso, the horses! As of right now, there are 92 Khotso horses, nearly all of them are born and raised on the farm. Most of the horses are Basotho ponies, a very sturdy and reliable breed that knows how to climb rocks and go down cliffs better than anyone. There are also a lot of Arab crosses, bred for extra endurance, and thoroughbred crosses! When you come for a ride at Khotso, you’re bound to find your dream horse there. There are many different rides to do on the farm and outside so let’s get started!

Horse riding on the farm

One, two and three hours rides

The shortest ride at Khotso is the one hour ride, which takes you around the mountain where the horses live on. This ride is for anyone over the age of 8, no matter their riding skills. If you do have a kiddie under the age of 8, Khotso also offers pony rides where the ponies are led by the guides. The 2 hour ride goes all the way up to the highest point on the farm called Eland’s peak, where (as it says in the name) you can occasionally spot Eland. The views from the top of Elands peak are absolutely stunning, you can see the entire farm and so much more. The three hour ride also takes you to Eland’s peak and then continues down to a natural rock pool and waterfall where you have lunch and where you can have a dip in the mountain water. When you’re going to stay at Khotso you can either call and make a booking for a ride or just book when you’re at the farm, as long as you give them 1.5 hours notice so the grooms can get your horses ready for you. The weight limit for all rides is 90 kgs. Make sure to let them know at reception if you’re an experienced rider! While all the horses are extremely reliable, there are definitely some that are a lot of fun for experienced riders.

Horse riding in the Drakensberg South Africa at Khotso lodge and horse trails
Climbing one of the peaks on the farm called Engagement Hill.
Horse riding in the drakensberg south africa at khotso lodge and horse trails
Riding in one of the fields on the farm.

The sunset ride

Khotso's sunset ride includes sundowner drinks and snacks at Eland’s peak where you watch the sun go down behind the Drakensberg. This ride is one of the nicest rides at the farm in my opinion as the views are indescribable when you’re watching the sun go down behind the mountains. The ride is 2.5 hours long with a 30 to 45 minute break on top of the peak. Before arriving at the sundowner spot, there are opportunities to canter across the top of the mountain on which the rest of the 92 horses are enjoying their afternoon off. You’ll be riding back down to the farm while the last light slowly disappears behind the Drakensberg.

The full day ride

Khotso's full day ride is definitely my favorite ride (however, the sunset ride comes pretty close). Whilst we do offer all the farm rides to beginners and also the full day ride, I do want to warn beginners they will definitely be sore after 5 hours of riding (worth it though). The full day ride takes you to all the most beautiful spots in the farm, starting with a ride around a mountain and by blues pool where you’ll have some great views. After this you ride down to a beautiful secluded forest where it’s possible to sometimes see Eland, buck and baboons. In the forest there are stunning paths to canter on and you will have lunch at a waterfall all the way in the back of the forest. The waterfall also has a pool to swim in. After lunch, you will ride out of the forest and ride up to Eland’s peak for more amazing views. Around 2pm you will start your descent back down to the paddock through the mountain where the 92 Khotso horsing and grazing and playing around.

Waterfall in the Drakensberg South Africa at Khotso lodge and horse trails
Visiting the waterfall on the full day ride.

Lesotho expeditions

The 3 day Lesotho ride is offered to anyone who is interested, it doesn’t matter if you’re incredibly experienced or never even been on a horse before. After a few hours in the saddle on the reliable Khotso horses and with the experienced Basotho guide, Charles, you will feel like a pro. The first day of riding takes you from Bushman’s nek border, through No-mans-land, all the way up the pass to Thamatu, where you’ll be staying the next 2 nights. The views and feeling you’ll get while on this ride are indescribable and you’ll only be able to understand how it feels to ride here after having done so. On the first day you’ll pass some stunning rock formations and amazing open plains for fast-paced riding. You’ll also be stopping on top of a mountain for a packed lunch, which you’ll be able to enjoy while watching the Drakensberg and hearing your horses graze in the background. When you arrive at the lodge after your first day of riding, your horse will be in the paddock right in front of the lodge enjoying a roll, his dinner and possibly a nap. You will be shown to your room while the ladies at the lodge are cooking up a delicious and hearty dinner for you to later enjoy with a glass of wine, candlelight and good conversations with the other guests! Beautiful starry nights. Day 2 of the ride will be a roundtrip down into a beautiful canyon which you can see in the picture below, even though it’s even more beautiful in real life. You’ll be having lunch at a natural rock pool with the opportunity to go for a swim. You’ll also have the opportunity to see some Bushman rock art. The ride on day 2 is shorter than day 1 and you’ll have lots of time to relax and have lunch and to recover from yesterday’s long ride. On day 3 it’s already time to head back down to South Africa, while on the ride you’ll be able to enjoy the spectacular, remote and mountainous terrain of the Drakensberg one more time.

horse riding in sehlabathebe national park lesotho
Just across the border of Bushmans Nek.
Horses grazing in the drakensberg south africa
The horses grazing at our lunch spot.

The last ride I will tell you about is the 7 day ride, please contact me if you are interested and we can schedule a (video) call so you can receive all the necessary information on the itinerary and how to book. This expedition is one of the most beautiful rides I have ever done, and the views have brought tears to my eyes almost every day. You will be riding through the untouched wilds and stunning flat planes of Lesotho with panoramic views of the Drakensberg, and staying in small villages where you’ll have an amazing time interacting with the people of Lesotho. The views are indescribable and even though it’s definitely a challenge (long hours in the saddle through rough terrain), it’s by far the best experience I’ve ever had on horseback. You’ll be riding over razorback mountains, through valleys with rivers and waterfalls, and overall just enjoying the stunning nature, just you and your horse. I honestly cannot express how breathtaking the 7 day expedition is, but I can say that if you’re looking for the ultimate horseback holiday, this is my top recommendation.

Horse climbing mountains in sehlabathebe national park lesotho
Climbing the razorback mountain on our way home from the 7 day ride.
Horse riding in the open field of sehlabathebe national park lesotho
Riding through the breathtaking open fields with lots of opportunities for fast-paced riding.

Volunteering in the Drakensberg

Khotso occasionally recruits volunteers for the farm, just send them an email at info@khotso.co.za to see if they’re currently recruiting, or contact me about the options. The work can be challenging at times as it is a farm and it’s important that you are willing to work hard and that you’re qualified. If you are, that’s amazing! You’ll have an absolutely amazing time volunteering at Khotso, meeting all the fantastic horses and working closely with the super friendly staff.

Horse and sheep in drakensberg South Africa at khotso lodge and horse trails
Feeding my favourite horse while my sheep sneaks a peek at the camera.

Accommodation

Accommodation at the farm is simple, comfortable and rustic. Please check out the different types of accommodation here, there’s a type of room for every kind of traveller! Whether you’re a solo backpacker, looking to camp, stay in a rondavel, ensuite or looking for group accommodation, there will be suitable accommodation for you.

If you are planning to travel more in South Africa, make sure to check out this post while planning your trip. I hope this article has been useful! If you have any questions feel free to comment, email or DM me on instagram, you can find my contact details under the contact button in the menu. If this article has been helpful please share it with your friends and don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter to receive more tips and be the first to know when I post new articles!

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