Experience a place which combines exceptional horse riding and horsemanship with the beauty and tranquillity of the Waterberg. Whether you are looking for a calm retreat or a South African adventure, a warm welcome and great company awaits you here at Horizon lodge.
With over 80 horses we cater for all levels of rider. Offering a combination of riding with game, cattle mustering, polocross, cross country jumping, swimming with horses, western games, 3 day safari, round pen reasoning demonstrations and outrides over 15,000 hectares. Check out our new video for a taste of Horizon https://vimeo.com/136423203
Horizon Horseback Adventures
"Adventure, relaxation, excitement and great company seem inadequate words to describe the best holiday we have ever had" Saddle Bag news, UK
Our emphasis at Horizon is on horses & horsemanship and we offer the widest variety of riding options you are likely to find anywhere in the world. We cater for all riding abilities and offer the ideal destination for those who truly love horses.
Horizon is situated in the stunning Waterberg mountains of northern South Africa. The Waterberg is renowned for its diversity of plant and bird life and has recently been declared a UNESCO biosphere reserve. Horizon is based on one of the oldest family farms in the mountains, Triple "B" Ranch. Set in this area of outstanding natural beauty, the ranch continues to operate as a working cattle, game and crop property and offers over 20 000 acres of superb riding country. Clear blue skies, breathtaking views, vast open spaces, provide the perfect setting for a magnificent variety of riding.
At Horizon we take great pride in the care and quality of our horses. Our herd comprises of Anglo-Arabs, Thoroughbreds, Boerperds and crossbreeds ranging in size from 14.1 - 16.3 hands. All of our horses are honest forward going and highly responsive. Many have been reared, broken and schooled at Horizon by our highly skilled horseman, Shane Dowinton. Shane has been using "round-pen-reasoning" techniques on young and problem horses for over 15 years.
With over 80 mounts to choose from, for a maximum of 10 guests, we are able to closely match horse to rider capability. Experienced riders will have a stimulating ride on an intelligent horse, while the novice rider will be able to build confidence as they are informally coached by both guide and mount. We use mainly customised McClellan saddles, which give a comfortable and secure western type ride. English and Australian stock saddles are also available.
In order to meet individual preferences, Horizon doesn't run to a set itinerary. We offer guidelines as to what we think you will enjoy each day, but the daily activities are organised to meet each client's specific requirements. Rides are organised into small groups so that experienced riders can enjoy stimulating and fast rides, whilst novice riders are brought on at a pace comfortable to them. Individual requests for private rides, flatwork coaching, cross country lessons or round pen demonstrating, can also be easily accommodated. A number of non-riding activities are always on offer for those feeling saddle weary.
The Riding Options
African Explorer 7 Day Safari
We offer a 7 day safari package where guests spend the first 4 nights in South Africa at our base Camp Davidson, and then travel to Botswana for the last 3 nights at Limpopo Horse Safaris. For those seeking an adventurous and fast paced ride this is a great combination, offering amazing game viewing and the horseback adventure of a lifetime.
The Ranch is superb riding country. The going is easy, the horses run unshod on perfect sandy soil, and though the bushveld is thick in places, most of the countryside is open and flat and perfect for extended canters. Rocky koppies provide an ideal vantage point from which to appreciate the vastness of the Waterberg plateau. Swimming the horses in one of the many dams is an excellent way to cool down after a long morning ride. Leisurely viewing of the resident hippo family, either sunbathing in the winter sun or wallowing in the dam, has proved to be a popular interlude during a ride.
The 1200 strong cattle herd on the Ranch are stud Bonsmaras, a hardy African breed suited to the region's harsh conditions. Guests can join in the daily routine of herding and yard work, check calving cows or drive a herd between widely spread pastures. The Bonsmara is a non-aggressive breed and the ideal animal with which to experience the challenge and excitement of mustering cattle. Herding cattle also stimulates one to work closely with the horse and gives a rewarding purpose to a morning ride.
An amalgam of polo and lacrosse, polocrosse is easy to learn and one of the most exhilarating sports on horseback. To guests who have never played before we introduce the game slowly, running through the basic rules and showing the tricks of the trade when it comes to stick work. Then it is- "in at the deep end" - with a full game. One chukka is usually all it takes to bring out the competitive spirit!
For experienced riders only, our challenging cross-country course ranges from welcome level log piles to over 30 taxing open jumps. Triple 'B' Ranch hosts an annual international 3-phase event affiliated to the Transvaal Horse Society. The course was designed by South Africa's top course builder, Johnny Perreira.
Those interested in yet another challenge can join in the fun of western games. Barrel racing and pole bending are fun ways of schooling yourself in the art of light commands and quick responses.
Triple B Game Viewing
Enjoy leisurely rides within the Triple B Ranch private reserve throughout your visit. The reserve borders the Horizon homestead and offers the opportunity of riding with plains game such as giraffe, zebra, kudu, impala, hartebeest, and bushbuck and many of the smaller mammals such as duiker, steenbok and black-backed jackal, baboons, vervet monkey and warthog. As the Melk River forms the eastern boundary of the reserve, regular sightings of hippos are also possible.
2 day safari
For those wanting a more concentrated game viewing experience, we offer a two day safari. The reserve we ride into is a 4 hour ride from Triple B Ranch. This reserve boasts many species of game, including white rhino, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, warthog, ostrich and a host of antelope. Brown hyena, porcupine, anteaters and caracal are also occasionally seen. (please note this safari does incur a supplement of R750 per person.)
When out of the saddle, we have a number of optional activities guests often enjoy, for instance a popular choice is a morning big five game drive with the chance of seeing Lions and Elephant from the comfort and safety of a jeep. Other excursions include visiting the orphan rhino sanctuary, elephant riding, quad bike trails, or trip into the local town of Vaalwater for some bushveld retail therapy .
Those looking for even more activity in between rides can take the opportunity to enjoy a guided bush walk or a tour of Triple B, with the owner and great character, Charles Baber. We also encourage guests to meet the locals from the nearby village and to visit their children at the farm creche and school. The children love to see foreign faces and they may even sing for you! Alternatively spend the afternoon playing tennis or relaxing in the sun by the plunge pool with a good book.
Horizon is run by Shane and Laura Dowinton, both originally from the U.K. They met whilst working in Australia. They are now confirmed Africa lovers, having settled in the Waterberg in 1993. Shane and Laura's love of, patience with and knowledge of horses, shows in every one of their much loved herd.
Shane's experience with horses ranges from show jumping yards in Guernsey, horseracing in Lambourne, to driving Clydesdale show teams in Sydney. However the bulk of Shane's experience, and his passion, is working stock horses. Traveling through the northern tip of Australia and the southern alps of new Zealand Shane spent many years working livestock on horseback , breaking in colts and retraining problem horses. Now in Africa, Shane currently runs over 50 horses and has specialised in bringing youngsters through using gentle horsemanship methods.
Having spent most of his life in bush areas Shane's enthusiasm for the wilderness is as heartfelt as his horsemanship. Those with an enquiring mind will enjoy absorbing his abundant knowledge.
Laura with her gregarious nature brings to Horizon, warmth, humour, and a love of good food, wine and embellished stories! Having worked in the corporate field for many years, she now uses her organisational skills and perceptive nature to accommodate clients' holiday wishes. She takes great pride in planning the daily activities and culinary delights. Her favourite pastime is escaping the office to explore the ranch and Waterberg with Horizon's guests.
The characters found at Horizon are chosen for their love of life, horses and people. Shane & Laura, aided by their enthusiastic & friendly team, have, over the years created the warmest, welcoming and relaxed riding destination.
The Horizon lodge overlooks a beautiful lake. The large colonial verandah is the perfect spot to take in the beauty of South Africa, while listening to hippo and jackal calls. With no TV and no newspapers, it is the ideal place to get away from it all. Our guests are accommodated in three double rooms in the main house (two en-suite and one with a separate private bathroom) and three luxury, en-suite thatched rondavels, each set slightly away from the main house, offering a private and homely place to relax after a long day in the saddle. A plunge pool enables guests to cool off after a hot summer's day, whilst the soft and mineral packed water of the lake is a wonderful bonus for swimmers.
Food is Horizon's second love. Before an early morning ride, guests are offered a light breakfast. After working up an appetite on your ride, lunch is enjoyed under the giant Syringa tree in the garden, followed by afternoon tea & cake at about 3pm. Dinner is a sociable and sumptuous affair, during which the day's adventures, or misadventures, are recounted with great delight. Our carefully planned three-course menus are accompanied by a selection of fine South African wines. Fresh vegetables and home-grown herbs are used in all recipes, with the homemade breads and cakes freshly baked on a daily basis.
"The genuine hospitality of the people took my breath away" The Travel Show. BBC
The bush the world over is made up of a small community of characters. At Horizon we try to introduce our guests to the Waterberg area and the people that live there. We like to offer a highly professional product in an informal way, resulting in a lot of our guests becoming lasting friends. Horizon will welcome you into it's life and share with you the beauty and community of the Waterberg. Guests travelling alone will find that the welcoming atmosphere ensures that their holiday will be spent in the company of new friends.
Day One: Guests will be met at Johannesburg international Airport and transferred to Horizon (approximately 2 1/2 hours) in time for lunch. That afternoon guests will enjoy an introductory ride in the game reserve, with sundowners served at one of our hippo dams. Dinner is a 3 course evening meal at the lodge.
Day Two: A morning of mustering cattle. Triple B Ranch is one of South Africa's top stud Bonsmara farms with more than 1500 head of cattle, which need to move regularly to new pastures. Guests have the opportunity to participate in this fun and exciting activity. This can be followed by a cooling swim with your horse.
Following lunch, relax in the heat of the day by the pool or take a siesta.
Afternoon tea is followed by an exhilarating fast ride utilizing some of the farms many kilometers of clear sandy tracks.
Day Three: An introduction to Polocrosse - starting with the basics we will soon have guests addicted to this invigorating sport. After lunch, guests are welcome to tag along on one of our bi-weekly shopping trips into the local town of Vaalwater, for some retail therapy bush style! After afternoon tea guests may choose to enjoy another outride or utilize the skills of our dressage expert and strengthen their seat with a flatwork lesson.
Day Four: After breakfast we embark on a 2-night wilderness safari. Here guest's ride in search of a wide variety of game. Arriving at the tranquil stone and thatched bush camp within the reserve, in time for lunch, followed with a siesta by the pool and afternoon tea. That afternoon enjoy a chance to take photos on a guided bush walk or game drive. Sundowners are served at a breathtaking lookout spot. Sleep overnight in a stunning bush lodge.
Day Five: A full morning of riding in the game reserve , possibly encountering white rhino, giraffe, hartebeest or zebra along the way returning to the lodge for a late lunch and a siesta by the pool, after tea its another short ride in the reserve game before returning to the lodge for sundowners and dinner around an open fire.
Day Six: After breakfast we depart the lodge for the ride back to Horizon Light breakfast arriving at Horizon in time for lunch and a well earned Siesta. The afternoon them brings another chance to ride in our reserve or perhaps those saddle weary would like to visit the local craft shop where over 15 people are now employed in a job creation programme making beaded leather goods and then carry on to visit the orphan rhino, where hand feeding a full grown rhino is a holiday moment to treasure.
Day Seven: After many hours in the saddle on the Wilderness trail, guests may opt to take a break and enjoy an outing and game drive at a local reserve - in the hope of close encounters with lion, elephant or buffalo. They may even opt for a helicopter flip over this spectacular reserve, for an aerial view of Africa!
Return to Horizon for lunch. After another indulgent afternoon tea enjoy an outride or try their skills over the challenging cross-country fences.
Day Eight: For yet another challenge guests can try their hand at cattle cutting, After bringing a herd in from pasture guests will take it in turns to move one cow away from the group, an activity that puts you and your horse against the herd instinct of cattle. Return to the lodge for lunch and a siesta or a chance to tour the ranch with the owner and great character Charles Baber. Followed by an afternoon ride in the Triple B game area tracking Giraffe or zebra, learning the signs of the wild and medicinal values of the native bushes and trees. Alternatively those addicted can try another session of polocrosse.
Day Nine: Finish off your holiday with a last ride of your choice. Depart after a homely lunch in the garden.
Please note these options are available and the itinerary above is an indication of what one can expect during a week at Horizon, however as we are completely flexible guests can decide on a daily basis what activities they would like to partake in.
BOOKING & GENERAL INFORMATION
Horizon is an easy two and a half hour drive north of Johannesburg International Airport. You may choose to make your own way to us by hire car, or we can arrange for a private transfer.
Visas and Health
To enter South Africa, you must be in possession of a passport that is valid for at least six months after your return date. The Waterberg is classified as a malaria free area, but please check with your doctor or travel bureau for the latest advice.
Things to bring:
As well as comfortable riding clothes we recommend the following Your well fitting hard hat. A wide brimmed hat also is advisable as protection against the sun. Bumbag, Lipsalve, Sun protection cream factor 20 or higher, Short boots and chaps. Long rubber boots are not advised. Swimming costume. Light weight long sleeved shirts. Light weight raincoat. Extra film and camera batteries. A good book.
The hottest season is summer, from November to March. The rainy season extends from late November to January, with short showers in the late afternoon, and an occasional evening thunderstorm. The winter months of June, July and August are warm and dry, but evenings are chilly so it is advisable to bring warm clothing.
Horizon has been in operation since 1993. We take a maximum of 10 guests with a minimum age of 12 years. All rides are accompanied by at least two guides. Some hard hats are supplied and while not obligatory for normal riding activities they are required for polocrosse and cross country jumping. Tariffs include accommodation, meals, snacks, all drinks and laundry. Gratuities for the staff and airport transfers are not included.
Single supplements: A 20% single supplement will be charged to guests staying at Horizon and 50% for the safaris. This supplement will only be charged if they are not prepared to share a room with another guest of the same sex.
Price includes: Accommodation on a full board basis including all drinks and all activities at Horizon
Payment conditions: Bookings will be confirmed once a 20% deposit has been received. Full payment is required one month prior to arrival.
20 % of Total cost if cancelled 30 days before arrival.
50 % of Total cost if cancelled 15 days before arrival.
100 % of Total cost if cancelled 7 days before arrival