For more than a decade Fynbos Horse Trails, situated on the prestigious Diemersfontein Wine Estate, has offered a unique perspective of the surrounding countryside of Wellington to tourists and locals alike. The almost limitless routes branch out in all directions, through vineyards, vine plantations, olive groves, buchu plantations and fynbos and offer exquisite views of the mountains and valleys beneath.
The well-loved horses are tough cross-breeds that are genteel but energetic and can adapt to the most inexperienced riders. During the outrides the owner, Katrin Steytler, a qualified tour guide, and her very capable assistant, Carol-Ann Jeffrey, will regale you with interesting anecdotes and provide valuable information concerning the history, agricultural activities and fynbos of the area.
Rides can range from 1 hour to half day or day trips. Many tourists prefer to overnight at local guest houses to do up to three full days of riding. Wine tasting or scenic trips or a combination of both are on offer, depending on the client's interests and riding ability. Novices should not ride for more than one and a half hours and experienced but unfit riders should not attempt the longer trips as it can be quite strenuous to stay in the saddle from four to seven hours.
In January, February and early March the grapes bask and ripen in the burning sun and soaring temperatures. This is when wine makers and farmers are at their busiest. Then riders set out early in the morning or very late in the afternoon to avoid heat exhaustion. The best time to enjoy a ride is in autumn, winter and spring when the fynbos is at its most glorious and the air is crisp and refreshing . Rain rides can be very exhilirating if riders are dressed appropriately.
The Seasons Restaurant at Diemersfontein provides excellent meals and picnics to riders and they can also enjoy tastings of their awards winning wines. At the hut on Uitkyk next door Louwtjie and Elsabe Du Plessis offer tastings of their olive products and pinotage jam followed by buchu talks. Rennie Hildenbrand teaches riders how to develop a descerning palate for olive oil and provides memorable wine tastings. Clients on longer trails can visit the Bovlei wine estates including Oude Wellington, Doolhof, Nabygelegen, Dunstone and Lelienfontein.
Long trails should be booked a few days prior to the ride to ensure availablity and riders must supply information concerning their weights and riding ability or fitness. (100 kilo weight restriction)