Equestrian Getaway in Cape Town

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Arts + Sciences

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Cape Town Centre

Authored by Haroni Sahilu (she/her)

(Haroni is a rising senior at Arizona State University, majoring in Philosophy and Justice Studies. During her time in Cape Town, she hopes to aid the communications department at MOSAIC, an non-profit combating gender-based violence. In addition, she also enjoys exploring local landmarks and South African culture.)

As Cape Town got a break from cloudy skies and rain showers, our global intern group decided to take advantage of the sunshine by going on a horse-riding excursion. Many of us in the group were novices to horse riding and quite scared to even sit on the horse, let alone ride for 2 hours. As we arrived at the stables in Franschhoek, our guides greeted us with friendly faces and a dozen horses playing around the field. We had provided our physical measurements beforehand, so our guide had hand-picked the perfect horse for each of us. I was lucky enough to be assigned a pretty pony named Rebecca, the oldest horse at the stables, at age 26!

Soon after arriving, we were all settled on our horses and ready for our ride. Much of the ride consisted of a walk through the beautiful landscape outside the farm, where we navigated through orange trees, farmland, and vineyards. The temperature was surprisingly warm as the sun was shining, making the view of the mountains especially breathtaking. Seeing the personalities of each horse made for an entertaining ride, as some horses were known for taking many water breaks, some would wander off, and others, especially my horse Rebecca, liked kicking horses behind them.

After an hour-and-a-half ride, we stopped at Babylonstoren wine estate for wine tasting. The estate includes a large botanical garden where visitors can roam the property and explore an array of plants. Upon entering, we were greeted with a barrel full of freshly picked naartjies from the garden. Naartjie is a type of citrus found in South Africa, similar to tangerines. We all took a handful home because the ones from the farm were some of the best citrus I’ve had in a while! We tasted a variety of wines at the winery, my favorite one being the Mourvèdre Rosé. The estate also had a museum where we learned the history of wine both in South Africa and the world. The museum included interesting wine artifacts, such as bottle openers from the 19th century and a glass bottle collection that displayed the evolution of the wine bottle. I was most intrigued to learn the recommendations for wine pairing because, before the museum, I had no idea certain wines were made to be served with certain food groups. I enjoyed the interactive aspect of the museum, which included short films, a 3D tour around the estate, and a voice-guided tour of the museum.

Our ride back was a bit rocky as the horses were tired and didn’t want to stay on track!  After our ride, we said farewell to our horses and headed back home to Rondebosch. I would definitely recommend this experience* and it has made me more open to try riding again when I return to the States.

*If anyone is interested, we booked it through Cape Winelands Outrides.