Wild horses have always captured the imagination of humans. Maybe it is their unbridled freedom that gives us a sense of our own possibilities or maybe it is just the sheer beauty of watching a herd of wild horses enjoy the sheer pleasure of being that draws us. Whatever the reason, there are still places where wild horses can be seen.
Africa has three such places, all vastly different, that allow people to visit and witness one of the most beautiful sights in existence. Often the origins are shrouded in mystery, but where they came from isn’t important. What is important is the pure sense of wonder seeing these feral creatures creates deep in one’s soul. Let’s take a look.
Namib Wild Horses
The feral horses of Garub have adapted to the desert environment that offers searing temperatures and little food. Many theories of where they first came from have sprung up since 1915, but none have been verified. The one thing all the theories do have in common is that the original horses were German in origin. Whatever their beginnings, there are anywhere between 250 and 300 of these wondrous creatures that roam the area.
The herds are normally made up of one to two stallions and twenty mares. This area is protected from hunters and horse trading, which is what makes people think gave these wild horses a chance to adapt and survive. This was helped by a watering hole that developed from a water-providing station created for the old railway.
Today, you can catch a glimpse of these horses from a protected perch that looks out over the watering hole. While the ancestors of the Namib horses may have known humans, today’s horses avoid them. Their feral beauty can only be observed from a distance, but it is well worth the trip.
Kaapsehoop Wild Horses
Free spirits seem to be attracted to the mountainous area just outside of Nelspruit. This area was first settled during the gold rush in 1873 but today the village of Kaapsehoop is occupied by many artists who have set up shop. Other than the humans, this area is home to three large nesting areas of the endangered blue swallow and herds of wild horses that are the ancestors of those left behind by British soldiers and old gold miners.
This mountain area is also the site of some of the most beautiful landscape in South Africa. It is an area where you will want to plan on staying for a week or more in order to get to experience the full beauty of the area. You may even find it difficult to leave, as the freer souls that inhabit the area seem to have found it.
Herds from as little as three stallions to as many as twenty horses, totaling approximately two hundred horses in all, roam the area, even visiting the town on occasion. While wild, horseback tours in the area have gotten these horses accustomed to humans and they often can be seen up close while touring. Experiencing one adventure into this area will have you understanding why the freedom-loving souls have always found it a place to call home.
Rooisands Wild Horses
The wetlands that house the Rooisands Nature Preserve also give refuge to a small herd of wild horses that have a mysterious origin, These horses are the most difficult to get a glimpse of as the herd is small and their history with humans has left them staying clear of the two-legged species. Getting a glimpse of them is truly a wonderful experience.
It is thought the horses a originated when the British soldiers left the area over a hundred years ago. The herd eventually grew to be over 200 strong but local farmers hunted them down and killed most of them. It is told that only three of these original horses managed to escape and they are the ancestors of those who now thrive in the wetland area. Touring the area in a canoe may gain you a rare glimpse of these beautiful creatures. Just don’t get too close as they are wary of humans and are completely feral.
Africa holds many wonders that draw people from all over the world. Taking the time to explore the areas where wild horses still run free will be an experience you will never forget. If you keep in mind these animals are feral and should not be fed or approached closely, you will be able to observe them as they go about their day. Cameras can capture the memory but it is almost certain you will want to return again and again to experience the event in person.