Gauteng Tourist AttractionsSouth African Lipizzaners
Where? 1 Dahlia Road, Kyalami, Midrand, Johannesburg, Gauteng
How? Call +27 (0)11 702 2103
Visitors from all over the world are invited to visit the majestic South African Lipizzaners, which have, over generations, become an integral part of the country’s culture and heritage. These horses are loved by equine specialists, racing enthusiasts and those who have little to no prior knowledge or experience of these elegant animals.
The Lipizzaner Centre is situated in Kyalami, Johannesburg. The centre showcases all six of the bloodlines across 35 individual performing stallions. The youngest is four years old and the oldest is 20. The six bloodlines are Favory, Conversano, Pluto, Maestoso, Siglavy and Neapolitano.
Lipizzaners are linked to the Spanish Riding School of Vienna, which has been in operation for over 430 years. This school was established at the time when the Renaissance started its effect on the European royal courts. Spanish horses were given priority for their grace, elegance and ability to be taught, which made them perfect for classical training. This tradition has continued into the present day, making the Spanish Riding School of Vienna the only riding academy where classical, Renaissance-style horsemanship is maintained and celebrated. Thanks to its outstanding quality and commitment to age-old traditions, the horses and riders from here continue to be acclaimed all over the world.
Count Jankovich-Besan rescued a few Lipizzaner horses from Austria in 1944. This country was being ravaged during the Second World War, and the safety of the horses could not be guaranteed. The Count brought these horses to South Africa. Today, the South African Lipizzaners at Kyalami are direct descendants of these original horses. Then, in 1951, Major Iwanowski moved to South Africa from Poland, and soon met Count Jankovich-Besan at the Royal Show. He bought a Lipizzaner, named it Maestoso Erdem, and had soon trained it, proving its skills in performing High School Dressage.
He saw the potential of these exquisite animals and, in 1960, began to make his dream of opening a training school for this breed a reality. He chose Kyalami as the site for his school. The Major continued to grow his collection, and toured the country to give impressive performances. Although Major Iwanowski died at the age of 101 in 2008, he remains widely respected for the work he did in establishing the Lipizzaners in South Africa.
These unique horses are characterised by their grace, noble build, elegance, courage, stamina and ability to learn and be trained. Their appearance is typically baroque, with a distinctive parade style that makes them really special to watch.
The SA Lipizzaner Centre offers lunging lessons for those who want to experience the thrill of riding one of these stunning stallions. There is also an impressive performance every Sunday morning at 10h30 for about an hour. After the performance, guests can meet the riders and interact with the stallions. There is a Lipizzaner shop with branded goods as well as treats and activities for children, making this the perfect outing for the whole family, as well as for those with a keen interest in these animals, their breath-taking moves, and the history behind their superior training.