Things To Do in KaapsehoopRun with Wild Horses
Where? Kaapsehoop plains and hillsides, near Nelspruit, Lowveld, Mpumalanga
When? Spot the horses during daylight hours.
How much? Free
Wild horses couldn't drag you away from the beauty of the misty Mpumalanga mountainside in the small town of Kaapsehoop (Cape's hope). Where there is hope, there are hooves and if you have the fortune to be exposed to the herds of hooves that roam free here, you are in luck. Luck may be symbolised by the iconic loop of a 'u' shaped horse shoe but the luck that trots on these Nelspruit hills is footloose and horse shoe free.
Like the nomadic tribes that sweep across the South African dunes without ever consulting a dentist; these wild horses cover the southern slopes without ever visiting a blacksmith. This dusty town may be small but it has never been referred to as a 'one horse town' with the wild horse population sometimes challenging the town's people population at a ratio of 2:1. About 120 residents enjoy the stressless life that soaks up the soft light of an African afternoon and more than 200 wild horses enjoy the simple lifestyle of a sunny saddleless existence.
Cowboys chased dreams and wild horses of the western American savannah; American-Indians tamed the spirit of their wild forest steed; South African's set up a Wild Horse Trust Fund to feed and care for the wild gathering of mane and tail because the hazy horizon is empty without a glimpse of their gait. Many magical fire-side stories attempt to light up the ancestry of these legendary leaping legs but the whispers of their origin have never been confirmed. Some swear on the graves of their kin that these wild treasures are the descendants of pit ponies from a time when the town was the target of gold prospecting. Some swear blind that when the local police station closed the force's 'transport' were abandoned in the long grass to fend for themselves. Others bet you their prized fruit preserve recipe that their wild breeding began during the South African War (Anglo-Boer War) when the British troops rode in on horseback to save the day and stationed the horses they rode in on in this romantic setting.
The breed of these wild fairytale subjects is known as Boerperd (farm horse) and the size of their collective running pack ranges from a bachelor herd of approximately 3 horses to a structured herd of 8 to 12 horses. Wander the horse hamlet and try catch a glimpse of these elusive equine; chance a wander off the beaten track in search of their statuesque silhouette; see if you and your little one can spot a foal playing on the rocky plateau; run arms open wide alongside a free galloping herd and rename yourself Holiday-maker-who-skips-with-sky-and-stallion; place your ear to the grassland soil and listen for the drumming of their rhythmic stride that accompanies the wild horse haven like the sound of a steam train whistles through a railway town.