South Africa’s nationwide lockdown has given animals the chance to relax in their natural habitats like never before. In Kleinmond, the wild horses have even taken to frolicking on the beach due to the absence of people.

Majestic wild horses have called the area from Botrivier Lagoon down to Kleinmond home for decades. They are sometimes spotted grazing in green pastures or even enjoying the water alongside local bird species, but during lockdown these shy creatures have ventured further a field than they usually do.

Recently, these peaceful creatures have been spotted gathering and walking along the main beach in the area. The picture below was shared to social media showing the horses’ presence on the beach.

“Where the Kleinmond horses are there’s eight kilometres of beach, normally they don’t go that close but due to the lack of people, they are,” says local photographer and wild horse enthusiast, Leanne Dryburgh.

Dryburgh has been working as a photographer for over 30 years and photographing the wild horses in the area while researching their bloodlines for four years. While it is a beautiful sight to see the horses taking to the beach, Dryburgh urges the public to respect their space.

“They are a national treasure, they need their space to live. Our ethos is look, don’t touch. Wild horses are naturally cautious of people so they wouldn’t naturally walk into a place where there are a lot of people, now they are going there because the people aren’t there,” adds Dryburgh.

Dryburgh is currently putting together a book on the wild horses, covering 50 years of their existence. She says once the lockdown ends the horses will likely leave the beach again.

“I’m sure once the people come back they probably won’t go there again, but its a very beautiful sighting,” she adds.

According to Dryburgh the horse are distant relatives of those used during times of war.

“Prof Frans Van Der Merwe who studied the horses since 1971 has traced them back to being war horses that were left behind. Some farm horses have been dropped off over the years which has helped with the breeding. They had adapted to life in the wild and are now fully self-sufficient,” says Dryburgh.

The horses are not the only animals enjoying the lack of humans in the area. In areas like the Botriver lagoon, the birds have come back because there are less cars driving along the nearby roads, Dryburgh tells us.

As the lockdown continues we hope “the wild ones” are able to enjoy their time spent on the beach to the fullest and that once humans are allowed to venture out, that they will respect their space.

If you would like to see more picture of the wild horses, check out Leanne Dryburgh’s page here.

You can also follow Rooisand Horse Watch.

Pictures by © Leanne Dryburgh, 083 293 7208

Article written by

Aimee Pace

Aimee is an avid gamer, enthusiastic yogi and animal lover. Addicted to anime, coffee and plant-based meals. Current favourite pastimes include, sewing and learning Japanese.