For as long as the older Kleinmond residents can remember, there have been Wild Horses in the vlei (wetlands) between the present parking area in the Rooisand Reserve and the river mouth at Kleinmond. This is a distance of about 6kms and the group of free roaming, feral horses use this area as their grazing grounds. They never venture outside the wetland and the adjacent dunes, and they can be seen either from the tarred road, or more closely observed, if one walks along the beach towards Fisherhaven.
Their existence has given rise to a number of fanciful theories and romantic tales about their origins. One of these is that they are the descendants of horses hidden from the British Army during the Anglo Boer War (1899-1902). According to Dr. van der Merwe, however, who has been observing the horses for the past 30-odd years, they appear to be a unique sub-group of the erstwhile Cape Horse of the 18th and 19th centuries, called Boland Waperd, which were farm horses used for ploughing, hoeing and pulling wagons and carts. They are therefore of significant historical importance, and according to ecologists, they have an important role as large herbivores (comparable in size to buffalo, eland or zebra), living in the swampy estuary of the Botriver.
Here they fulfill a useful role in the wetland ecology as large animals who feed on a variety of edible plants species and who tread footpaths through the reed beds, thus assisting in keeping the waterways open.
Kleinmond Wildhorses – Prof. F van der Merwe 082 959 8787