Join us for a life style experience...
The Eastern Cape Wild Coast South Africa
The Transkei Wild Coast,
About Clint & Julie-Anne Gower
We wanted to live our dream, and
that is what we have done. Each day to us is a journey and an experience of the
dream that we have created for ourselves and now share this dream with others”
Clint has a Bsc.Agriculture. Together with Julie-Anne, they own a cattle ranch with approx. 100 head of cattle, which is run along holistic principles. Clint is an active conservationist and his knowledge of the African bush is immense. He is also a deep-sea fisherman and a professional hunter, setting examples of ethical sustainable hunting, always considering the ecological effect of what is hunted. Even when fishing he says “we encourage our children and visitors to tag and release and only remove what can be eaten or that which is an exceptional trophy”. This attitude to nature, his qualifications and his knowledge of the bush and animals makes him an appreciated advisor and guest on local farms and reserves.
Julie-Anne was born into the hospitality trade; her parents were hoteliers and she spent most school holidays at the hotels that are used on trail along the Wild Coast. She has ridden horses since she was a small child, competed in showing, novice dressage and show jumping and is now a highly competitive endurance rider. She has over 4000 competitive endurance kilometers under her saddle. Has ridden Fauresmith National 200km endurance ride 4 times, Hofmeyer 100 miler twice, and crewed for national team members on several occasions. Julie-Anne has represented the Eastern Cape Endurance Riding Team 3 times at the National Championships. She made short list for the National Endurance Riding Team in 2003. Her experience, organizational talent and knowledge about and love for horses and nature make her the perfect trail mistress and hostess.
How they came to be here.
Together with her parents, Julie-Anne learnt the hotel trade while at the family owned Eagles Ridge Country Hotel in Stutterheim. They were there for 8 years (1990 - 1998) Julie-Anne did horse trails up into the forests and mountains on her string of mountain ponies. She also had a small riding school going during this period.
It was here in Stutterheim that Clint and Julie-Anne met. Clint was running the family cattle farms "Woodridge" & "Torstone". The farm was situated in the foot hill of the Amathole Mountains under Dohne Peak; here Clint ran cattle and sheep and managed the farm for his Mother.
When they married, in 1995, they settled at Woodridge Farm and consequently Torstone Sport Horse Stud was born. Clint’s love of hunting and fishing and Julie-Anne's passion for her horses’ accumulated in their deciding to go it alone, and in April 1999 they moved to Sunray Farm.
The past years have been spent intensively building their knowledge and experience in the hospitality trade. Clint has built a regular clientele base of fishermen who return each season to fish deep sea, and his hunting clients return time and again during the hunting season. Clint’s reputation as an ethical hunter and expert marksman is renowned. He is regularly asked to be the professional Hunter at many safari and local hunting operations. The horse stud has produced some outstanding stock, some of which is used on trail. The years of trailing in the mountains and forests and producing horses professionally has paid dividend as now Julie-Anne can claim to be a seasoned horsewoman & trail guide. Clint and Julie-Anne have two sons Branden and Ashley.
The Wild Coast
The "Wild Coast" is the rugged, remote, fairly unpopulated stretch of South African coastline between East London and Port Edward, on the N2 between Durban in the North and Port Elizabeth in the South.
This stretch of some 280 km of cliff faces, perfect beaches and rich tidal estuaries is between the Mtamvuna River in the north, and the Great Kei River in the south. Inland, to the west, lie the Stormberg and Drakensberg mountain ranges, which reach on altitude of 2400 meters, descending to the Indian Ocean in the east.
At the Wild Coast the sun shines day after day, month after month, on this beautiful and extensive tract of undulating pastoral countryside studded with whitewashed, thatched rondavel huts.
Since Portuguese mariners first pioneered the sea route around the Cape to India, this notorious coast has claimed countless ships such as the Governor, Waratah and Oceania. The prospect of finding sunken gold and diamonds has lured treasure hunters to the Wild Coast over the generations. Although coins, trinkets and fragments of porcelain from sunken hulks are still occasionally washed up along the shore, it is of course the natural wonder of the Wild Coast that attracts the majority of visitors to the many resorts scattered along the coastline.
The rural people live a life richly colored by tribal tradition and beliefs. Brightly colored examples of the bead-work, together with traditional pottery and basketwork can be bought from roadside vendors and at some trading posts. The whole region, once known as the Transkei homeland, is the home of a major section of the Xhosa-speaking southern Nguni tribes and of course the birth place of the great Nelson Mandela.
It is also called the Border. For much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries it was the region of conflict between the British colonists, moving ever eastwards, and the southward moving Xhosa peoples. A simmering border conflict of nine major wars were fought along the Great Kei river.
The Indian Ocean creates a sub-tropical land of flora and fauna from different climates all flourishing side by side like nowhere else in Southern Africa. The climate along the coast is nearly always warm to hot, with humidity levels rising form December to March. The climate is temperate with warm summers and mild winters. Soft gently falling rain occurs during the summer months (November to March) although it can be wet it is never cold. The winters are perfect. The average minimum temp rarely goes below 10 'C and the days are around 25'C .The best time to visit, fish and ride is from the end of March through to August. During October and November the weather is generally good but can be unpredictable as this is when we have our spring rains!.
Fauna & Flora
The flora rejoices in a vast array of indigenous coastal forest, prehistoric Cycads, tree orchids, Kiepersol, Sneezewood and Yellowwood. Lush vegetation with plentiful water, forest and fruit trees provides a beautiful environment for over 250 species of birds. Inland, coastal and sea birds rub shoulders and compete for sky space. Above it all, the regal Fish Eagle can be heard to shriek his haunting cry.