Rooisand and a walk through Die Keel (the throat) to Sandown Bay is a route that can be adapted to suit personal taste & distance preferances and is a must for anyone hoping to catch a glimpse of Kleinmond's well known feral horses. The Rooisand area could be reached by walking along the sandy beach from Kleinmond's beachfront, but an interesting alternative would be to drive out of Kleinmond towards Arabella, drive past Lamloch farm (located on the left). A few hundred meters after a bend in the road you will find a rather hidden dirt road turning to the right. This is the road to Rooisand and provides the only public access to the Bot River Vlei from Kleinmond's side. The road is very bumpy at places and leads to a small parking area 2km down the road at the lake's edge. This is birdwatchers paradise. Head towards a path to the right which traverses the dunes leading to Die Keel (the throat). The Bot River vlei is permanently blind, but during the wetter winter months, the lake is naturally swollen by water inflow and then overflows through the narrow passage of Die Keel to the Kleinmond marshes. Expect some waist deep wading if the waterlevels are high. Be prepared to carry your gear above your head but do not fear, the route was regularly waded without mishap by small children in the past. The route is dry during summer. Watch out for tortoises, frogs, birds, lynxes, feral horses and even relics of early stone age occupants! The dunes finally make way for the splendour of Sandown Bay with magical views all the way to Table Mountain. The beach is rather deserted and beautiful shells can be found here. You might spot the rare and endangered African Black Oystercatcher. Once on the beach you can walk in a easterly direction and soon you will yourself on the beaches of Hawston near Hermanus. Keep an eye out for whales from July to September. Alternatively you can walk the other way towards Kleinmond's beach and campsite and then walk/wade through the Kleinmond marshes to Die Keel and back to your car.
The only herd of feral horses in South Africa reside at Rooisand and roam around the marshes near the shores of the Bot River Vlei. The horses are easily spotted during walks or canoe trips along the lagoon. They do not flee from humans but might behave unpredictably if alarmed and should be approached with caution.
Romantics claim the horses are ascendants from herds hidden by local farmers from the British during the Anglo Boer W ar, but their origin is to be found at Ysterklip: the original farm to the Kleinmond boundary. The farm owner was a prominent horse-breeder, but by the end of W orld W ar II mechanization so reduced the demand for farming horses that the stud was closed, and the remaining horses turned loose in the Kleinmond marshes. The horses are directly descended from the now ‘extinct' “Boland waperd” / old Cape horse and are thus viewed as a valuable cultural ‘relic'.
The horses are closely monitored by interested parties and plans are underway to establish a formal “friends of the feral horses” –association.