Ride incredible desert horses
On all our desert focused horse-riding holidays, the horses are the stars of the show. Uniquely adapted to the harsh desert environments they have small feet and huge hearts. In Egypt and Morocco, ride on purebred flashy Barb or Arabian steeds, often decked out in colourful traditional garb. In Botswana and Namibia, the horses have a more ambiguous heritage but will impress you with their energy and tenacity. All safari horses are specifically chosen for their temperament, endurance, and willingness. They never cease to amaze riders with their endless energy, and the last canter is often just as thrilling as the first. After a week of riding, covering hundreds of kilometers in the saddle, the bond between horse and rider is undeniable. Riders often fall deeply in love with their four-legged companions and teary goodbyes are not uncommon.
Expedition Trail Riding Holidays
Our expedition rides in Namibia and Morocco offer a true challenge for the intrepid equestrian. These remote rides cover dramatic, wild, and rugged scenery on horseback, backed-up by a mobile camp. Due to the wild nature of the landscape, the pace, and the distance of the rides, the horse-riding level required is intermediate plus and above. We also recommend a good level of fitness as you will cover up to 20 – 60 kilometers each day. Challenging and testing of your fortitude at times, completing a desert expedition leaves you changed!
In Namibia, cross hundreds of kilometers of open desert without encountering a single human apart from your fellow riders. Ride through meandering sand dunes and scramble up ancient mountains before reaching the seemingly endless open plains. This is where the horses are in their element and riders can spread out, give their horses’ their heads and fly across the desert. Eat and sleep under the stars with the stunning canopy of the southern hemisphere as your ceiling for a completely wild horse safari experience. From horseback, see elephant, zebra, oryx, and possibly even some of the last remaining prides of desert lion all uniquely adapted to the harsh conditions of the desert.
Morocco offers the chance to discover the world-famous Sahara Desert on horseback. For the more adventurous and those who like simple travel, this is a great way to see a country that is rarely seen by outsiders. Morocco has so much to offer with its ancient history, exotic culture, and unique lifestyle – and horses playing a pivotal role. This horse-riding adventure takes you through the dunes and across the gravel plains to date palm oases and the Berber communities that live there. The pace is varied, walking along the trickier sections before picking up the pace as the trails become wider. The open plains allow your horse to show off their true speed as you race across the desert.
Ancient Egypt on horseback
Riding in Egypt offers a true horseback adventure, with stunning horses, historic temples, and famous landscapes such as the Red Sea and the River Nile. This unique horse-riding destination allows you to explore Egypt’s famous historic sites. Visit the site of the ancient Thebes, the Royal Tombs of the Valley of the Kings or the Pyramids of Giza while enjoying some great hours riding along ancient trails. Experience epic gallops through the desert, with the wind in your hair as you speed across the undulating landscape. Upon reaching the Red Sea, see the horses’ ears prick up as they anticipate a swim in the clear, turquoise waters.
Lodge Based desert riding vacations
Lodge based rides are perfect for all equestrian adventurers. Suitable for solo travellers, they are also great for couples, friends, or families of mixed riding experience. Besides horse riding, there are a variety of other activities that non-riders or those who want a break from the saddle can enjoy.
A horse safari across the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans combines the wonderful luxuries of a beautiful tented base camp, with a true bush experience. During a five-night ride, head out to one of the grass islands to experience a night of fly-camping like the original pioneers. For shorter stays or non-riders, swap horse for quad bike and head out into the depths of the vast open salt pans. After a candlelit dinner, you’ll find your bed set-out with nothing but the stars above you and your fellow travellers for company. The lodge also has activities such as game drives, guided desert walks with the Kalahari Bushmen and a morning with the habituated meerkats.
If you long for the exclusivity of the Namib Desert but also want the decadence of a luxury lodge, Wolwedans offers just that. This horse-riding holiday combines an adventure through unparalleled wilderness with exquisite luxury. Based in on a private game reserve, stay in a tented camp, set amongst the idyllic iconic red dunes of the Namib sand sea and vast grassy plains. Set out on morning and afternoon horse rides or scenic drives and indulge at camp in between. This is also the perfect place to combine with a few days near Sossusvlei, an ancient lake filled with fossilized trees and surrounded by some of the world’s tallest sand dunes.
Wildlife on your desert horse safari
While these are scenery-based horse-riding holidays, even the harshest deserts are home to unique African wildlife. Whilst most of the Sahara is barren, the desert supports a mix of wildlife including oryx, gazelles, brown hyenas, jackals, sand foxes, and small rodents. In the Sahara you are more likely to see domestic animals, but the possibility of seeing wildlife always adds an edge of excitement to your trail riding holiday.
The Namib and Kalahari Desert boast a surprising number of desert adapted wildlife. Riding in the red sand dunes of Southern Namibia, you might be surprised to see an oryx standing on the dune crest, before it vanishes into the sea of sand. You are also likely to see herds of zebra, springbuck and ostrich in the ancient sand mountains or roaming the dry grasslands. In Damaraland, you may be lucky enough to encounter the rare black rhino or some of the few remaining desert lions. And an experience that will forever be imprinted in your memory, is the sight of elephants appearing like a mirage out of the desert haze.
Despite the Kalahari being classed as a desert landscape, you will ride over unique golden grass plains and huge glistening white salt pans. Hidden in this dry landscape, there are a few permanent water sources. On horseback or game drive, you may come across wildebeest, zebra, ostrich, elephant, lion and other creatures that call this place home. You will also be able to spend a morning with the habituated Meerkats who allow you to be part of their world.
Summer rains transform the desert, filling the salt pans with water and turning the grasslands into green islands. Flocks of flamingos turn the pans into rippling rose coloured pools and new grass shoots give the dunes a green shimmer. This radical change draws thousands of zebra, wildebeest, and antelope on the second biggest land migration in Africa. This incredible spectacle is best seen on horseback as much of the area becomes inaccessible by vehicle.