Damaraland Horse Riding Safari

Over 20 years of experience guiding horse riding safaris across the hauntingly beautiful Namibian landscapes, has led to the creation of the ultimate horse riding safaris for those who love all things wild and free. These true adventures take you through some of the most unique and breathtaking desert landscapes on earth. You will take on the challenge aboard super fit, responsive and impressively sure-footed horses.  There are close to 80 horses of varying types available; ranging from Arab, Trakehner/Cross, Hanoverian, Boerperd and ranch horses.

Virtually inaccessible, the Damaraland of Namibia is a fascinating and spectacular setting for an unforgettable horse riding safari. Ancient craters and prehistoric remnants dot the absurdly wide and distant horizons and these ancient landscapes are painted with contrastingly delicate and detailed patterns of colour. This is true wilderness; out in the middle of these remote primeval lands, stretching out in all directions as far as the eye can see and with only the African wildlife for company. This horse riding holiday will take you from the Twyfelfontein to Cape Cross on the forbidding Skeleton Coast with its musuem of shipwrecks that dot the beaches – a journey you will never forget.  The safari is unsuitable for inexperienced riders as you may encounter elephant, rhino and even lion along the way adding to the thrill of the adventure for those who are confident in the saddle!

Strong bonds are built with your fellow riders and horse as you tackle the adventure together and you are responsible for grooming and tacking up your own steed.   The luggage is transported via a truck which then sets up camp (see ‘Accommodation and Logistics’ for more detail). A tent can be constructed however most prefer to embrace the unforgettable opportunity of sleeping out under the stunning stars of the big African sky.

 

Highlights

  • Visit the Rock Engravings at Twyfelfontien, a World Heritage Site.
  • The chance to encounter unique desert-adapted elephant and rhino.
  • Spectacular landshapes and dramatic geological formations.
  • A horse riding safari to experience one of the precious few last true wildernesses.
  • Enjoy some faster riding across wide plains and embracing a true sense of freedom.
  • Spending each night sleeping under the vast African sky.

Quick Facts

  • Arrival and Departure From Windhoek, back to Windhoek
  • Length 11 days, 10 nights, 8 riding days; 2 lodge based nights (first and last nights) and 8 nights camping
  • When 22 June – 2 July
  • Rates 2017: 2 - 12th July: £4000 2018: 10 Nights: £4300
  • Riding Level Riding 20 - 50 km per day or between 5 - 8 hours riding at all paces over uneven terrain, this ride is not suitable for inexperienced riders. The possibility of encountering game such as rhino and lion means you must be confident and balanced in the saddle and able to ride at all paces.
  • Number of Riders Maximum 11 riders per group.

Destination Description

Namibia with its stark and striking landscapes will take your breath away. The Damarland is one of the most spectacular ancient landscapes in the world and what better way to explore it than from the back of a horse. The desert is home to a surprising variety of wildlife, all adapted in exceptionally special and interesting ways to survive such harsh environments. Traversing this sparse, wide and varying terrain will give you a sense of adventure very difficult to rival and a spectacular horse riding safari.

  • Provided below is a sample itinerary however guests must be aware that due to the adventurous nature of the ride, timings and routes can vary. All variations and changes to the itinerary will always be in your best interests. The expected saddle time each day ranges between 5 to 8 hours, covering 20-50km and over varying terrain.
  • Day 1: You will fly into Windhoek International Airport where you will be met and transferred to a guesthouse just outside Windhoek. Over dinner you will be introduced to the rest of your fellow riders and be briefed about what to expect on your adventure!
  • Day 2: After an early breakfast the adventure begins as you set out for the first camp near Twyfelfontein, a 7 hour transfer away, with lunch en route. On arrival you will be met by the camp staff and get a chance to become acquainted with your horse. Should time permit, you can enjoy jumping aboard for a ride as the sun goes down.
  • Day 3: This morning you will start to get to know your trusted mount and find your ‘hooves’. The ride will take you through the sandy, open plains of Abu-Huab – ideal for long canters - passing some of the fascinating rock formations for which the area is famous. After lunch you will head out to see the Twyfelfontein rock engravings, followed by a visit to the cultural village nearby, before enjoying sundowners at a local view point with stunning views across the land.
  • Day 4: As you set off today you will head west across the plains which are often inhabited with game which has adapted to desert life, such as springbok, oryx and if you are lucky, whilst you are following the dry river beds dotted with Mopani trees, you might come across the quiet, yet magnificent, kudu or the odd ostrich. A light lunch is enjoyed in the shade by the riverbed before continuing to traverse the rocky and sandy undulating hills as you make for your camp by the Huab River.
  • Day 5: Meandering along the Huab River, the trail continues under the shade of the huge ‘Ana’ trees – a favourite food for desert elephants so keep your eyes peeled! You will ride out across the land, aiming for Mikberg which will lead you to the lunch stop at ‘cheetah tree’ – it doesn’t take much imagination to work out what you might spot here. After lunch there is a long ride across the watershed which offers breathtaking views. Tonight’s camp will be carefully selected to provide an excellent place from which to admire the impressive colours of the Brandberg (Burning Mountain), Namibia’s highest mountain.
  • Day 6: Reluctantly you will move on from ‘View Point’ camp and head towards the Ugab River, pausing to gaze at the ancient remnants of the rock formations that have been eroded over time. In this wide open country you will get the chance to pick up the pace for some long canters before reaching the narrow gorge at Soutfontein (salt fountain). You will swan into camp for a well-deserved drink before a delicious dinner. Tonight you have the opportunity to stay at Save the Rhino Campsite; a community run campsite for the ‘Save the Rhino Project’ founded as an anti-poaching organization.
  • Day 7: Riding out and greeting the African morning, you will find yourself weaving through reeds and kori bush thickets as you navigate the banks of the Ugab all the way to Brakwasser. After lunch you will leave the Ugab River and make your way up a large gorge with spectacular rock formations. Camp is in a great spot, beautifully shaded and the perfect rest stop after a long day.
  • Day 8: Leaving the river valleys far behind you, this morning’s ride will take you over wide open plains offering fabulous view of the Brandberg. The vastness calls out for some faster riding and the pace may pick up before you reach your lunch time picnic spot. Today you get the first views of the Skeleton Coast as you ride through one of Namibia’s trademark landscapes – vast and rugged wilderness leading down to the craggy coast. Today you will overnight at Skeleton Camp.
  • Day 9: This morning you will head for the impressive Messum Caldera – one the the many Inselbergs (island mountains), the remains of a collapsed volcano, long eroded and creating dramatic exceptions to the expanse of otherwise flat ground. Campsites do not get much better than where you will be staying tonight – a stunning spot with huge panoramic views.
  • Day 10: After the now well practiced breakfast routine you will set off for your last ride that will take you to the ocean. Feeling a huge sense of achievement, you will reach the Skeleton Coast, so called for the formidable ship-wrecks that dot the coastline and create an eerie, surreal landscape. In the afternoon you may have time to pop and have a gape in wonder at the huge and raucous Cape Fur Seal colony at Cape Cross. You will then overnight at a comfortable lodge nearby and have a last meal together, reflecting over what is sure to have been an adventure of a life time.
  • Day 11: After breakfast, you will be transferred to Windhoek, a journey which takes roughly 5-6 hours. If you are flying home the same day flights must depart after 15:00.

Dates:
02 - 12 July 2017
22 June – 2 July 2018

Rates:

2017: 2 – 12 July: £4000

2018: 10 Nights: £4300

Single supplement for lodge accommodation unless willing to share: £180

Extra Horse £650

Rate Includes

  • All riding needed to complete your adventure.
  • Accommodation throughout the trip.
  • Delicious meals three times a day and drinks while on the ride.
  • Personal and expert guide throughout the trip.
  • A well trained, fit four-legged friend to escort you on your adventure.
  • Ground transfers from Windhoek International Airport to starting point of ride and return transfer to central Windhoek or Windhoek International airport on day of departure.
  • A trip to the World Heritage site – the Twyfelfontein Rock Engravings.
  • A trip to the Fur Seal colony at Cape Cross.

 

Rates Exclude

  • Extra horse charge for riders 85kg and over in riding gear. For our horses’ sake, please be accurate regarding weight and level of fitness.
  • Personal drinks and refreshments at all lodges, restaurants, and petrol stations en route.
  • Accommodation and transfers not listed on the itinerary.
  • Safari staff gratuities.

 

The day will usually begin at sunrise with departure generally by 8am. Riders will usually be in the saddle for around 4-5 hours before lunch, lunch break between 1-3 hours and then another 2-3 hours riding in the afternoon. You will average 20-60km per day over all types of terrain, some of the riding is tough and will require a good sense of humour on the odd testing moments necessary in any adventure.

Most guests choose to sleep out under the glorious southern stars – a very special experience. Large dome tents can be provided if required (two people sharing unless paying single supplement). Camp beds are supplied with a warm bedroll consisting of a canvas bag containing an insulating mattress, down duvet and pillow. You are welcome to add a fleece liner to the sleeping role if you feel you might get cold. Desert nights can drop below 0°C so if you feel the cold then it is worth bringing your own sleeping bag and/or fleece liner. Hot bucket showers are available at most camps; toilets are available at all overnight camps.

On the nights stated in your safari itinerary you will stay in comfortable lodges, with twin-bedded rooms and en-suite facilities. While most guests are happy to share twin accommodation (or tent if required), on booking it is possible to request single accommodation – subject to availability and a supplementary charge.