Desert Canyons Horse Ride in Namibia
Over 20 years of experience guiding horse riding safaris across the hauntingly beautiful Namibian landscapes, has led to the creation of the ultimate horse ride in Namibia 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 tackle this challenge aboard super fit, responsive and impressively sure-footed horses. There are approximately 80 horses of varying types available; ranging from Arab, Trakehner/Cross, Hanoverian, Boerperd and ranch horses.
This ride will take you through some of Namibia’s most spectacular geological scenery. The Fish River Canyon is the largest natural gorge in Africa and acts as a spellbinding backdrop to this African horse riding adventure; the huge slabs of rock split into a multitude of layers present a history book of the earth’s surface. This horse ride in Namibia is a delight for nature lovers as despite, what appears a very arid environment, you are riding through one of Namibia’s most diverse biomes and game sightings such as giraffe and plains game are likely. Endless canters through wide open plains, past winding gorges and stunning escarpments, makes this an unforgettable ride through a beautifully contrasting wonderland. Intermediate riders are welcome on the Fish River Canyon safari as the terrain requires a slower start than the other Namibian options.
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 tented camp can be constructed however most prefer to embrace the unforgettable opportunity of sleeping out under the stunning stars of the big African sky.
Visit the Canyon Lookout and Ai-Ais Hot Springs
- Unique desert-adapted flora and animals
- Striking vistas and dramatic geological formations
- The chance to experience one of the precious few last true wildernesses
- Enjoy some faster riding across wide plains and embracing a true sense of freedom
- Spend each night sleeping under the vast African sky
- Arrival and Departure: From Cape Town, back to Cape Town
- Length: 11 days, 10 nights, 7/5 riding days; 3 lodge based nights, 1 tented camp and 6 nights camping
- When: 8 – 18 April, 19 - 29 August
- Rates 2017: Fully-Booked 2018: £4300
- Riding Level: Riding 20 - 50 km per day and up to 5 hours riding at all paces over uneven terrain, this ride suitable for intermediate to advanced riders
- Number of Riders: Maximum 11 riders per group
Namibia with its stark and striking landscapes will take your breath away. The Fish River Canyon is one of the most spectacular ancient landscapes in Africa and what better way to explore it than from the back of a horse. The ride takes you through areas with 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.
- 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: To begin your adventure, you will be met at Cape Town International Airport in the morning, (flights should arrive latest 9am) before being transferred approximately 7 hours to the start of the ride. You will arrive at a guesthouse in the Springbok area, the last major town before the Namibian border and sit down for the first dinner of the trip and a chance to meet your fellow riders.
- Day 2: Today you will cross the border and reach Holoog Ranger Station in time for lunch. There you will be introduced to your four legged friends and camp staff. Climbing aboard you will set off for your first afternoon in the saddle, exploring the fascinating rock formations and marveling at the plant diversity around the Gaap River.
- Day 3 to 5: Your journey will begin by following the Gaap River before tackling several small canyons and navigating the diverse landscape, home to a large variety of plant life and also a number of game species, such as giraffe. The wide open plains invite some faster riding and a chance to release your inner cowboy!
You will camp at the Canon Roadhouse an eccentric place with a ‘living museum’ displaying a selection of old cars and movie memorabilia. After yet more spectacular riding you will spend the night at the cosy Mountain Camp Lodge, hidden in the rocky hills and boasting fabulous views.
- Day 6 to 10: Day six will begin with an exciting visit (this time on foot) to the main view-point of the Canyon. In the afternoon, you will continue riding, keeping your eyes peeled for the large herds of plains game seasonally found in this area. This is both a winter and summer rainfall biome and is therefore famous for its rich diversity of flora and fauna.
You will ride out to an overnight stop at Ai Ais; a series of hot springs where beautifully warm water can act as a welcome ease and revitalization for tired muscles. Make sure you bring your swimming costumes and enjoy an afternoon of wallowing.
On your last day you will drop down into the valley of the Orange River and spend your last night reminiscing around the camp fire on the banks of the river.
- Day 11: An early breakfast will be taken before you depart on a 9.5 hour road transfer, crossing the border and on to Cape Town. A few nights in Cape Town is highly recommended but if you are flying home the same day then flights must be scheduled after 20:00.
24 August – 4 September 2018
2017: Fully-Booked 2018: £4300
Single supplement for lodge accommodation unless willing to share: £180
Extra Horse £650
- 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 Cape Town International Airport to starting point of ride and return transfer to central Cape Town or Cape Town International airport on day of departure.
- 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 3-4 hours before lunch, lunch break between 1-3 hours and then another 2-3 hours riding in the afternoon. You will average 20-50km per day over all types of terrain.
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 where possible. 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.