The Namib Desert Ride

Over 20 years of experience guiding horse riding safaris across the hauntingly beautiful Namib Desert, has led to the creation of the best horse riding 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. These rides are suitable for experienced riders only.

The vast landscape of the Namib Desert lends itself perfectly to long trots and canters, a well-known highlight of this famous ride.  An adventure on all accounts, horse riding in Namibia is not for the faint-hearted, but it is without doubt the ride of a lifetime.  The 400km adventure across 10 days, leads you through stunning scenery and the chance to see a wide variety of desert wildlife. From the famous sand dunes of Sossusvlei, through the vastly contrasting desert terrains and all the way to the beautiful beaches of the Atlantic, before finishing at Swakopmund.

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.

Video of when African Horse Safaris went horse riding in Namibia and crossed the Namib Desert: July 2016.

Highlights

  • Getting to marvel at the iconic dunes of Sossusvlei, a World Heritage Site.
  • The chance to experience one of the world’s last true wildernesses from the back of a horse.
  • Unrestricted riding across endless desert plains and the inescapable sense of adventure.
  • Crossing greatly contrasting landscapes and seeing fascinating desert adapted wildlife.
  • Sleeping out every night under the vast African sky with stars like you won’t see anywhere else.

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) and8 nights camping
  • When: Check dates and rates section
  • Riding Level: Riding 20 - 60 km per day or up to 8 hours riding at all paces over uneven terrain, this ride is not suitable for inexperienced riders.
  • Number of Riders: Up to 14 riders per group as the sheer scale of the Namib permits a larger group.
  • Rates: 2017: Fully-Booked 2018: 10 Nights: £4300

Destination Description

Namibia with its stark and striking landscapes will take your breath away. The Namib Desert is one of the most spectacular desert 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.

  • Provided 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 4 to 8 hours, covering 20-60km 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 breakfast you will be transferred to Sossusvlei, an exciting journey via Spreetshoogte Pass which will provide the first sightings of the vast Namib Desert below. Meet and greet will happen with the horses and crew at the first camp site before a delicious lunch is served. In the afternoon it is possible to explore the terminal pan of Sossusvlei and clamber up the soaring sand dunes for a panoramic view before heading back to camp as the sun sets. Dinner is cooked over an open fire in true Namibian style.
  • Day 3: Venturing out on your first ride you will be stunned by the huge grassy valley stretching out ahead of you, with sights of the distant Namib sands. Riding into the lunch spot you will be pleasantly surprised by the desert oasis of Solitaire. The afternoon ride meanders past the rugged Namib Naukluft Mountains before returning for dinner around the camp fire. The camps water trough is often the victim of theft from mountain zebra, kudu and oryx who won’t pass up the opportunity of a handy water stop in the night!
  • Day 4: Morning number four leads you along gentle dunes and through untouched wilderness without a soul in sight. Adrenaline starts to soar in the afternoon as you canter across the dry riverbeds before climbing up to tonight’s campsite, set up on a small hill. This evening you will see a change from the usual alfresco dining as dinner is served in an old converted farm barn which serves for an excellent dining room.
  • Day 5: This morning brings stunning red sand dunes and descent into the rugged Gaub Canyon where lunch is then taken. In the afternoon you climb back out of the canyon, before venturing onwards across the plains to a cave boasting impressive views of the badlands and the ephemeral Kuiseb River.
  • Day 6: Today’s challenging ride requires the careful negotiation of the terraces that lead down to the Kuiseb River and a technical descent into the riverbed. The river marks the end of the Namib Sand Sea and its sporadic flow stops the dunes from crossing it.
  • Day 7: Good riding surface often results in an increase in pace as you head to the water point situated at Ganab, a stop-off that often provides some plains game sightings such as zebra, oryx and ostrich. The plains are cut across by various watercourses, dividing the vast space with lines of trees, which if you are lucky, can sometimes be seen giving shelter to desert-adapted giraffe.
  • Day 8: Day eight is another day where faster riding is often possible and a chance to release your inner cowboy as you travel across the Tinkas and Tumas plains to Hotsas!
  • Day 9: As you continue through the desert, strange shapes form and disappear in mirages as you ride around the gnarled dinosaur-like plants, the specially adapted ‘Welwitschia Mirabilis’. You then pass through the spectacular Moon Valley on your descent to a wonderfully sheltered campsite in the Swakop River.
  • Day 10: Awake and set off for your final ride along the Swakop River to the coast and take in your first view of the Atlantic Ocean and first sign of civilization for ten days! To round off the spectacular adventure you will have one final canter along the brilliant white sands of the beach before collapsing in a gloriously satisfied heap at the comfortable guesthouse. The horses will also be putting their feet up in a paddock nearby overlooking the sea. The last supper is taken after sundowners and you can take a look back over what will have undoubtedly been an adventure of a lifetime.
  • Day 11: You will return to Windhoek after breakfast for your flight home. Flights should depart Windhoek earliest 15:00.

Dates:
30 March – 9 April
20 – 30 April
13 – 23 July
3 – 13 August
14 – 24 September

Rates: 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.

 

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 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 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.