Namibia Horse Safari Company
The best of Namibia from the back of a horse
What makes deserts so captivating? Inhospitable and seemingly desolate these hauntingly beautiful places are uninhabitable except by those supremely adapted. This is perhaps what makes deserts so exceptional – experiencing the very real implications of what it takes to survive in these forbidding yet beguiling places. One is left spellbound by the ingenuity of nature's engineering.
Long mystified by poets and mystics, deserts seem to remind us of how vulnerable we are and how far we have removed ourselves from that which is truly remarkable. There is something about Africa which has a mind-broadening effect – something we all are in need of. To be stripped of the seemingly unnecessary complexity our lives seem subject to is an enlightening experience - to those who are brave enough to allow a shift of perspective.
Damara Elephant Safari
With its multitude of extraordinary geological formations, Damaraland is one of Namibia's hidden gems. Almost inaccessible and extremely rugged, it is etched with poignantly delicate colours contrasting the remnants telling of a violent geological past. From the ancient craters of inactive volcanoes crisscrossed by massive ephemeral river systems, to the wild beauty of the forbidding Skeleton Coast, this is true wilderness. The Damara Elephant Safar is a tremendously thrilling adventure on which you may encounter the unique desert-adapted elephant, rhino and perhaps even lion. The occasional flooding of long-dry ephemeral rivers certainly adds high excitement to this extraordinary wilderness experience.
Desert Canyons Safari
The Greater Fish River Canyon is the largest natural gorge in Africa. Its dramatic landscapes offer an astonishing geological and floral diversity with the added attraction of desert adapted big game including giraffe and rhino. Expansive plains invite long canters in a landscape characterised by meandering gorges and dramatically eroded escarpments. Traversing two enormous private nature reserves dedicated to the conservation of this important plant kingdom, the ride ends in the arid basin of the Orange River with its unexpected verdant vineyards – among the largest table grape production in the Southern Hemisphere.
Namib Desert Ride
The Namib Desert Safari covers some 300 km of very diverse desert environment and is on many a horse lovers bucket list. Arguably one of the most spectacular deserts on the planet, the Namib, with its iconic ochre dunes and huge grassy plain is a delight to the senses. With a surprisingly varied wildlife for this seemingly inhospitable aridity, it holds wonderful surprises in ingenious desert adaptations. This horse riding safari, from near Sossusvlei to the Atlantic Coast at Swakopmund, is our most challenging ride and not for the unfit or faint-hearted!
For those who prefer not to camp we offer a variety of lodge-based rides in fabulously pristine desert environments. Big dunes in huge landscapes with dramatic sentinel inselbergs (island mountains) and a variety of desert-adapted plains game, the unimpeded vistas give a wonderful sense of space. Encircled by distant mountains, the scenery quite takes your breath away and at night the splendid Milky Way arches overhead in a sky unpolluted by light.
Our horses and tack
Our cross-bred horses are raised on rough mountain terrain resulting in strong, sure footed horses with lots of character and 'forwards' in them. Crosses include Arab, Haflinger, Trakehner and now some Boerperd which is proving to be an ideal safari horse. Most have done several trails and are adept at looking after their riders in Namibia's rugged terrain.
On safari our horses are secured on a picket-line at night and fed 4 times a day from specially made nosebags. We encourage guests to cement the bond with their mounts by participating in grooming and feeding rituals.
We use skirted endurance type saddles which are best suited for the comfort of both horse and rider as well as the rough terrain we ride in. Each saddle is fitted with two specially made water bottle holders with water bottles supplied and enough space for a small camera. There are sufficient thongs on the saddle for tying on shed jackets as the day warms up.
We uphold a strict policy regarding our horses, requiring riders to be fit and able to sustain an independent seat for several hours a day. Riding and living in desert environments demands a degree of physical fitness – it is essential guests read our Riding Policy before booking.
Life on safari
Days on safari are leisurely beginning with the aroma of freshly brewed coffee drifting through the camp at dawn. After a hearty breakfast we ride for 3 – 4 hours before lunch which varies from an hour to a two-hour break followed by another 2 – 3 hours in the afternoon. Chilled drinks are served at sundown and guests enjoy evenings around a companionable campfire with delicious meals conjured up over the coals.
Most guests choose to sleep out under the glorious canopy of southern stars – a very special experience. We do provide dome tents if required, however in some remote areas, this may not always be possible.
We supply comfortable camp bed with a warm bedroll containing duck-down duvet and pillow. Guests are welcome to add their own fleece liner for extra warmth. Hot bucket showers are available in the evenings and toilets are set up at all overnight camps.
We average anything from 20 – 60 km per day, at all paces, sometimes of rough terrain. Please note we ride in a true desert so routes can change due to unforeseen circumstances. On first and last nights we stay in amiable lodges – check individual itineraries as this can vary. Single accommodation and tents are supplied upon request.
We strive to offer our guests the most unpretentious wilderness experience from the back of a horse. By living close to nature - sleeping near your horse on the picket line, star-watching from your bed at night, and listening to the distant call of animals - all this lend itself to an authentic immersion in what is Africa. To absorb the essence of this exquisite Namib.