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The Damara Ride explores a beautifully stark part of Namibia. Almost inaccessible, with vast open spaces, ancient craters and remnants from prehistoric times, this is a true adventure on horseback. There are long days in the saddle and plenty of fast riding to enjoy.
From Windhoek, travel north by road to visit the famous rock engravings at Twyfelfontein. Then set off on horseback, travelling west through a landscape of flat-topped mountains and glacial valleys. Leaving the valleys behind, cross open plains with Brandberg Mountain as your backdrop. The final riding day takes you to the Skeleton Coast, named for the shipwrecks which dot the coastline.
As well as the unique scenery, you may also encounter elephant, rhino, springbok, oryx, or other desert-adapted species.
You must be an experienced rider, balanced in the saddle at all paces and fit enough to ride up to 50 km in one day.
The pace is dictated by the terrain - slower riding over rocky surfaces with countless long canters and gallops out on the plains.
The horses are fit and tough. They range in height from 14.2hh to around 16hh. Selected for their attributes rather than their breeding, they are a mixture of Arab crosses, Namibian warmbloods, Trakehners and Boerperds. All the horses are forward-going and Damaraland is vast, so don't ask for a spirited horse unless you are skilled at handling a sensitive horse at speed.
You ride English style in South African trail saddles, with simple bridles. Each rider is expected to prepare their own horse throughout the expedition.
There may be stretches where you need to lead your horse over rocky ground, so your boots must have sturdy soles.
The weight limit is 85 kg in riding gear. It may be possible to accommodate riders up to 93 kg subject to payment of an additional horse supplement. Please enquire for availability.
The first and last nights are spent in lodges, but the eight nights in between are basic camping.
You are provided with camp beds and swags (a canvas bag containing sleeping mat, duvet and pillows). Tents are available, but most guests make the most of the opportunity to sleep out under the stars.
Luggage is transported by vehicle, which meets you at the overnight camps and at most of the lunch spots. Bucket showers are set up in the evening so that you can wash off the dust.
The scheduled dates are set out below. Additional dates may be possible for private groups (ten riders) between April and September. Please enquire for details.
|Holiday||Experience LevelExp Lvl||Arrive - DepartArr - Dep||Price||Itinerary||Availability|
|Damara Elephant Safari||10 Jul 2020 - 20 Jul 2020||10 nights 10 ngts||$5,466.27||Full|
|Damara Elephant Safari||28 Jul 2020 - 7 Aug 2020||10 nights 10 ngts||$5,466.27||Full|
|Damara Elephant Safari||23 Jun 2021 - 3 Jul 2021||10 nights 10 ngts||$5,654.77||Book|
|Damara Elephant Safari||20 Aug 2021 - 30 Aug 2021||10 nights 10 ngts||$5,654.77||Book|
INCLUDES Accommodation; all meals; drinks when on the trail; tent; swag; horses; guide; backup vehicle.
The weight limit is 85 kg in riding gear. Riders up to 93 kg may be accommodated subject to availability and payment of an extra horse supplement $967.59, ($1,005.29 in 2021).
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT No single supplement if you are prepared to share, otherwise $238.76 to guarantee your own room in lodges (2 nights)
PAYABLE LOCALLY Drinks at lodges; tips.
NEAREST AIRPORT Windhoek.
TRANSFERS Transfers from Windhoek airport on first day to the start of the ride on the second day and back to Windhoek on last day cost $490.08 per person, ($502.65 in 2021). These are non-optional transfers and are not refundable.
NOT INCLUDED Flights to Windhoek.
The meeting point for the ride is Windhoek.
On the first day of the ride your flight can arrive at Windhoek International Airport at any time. You will then be transferred to a guest house just outside Windhoek. Check-in at the guesthouse is usually from 13:00. If you arrive before this you can make use of the main facilities until your room is ready. Alternatively, it may be possible to pay for early check-in, so please ask if you would like us to check availability for you.
On departure day flights should depart Windhoek after 15:00.
The ride takes place north west of Windhoek over a combination of rocky desert and open plains.
During the months in which the ride runs, days tend to be warm to hot, with temperatures dropping to a few degrees overnight. As you near the coast, dense fog and cold sea breezes can occur.
Riding was exciting and challenging, living up to its promotion and complemented by the close contact with game. Current level is fine. Your understanding of how to give experienced riders something very different and special is spot-on.
Martin ,LondonOverall rating: 5/5
This trip features fantastic riding in the wilderness, a visit to the rock engravings at Twyfelfontein and the chance of seeing desert-adapted elephant and rhino...adventure in abundance!
You'll need to be fit to undertake this ride, so make sure you spend plenty of time in the saddle as preparation.