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Explore the unrivaled open spaces and spectacular landscapes of the Namib Desert. Crossing the oldest desert in the world on horseback is a true adventure, so expect long days in the saddle and extended spells of fast riding. This trip is for fit, experienced riders who are looking for a challenge and is definitely not for the faint-hearted.
During this ten night expedition you’ll spend eight days in the saddle riding nearly 300 km through some of the most remote parts of Namibia. The route starts near the small settlement of Solitaire and ends at Swakopmund on the Atlantic coast.
After a visit to Sossusvlei, the ride sets off through the Naukluft mountains. Cross two river canyons; the Guab and the much larger Kuiseb – which you climb out of on foot. Mountain zebra are sometimes in evidence, so keep a look out for them.
Then head out onto the wide plains of the Namib, where long lines of acacia trees mark the dry watercourses. Giraffe, springbok and oryx might be seen here resting in the shade. You could also come across the prehistoric-looking Welwitschia plant which spreads its tentacles across the desert floor.
As the end point nears, ride into the Swakop river basin, with its moon-like landscape and distinctive ridges of dolerite. Cross the dunes and then celebrate your arrival in Swakopmund with a final gallop along the beach.
The ‘Little Namib Desert Ride‘ is a shorter six night version of the flagship ride. It features four days of riding and camping out in the desert, with the first and last nights spent in guesthouse accommodation. There is no visit to Sossusvlei on this condensed version of the main ride.
You must be an experienced rider, balanced in the saddle at all paces and fit enough to ride up to 60 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 the desert is vast, so our advice is not to 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 are 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 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 of the desert.
The scheduled dates are set out below for the ten night Namib Desert Ride.
Additional dates may be possible for private groups of twelve riders, between April and September. Please enquire for details.
|Holiday||Experience LevelExp Lvl||Arrive - DepartArr - Dep||Price||Itinerary||Availability|
|Namib Desert||1 Apr 2023 - 11 Apr 2023||10 nights 10 ngts||$6,726.66||Book|
|Namib Desert||19 Apr 2023 - 29 Apr 2023||10 nights 10 ngts||$6,726.66||Full|
|Namib Desert||26 May 2023 - 5 Jun 2023||10 nights 10 ngts||$6,726.66||Full|
|Namib Desert||22 Jul 2023 - 1 Aug 2023||10 nights 10 ngts||$6,726.66||Book|
|Namib Desert||28 Aug 2023 - 7 Sep 2023||10 nights 10 ngts||$6,726.66||Book|
|Little Namib Desert||22 Oct 2023 - 28 Oct 2023||6 nights 6 ngts||$6,160.87||Book|
|Namib Desert||10 Apr 2024 - 20 Apr 2024||10 nights 10 ngts||$7,292.46||Book|
|Namib Desert||22 May 2024 - 1 Jun 2024||10 nights 10 ngts||$7,292.46||Book|
|Namib Desert||3 Jul 2024 - 13 Jul 2024||10 nights 10 ngts||$7,292.46||Book|
|Namib Desert||14 Aug 2024 - 24 Aug 2024||10 nights 10 ngts||$7,292.46||Book|
|Namib Desert||25 Sep 2024 - 5 Oct 2024||10 nights 10 ngts||$7,292.46||Full|
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 $1,005.86 ($1,068.72 in 2024).
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT No single supplement if you are prepared to share, otherwise $238.89 ($251.46 in 2024) to guarantee your own room in lodges (2 nights)
PAYABLE LOCALLY Drinks at lodges; tips.
NEAREST AIRPORT Windhoek. It is also possible to fly from Walvis Bay to Johannesburg on the last day (this transfer to Walvis Bay is payable locally).
TRANSFERS from Windhoek airport on the first day, to the start of the ride on the second day and back to Windhoek on last day are included in the ride price. These are non-optional transfers and are not refundable.
The meeting point is Windhoek and we will arrange transfers for you.
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 Windhoek guesthouse, where you spend the first night. 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.
On departure day the journey back to Windhoek by road usually takes around 5 hours. Flights should depart Windhoek after 15:00.
At the end of the ride rather than transferring back to Windhoek by road, you may choose to fly back from Walvis Bay via Johannesburg. At a small additional cost a transfer from Swakopmund to Walvis Bay airport can be arranged for you, (a journey of around 30 minutes). However, there is no refund if you choose not to take the road transfer back to Windhoek.
Crossing the Namib Desert from inland, near Solitaire and finishing on the coast at Swakopmund.
Namibia has a dry and arid climate. During the months in which the ride runs, days tend to be warm to hot, with temperatures dropping to a few degrees overnight.
Overall a wonderful trip that more than met my expectations. Thoroughly enjoyed the riding - horses were forward going and well matched to riders, stunning landscapes and plenty of good food to keep the energy levels up along the way!
Jacqui ,SurreyOverall rating: 5/5
If you are an experienced rider and like to go fast then his expedition has got to be on your wish list. But you'll need to be fit, so take your preparations seriously.
In The Saddle says
Namibia is amongst the largest African countries, but has one of the lowest population densities. This means open spaces, open spaces, open spaces - the perfect riding destination!