Damara Elephant Safari
The following is a sample itinerary to be used as a rough guideline of how the days might pan out. Usually you can expect to ride for somewhere between around 4 and 8 hours each day, covering 20-50 km over varied terrain. The route, overnight stops and hours in the saddle can change, but always with your best interests in mind.
You will be met on arrival at Windhoek International airport and transferred to River Crossing guesthouse to overnight. Later, there is the chance to meet the rest of your riding group for dinner. A Namibia Horse Safari company representative will conduct a briefing about the riding adventure ahead.
After an early breakfast, journey north by road (c. 7 hours), with lunch en route, to the camp near Twyfelfontein. Here you meet the horses and crew. Settle in to your new surroundings with a sundowner.
Set off on a morning ride to familiarise yourself with your mount. Explore the Aba-Huab area where sandy plains may invite for brisk canters. Ride amongst impressively stacked granite rock formations. After lunch, there is usually the opportunity to visit the Twyfelfontein rock engravings, followed by sundowners at a local viewpoint.
Start riding west across endless plains, passing by fascinating rock formations en-route. There may be a chance of seeing desert adapted game such as springbok and oryx. Occasionally you follow dry river courses dotted with Mopani trees. Stop for a light lunch in the shade, before continuing over undulating terrain to the camping spot above the Huab River.
Ride down the dry watercourse of the Huab River, with its wonderfully shady ‘Ana' trees, the pods of which are the favourite food of desert elephants. Make your way along the grassy plains to a lunch spot at a 'marking tree' much favoured by cheetah. The afternoon ride takes you across the watershed with phenomenal vistas. Camp is usually pitched at a point where you can see the views and dramatic colours of Brandberg (Burning Mountain), Namibia’s highest mountain.
Ride southwest towards the Ugab River system, with its impressive remnants of ancient erosion-exposed rock formations. Wide open spaces may invite for some faster riding, before passing through the narrow gorge at Soutfontein (Salt Spring). Arrive at camp in time for a drink before dinner.
Tonight you may stay at Save the Rhino Campsite on the west side of Brandberg. This is a community run campsite for the benefit of 'Save the Rhino Project' founded to protect Namibia's rhino from poaching. It is really worth visiting their interesting information centre.
Today wind your way through reeds and kori bush thickets along the banks of the Ugab to Brakwasser, yet another of the many brackish springs which sustain life in this rugged wilderness. Leaving the watercourse of the Ugab River behind after lunch, ride up a large gorge formed by impressive folded formations. Camp is a wonderfully shady spot, good respite from a day of vivid contrasts.
This morning leave the river valleys behind to cross vast open plains with spectacular views of Brandberg. The terrain may allow for some faster riding, before lunch at a picnic spot. The afternoon ride provides the quintessential image of Namib vastness; wide stony plains gently falling towards the Skeleton Coast. Overnight at Skeleton Camp.
Today you head towards the dramatic Messum Caldera, the eroded remains of a collapsed volcano riding out of a spectacularly flat surround. The landscape is dominated by many such intrusions which form prominent Inselbergs (island mountains) of which the Brandberg is one. Tonight's camp offers a most spectacular panorama.
After breakfast, set off on the last ride which will take you to the ocean; the formidable Skeleton Coast, so called for the hulks of stranded ships which dot the coastline. The cold, upwelling Benquela Current results in some diverse weather conditions, from hot desert easterlies to a cold south Atlantic westerly. This is a place of extremes. Your epic adventure will end with lunch on the beach, before a transfer the rest of the way to Henties Bay. Overnight at a comfortable house in Henties Bay.
After breakfast, depart Henties Bay for Windhoek, a road journey of c. 5-6 hours. If you are flying home today, flights should depart from Windhoek after 15:00.