10 night adventurous camping safaris, following camp to camp routes across Namibia's desert. Available April to November. Suitable for confident, fit intermediate riders and above.
Where Different areas of Namibia, with routes from Sossusvlei to the Skeleton Coast, through Damaraland to the north and the desert canyons in the south west.
What is it like A desert landscape that varies from harsh, gravel plains to soft, never-ending sand stetching to the horizon. Undulating highlands, purple-hued mountains and towering sand dunes. Waterless gorges, rocky canyons and yellow-grass plains.
Who does it suit Anyone after an adventure and a chance to escape everyday life. Rides will challenge and test you; riding all day, sleeping out in a simple camp, getting back to basics - but its refreshing, exhilarating time-out. You need to be fit, confident of riding long hours on consecutive days in a remote area and a lot of the riding is fast. There'll be long, long canters but some days, it will be tough, with rocks to scrabble over, a harsh, barren outlook and many hours ahead. Most rides are lead by Andrew Gillies, who has years of guiding experience behind him and is reassuringly capable. He's also laid-back, charismatic and great fun.
Why we love it For a chance to get 'off grid'; to do something challenging, but also exhilarating. 10 days of space, peace, big skies, no interruptions, the routine of camp life, the exertion of long fast riding days, followed by simple, comfortable camp nights. For the time to think. For the sense of achievement.
Riding: 5-8 hours a day
Horses: Arab, Hanoverian and Boerped crosses
Pace: moderate to fast with plenty of long canters in open country
Riding ability: fit, confident, intermediate to experienced riders
Weight limit: 85kg (13 st 5lbs) although a few experienced riders up to 92kg (14st 7lbs) may be accepted (will be charged a supplement for an additional horse)
Accommodation: 3∆ camping / guesthouses & hotels
Group size: maximum 12
Season: April to November
Price: 10 night safari from £4900 per person
Horses: The horses are mainly crossbreeds that include Arab, Hanoverian, Haflinger and South African Boerped crosses. There are also a few crosses of the rare “wild desert horses” of the Namib Desert. They are small to medium sized, between about 14hh and 16hh, sure-footed, athletic and responsive to ride. Maclellan style saddles are used, most horses are ridden in snaffles and riders are expected to groom and tack up their own horse.
Hours: Generally 5 to 7 hours riding a day, with breaks for rests and lunch (NB occasionally a longer day on the Namib Desert Ride).
Pace and experience required: Fitness and experience required varies a little with itinerary but all riders must be confident, comfortable and in control on a horse at all paces (including long trots and canters) when riding with a group over varied, sometimes rough or tricky, terrain. A good level of general and riding fitness is required for all rides. The riding pace depends very much on the route, the day’s terrain and temperatures but you can expect chances for long canters most days and when on desert flats, plenty of long, fast canters.
Accommodation varies with the itinerary but most nights are in simple camps, using dome tents and comfortable camp beds with warm duvets and bedrolls. Most guests choose not to sleep in a tent, but to set up their camp bed under the stars. Camps are moved by a back-up team and support vehicle and set up ahead for you. There is limited water when camping although hot showers are usually possible. Meals are prepared by the support staff and eaten around the campfire. Nights in Windhoek and on the coast are in a guesthouse, safari lodge or small hotel (twin room with own bathroom) and on some rides there are a few nights in a semi-permanent camp where you sleep on proper beds in large walk-in safari tents (usually with own shower but sometimes a shower block to share).
Damaraland Elephant Safari (10 nights) - £4900
Single rooms can normally be arranged if requested, though a single supplement is charged - none charged if you are prepared to share a room with another guest.
Namib Desert Ride
Average temperature guide
Itinerary in Brief - Damaraland Elephant Safari (please enquire for other itineraries)
|Day 1||Meet in Windhoek. Dinner and night at a guesthouse in Windhoek.|
|Day 2||Breakfast and set off driving, about 6 to 7 hours, including lunch stop en-route, to camp near Twyfelfontein, world heritage site. Meet the horses and time permitting a sunset ride. Night in camp.|
|Day 3||Breakfast and a morning ride from Aba Huab across the plains. In the afternoon visit a cultural village and the Twyfelfontein rock engravings before dinner and night in camp.|
|Day 4||Set off riding west across endless plains. A picnic lunch then continue over rocky and sandy hills to the new camp, set up ahead of you.|
||Continue along the Huab River across a wide plain, stopping for lunch at 'cheetah tree'. The afternoon ride is long and through fascinating scenery. Dinner and night at View Point camp.|
|Day 6||Breakfast and ride southwest towards the Ugab River. Lunch at 'Lion head' and then a long canter to the mouth of a narrow canyon. Continue through spectacular country to camp near Brandberg West. Dinner and night in camp.|
||Breakfast in camp and then ride on, winding your way through reeds and kori bush thickets along the Ugab to Brakwasser, another place of brackish water. After lunch, ride up a deserted gorge with fascinating folded rockwalls. Dinner and night in camp.|
||Leave the Ugab tributary and set off across a vast open plain with some long canters before lunch at the Quarry. Continue across stony plains west towards the coast. Night in camp|
|Day 9||Set off riding to the Messum River and Crater. Plenty of chances to move on again today. Night in camp|
|Day 10||Tha last ride takes you to the beach, arriving at the Skeleton Coast around lunchtime. Again lots of exhilarating canters and spectacular views. Overnight at a beach house in Henties Bay.|
|Day 11||After breakfast transfer about 5 hours by bus back to Windhoek. Own arrangements for onward travel (late pm departure).|
|Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on tel (+44) (0)1837-82544(+44) (0)1837-82544 / 825440 for further information, detailed itineraries, dates and answers to questions.|
The meeting point for most rides is Windhoek, the capital of Namibia (for Desert Canyons Ride meet in Cape Town - see below). From London it is generally easiest to fly via Johannesburg (eg British Airways or South African Airways overnight London to JNB, connecting onto Windhoek with Com Air or SAA). Air Namibia also fly from London to Windhoek overnight (via Frankfurt). For flights from London to Windhoek budget around £900 to £1250 economy return (varies with season, carrier and availability).
For the Desert Canyon Rides meeting and departure are from Cape Town in South Africa. British Airways and South African Airways have direct overnight flights to Cape Town from around £750 to £900 (varies with season).