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Namibia - The Namib Desert Safari
Toughest Ride in the World - Absolute trip of a Lifetime!

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Horse Riding Holidays Namibia – The Namib Desert Safari – 4 Itineraries

PRICES & DATES top

Zara & Jill crossed the Namib Desert in September 2022…here’s what they said about this awesome adventure https://www.zarasplanet.com/crossing-the-namib-desert/

The Namib Desert Safari’s: Prices & Dates 2024

These rides are only suited for good intermediate and experienced riders who are comfortable at fast speeds on all terrains. You must be VERY fit, have stamina and be able to cope long hours with canters/gallops of several minutes at a time. Speak to us about how to train for this ride.

Rates are quote per person sharing. These are all set departure rides.
GBP, £ EUR, € USD, $
Choose your currency

  • Namib Desert Ride (10 Nights)
    $7,330
    • GBP: 5,800
    • EUR: 6,779

    Single supplement – $253
    • GBP: 200
    • EUR: 234

    10 – 20 April
    22 May – 1 June
    3 -1 3 July
    14 – 24 August
    25 September – 5 October
  • Damara Elephant Safari (10 Nights)
    $7,330
    • GBP: 5,800
    • EUR: 6,779

    Single supplement – $253
    • GBP: 200
    • EUR: 234

    24 July – 3 August
    4 – 14 September
  • Wolwedans to Wild Horses Safari (10 Nights)
    $7,330
    • GBP: 5,800
    • EUR: 6,779

    Single supplement – $253
    • GBP: 200
    • EUR: 234

    1 – 11 May
  • Skeleton Damara Safari (10 Nights)
    $7,330
    • GBP: 5,800
    • EUR: 6,779

    Single supplement – $253
    • GBP: 200
    • EUR: 234

    14 – 23 March
    16 – 25 October
    6 – 15 November

    Namib Lodge based Rides
     – Suitable for self-drives in Namibia.

Please enquire about shorter stay and private trips on other dates.

Note: Rates are subject to daily exchange rate fluctuations, please refer to our ‘Terms & Conditions’ for full details.

Includes – All riding, twin accommodation, all meals and drinks while camping, guides, back up team, equipment and road transfers.

Excludes – Flights, personal drinks at lodges/restaurants & tips. if a rider is over 85kgs with their riding gear on there is an extra horse supplement of $1,074
  • GBP: 850
  • EUR: 993
per person.

Getting There
On all programmes, transfers are included from specified airports and often at specific set times. Flights should be scheduled as follows.

Namib Desert Ride, Damara Elephant Ride & Skeleton Damara Safari
Arrival: Windhoek Airport (arrival before dinner)
Depart: Windhoek Airport (scheduled flight departing after 15:00pm)

Wolwedans to Wild Horses
Arrival: Windhoek Airport (arrival strictly before 12:00pm)
Departure: Windhoek Airport (scheduled flights after 15:00pm, following charter flight from Luderitz arriving at 12:45pm**)
** Please note that this route often experiences delays.

All our horse riding holidays hold a price guarantee. We believe in your piece of mind on price when you book one of our horse riding holidays and will refund the difference should you find the same horse riding holiday elsewhere at a lower price.

SUMMARY OF THE TRIP top

Some 20 years ago ReitSafari pioneered horse safaris across the Namibian desert. Now as the Namibia Horse Safari Company, headed up by Andrew Gillies who owns and personally guides each safari. Andrew is a real life cowboy and incredible horseman, host and manager. The team of Andrew, his back up guide Larissa, his horse/camp managers Colin and Nelson plus chefs Willem and Lya are nothing short of incredible and make sure everything happens smoothly. This ride is one of the best we offer so please take the opportunity to do it if your riding and fitness is up to it. The operation offers riders a truly unforgettable adventure in one of the World’s most spectacular wild places – The Desert Ride.

Crossing the oldest desert in the world on horseback is a journey of a lifetime! The Desert Ride is also one of the toughest rides in the world and not for the faint hearted. Tremendously rewarding, it challenges you the rider and builds mutual respect between yourself and your horse.

The Desert Ride in Central Namibia offers spectacular and fascinating contrasts which guests breathtakingly enjoy – from Khomas Hochland mountains and escarpment to the Kuiseb Canyon; the Tinkas, Tumas and Welwitschia plains, Moon Valley, the seasonal Swakop River and the coastal dunes of the Atlantic Ocean. This is the ultimate ride and if you haven’t ridden in Namibia then this is the one to do. You will ride where no man goes and really explore the Namib desert in a way that no other adventure company even gets near.

Besides The Desert Ride holiday, there are also other exciting treks to choose from in Namibia and include:

Damaraland Elephant Ride/ 10 nights

Damaraland is a very spectacular part of the country, almost inaccessible, with amazing colours and vast open spaces that will blow your mind, ancient craters and remnants from prehistoric times, not to mention the forbidding Skeleton Coast. We may encounter elephant, rhino, cheetah and plains game or be caught by rivers in flood, all of which combines into a tremendous adventure.

Wolwedans to Wild Horses / 10 nights

This is a very exciting desert ride with many unique attractions to be experienced; see the magical red dunes of Sossusvlei which are the highest in the world, discover contrasting landscapes, challenge yourself with some technical riding and have the chance to see the wild horses of the Namib Desert.

Skeleton Damara Safari/ 10 nights

With breezes from the Atlantic keeping temperatures down, this route is ideal for the southern hemisphere spring months of October and November. Starting in Swakopmund, the ride explores the river valleys of Damaraland where you may spot desert elephant, keeping close to the coast to end with a night in a beach house. 10 days, 9 nights with 7 days riding covering 20 to 50 kms a day. 8 nights camping, 1 in Windhoek, 1 on the Skeleton Coast.
For fit, experienced riders. Meeting / end point Windhoek.

THE RIDING top

Horses – In the most part they are crossbreeds from a variety that arrived in Namibia in the past century, including Thrakener, Hanovarian, Shagya Arabs, Boerperde & Cape Horses, with more recent additions of Arabians and even the odd Haflinger.

Recently there has also been some Nooitgedacht horses added which are known for their hardiness and kind temperaments. Overall, the horses are generally smaller in body size to help survive the harsh dry and mountainous environments.

The horses are your hero’s on this adventure. They are fit machines trained for endurance and looked after impeccably. Each horse is fed 4 hard feeds a day, lots of lucerne and Andrew will carefully check every horse twice daily for rubs, sores or tiredness. It’s truly incredible how fit these horses are.

Level of Riding & Pace – This an extreme challenge, therefore riders must be Intermediate plus and be very fit. Don’t underestimate your fitness levels.

Tack – Comfortable skirted Endurance saddles. Each saddle is fitted with 2 specially made water bottle holders with water bottles supplied. We really recommend to bring your own seat saver for extra comfort, sheepskin or avacallo is best or some people even combine both! You are also responsible for grooming, checking over and tacking up your own horse but there is always help at hand to make sure it is done correctly.

Weight Restriction – There is a strict weight limit of 85kg dressed in full riding gear – fit riders heavier than this can be catered for easily. A 2nd horse will be provided at an extra supplement, price on application.

Group Size – Maximum 12.

ACCOMMODATION top

There is a mix of accommodation – a couple of nights in comfortable lodges at the beginning and end of the ride and in between the majority of clients sleep out under the stars on camp beds. A tent is available if you want it.  Camps are set up and moved ahead of you by the back-up team / vehicle. You will pick up your own camp bed and very cosy bedroll when you arrive in the evening and select your spot in the desert to place it for the night! This is true advanture! Obviously, there is limited water in the desert, but showers are usually possible every night with a bucket shower heated by the crew.

You can also expect surprisingly good food while on The Desert Ride adventurer trek from porridge and eggs for breakfast, salads and sandwiches for lunch normally but some days you’ll have the full monty (fish and chips in the desert anyone?)  and 2 course evening meals, cooked right on the campfire. Evening meals could be a lasagne with garlic bread followed by hot chocolate pudding or steaks with veggies and then cheesecake. You definetely won’t go hungry.

The kitchen trailer doubles up as the bar and there is always cool drinks, beer, wine and spirits with mixers to help yourself to.

We have travelled the world testing a huge variety of horse riding holidays to make sure we offer you, our client, the best horse riding holiday experience possible.

Our horse riding holidays are thoroughly researched – we consider all the elements that go towards making our horse riding holidays collection the best in the world. We check the quality of the horses, if they are fit for the job, well produced and looked after. We make sure the riding terrain is good going, the countryside is interesting and, for example, on Classic Dressage horse riding holidays, the arenas are in good condition. We make sure the accommodation, whether it’s a five star hotel, a farmhouse or camping, is clean and comfortable, and offers a great night’s sleep. The food is all important too – we take the time to make sure we tell you if it’s cordon bleu, home cooked, or regional and locally sourced – above all it has to be delicious, plentiful and nourishing. Last but not least, we choose the horse riding holidays that have the best hosts, who are friendly, warm and welcoming.

It’s only when all these elements come together that we add a horse riding holiday into our hand-picked collection of horse riding holidays.

Horse Riding Holidays on The Desert Ride is part of the Zara’s Planet Horse Riding Holidays Namibia collection.

SAMPLE ITINERARY top

Namib Desert Ride

Day 1
You will be met on arrival at Windhoek International Airport and transferred to River Crossing Lodge with its impressive view over Windhoek. Here you will meet the rest of your riding group for dinner and a Namibia Horse Safari Company representative will brief the group about what to expect on your adventure on The Desert Ride.

Day 2
After breakfast you depart for Sesriem (a journey of about 4 hours) via the Spreetshoogte Pass which affords the first enticing glimpse of the seemingly endless Namib Desert below. At Sesriem you will meet the horses and crew at the campsite under some ancient Camelthorn trees. This afternoon’s excursion is to Sesriem Canyon, and the terminal pan of Sossusvlei itself. You are welcome to attempt to climb the towering dunes for a spectacularly panoramic view. Enjoy sundowners in an idyllic desert setting with a sinuously curving dune crest forming a dramatic backdrop in the fading light.

Day 3
The start of The Desert Ride adventure takes you up a wide grassy valley flanked on one side by the edge of the Namib Sand Sea. Both lunch, at Tsamsvlei, and your evening camp at Namib Water are near water points which are magnets for desert-adapted game such as Oryx, Springbok, Ostrich and Wildebeest (Gnu). This evening’s camp, at the foot of a long-vegetated dune, offers the first opportunity to sleep out under the magical Milky Way.

Day 4
This morning sees you traversing the edge of the Namib Sand Sea, crossing dunes so old that vegetation has established a hold, supporting a surprising variety of wildlife in this seemingly inhospitable environment. Riding between long linear dunes which actually amount to mountains of sand, this unspoiled wilderness offers some striking scenery. In the afternoon the pace quickens as you ride across the wide plains of a riverbed before a gentle climb up to your campsite on a hill. Dinner is served in an old farm dam that has been converted into a wonderful dining room!

Day 5
This morning cross red dunes before a rugged decent into the craggy Gaub canyon where you stop for lunch. This afternoon sees you climb back out of the canyon before continuing across the wide plains to a cave with far reaching and spectacular views of the Badlands of the ephemeral Kuiseb River.

Day 6
Today you will negotiate the bizarrely rugged Kuiseb Canyon to reach your camp on the northern bank at Aruvlei. It is the Kuiseb which forms a dramatic end to the Namib Sand Sea, flowing just often enough to prevent the dunes from crossing the river. The tracks of Mountain Zebra criss-cross the steep sides of the canyon all leading to a year-round supply of precious water which is preserved by the high, narrow walls of the canyon.

Day 7
Good terrain affords some faster-paced riding towards the water-point at Ganab where Mountain Zebra, Oryx, Ostrich, Springbok and if you are lucky some desert-adapted warthogs come to drink. Here the wide grassy plains are scarred by several watercourses, some only distinguishable by the long lines of trees which mark their course, sometimes giving shelter some desert-adapted Giraffe.

Day 8
Another day which affords some faster-paced riding to Hotsas across the Tinkas and Tumas plains, which become ever less vegetated as you approach the coast. On approaching the Marble Mountain, you will often see Ostriches and Mountain Zebra running alongside you, curious about the unusual centaurs inhabiting their desert. From now on life-giving evening fog can be expected, producing 5 times as much precipitation than rainfall in this hyper arid area.

Day 9
Today’s ride takes you through the hyper aridity of true desert-scapes where you encounter the dinosaur-like of plants, the gnarled Welwitschia Mirablis. Strange shapes form and disappear in mirages and fascinating survival devices of desert adapted creatures astound; this is a land of great antiquity and also tremendous solitude. Pass through the spectacular Moon Valley on your decent to a wonderfully sheltered campsite in the Swakop River.

Day 10
Set off on your final ride down the Swakop River to the coastal dunes, before reaching the Atlantic Ocean. See your first glimpse of a town in ten days! The last stretch of riding is along the soft white beach sand of Swakopmund. Tonight’s accommodation is a comfortable guesthouse while the horses enjoy their well-deserved rest in a large sandy paddock with a wonderful view of the sea. After sundowners, enjoy your last memorable meal together, reminiscing over an adventure unlikely to be forgotten.”]

Day 11
Say a fond farewell at breakfast as the transfer to Windhoek (a journey of c. 5 hours) leaves in time for the late afternoon departure flights from Windhoek International Airport.

Damara Elephant Safari

Days 1 and 2
Windhoek to Twyfelfontein
Welcome to Namibia!
A shuttle service will collect you from Windhoek International Airport (Hosea Kutako) to your first overnight in Windhoek (your name will be on a welcome board). Meet your fellow riders and host/riding guide Andrew Gillies for sundowners and dinner. Andrew will give you a briefing about youradventure. Early morning departure for the Aba Huab river with lunch en-route – we arrive in camp to meet the horses and crew. In the late afternoon we visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Twyfelfontein with its 5000 year-old petroglyphs.
Elephant sometimes walk through camp at night…light sleepers be warned!

Day 3 – 6
The Great Rivers
On day three, with the rising sun at our back, we begin our westward journey to the distant Atlantic. In these ephemeral river systems, the cycles of rainfall dictate the seasonal movement of game which is not concentrated, but we can encounter elephants, rhino, oryx, springbok, and other desert-adapted game. On this day we begin and end in the Aba Huab River, taking a ‘short cut’ as the river takes a wide northward path. On day four we join the Huab river system, then travel up into the mountainous highlands – our camp is at the highest point between the Huab and Ugab River systems, giving a commanding view of the rugged Damaraland terrain below. Here huge glacial valleys, impressive tableland mountains exhumed by erosion, folds and fractures resulting from cataclysmic eruptions present a well-preserved snapshot of a land of great antiquity. These ephemeral rivers are dry during the
time of year we ride On day five we descend towards the Ugab River over undulating watercourses, through a narrow gorge and entering the Ugab river at Save The Rhino’s campsite.
Day six is mostly in the Ugab river, we negotiate reed beds associated with occasional springs from which elephant and other game drink. We finally ride up and overnight in a dry wash gorge with some impressive rock-wall sides.

Day 7 – 10
The Great Plains
Leaving the river valley’s we now cross the vastness of open plains with the striking massive of the Brandberg (burning mountain) forming a dramatic backdrop. Here undulating plains allow for some fast-paced riding as we approach the coast. Sometimes following animals tracks where the ground is stony, riding up ridges to get a commanding view of the pains below, following dry water-courses.
The substrate colour changes from deep ochre to pale grey with striking black basalt ridges and huge green and yellow lichen fields. Our last ride takes us to the ocean at last – the spectacularly formidable Skeleton Coast, apparently so called for the wrecked hulks of stranded ships which dot this coastline. The cold upwelling Benquela current results in some diverse weather conditions from hot desert easterlies to cold south Atlantic westerlies and fog – a place of extremes! We overnight in the small coastal town of Henties Bay in a wonderful private house with the most spectacular view over the Atlantic Ocean.

Day 11
Early breakfast and transfer to Windhoek (just over 6-hour commute) arriving around 13:00 – in time for departure flights from Windhoek International Airport after 15:00.

Wolwedans to Wild Horses Safari

Days 1 and 2
Windhoek to the Namib
Welcome to Namibia!
A shuttle service will collect you from Windhoek International Airport (Hosea Kutako) to your first overnight in Windhoek (your name will be on a welcome board). Meet your fellow riders and host/ riding guide Andrew Gillies for sundowners and dinner. Andrew will give you a briefing about your adventure.
After breakfast on day two, there is a 5-hour commute with lunch en-route, followed by a decent down the picturesque Zaris Pass to our camp in the Tiras Biosphere Reserve. Settle in and explore your surroundings – here you will meet your crew, your horse and be instructed in how to be ‘desert savvy’.
As the soft evening light descends we’ll enjoy sundowners as the spectacular Milky Way appears overhead. Our first camping night is on a game-rich reserve – so expect some good sightings on the first two days.

Days 3 – 8
Tiras Mountains to the Desert Plains
We set off up the rugged Tiras Mountains via one of the meandering dry washes coming down from the plateau above. This unspoiled landscape has forced landowners to find sensitive ways to utilise this fragile area which is generally left to be natural. Boasting exceptional panoramic views from above – sentinel inselbergs (island mountains) dot the desertscape below with the distant
dune sea towards which we are heading. Desert adapted game are encountered during the day and open country with good going allows
for some fast-paced riding. Lunch is enjoyed under a convenient tree or interesting spot with a good view. Overnight camps are chosen for their spectacular views – sleeping under the magnificent starry sky is a must – it has its own kind of magic. Few places on earth afford so little light pollution – allowing for an incomparable view of the magnificent southern constellation.
Our route may vary depending on weather conditions, or other circumstances but be assured every day will be memorable.
Crossing the dune sea is an experience in itself and you will come to appreciate why we chose this route – the remarkable desert-scapes on the far side are as true “Namib” as one can get.

Days 9 and 10
Luderitz and the Wild Horses
From our last night camp in Geistershlucht (Ghost valley) we visit the waterhole of the Namib’s – the wild horses of the Namib and the coastal town of Luderitz, visiting the historic ‘ghost town’ of Kolmanskop – the colonial mining town the desert is ‘reclaiming’.

Day 11
Early breakfast and transfer to Windhoek from Klein Aus gets us to Windhoek International Airport in time for flights leaving after 18:00.

Skeleton Damara Safari

Days 1, 2 & 3
Windhoek to the Skeleton Coast
Welcome to Namibia!
A shuttle service will collect you from Windhoek International Airport (Hosea Kutako) to your first overnight in Windhoek (your name will be on a welcome board). Meet your fellow riders and host/riding guide Andrew Gillies for sundowners and dinner. Andrew will give you a briefing about your adventure. Early breakfast and then the journey to the rugged Skel- eton Coast – approximately 4 hours to our lunch spot in the charming town of Swakopmund, and then a further 3 hours up the coast to our camp. We visit the Cape Cross Fur Seal Colony on the way. The abundance of oxygen will surely knock you out for a good nights sleep tonight while the Atlantic Ocean roars in the background.
Our first riding day begins with a saddling briefing and getting acquainted with your horse. The landscape changes all the time and the pace quickens as the terrain allows’
As the soft evening light descends we get into camp in time to enjoy sundowners as the spectacular Milky Way appears overhead. Here, where there is no light pollution, the stars are simply magnificent and sitting around a companionable campfire with new acquaintances, sharing the experiences of the day is a joy. The aroma of dinner cooking in large black pots on the fire
stirs the imagination of what could possibly smell that good!

Days 4 – 9
Canyons, Plains and back to the Coast
Negotiating a landscape which look like they belong on another planet – have your camera ready – we cross undulating terrain, dry river washes and interesting geological formations. Damaraland has a violent geological history, leaving a legacy of unusual land shapes.
Finally reaching the huge Ugab ephemeral river – these rivers only flow seasonally and sometimes not for years – but when they do flow, its best not to be in them as flash flooding is common here! Link to our blog on ephemeral rivers.
We see the well-known folded rock structures – called the Ugab Folds along the way before coming out of the river valley onto the wide plains above.
Our last ride takes us across huge desert plains to the ocean at last – the Skeleton Coast, apparently so called for the wrecked hulks of stranded ships that dot this coastline.
We overnight in the small coastal town of Henties Bay in a wonderful private house with the most
spectacular view over the Atlantic Ocean. What a trip THAT was!

Day 10
Early breakfast and transfer to Windhoek (just over 5-hour commute) arriving around 13:00 – in
time for departure flights from Windhoek International Airport after 15:00.

Please note: Itinerary routes and accommodation are subject to change, due to circumstances unforeseen and beyond our control.

Additional Attractions

Many guests extend their Namibia experience from this point with an add-on itinerary. Local attractions include the highest dunes in the world – the spectacular Sossusvlei. Go dune sand boarding, desert sky diving, dolphin cruising or surf fishing.

If it‘s big game viewing you’re after, take a short charter flight to world famous Etosha Pan and experience African luxury in a unique treetop camp or a desert fort. We can easily make these onward arrangements for you.

DESTINATION MAP top

Zara’s Planet Horse Riding Holidays Guarantee:

All our horse riding holidays hold a price guarantee. We believe in your piece of mind on price when you book one of our horse riding holidays and will refund the difference should you find the same horse riding holiday elsewhere at a lower price.

If you are having trouble finding exactly the right horse riding holiday for you from our horse riding holidays collection, please contact us directly using the form below and tell us in your own words what you would like to do and we will use our extensive knowledge to make sure we find that perfect horse riding holiday.

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