This horse riding safari holiday in Namibia has a combination of dramatic canyon landscapes, spacious desert planes and the mighty Orange River. This offers both inaccessible countryside and real wilderness areas as well as fast riding without limitations. The Fish River Canyon area is internationally recognised as one of Africa's most magnificent sites and is the second largest canyon in the world. This trail crosses over three parks: Fish River Canyon Park, Gondwana Park and Aussenkehr Park, which is home to a small Namib Feral Horse population. Less onerous than some of the other Namibian trails, this ride has lodge accommodation on some nights and less km of riding to allow you to enjoy leisure time in the dramatic locations.
The riding is at all paces and this is for adventurous and fit riders with a love of nature and camping.
Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.
Review received from SD of Zurich on 02/06/2013
You will be met at Cape Town International Airport and transferred by road north for around 5 hours to Springbok for your overnight stop. Arrive at guest house, refresh and enjoy the first meal of the holiday with your fellow riders and guides.
After breakfast the group leaves Springbok and drive an hour north to the border of Namibia. The group will arrive by lunchtime at Holoog Ranger Station, our overnight stop. Meet your guides and friendly crew, and after lunch meet the horses and go on a short trial ride to familiarise horses with riders. You will ride around the Gaap River with its fascinating rock formations and rich plant diversity.
Follow the Gaap River and cross several small canyons which crisscross this very plant-diverse area. It's also home to a number of game species including giraffe. There are wide plains too so the pace quickens with some lovely long canters. We camp at Canon Roadhouse, with its curious 'living museum' of old cars and movie memorabilia, and overnight at the Mountain Camp lodge with its spectacular view.
We visit the Main Viewpoint overlooking the Fish River Canyon before lunch, back at Mountain Camp. Winding through milk bushes across the plains to Kanebis, you will most probably spot some game - this area is known for its rich diversity and large herds of seasonal plains game species can be seen. We ride to our overnight at the hot-springs at Ai Ais where the deliciously warm water of the springs can be enjoyed in the afternoon so bring your swimming trunks! Finally dropping down into the valley of the Orange river where we will enjoy our last overnight on the banks amongst the vines of one of the largest vineyards in the world - a curious sight in an otherwise arid landscape.
Depart on a 9-hour road transfer back to Cape Town. Flights should depart Cape Town airport at around 8pm or later.
Please follow this link for a map of the start point of this itinerary: Fish River Canyon to Orange River
Please note: Itinerary routes and accommodation are subject to change, due to circumstances unforseen and beyond our control.
Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.
The horses are of mixed breeding including Arab, Haflinger, Lippizzaner, Trakehner, Ranch Horses, even the famous wild horses of the Namib desert and crosses. They are from 14.2-16hh, fast and sure footed horses raised on rough terrain, some of them with experience in endurance rides, each one of them a kind, reliable companion.
The horses are ridden in Western saddles mainly, mostly in snaffle bridles and on a long rein. They are schooled in a continental way and do not usually respond to neck reining. The terrain will be gravel, sometimes hard and difficult, later sand.
On average 35km per day, 6 - 8 hours on horseback. Speed depends on terrain and temperatures as well as on fitness and weight of riders. You will walk, trot, canter and gallop on demand.
• Experience Intermediate riders onward. Must be comfortable in walk, trot, canter and gallop
• Must be riding fit and generally fit to ride for up to 6-8 hours a day
• Weight limit 85Kg (13 ½ Stone)
• You will be expected to groom and tack up your horse
Heavier riders can be taken by arrangement with supplement for an extra horse. Additional horse/s for riders over 85kg in riding gear. Please enquire for the rate as varies according to your weight
A love of the outdoors and camping along with a good sense of humour will be ideal! Fitness, good health, experience in horse riding and handling horses are essential. You need not be an accomplished dressage rider or show jumper, but you must feel totally at ease on the back of a cantering horse; in addition you should be mentally strong and compatible, and have a sense of humour
The weight limit for this ride is 187 lb/85 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
Large dome-shaped tents (two participants sharing) with camp beds and swags (canvas bedrolls) consisting of lambskin, duvet or quilt and pillow; folding chairs, hot showers.
Luggage is transported on trucks; the riders ride across bush or desert as the crow flies and meet the back-up vehicles at camp sites.
Camp is pitched at sunset; Meals are prepared on the open fire, usually a ‘braai’ or ‘potjie’ (casserole) - typically Namibian and often a surprise.
Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.
Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. If Visa’s are required the requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country. Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate on request.
At the time of going to print visas are not required for UK passport holders, but please check before you depart. In the UK the British Foreign Office gives travel advice on www.fco.uk.uk or 0207 008 0232/0233.
In Namibia the British High Commission can be contacted at P.O. Box 22202, 116 Robert Mugabe Avenue, Windhoek. Tel; +264 61 274800.
The High Commission for the Republic of Namibia can be found at 6 Chandos Street, London, W1G 9LU. Tel; (020) 7636 6244. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The best time to visit Namibia is from April to September generally when the days are sunny and warm (25 Celsius) with cool, even cold evenings... At other times the desert is too hot to make riding practical during the day. Temperatures begin to climb mid to late September with the rainy season beginning in November, peaking in January and ending in March/April.
Anti-malaria precautions are not needed for most parts of Namibia, for further details please see your local doctor. There is excellent medical treatment available in Namibia, but only with immediate payment. Please ensure you travel with a credit card or sufficient cash to cover emergencies as you will need to pay immediately and claim on your insurance later.
Cholera is known to occur in Namibia.
For up to date information on specific health concerns please contact the Medical Advisors For Travellers Abroad. Their website can be found at www.masta.org. You can also check the Department of Healths website at www.dh.gov.uk.
Anti-malaria precautions are not needed for most parts of Namibia, for further details please see your local doctor.
Namibia uses the 220 volt system (in the U.K it is 230V). You will need an international plug adaptor of the same type as for South Africa.
On arrival in Windhoek there is the opportunity to purchase films and batteries but we do advise to pack supplies before you travel.
Bring a warm sleeping bag (nights can be very cold), a set of warm clothes including a jacket or all-weather coat (for the occasional cold front, even snow), a wide-brimmed hat, a woolly hat, a windcheater, a warm sweater, 2 neckerchiefs, long-sleeved shirts, sun lotion, sunglasses, at least 3 changes of comfortable riding clothes (tried and trusted sportswear rather than brand-new fashionable jeans), riding boots/trainers/chaps/mini-chaps according to preference, leisure wear, towel, water bottle, torch, gloves, bumbag, lip balm, a small bag for everything you need for 2 days, sufficient batteries for cameras. We strongly recommend riding hats (riding without protective headgear is at your own risk).
You should also bring water bottles to carry 2 litres of water.
Set dates available
2020: September 18 - 28 (FULL)
2021: June 4 - 14
The Sheltering Desert by Henno Martin
An unmissbale account of 2 German geologists who hid in the desert to escape internment in WWII
For the equestrian traveller who would like to see what is possible on horseback visit www.thelongridersguild.com also a fantastic place to acquire your equestrian travel books is www.horsetravelbooks.com
You will be amazed at how much life there is in the desert. From oryx, kudu, springbok, jackal, hyena and zebra to smaller animals such as beetles, rock rabbits, hares.
Non-riding company is welcome to join the trucks.
Namibia is a vast semi-desert country with a population of only 2.3 million making it the least denslely populated country in the world. There are frequent prolonged periods of drought. The little rainfall is largely confined to the summer months (November to March). Due to the nutrient-rich Benguela Current that flows up from Antarctic waters and is the source of Namibia's rich fishing, the country's coastline is cooler than the rest of the country, with frequent sea fog. Namibia is well known for its diversity of plants and wildlife.
Germany took control of the area which it called South West Africa in the late 1800s. The discovery of diamonds in 1908 prompted an influx of Europeans. South Africa seized it during World War I and administered it under a League of Nations mandate. It has since enjoyed more than a decade of stability under its founding president Sam Nujoma, who led the long fight against rule by South Africa. The official languages are English and Afrikaans, but German and Herero are also widely spoken.
Namibia has, seascapes, bushwalking and boundlessness. Its desert dunes take on shapes and colours according to the elements. It is blessed with rich mineral resources, a solid modern infrastructure and diverse traditional cultures.
Namibia is on GMT during the summer months and they use the metric weights and measures system, so kilometres and kilograms instead of miles and pounds. There is approximately 1.6 kilometres in a mile and 2.2 pounds in a kilogram.
The international dialling code is +264.