This is a truly exceptional Namibian trail for any fit experienced riders up for a challenge! Where else can you expect to see elephant, giraffe and rhino in a desert habitat? And you will be surprised at how they have adapted. Damaraland is a very spectacular part of the country, almost inaccessible, with amazing colours and vast open spaces, ancient craters and remnants from prehistoric times, not to mention the forbidding Skeleton Coast. We may encounter elephant, rhino or lion, or be caught by rivers in flood, all of which combines into a tremendous adventure. Each and every Damaraland Trail so far has been an experience of a lifetime!

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 MB of Southampton on 14/10/2016

Ride Summary

What was your overall impression of the holiday

Unicorn Trails sales staff
Professionalism     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Friendliness     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Speed of response     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Efficiency     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Knowledge     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Other(please specify)     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Riding tour leader
Professionalism     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Horsemanship     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Pacing of Ride     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern for Safety     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Leadership     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Friendliness/availability     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Knowledge of local Culture     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Knowledge of local Flora/Fauna     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern with Environment     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Language skills     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Additional Comments

Horses and Tack
Condition of Horses     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Condition of Tack     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Performance of Horses     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Additional Comments

Meals
Meal Quantity     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Quality     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Punctuality     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Accommodation
Camping Equipment     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Hotels/Lodges/Inns     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Hygiene standards     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Miscellaneous
Transfer arrangements     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Other office staff     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Other ride staff     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Weather     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:

Was there anything you should have known and were not told?     (X) NO     (   ) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:

What could we do to improve this ride?

How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
8
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
You have to be able to ride forward going horses. But more than that you have to have good general fitness.
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:

May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Any other comments:

Unicorn comments: Thanks for your super comments and glad you had a great time again!

This trail is for experienced riders familiar with fast desert riding and who can "ride for their lives", if necessary. In comparison to the Desert Trails this trail is easier riding and more relaxing, but much tougher on crew and back-up.

Day 1
You will be met on arrival from Windhoek International airport ( Hosea Kutako airport) and transferred to a specified B&B in Windhoek on this day. Here you will meet the rest of your riding group for dinner and a Namibia Horse Safari company representative to brief you about the ride.

Day 2
After an early breakfast the journey starts with a 7 hour transfer, lunch en route, to a camp near Twyfelfontein. Here you will meet the horses and crew, and go on a sunset ride if time permits.

Day 3
We will set off on a morning ride to familiarise you with your mount in the Aba-Huab area where sandy plains invite good canters and interesting rock formations can be visited, the afternoon will include visiting a cultural village, the Twyfelfontein rock engravings and Sundowners at a local view point.

Day 4
We start riding west across endless plains with a good chance of seeing desert adapted game such as springbok and oryx, occasionally we follow Mopani treed dry river beds where kudu and ostrich lurk. We stop for a light lunch along a riverbed and after lunch continue over some rocky and some sandy hills to our camp at De Riet.

Day 5
We continue along the Huab River shaded with huge Ana trees, which provides a favourite food for the Desert Elephants, before we ride across another plain towards Mikberg to have lunch at the ‘cheetah tree’, followed by a long afternoon ride across the watershed with phenomenal vistas. Our camp is pitched at View Point where we enjoy the views and dramatic colours of Brandberg, Namibia’s highest mountain.

Day 6
From View Point we ride southwest towards the Ugab River. After lunch at Lion Head we set off for a nice long canter. Later we move through a very narrow gorge, pass Soutfontein (Salt Fountain) and arrive at the Save the Rhino Camp near Brandberg West. This is a community run campsite to collect funds for the Save the Rhino project; it is really worth visiting their interesting information centre.

Day 7
We wind our way through reeds and kori bush thickets along the Ugab to Brakwasser, another place of brackish water. We then leave the Ugab River and ride up a deserted gorge with fascinating folded rockwalls. Camp is very enjoyable: shady, sheltered and special!

Day 8
We leave the Ugab tributary and enter another vast open plain with spectacular views of Brandberg. We enjoy some marvellous cantering and have lunch at the Quarry. The afternoon is a long ride across the stony plains towards the coast.

Day 9
We are on our way towards the Messum River and Messum Crater. Again there are open plains and happy canters - and spectacular panoramas.

Day 10
The last ride to arrive on the beach around lunchtime!! This unpredictable shore is called the Skeleton Coast and the infamous easterly wind can either cause the temperatures warm enough for a swim or maybe whip up a sandstorm! We then drive to Cape Cross to view the seals and continue to our overnight accommodation at a lovely beach house in Henties Bay.

Day 11
Depart for Windhoek and Windhoek International Airport (a 5-6 hour transfer). Earliest possible flight departure time is 15.00 

Please follow this link for a map of the start point of this itinerary: Damara Elephant-Skeleton Trail

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

Riders heavier than the 85kg weight limit can join the ride if they pay an additional supplement for an extra horse on the trail. They will then ride each horse on alternate days while the other horse rests. 

We can arrange other transfer arrangements to Henties Bay if you want to stay another night (affordable De Duine Hotel, or stunning Cape Cross luxury lodge near the seals and Mile 108, or even the new famous Hydro Wellness Centre in Hentiesbay - all cost extra). 

An excellent option is to fly in a small aircraft back over the route we took, optional Sossusvlei (price depends on number of riders); otherwise transfer by car to Swakopmund or Windhoek. Usually we co-ordinate transfers to save on costs and make life easier! Let us know in time what you have in mind - we will help with reservations.

Riding is easier than on the Namib Desert Trail with more time for relaxation because of more days travelling, much faster riding and no mountains to be crossed. The trail is very tough on crew and back-up, because there are only few roads and very little water; we really have problems keeping logistics going (for half the trail we cannot take the truck, water cart or trailer).

 

Riders who booked this ride also considered:

Kilimanjaro Safari Trail - Tanzania
Here, between the highest point in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru we explore the West Kilimanjaro Wilderness, encountering amongst others elephants, buffalo, zebra, giraffe and hundreds of different antelope.

Palms And Pyramids - Egypt
The farm is based right in the middle of the Pyramids and we undertake daily exploratory rides of both the Nile banks and vast desert scattered with pyramids and sarcophagi.

The Ride's Wild Coast Adventure - South Africa
Adventure ride for confident and experienced riders only, explore the Wild Coast on horseback; deserted beaches, gorges and valleys, rocky escarpments and wide open grasslands.

 

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.

Horses & Riding

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 riding is 6-10 hours per day and at a good pace. You ride from the escarpment, through the highland scrub and cattle farming areas, over the stoney desert, through the sandy desert with massive dunes and finish galloping on the beach or swim with your horse! The terrain is very varied and you will ride at all paces.

Rider requirements

• Riders must be experienced and be comfortable in walk, trot and canter and gallop
• Must be riding fit and generally fit
• Weight limit 85Kg (13 ½ Stone)
• You will be expected to groom and tack up your horse

Heavier riders can be taken by arrangement. Please enquire for the rate as varies according to your weight and the ride you choose.

This trail can only be undertaken if riders have previously ridden and completed the Namib Desert Trail.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 13 st/187 lb/85 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

En route a tented camp is set up with big igloo-type tents (two people per tent), camp stretcher beds, swags with lambskin, duvet or continental quilt and pillow. Folding chairs are placed around teh camp fire. Hot showers are available in the evenings. Luggage is transported on trucks; the riders take short-cuts through the bush or desert and meet the back-up vehicles at lunch time most days and at the camp sites. Camp is erected for you every sunset.

Meals are prepared around the open fire, usually "braai"or "potjiekos", typically Namibian and often a surprise.

Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

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.

General information:

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: namibia.hicom@btconnect.com.

Climate Summary

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.

Climate Chart

Health

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.

Health (ride specific)

Anti-malaria precautions are not needed for most parts of Namibia, for further details please see your local doctor.

Electricity

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.

Film and Camera Equipment

On arrival in Windhoek there is the opportunity to purchase films and batteries but we do advise to pack supplies before you travel.

Packing List

Khaki, green and bush colours are most practical. You need a riding helmet or a broad rimmed hat which must stay on firmly and sunglasses with string are essential. 2 pairs of riding trousers at least(cycling shorts for men), half chaps are recommended or even full chaps for the first few days when you will be riding through thorny country, riding gloves, jersey, warm jacket, shorts, long sleeves shirts, T-shirts, sarong, swimsuit, 8 pairs of socks, raincoat (seasonal), sunblock, torch, camera on a shoulder strap with a pouch which can be secured to your belt, plenty of film (25 to 100 ASA is recommended) and batteries, binoculars, 1 pairs of lightweight riding boots or trainers and a pair of shoes to change into in the evenings. Saddle bags are provided.
You will need to bring your own sleeping bag unless a request to hire one is received (small charge only) and should bring water bottles to carry 2 litres of water.

Departure Dates

2019: 21 June; 12 July

Pricing
No single rooms available (on some or all nights). Riders must be prepared to share with someone of the same sex.


No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
201811d/10n9double pp3,949
201811d/10n9single supplement225
201811d/10n9Extra horse (compulsory for riders over 85kg)939
201911d/10n9double pp4,149
201911d/10n9single supplement225
201911d/10n9Extra horse (compulsory for riders over 85kg)939
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
201811d/10n9double pp4,385
201811d/10n9single supplement249
201811d/10n9Extra horse (compulsory for riders over 85kg)1,039
201911d/10n9double pp4,665
201911d/10n9single supplement255
201911d/10n9Extra horse (compulsory for riders over 85kg)1,055
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
201811d/10n9double pp5,005
201811d/10n9single supplement285
201811d/10n9Extra horse (compulsory for riders over 85kg)1,189
201911d/10n9double pp5,255
201911d/10n9single supplement285
201911d/10n9Extra horse (compulsory for riders over 85kg)1,189
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
201811d/10n9double pp45,315
201811d/10n9single supplement2,585
201811d/10n9Extra horse (compulsory for riders over 85kg)10,755
201911d/10n9double pp47,605
201911d/10n9single supplement2,585
201911d/10n9Extra horse (compulsory for riders over 85kg)10,755
Recommended Reading

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

Wildlife

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.

Other Country Information

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.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Windhoek International Airport (WDH)
Transfer:
2019: £365pp
Flight Guide:
London - Windhoek return £750-£900 return. Please see "getting there" for flight information