Located just 40 minutes from Windhoek in a malaria free area, this private game reserve of more than 40,000 hectares with an abundance of game, is the ideal choice for confident riders wanting comforts at night and no camping. For non-riding partners the lodge offers multiple activities: lion feeding, game drive, mountain drive, sunset drive, tennis, swimming and 2 hiking trails to observe the animals and birds.
The lodge offers en-suite rooms with private verandas, sauna, tennis court and swimming pool. The restaurant specialises in game dishes based on Namibian and European cuisine with top quality South African wines.
The daily riding programme is tailored to suit and utilises the large herd of fit Arab and Arab X horses who are forward going, fun loving and responsive. The variety of topography, from plains through bushveld and onto mountainous plateaux with sweeping views, allows for riding at varying paces. A correspondingly large variety of game flourishes in the different eco-systems and riding guests are kept to a maximum of 6 for a personal experience. A week here will only leave you wanting more! There is also the opportunity to enjoy a mini-trail into the mountains for good riders.
Not for nothing has this ride been described as "the best of both worlds!"
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 LD of Covina on 20/08/2018
You will be collected from Windhoek International Airport or the city. After a one hour’s drive you will arrive at the lodge where your hosts will be waiting for you with refreshments. After a good shower and lunch you will be expected at the stables to be introduced to our beautiful horses. Depending on your arrival time at the lodge (before 12.00 hrs) a short afternoon ride can be organised. After the ride the bar and restaurant are calling.
After breakfast you'll ride over the savannah tracking game: sable, gemsbok, springbok, black and blue wildebeest, giraffe, white rhino and so much more. After approximately 4 hours in the saddle return to the lodge and enjoy a good lunch. The afternoon is at your disposal to hike, swim or just relax at the pool.
Today you’ll leave slightly later than the other days. The ride will be split into a morning and an afternoon ride with a picnic and a “siesta” in the bush during the hottest hours of the day. Pausing at a shadow rich place close to a waterhole in the hope of seeing some animals enjoying the water. After the siesta saddle up the horses and slowly ride back to the lodge. Quickly to the bar for that well deserved drink!
After breakfast you'll be back in the saddle and on the lookout for hartebeest, blesbok, giraffe, wildebeest, sable and much much more. Lunch will be served at the lodge. A relaxing afteroon by the pool is followed by a sumptuous dinner whenever you are ready.
Today be on the look-out for zebra and ostrich! This area is famous for its long sandy tracks, which invite us for long, long canters maybe accompanied by a herd of zebra or oryx. Return to the lodge for a latish lunch. Towards the end of the afternoon you will be expected at the stables. Not for a ride, but for a drive to a beautiful spot where you can enjoy the sunset with a drink and a bite and the sound of the jackal in the back ground. Before darkness sets, back to the lodge for dinner and fingers crossed that you will see springhare and if we’re lucky leopard in the headlights of the jeep.
A long and tough day for both horse and rider; a ride into the mountains. There is a possibility that you will encounter lesser wildlife, but the ride and scenery are spectacular and will more than make up for it! Once you've arrived, the table will be laid and ice cold drinks at the ready. Today you will also have a siesta during the hottest part of the day or relax in the shade and try to spot oryx, mountain zebra, giraffe and wildebeest. After a relaxing lunch saddle up and set off for home through Leopard Valley. Once the horses are in bed and a good shower for the riders finish the day with drinks and dinner.
Today will be an easier day for both horse and rider. It will be Kudu Dam today on the lookout for the majestic kudu. After a few hours in the saddle lunch will be served at the lodge. In the afternoon saddle up again and have a sundowner somewhere in the bush.
Depending on your departure time from the lodge (after 12.00 hrs) there’s a possibility to take a morning ride. Afterwards it is time to say goodbye to the horses and the rest of the family. Your driver will be waiting to take you to the airport.
3 day/2 night Mountain Trail (availability TBC)
Let the stunning and surefooted Arabian horses take you deep into the Otjihavera mountains, where eagles roar, mountain zebra and magnificent kudu bulls roam and the cries of the rock dassies accompany you during your climb.
This mini-trail is a challenging ride for both horse and rider. Therefore riders must be fit, able to mount and dismount properly from the ground and walk down steep stony paths. We strongly advise shoes/boots with profiled soles!
This ride requires a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 6 riders. Due to the toughness of the ride, the rider weight is restricted to 80kg. Non-riders and/or riders weighing more than 80kg are welcome to join the support vehicle. This ride can only be booked in combination with the 7 night safari programme outlined above.
Day 1 - Friday
After breakfast we will meet at the stables where we will explain how our horses are to be ridden in the mountains. In your saddle bag you will find some cold water and snacks to keep you going for the next few hours. Off we go, heading through Leopard Valley and riding deeper and climbing higher into the Otjihavera mountains.
After an hour or two we cross into Ziller Tal on our way to Osema, a farmhouse dating back to 1900. Here we will have a short break and a simple packed lunch. After a short siesta the horses are ready to go again. Are you?
It’s another 3.5 hour ride to our final destination; a lodge, built of local stone, which sits comfortably under the shade of big trees, with endless views of the bush veld. It is renowned for its excellent food and great hospitality.
Day 2 - Saturday
A scrumptious breakfast will set us off for today’s ride. Rolling hills, dams, riverbeds and outstanding views will delight you. Test your game spotting skills and look out for many of the resident antelope, giraffe, mountain zebra and many bird species.
Halfway through our ride lunch is served in the bush. If there’s still time, the afternoon will be available for a combined game-sundowner drive. Cool drinks packed, binos and cameras ready.
Day 3 - Sunday
Early rise! Before breakfast we will watch the cheetahs being fed. Once the horses are saddled it’s time to say goodbye to our hosts, mount and start our long journey back to Okapuka. We will have a lunch break at Osema before we continue the remainder of our descent. We expect to be home just before sunset.
Non-riders (only accompanied by riders) If you, as a non-rider, decide to keep your riding partner company, the lodge offers multiple activities: game drive, mountain drive, sunset drive, helicopter flip, tennis, swimming and 2 hiking trails to observe the animals and birds. It goes without saying that you will also join the riders for picnics and sundowners. All in all, everything is geared to make you part of the riding programme and share as much as possible with your riding partner.
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 fit and ready to roar! They are happy, fun loving, forward going Arabs and Arab crosses some of which have competed successfully in national and international endurance competitions. There are 16 horses available for riding (33 on site in total) ranging in size from 14.3hh to 15.2hh. They are ridden in the English style in endurance saddles. Some do respond to neck reining. 65% of the riding is at walk (in order to track and view game), 17.5% trot, 17.5% canter. Trots and canters can be long.
The enjoyment and safety of guests and horses is paramount at the lodge. It is a requirement that you are confident and can control a (very) forward going horse in all gaits (walk, trot, canter and gallop) across vary varied terrain. In addition:
•you can rise/post to the trot
•you can stand up in the saddle in canter/gallop (ride light)
•you have a balanced and independent seat
•you have horse sense
If you are not riding regularly we strongly recommend that you get in practice before joining the ride. Minimum age of 10 years and be riding fit and strong. There is a maximum weight limit of 14 stone, 199lbs or 90kgs. During a weeks' safari you will spend an average of 4 hours a day in the saddle. You are asked to groom and saddle your horse.
For the mountain trail there is a weight limit of 80kg/12.5 stone/176lbs.
The weight limit for this ride is 13 st/187 lb/85 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
You will be accommodated at the lodge in either a Park Room (twin beds) or a Stable Room (queen-size beds), depending on your choice. The thatched Park Rooms overlook the river(bed) of the Otjihavera or have a view over the savannah. The Stable Rooms overlook the large sandy paddocks where the horses munch their hay and play around. Both Park and Stable Rooms are spacious and have en-suite bathrooms (shower, toilet and wash basin), safe, coffee and tea making facilities and a terrace. The Park Rooms are equipped with a mini-bar, fan and telephone. The restaurant specialises in game dishes based on Namibian and European cuisine. Special diets are available on request. The wine list is extensive boasting top quality South African wines. The dining and bar area overlook the lawn and waterhole. This drinking spot is frequented during the late afternoons and evenings by many different species of game.
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: email@example.com.
The cold Benguela current keeps the coast of the Namib Desert cool, damp and free of rain for most of the year. Inland, rain falls in summer. Summer temperatures are high while the altitude means that nights are cool. Winter nights can be fairly cold, but days are generally warm and pleasant.
Winter (May – September): Temperatures range from 18 to 25 °C during the day. At night below freezing temperatures and ground frost are common.
Summer (October – April): Average interior temperatures range from 20 to 34 °C during the day.
Humidity is generally very low except in our rainy season (October to April). The average annual rainfall varies between 300 and 600mm. Normally it only rains in the (late) afternoon and if your lucky it continues during the night to wake up again with a beautiful blue sky. In the rainy season you will find a few mosquitos, however, they are not the malaria type.
Visitors should pack both warm and cold weather clothing for any visit.
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.
The lodge operates in a malaria free environment. We do advise precautions against tetanus and hepatitis. Please consult your local GP for advice when travelling to Namibia.
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.
All Park Rooms are equipped with 220V plugs (South African and continental European). The Stable Rooms have South African plugs. Continental plugs can be borrowed. There is internet access (bring own laptop) and reception for mobile phones. We advise you to bring enough film/batteries for your camera.
•Hard hat / safety helmet (not compulsory but always recommended).
•Footwear that is comfortable for both riding and walking (long boots are hot and very impractical)
•A hard riding hat (preferably light weight with good ventilation)
•A wide brimmed hat
•Light weight clothing in neutral colours (khaki, brown, beige, green) that blend with the bush
•Jodhpurs or cotton slacks
•Riding gloves for those of you who don't ride frequently or burn easily
•Jerseys and/or jackets (even in summer)
•Sunglasses (lace/thong attached to your sunglasses)
•Other must brings are swimming costume, sun block and lip salve, camera, film and batteries, insect repellent, small torch and casual clothing for the evening (you can be as casual or smart as you wish to be).
This is an 8 day/7 night programme with 6 days riding. Depending on arrival and departure time there is the opportunity for a short ride on Day 1 and Day 8. The lodge is open all year (except for weeks when international endurance rides take place near-by) with any-day arrival.
2019: Open all year, any day departure except weeks of endurance competitions.
|Riding days||Product item description||£|
|2019||8d/7n||6||child 11 and under - sharing + children's menu||1,995|
|2019||8d/7n||6||supplement for 2 night Mountain Trail||439|
|2019||8d/7n||6||Rider weighing more than 85kg supplement||439|
|2019||8d/7n||6||discount: 3 adults sharing 1 room pp||-43|
|Riding days||Product item description||€|
|2019||8d/7n||6||child 11 and under - sharing + children's menu||2,275|
|2019||8d/7n||6||supplement for 2 night Mountain Trail||499|
|2019||8d/7n||6||Rider weighing more than 85kg supplement||499|
|2019||8d/7n||6||discount: 3 adults sharing 1 room pp||-50|
|Riding days||Product item description||$|
|2019||8d/7n||6||child 11 and under - sharing + children's menu||2,735|
|2019||8d/7n||6||supplement for 2 night Mountain Trail||599|
|2019||8d/7n||6||Rider weighing more than 85kg supplement||599|
|2019||8d/7n||6||discount: 3 adults sharing 1 room pp||-60|
|Riding days||Product item description||SEK|
|2019||8d/7n||6||child 11 and under - sharing + children's menu||24,549|
|2019||8d/7n||6||supplement for 2 night Mountain Trail||5,399|
|2019||8d/7n||6||Rider weighing more than 85kg supplement||5,399|
|2019||8d/7n||6||discount: 3 adults sharing 1 room pp||-539|
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
Swimming pool; Hiking trails; Game drives (not included for riders); Tennis court, please bring your own racket and balls; Internet facilities but bring own laptop; Sauna; Souvenir shop.
The terrain where you ride is savannah and mountains. On the savannah you’re most likely to encounter white rhino, giraffe, gemsbok, springbok, blesbok, black and blue wildebeest, kudu, red hartebeest, eland, waterbok, duiker, steenbok, plains zebra, baboon, sable (rare antilope) and a large of variety of birds (eagles, vultures, rollers, etc. etc.). The mountains host giraffe, gemsbok, mountain zebra, kudu, klipspringer, rock dassy, blue wildebeest, waterbok, baboon, rock agama.
Non-riders (only accompanied by riders)
If you, as a non-rider, decide to keep your riding partner company, the lodge offers multiple activities: game drives, mountain drives, sunset drives, helicopter flights, tennis, swimming and 2 hiking trails to observe the animals and birds. All in all everything will be done to make you part of the riding programme and share as much as possible with your riding partner.
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.