Cantering horse on an adventurous trail riding holiday
Namibia

Namib Desert Trail

An exhilarating and pacey ride across the oldest desert in the world, this horseback trail is one of the most challenging rides in the world. Ride 300km from the red dunes at Sossusvlei, through the Namib desert to the coast at Swakopmund. Stay in an extremely comfortable mobile camp every night, sleeping out under the stars and enjoy meals cooked over an open fire. With long canters and gallops and long days in the saddle, this epic trail ride is not for the faint-hearted!
Book now Print the details for this ride
Trail Riding
13 days / 9 riding
From £4,350

From the horse’s mouth

  • Namib Desert Trail
    Veronica, aged 44, London
    I loved Namibia I loved the desert, the sunsets, the gallops, the horses, the food eaten by the camp fire and nights under the stars and this free exhilarating and intense sense of adventure! you need to be prepared for all this for sure but it is an amazing experience worth doing!!! A special mention to the great...
  • Namib Desert Trail
    Namib Desert Trail
  • Rider watching giraffe in the Namib Desert
    A lucky encounter in the Namib Desert
  • Horseback riders in the desert of Namibia
    Trail riding in the Namib desert
  • Riders heading back to camp on a trail ride
    Heading back to camp after a day in the saddle
  • Riders watering their horses at a local waterhole during a trail
    Giving the horses a well-deserved drink
  • Riders taking in the immensity of the Namib Desert
    Discover the beauty of the Namib Desert
  • Two horses waiting to be fed
    Waiting for dinner...
  • Rider and her horse galloping in Namibia
    Enjoy long desert gallops in Namibia
  • Speedy canters in the Namib Desert
    Enjoy speedy canters and experience total freedom
  • Group of riders cantering against the backdrop of the Namib
    The wonderful colours of the Namib Desert on horseback
  • Camping logistics in Namibia
    Setting up the bar for the evening!
  • Riders on horseback in the Namib desert
    Trail riding in Namibia
  • Group of riders cantering against the backdrop of the Namib
    The wonderful colours of the Namib Desert on horseback

Itinerary

Highlights

- World renowned sand dunes at Sossusvlei
- Possiblity of meeting desert adapted species such as zebra, oryx and kudu as well as discovering the strange vegetation of the Namib
- Hugely contrasting landscapes
- Delicious meals cooked on open fires
- Sleeping out under the stars of a clear desert sky
- Unrestricted riding across endless desert plains
- Challenging riding on incredibly fit horses
  • Day 1 1 : LONDON - WINDHOEK

    International flight overnight to Windhoek - it is likely that you will need to change planes either in Johannesburg or elsewhere in Europe as there are no direct flights from the UK to Namibia. Flights are not included but we can book these for you on request.
  • Day 2 2 : WINDHOEK

    RIVER CROSSING LODGE
    You will be met at Windhoek International Airport and transferred to River Crossing Lodge with its impressive view over Windhoek. Meet the rest of your riding group for dinner and a representative will brief the group about what to expect on your adventure.
  • Day 3 3 : SOSSUSVLEI

    BIVOUAC
    After breakfast you will be transferred to the Sossusvlei area (c. 4 ½ hour drive) via the Spreetshoogte Pass which affords your first enticing glimpse of the seemingly endless Namib Desert below. At your first campsite, with a spectacular view over the Namib sands, you meet your horses and crew. After lunch there is an afternoon excursion to the terminal pan of Sossusvlei in the soft light of evening. You are welcome to attempt to climb the towering dunes for a spectacularly panoramic view. Return to camp for a traditional Namibian meal cooked over an open fire.
  • Day 4 4 : NAMIB NAUKLUFT PARK - 4-5 HOURS RIDING - 27km

    BIVOUAC
    Your adventure starts across wide grassy valleys, overlooked by the dunes of the Namib sand desert. Lunch at Solitaire, a unique oasis in the desert, before heading to the Naukluft Namib Park and its mountainous trails.

    You will camp next to a water hole for the night. This is a unique opportunity to see wild animal come for a drink of water. Enjoy the rest of the evening around the campfire, before falling asleep under the countless lights of a myriad of stars.
  • Day 5 5 : TSONDAB - 6-7 hours riding - 40 km

    BIVOUAC
    The morning ride takes you along a ramp-like dune amongst unspoilt wilderness and striking scenery.

    In the afternoon the pace quickens as the valley opens into a riverbed where you can spot ostriches, zebras and wildebeests before climbing up to the campsite set on a hill. Good showers will be offered as well as a great dinner and evening by the fire.
  • Day 6 6 : GAUB CANYON - 5-6 hours riding - 32 km

    BIVOUAC
    Today you ride across some red dunes before a rugged descent into the Gaub Canyon for lunch. Climbing out of the Canyon you ride across the wide plains to a cave with a spectacular view of the badlands of the ephemeral Kuiseb River in the distance.
  • Day 7 7 : KUISEB RIVER - 6 hours riding - 29 km

    BIVOUAC
    Today you negotiate the terraces leading down to the bizarrely rugged Kuiseb river, with a technical descent into the riverbed where you stop for a short lunch break. It is this river 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 8 8 : GANAB - 6-7 hours riding - 35 km

    BIVOUAC
    Good going affords some fast-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 to some desert-adapted Giraffe.
  • Day 9 9 : MARBLE MOUNTAIN - 7-8 hours riding - 60 km

    BIVOUAC
    Another day with long hours in the saddle which offers some fast-paced riding past the water point of Hotsas across the Tinkas and Tumas plains which become ever less vegetated as you approach the coast. As you approach the Marble Mountain, Ostriches and Mountain Zebra often run alongside the horses, 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 10 10 : MOON VALLEY - 7 hours riding - 45 km

    BIVOUAC
    Todays ride through the hyper aridity of true desert landscapes offers the chance to encounter the dinosaur-like 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 the spectacular Moon Valley on your decent to the wonderfully sheltered campsite on the Swakop River.
  • Day 11 11 : SWAKOPMUND - 4 hours riding - 20 km

    Organic Square Guesthouse
    Your final ride, down the Swakop river to the coastal dunes and then, at last, the Atlantic Ocean. Your first glimpse of a town in days! The last stretch of riding is along the soft white beach sand of Swakopmund. Tonight’s accommodation is a comfortable hotel (the Beach Hotel Swakopmund or similar) while the horses enjoy their well-deserved rest in a large sandy paddock with a wonderful view of the sea. After sundowners, enjoy a last memorable meal together, reminiscing over an adventure unlikely to be forgotten.
  • Day 12 12 : SWAKOPMUND - WINDHOEK

    Say a fond farewell at breakfast as the transfer vehicle leaves promptly to get you to Windhoek International airport for flights departing after 15:00 and the drive is c. 4 hours.

    If your flight schedule requires an earlier departure than 15:00 then you will need to spend tonight in a guesthouse in Windhoek before flying home tomorrow. A night in the guesthouse Casa Blanca with a transfer to the airport the following day costs c. £70 per person sharing.
  • Day 13 13 : LONDON

    Arrival back in London.

Dates & prices

Price details

- Groups are usually composed of a minimum of 4 riders and a maximum of 12 riders, plus guides.

- There is no single supplement if willing to share but to request your own room and tent throughout costs an additional c. £180 (£190 in 2020).

- Transfers to and from Windhoek airport are not included and are £365 payable upon booking (£390 in 2020).

- Rates are without international flights, but we can advise you on the best options possible.

- There is a weight limit of 92kgs and riders who weigh over 85kgs may have to pay a supplement of c. £750 (£770 in 2020) for a second horse.
Please Note
The itinerary may be modified at anytime for security reasons, meteorological or events beyond our control such as blocked roads, rivers in flood, drought, strikes and local holidays. Equus Journeys, our local partners and their local guides will always strive to find the best solution and will alter the itinerary as needed.
The names of the hotels and accommodation are given for information only and depending on availability, they may be modified without notice and replaced by another of a similar standard.

Price includes

Support Team

1 english speaking horse guide

Logistic

1 horse equipped with saddle and bridle per rider
1 cook
1 support vehicle

Inland transports

Support trucks for luggage, camp and horses.

Accommodation

2 riders dome tents are used, with camp beds and a canvas bag containing sleeping mat, duvet and pillow.

Meals

Full board from first diner to last breakfast, and drinks when on the trail
Snacks

Additional equipment

First aid kit

Price doesn't include

Meals

Beverage in the lodges and personal extra

Transports

International flights to Windhoek

Extra

Tips to local team
Small group supplement

Insurance

Cancellation and travel insurances are not included. Please note that insurance is mandatory. We recommend to take out an insurance policy as soon as your travel is booked in case of cancellation.

Optional

Accommodation

Single room/tent supplement if you are not prepared to share

Transport

Airport transfers from Windhoek airport on first day and group transfer back to Windhoek on last day.

Logistic

Extra horse supplement for anyone weighing over 85 kg
  • March - April 2020

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    02/04/2020 14/04/2020 £4,350 Full
  • May - June 2020

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    21/06/2020 03/07/2020 £4,350 Guaranteed departure Book now
  • July - August 2020

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    13/08/2020 25/08/2020 £4,350 Guaranteed departure Book now
    31/08/2020 12/09/2020 £4,350 Guaranteed departure Book now

Equestrian info

Horses

The horses are mostly crossbreeds from a variety of stock that found their way into the Namibian equine mix during the last century. These include Trahkener, Hanovarian, Shagya Arabs, Boerperd and more recently, Arabians and Quarter Horse crosses. The horses are generally small in body size to cope with the dry and mountainous environments where they are bred and raised. They are sure footed, nimble, well mannered and energetic plus calm or fast according to your preference.

Minimum riding ability

Minimum riding ability

You need to be a very competent rider with plenty of experience riding outdoors across varied terrains and at all paces. The horses are well-behaved but there are some long hours in the saddle and a fast pace can be sustained for long periods where the terrain allows.

PLEASE NOTE: There is a weight limit of 92kgs. Riders who weigh over 85kgs (with their riding gear on) may have to pay a supplement for a second horse. You may be weighed on arrival!

Pace

There are lots of opportunities for fast riding. You must be capable of rising to the trot and maintaining a forward seat in canter and gallop. This is one of the most challenging rides on offer.

Tacking ability and participation

You will be expected to assist with grooming, tacking up and untacking your horse each day whilst out on the trail. It would also be appreciated if you could help with camp tasks such as putting up tents or watering and feeding the horses.

Trip conditions and Requested experience

You need to be physically fit for long hours in the saddle in the African sun. This is a challenging ride and can be tough at times. Climate is usually warm and dry during the day, but the nights can be very cold (zero or below) and there can be strong winds.
Guests who do not ride regularly need to get riding fit prior to the ride.

Equestrian equipment

Guests who do not ride regularly need to get fit prior to the ride.
We recommend our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard and you should bring your own to ensure a proper fit.

Travel info

Comfort

Two man dome tents are provided, with camp beds and sleeping bags/swags. However, most people opt to sleep out under the stars which is a magical experience. If you feel the cold then we recommend taking a second sleeping bag or liner, as nights in the desert can drop below zero.

Showers are available every night (hot water). It is however not possible to wash your belongings during the ride.

Small batteries can be charged in the back up vehicles if necessary. Phone signal is very limited and there is, of course, no wifi!

Meals

Whilst on the trail, meals are cooked over an open fire and are of excellent quality.

Breakfast usually consists of porridge or cereal with tea and coffee.
Lunch: proper meals cook by the local team.
Dinner will be meat (beef or lamb usually) with vegetables and a dessert.

Drinks are included throughout the trail except on the first and last night when you are in a lodge.
Vegetarians and special diets can be accommodated with advance notice.

Climate

The seasons in Namibia are the reverse of the UK and so October - March is hot and dry. The early summer is a very dry heat, but some rain can occur around December - January when the climate can be more humid. The rides do not run during these months as it is too hot.

From April to September, the winter months, the weather is usually cool and dry. The nights can be cold, dropping to zero or below, but the days are sunny with a beautiful blue sky. Daytime temperatures are usually 15-22c. Mid-winter (June-August) is cooler than the spring/autumn months of April/May and September.

Guide and local team

You will likely be guided by Andrew or Telane, with at least one back-up guide and a host of camp support staff.

Tips

Tips are welcome and we recommend c. £10 per person per day and you should give this to your guide who will distribute it amongst all the staff. If possible, euro, USD or even better African Rands are preferred since pounds sterling are difficult to exchange in Namibia.

Packing list

Head
- Equus Journeys strongly recommend that you wear a riding helmet and that you take your own to ensure a correct fit.
- Sunhat for when not riding
- Sunglasses - with a cord attached so they don't fly off when riding
- Buff or bandana

Upper body
- Long sleeved shirts provide protection from the sun and thorns
- T-shirts
- Fleece, jumper or jacket - the evenings can be cold
- Waterproof jacket - the rains can be difficult to foresee and it's better to be prepared. Layering is key to cope with the fluctuations in temperature between day and night
- Casual clothes for the evening

Legs
- Lightweight, comfortable riding trousers or jodhpurs - we recommend riding in them at home before taking them on holiday to ensure they don't rub
- Shorts for non-riding trips
- Casual clothes for the evening

Hands and Feet
- Comfortable riding boots. We recommend short boots with half chaps but you may wish to take long chaps to protect against thorns. We don't recommend taking your favourite long leather boots in case they get damaged
- Sandals, flip-flops or trainers for moving around the lodge and camp
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun whilst riding

Nightwear
- Thermals are a good option for sleeping in, or tracksuits
- A woolly hat when camping
- Warm and comfortable sleeping sacks are provided, but if you feel the cold you may wish to bring a fleece liner as an extra layer

Our Recommendations
- Please don't take a hard sided suitcase. Your luggage should be soft sided and you should pack it into two bags if it weighs more than 15kg so it's easier for the team to transport between camps
- Wherever possible you should wear neutral colours, such as beige, brown or natural bush colours for riding as bright colours, such as red, yellow or white can startle the wildlife and they will see you long before you've seen them
- We recommend travelling in your riding boots and carrying your hat and some riding clothes in your hand luggage - then if your luggage goes astray you are still able to ride!

Other useful items
- Swimsuit
- Towel. Camping towels will pack lighter and dry more easily
- Sarong (for going to/from showers)
- Binoculars for viewing game
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery
- Bumbag for carrying your camera and small items whilst riding
- Headtorch or small torch for moving around camp at night

In your luggage
- Any liquids, such as shampoo, moisturiser, deodorant unless they are less than 100ml and all bottles can fit in a small, clear, plastic ziplock bag. Some toiletries are provided by the camps so you can pack lighter.

In your hand luggage
- Any valuables, such as your camera, ipod, ipad etc.
- Your riding hat

Medical kit
- Sunscreen and lip balm - must be high factor
- Insect repellent, preferably containing deet
- Any medication you regularly take
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc...
- Spare prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Ear plugs, particularly if you are a light sleeper
- Anti malarial tablets and Yellow Fever Certificate if required (check with your doctor)

Visa & Health

Formalities

Entry requirements
To enter Namibia, a passport valid for six months from date of entry with one blank page is required by all nationals of Australia, USA, Canada, the UK and other EU countries. If you require a visa, you must have at least three blank pages in your passport.
Visas
Visas for Namibia are not required by nationals referred to above for stays of up to three months if visiting Namibia on holiday except:
Nationals of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, who do require a visa.
Nationals not referred to are advised to contact the high commission/embassy for visa requirements for Namibia.
Single-entry visas: £30 (three-day processing) or £50 (same-day processing); multiple-entry visa: £60 (three-day processing) or £80 (same-day processing).
Validity:
Valid for up to three months, for stays of up to three months from the date of entry.

Embassies
Namibian High Commission in the UK
Telephone: (020) 7636 6244. Website: http://www.namibiahc.org.uk Opening times: Mon-Fri 0900-1700.

IMPORTANT - TRAVELLING WITH CHILDREN

Visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/namibia/entry-requirements for up-to-date information.
Namibia introduced new immigration rules in 2016 relating to travel with children. In addition to valid passports, parents travelling with children (under 18) should at all times carry the original or certified copy of the unabridged birth certificate. The full unabridged birth certificate should list the child’s details and both parents’ details. The abridged (short) birth certificate which only lists the child’s particulars won’t be accepted by the Namibian Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration.

Adults travelling with children where they are not the biological or legal guardians of those children, should be in possession of an affidavit statement from the child’s parents giving consent for their travel. If a child is travelling with only one parent, the other parent should give consent for travel in the form of an affidavit.

Unaccompanied children may be required to provide in addition to a valid passport:

Proof of consent from one or both parents/legal guardians in the form of an affidavit.
A letter from the person receiving the child including their residential address where the child will be staying.
Contact your nearest Namibian High Commission if you have any specific questions about your trip.

If your child was born in the UK, you can order a full unabridged birth certificate online via GOV.UK

IF TRAVELLING THROUGH SOUTH AFRICA:
From 1st June 2015, South Africa have introduced tough rulings for anyone travelling with children, including passengers transitting South Africa to another destination.
- Two parents travelling with children will need to show the childs Unabridged Birth Certificate (UBC)
- One parent travelling with a child will need to show the UBC plus either: a Parental Consent Affidavit (PAC) from the parent not travelling OR a letter of special circumstance.
- Widowed parents will need to show the UBC and a death certificate for the deceased parent
- Children travelling with family friends will need a UBC, PCA, copies of the parents passports and contact details for the parents.

For more information click here: http://www.africa-adventure.net/downloads/SummaryImmigrationMinors.pdf

Contact South African Immigration for what is required for other circumstances.

Addresses of consulates

  • Paris | Ambassade de Namibie
    80, avenue Foch
    75016 Paris
    Tél. : 01.44.17.32.65
    Fax :
    info@embassyofnamibia.fr
  • Ambassade de France en Namibie
    1, Goethe Street PO Box 20484
    9000 Windhoek
    Tél. : +264 61 27 67 00
    Fax :
    cad.windhoek-amba@diplomatie.gouv.fr
  • Namibian High commission
    6 Chandos Street
    W1G 9LU London
    Tél. : +44 (0) 20 7636 6244
    Fax : +44 (0) 20 7637 5694
    info@namibiahc.org.uk

Health

There are no vaccinations legally required to travel to Namibia except that you need a yellow fever vaccination if you have travelled to a country (7 days or less before entering Namibia) where that disease is widely prevalent, such as Zambia.
Like with most countries, it's advisable to have general injections regarding diseases like Hepatitis A and typhoid. Most travellers are already vaccinated against DTP (Diptheria, Tetanus, Polio) and Hepatitis A, especially if you travelled already to countries outside the western world. If you are staying longer than 3 months or have a particular risk you might consider a rabies vaccination. Vaccination against Tuberculosis as well as Hepatitis B are also sometimes recommended for stays longer than 3 months.
Malaria is usually only a risk in the northern part of Namibia, and in some areas only during the wet season (October to April). The central and southern parts of the country, including Fish River Canyon and Sossuvlei are considered malaria free. Don't underestimate this tropical disease and take precautions. Buy repellent (preferably with 50% DEET), and sleep under a net.

Insurance

It is a condition of your booking with Equus Journeys that you have travel insurance which covers you for the riding activities to be undertaken. Your travel insurance should cover you for medical expenses and repatriation. Your guides will require your travel insurance details before they allow you to ride and may refuse to let you ride if you cannot provide them. You should take your insurance documents with you.

Voltage

220 volts AC, 50hz. Outlets are of the South African three-pin type (two small round pins over one larger round pin).

Budget and money

The Namibian Dollar (NAD; symbol N$) is in note denominations of N$200, 100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are in denominations of N$5, N$1, 50 cents, 10 cents and 5 cents. It is linked to the South African Rand (R) on a 1:1 basis and the South African Rand is also acceptable as currency in Namibia.
Credit cards:
American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are accepted. Credit cards are not usually accepted at petrol stations, so bear this in mind when you visit the ATM. Setting aside an emergency petrol cash fund is a good idea if you’re planning to drive.
ATM:
Although ATMs can be found in most towns, it’s worth making sure that you’ve got enough cash handy at all times, as towns can be few and far between. Make sure you notify your bank of your travel plans before you go: Namibia is among the countries that trigger an automatic account freeze (fraud protection) if you fail to tell your bank beforehand.

Telephone and jetlag

Namibia has an excellent fixed-line telephone network run by Telecom Namibia:
http://www.telecom.na

Domestic calls are reasonably priced, although international calls can cost upwards of N$20 (£1.40) per minute.
Mobile phone:
MTC is Namibia’s mobile service provider but has roaming arrangements with international providers. However, it operates on GSM 900/1800, which is compatible with European and Australian networks but not with those from North America or Japan. Check with your mobile provider whether they will be able to provide coverage through the MTC network during your stay. MTC does offer a prepaid service called Tango, which involves a one-off purchase of a sim card and pay-as-you-go thereafter. Although coverage is generally good, it can be sporadic outside urban areas.
Dialling code is +264
GMT + 1hr

Did you know?

Did you know?

The Namib desert is the world's oldest and has been in existence for 43 million years. It stretches the length of Namibia, crossing the border into Angola in the north and South Africa in the south. The name Namib is of Nama origin and means "vast place".

The vast dunes of the Namib roll down to the Atlantic sea and are most famous in the Sossusvlei area and along the Skeleton Coast.

Sossusvlei includes some of the highest sand dunes in the world, with many over 200m and the highest being 380m high.

The Skeleton Coast gets its name from the shipwrecked remains of over 1,000 vessels which were caught out by offshore rocks and fog along this trecherous stretch of coastline. Before the advent of motors it was impossible to launch a boat through the strong surf and so anyone trapped on the beach was stranded - the only way out being hundreds of miles of hot, arid desert.

On our riding trail through the Namib desert you will see both Sossusvlei and the southernmost section of the Skeleton coast.

Customer reviews

Customer reviews

All of our reviews are real, honest opinions from riders who have recently travelled with us. Upon their return, our riders will receive an email inviting them to share their experiences from their trip. Good or bad, each review will be published on our website, provided that they respect our editorial guidelines.
  • Veronica, aged 44, London
    29/03/2018
    I loved Namibia I loved the desert, the sunsets, the gallops, the horses, the food eaten by the camp fire and nights under the stars and this free exhilarating and intense sense of adventure! you need to be prepared for all this for sure but it is an amazing experience worth doing!!! A special mention to the great organisation and professionalism as well as the laughter and comraderies and the moments shared from all the staff members in Namibia!