Namibia’s Most Popular Horse Riding Safari Trails
With its sprawling technicolour deserts, swirling dunes and epic canyons Namibia serves as the ultimate destination for an exhilarating horse riding safari adventure.
For experienced riders, this magical Southwest African nation offers some of the most epic and challenging horse riding trails in the world- trails that will transport you through ancient volcanic craters, semi-desert sheep farms and desolate coastlines.
For those less experienced, but who still want to enjoy a horseback journey during their safari, there are plenty of options for shorter, less-intensive rides and they provide the perfect opportunity to access remoter parts of Namibia that can’t be reached by safari vehicles.
Without doubt, galloping through Namibia’s hauntingly beautiful scenery offers a unique sense of freedom, peacefulness and tranquillity unrivalled by most other holiday experiences; In this article we’ll guide you through some of the country’s most popular riding trails, whilst also answering some of the most popular horse riding safari questions.
The Namib Desert Trail
We kick off our list with Namibia’s flagship horse riding trail, The Namib Desert Trail.
Suitable for mid-level or advanced riders, jump on the saddle and explore the world’s oldest desert by horse. On your adventure you will encounter a variety of wonderfully diverse landscapes, from the glorious Khomas Hochland Mountains through to the spectacular Kuiseb Canyon and the enchanting Swakop River. The trail ends as you reach the famous Skeleton coast.
This epic horse riding journey takes 11 days to complete and you will typically ride for around six hours a day. At night you will camp in tents under the crystal, star-studded Namibian sky. In total you will cover a distance of close to 300 km, and your riding party will be accompanied by a support vehicle and guide who will be on hand to assist you with any issues.
Damara Elephant Trail
Namibia is famously home to an abundance of fascinating wildlife, including many of Africa’s iconic ‘big 5’. If immersing yourself in and amongst these majestic animals is high on your agenda, then consider the epic Damar Elephant Trail.
During this horse riding journey-of-lifetime you will gallop across vast open spaces and ancient craters, stopping to admire incredible rock formations and prehistoric engravings. As you head towards the foreboding Skeleton coast you will also encounter oryx, rhinos, lions and of course the famous desert-adapted Elephant.
The Damara Elephant trail is not for the fainthearted and is only suitable for fit and confident riders. Depending on the operator you choose to book with, itineraries range from 11-13 days in length, and you will typically ride up to seven hours a day. As well as tented camping options, some tour operators include stays at several beautiful lodges on route. These lodges boast all the amenities you need to relax, unwind, and recuperate after a long day on the saddle.
Fish River Canyon to Orange River Trail
This horse riding trail in Namibia boasts an eclectic mix of striking canyon landscapes, open deserts and gushing rivers.
Hop on your saddle and you will cross three parks including Gondwana Park and Aussenkehr Park, stopping on route to marvel at some of Namibia’s most iconic natural wonders including the mighty Fish River Canyon.
The Fish River Canyon, the second-largest canyon in the world, is often heralded as one of Africa’s most incredible sites and on this trail you’ll have plenty of time to stop, admire its grandeur, and take some astonishing photos.
Typically, the Fish River Canyon to Orange River trail takes 11 days to complete but accommodation is offered at several lodges on route, and you’ll also be given the opportunity to camp out under the stars.
Kambaku Safari Lodge
Located around two hours’ drive away from Etosha National Park you’ll find Kambaku Safari Lodge, a place where inexperienced riders can also enjoy the thrill of a horseback safari adventure.
Set in close to 8,000 hectares of arid wilderness, saddle up and you will be able to gallop through unspoiled bush fields, encountering a plethora of extraordinary animals as you go including giraffes, zebras, and native antelope species like kudu, impala and eland.
Given that this region is absent from elephants and lions, riders of all levels are invited to take part in daily rides, and you will typically head out in a group of six, accompanied by a knowledgeable guide.
For bird lovers, you’ll find an abundance of incredible feathered-friend in this region as well; Kambuku is home to species such as martial and tawny eagles, as well as pale chanting-goshawks.
What horses will I ride on during a Namibia safari?
You’ll be pleased to know that equine welfare is taken very serious in Namibia and many of the horses that are used on a safari come from farmlands surrounding the capital Windhoek.
South African Boeperde’s, which are renowned for their sturdiness, are often used for long journeys whilst a mixture of Warmblood, Quarter, and Arab horses are also used. These horses are all well noted for their athleticism, making them perfectly suited to the many different Namibian terrains.
What level of fitness do I need for a Namibian Horse Safari?
Many of the horse riding trails in Namibia are challenging; typically you can expect to be riding at least three times a week, for 4-7 hours a day. It’s also important to note that you will be journeying across a mixture of different terrains, some of which are very steep.
It’s always advised that you have a good level of overall fitness before you embark on a horse riding safari but the rewards for all your efforts will be well worth it! Horse riding in Namibia offers endless excitement; nothing can beat the thrill of cantering rapidly across the vast desert.
Is Namibia too hot for horses?
Horse safaris in Namibia generally take place between May-October during the cool season, when daytime temperatures are comfortable, peaking in the mid-late 20’s (Celsius).
Horseback rides tend to set off just after dawn so you can take advantage of the cool morning temperatures. During warmer early afternoon hours, you and your furry-tailed companion will be taking breaks and admiring the stunning Namibian landscapes.
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