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Namibia - Damara Elephant Safari

Five riders returned from Namibia at the end of July and one of our riders, Helen Williams, summed up her experiences: “This was an amazing experience. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done but also one of the most rewarding. It showed me how little you need to actually survive and what can be done to survive in the sparsest of conditions. The team took care of us brilliantly and this provided me with a unique riding experience as well as the chance to meet an interesting and diverse group of people. I am so proud of myself for completing this ride which took us through varying landscapes, all of which could have been plucked from a film set. The views were stunning and it was so interesting to learn about the different horses, tack and way of riding”. 

Congratulations to Maggie Copus, Kim Fullalove, Charlotte Green, Nicky Hall and Helen Williams for completing this long ride all the way to the spectacular Skeleton Coast. Many thanks for all their donations and sponsors too in collectively raising £9,000 for BHS Welfare.

Namibia 2018

What is the Damara Elephant Safari?

The Namib Desert is one of the most spectacular deserts on Earth. From Twyfelfontein to Henties Bay on the Skeleton Coast, the sheer remoteness of this challenging horse riding safari makes it unsuitable for inexperienced riders since encounters with Elephant, Rhino and even Lion are possible.  On the other hand, this could be the most thrilling riding adventure of your life!

A geological wonderland : Namibia has many great natural assets, not least of these are its dramatic landforms – remote, inaccessible and extremely rugged - and yet etched with poignantly delicate colours; this is true wilderness. These are the real wonders of this earth, these hauntingly beautiful vistas and ancient landscapes’.  These deserts teach us how to look with new eyes, to look differently at the real gems of this planet.
What horses will I ride?

We use horses from a mixed herd of several breeds including Arab, Haflinger (from the Alps), Trakehner (from Prussia) and both Boerperd and Nooidgedacht ranch horses; these latter two breeds are similar and originate from the Cape Winelands of South Africa and are best described as “multi-use farmer’s horses”. They trace their roots back to early cavalry horses such as the Thoroughbred and Andalusian, but with other bloodlines added over the years, most notably the Basotho pony; manipulated and moulded by the environment they have become a resilient, multi-purpose horse. They are all raised on rough desert terrain; they’re sure-footed and tough. Most have done several trails over the years and are adept at looking after their riders. Each is a unique character and every one of them makes for a kind, reliable mount deserving of the very best consideration and care. Sizes 15.2 hh to 16.2 hh.

What will I do on the ride?

Days 1 – 3 Windhoek to Twyfelfontein  

A shuttle will collect you from Windhoek’s International airport (Hosea Kutako) and drop you at your overnight accommodation where you will meet your guide for dinner and a briefing. After an early breakfast next day we journey north (about a 7-hour transfer including a lunch stop en route) through some spectacular Namibian landscapes to our camp at Twyfelfontein where you will meet the horses and crew. 

Your first ride is in the Aba Huab watershed, where good going invites a few brisk canters, allows you to get more acquainted with your horse and the terrain.  We return to camp for lunch after which we visit the San Rock Engravings ending with a sundowner with a panoramic view of this wild magnificence.  Overnight Aba Huab camp. 

Days 4 – 7 Huab and Ugab River systems

With the rising sun at our backs, we begin our westward journey to the distant Atlantic.  In these ephemeral river systems the cycles of rainfall dictate the seasonal movement of game which is not concentrated, but we can encounter Elephants, Rhino, Oryx, Springbok, and other desert-adapted game.  Here huge glacial valleys, impressive Tableland mountains exhumed by erosion, folds and fractures resulting from cataclysmic eruptions present a well preserved snapshots of a land of great antiquity.  

Day 8 – 10  The Great Plains  

Leaving the river valleys we now cross the vastness of open plains with the striking massive of the Brandberg (burning mountain) forming a dramatic backdrop. Here endless plains allow for some fast-paced riding as we approach the dramatic Messum Caldera, the eroded remains of a massive collapsed volcano. 

Our last ride takes us to the ocean at last - the spectacularly formidable Skeleton Coast, apparently so called for the wrecked hulks of stranded ships which dot this coastline.  The cold, upwelling Benguela Current results in some diverse weather conditions from hot desert easterlies to cold south Atlantic westerly’s – a place of extremes!  

We overnight in the small coastal town of Henties Bay in a private house with the most spectacular view over the Atlantic Ocean.  Our last meal together is freshly caught Atlantic Fish done  to perfection over the coals.

Day 11 Departure  

After breakfast the transfer leaves early for Windhoek (a 6 hour commute) arriving at Windhoek International Airport in time for flights leaving after 3pm. 

Riding Difficulty

Eight days riding between 20 and 50 km per day including all paces; maximum six hours per day; plenty of uneven, challenging ground.

Rider Weight: Maximum 85kg

Group Size: Maximum 10 riders

What’s included?

Saddle horse and tack for the duration.
Full board throughout
All camping equipment for 8 nights
Two night’s hotel (first and last night)
What’s not included?
Travel Insurance

What does the ride cost?

All our Challenge Rides require a registration fee. This £300 fee is needed to secure your place on the trip and is non-refundable if for any reason you are unable to participate. The cost per participant is £4300 (excludes £300 and flights) plus a minimum donation to BHS Welfare of £700. The flight cost will be approximately £950.


Now you’ve read about the Namibia Ride, we’re sure you’ll want to know how to raise the money to get there. We’ve put together a list of fundraising tips to help you on your way.

BHS Namib Desert Challenge Ride

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