Desert Canyons Safari

Namibia Namibia: (IT-NADCS)

Namibia Namibia
The Fish River Canyon is an impressive geological feature, a natural gorge revealing the Earth’s history laid out like the pages of a book. Despite its seeming aridity, this extraordinarily diverse biome is a delight for nature lovers. Expansive plains invite endless canters in a landscape characterized by meandering gorges and dramatically eroded escarpments.

The terrain dictates a slower start to this riding safari, so this ride is suitable for intermediate and advanced riders. From young spirited horses filled with ambition to older reliable ones who have done these trails countless times, there is a horse for everyone! The horses are raised with care and trained with a gentle hand. There are even some rescues who have been offered a second chance at life and eager to please!

Days are spent exploring the remote desertlands, seemingly untouched by humans. Namibia has given its communities the opportunity and rights to manage their wildlife through commercial conservancies, allowing you to reap the benefits of exploring true wilderness areas. You will be educated on the fragility of the desert and the conservation programs set in place. Sleep under the starts each night and experience the wonder of the universe. In simplicity, life reveals its beauty. From the northern reaches of the Fish River Canyon to the Orange River, this is a spectacularly diverse wonderland! What are you waiting for?


This is a wilderness ride, so you will be staying in a mixture of lodges and camping.

You will be staying in a lodge for 2 nights and camp for 8 nights.
Consider yourself ‘unplugged’ while on safari – cell-phone reception is minimal at best and internet not at all except in cities and larger towns.

Water is a very precious commodity in a desert, so while it is possible to rinse a few smalls things on safari, only lodges and hotels have laundry service.

Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
Night 1: Hotel in Springbok
Night 2: Camping in Holoog Ranger Station
Night 3: Camping
Night 4: Camping at Canõn Roadhouse
Night 5: Lodge near Fish River Canyon
Night 6-10: Camping in Ai Ais

Hotel in Springbok
Double rooms with bath.

Camping at Canõn Roadhouse
This campsite is situated 14 km from the Fish River Canyon. It has a campground, a rather famously decorated restaurant with ‘old wheelers’ bar, a swimming pool and a fuel station as well as a Canyon Information Centre.

Lodge near Fish River Canyon
The lodge is located at the foot of picturesque dolerite hills. The building, shaped like a horseshoe, houses 8 en-suite rooms (16 beds) plus a communal kitchen and dining room. All rooms have en suite bathrooms, shower, toilet and hand basin, twin beds and electric fan. Each room is decorated with bits, bridles, saddles and other horse riding items. The covered grill area is a pleasant meeting place at the end of an eventful day. WIFI is available (100MB free). 

Camping in Ai Ais 
Ai Ais lies at the southern end of the Fish River conservation area. It means “burning water” in one of the local languages, and refers to the sulphurous hot springs found in this area. It offers an excellent place to relax around the thermal baths & heated swimming pool. The Camping Site at Ai Ais is situated right alongside the riverbed at the end of the Fish River Canyon. With clean ablutions and areas for washing dishes the camping site at Ai Ais is a pleasant if warm place to camp in Fish River Canyon. Campers can make full use of all the resort facilities.

Camping - general
While we do provide tents if needed, generally guests sleep out under the stars on cozy cots with bedding. The cots have bedrolls consisting of an insulating mattress, duck-down double duvet, and pillow - can zip up and has a waterproof cover. Hot bucket showers and chemical loos travel along with us - we endeavor to provide a shower every night but if water is scarce, one night might be shower-less.

Room Occupancy
Single supplement is waived if you are willing to share.

All meals are included from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on the last day.

Breakfast is typically porridge or cereal, coffee or tea and a hot dish.
On days we are able to meet up with the supply trucks a light lunch is served, where this is not possible, sandwiches are enjoyed under a shady tree.
Dinner is a delight of typically Namibian fare; wild Game, free-range beef or Karoo mutton served as braai (grilled over an open fire) or potjie (pot casserole) with vegetables and a surprise dessert also made on the open fire.

Tea, coffee, and juice are always available in camp with chilled drinks, beer, wine, etc. available in the evenings. All drinks are included in the cost whilst on the ride. Only drinks at the first night lodges, guest farms, restaurants, and petrol stations while en-route are not included in the package rate.

Dietary Restrictions
We can easily cater to vegetarians. We cannot fully cater to vegans, so please supply your own snacks.

This trip includes some wine with dinner and can accommodate special dietary requests.


Riding Level
Do not underestimate the physical toll living outside take on you- come very fit! You need to be balanced in the saddle and stay off your horse's back without having to hang onto their mouth at all paces. You need to be able to post trot.
If you do not ride regularly (2 - 3 times a week), we strongly recommend that you get into practice before joining one of our challenging safaris. This is a challenging ride suitable for confident intermediate riders. Please not, we reserve the right to prevent anyone from riding if we feel they do not fulfill the minimum competence level as indicated or if weight and fitness level do not fall within that recommended for these challenging safaris.

You will ride in the morning for 4-5 hours, have a lunch break for 1-2 hours, and then continue riding for another 2-3 hours, totaling around 6-8 hours per day in the saddle for 7 days. You will cover 20-60km per day at all paces and over rough terrain. Other days may be less. 
Pace depends on the terrain and temperatures as well as on fitness and weight of riders with walk, trot, canter and gallop.  Meandering canyons means a slower place making this suitable for both intermediate and advanced riders but it has the most sublime plains for long, long slow canters.
Because Namibia has such wide-open spaces, it is possible to accommodate up to 15 riders on most trails plus 2 - 3 riding guides.

Your horse will be chosen from a mixed herd of many breeds i.e. Arab, Haflinger, Trakehner, ranch horses, they are small to medium-sized (14.3 to almost 16 hands) sure-footed horses raised on rough terrain, some of them with experience in endurance riding, and every one of them a kind, reliable companion that deserves the very best treatment and care.
Each rider is responsible for grooming, regularly checking over, and tacking up their own horse (assistance is given when required). It is this experience that cements the bond between you and the horse you must rely on to carry you across the desert.

We use skirted endurance type saddles with heavy padding for the comfort of horse and rider. Each saddle is fitted with two specially made water bottle holders (water bottles supplied). If you normally ride with a sheepskin bumnah you may bring your own (western shaped). We use a simple snaffle bridle over the halter

Weight Limit 
We have a strict weight limit of 85 kg dressed in your riding gear – fit riders heavier than this will need to hire a 2nd horse. Our absolute maximum weight limit is 93 kg.

Hard Hats
Hard hats are obligatory, unless medical insurers acknowledge that you will still be insured, should you choose not to wear a hard hat.

Your safety and enjoyment are of paramount importance to us while you are our guest. Please alert us to any personal medical condition, allergies included and ensure you have all essential personal medication before arriving in Windhoek.

Children & Non-Riders
Experienced children riders who are accompanied by their parents are welcome – but please remember that these rides can be quite strenuous – so parents must use their judgment as to whether their children are suitable. Anyone unable to keep up with the group may have to travel in the support vehicle at some times. Non-riding companions are also welcome to join the trip and travel with the trucks.

Comprehensive medical insurance is required to ride with us. Ensure repatriation is included in your policy. Travel insurance is recommended.


Sample Itinerary - subject for changes

Camp life has a leisurely pace - days begin at sunrise with the aroma of freshly brewed 100% Arabica coffee wafting through camp.
After a hearty breakfast we start riding around 8am for 4 - 5 hours. Lunch breaks are 1 - 2 hours, followed by another 2 - 3 hours riding in the afternoon.

Day 1: Arrival
You will be collected in Cape Town International Airport (or city) before 9:30am for your transfer north. The transfer is 5.5 hours to your accommodations for the first night at Springbok on the edge of the Richterveld Transfrontier Park.

Day 2: Holoog
After the border crossing we reach Hollog (meaning 'hollow eye') Ranger Station in time for lunch with the crew. After lunch, meet the horses and saddle up in the afternoon and ride in and around the Gaap River with its fascinating rock formations and rich plant diversity.

Day 3-5: The Canyons
We will be following the Gaap River and crossing several small canyons crisscrossing this very plant-diverse area, which is also home to a number of game species including giraffe and rhino. We encounter some wide plains along the way so the pace quickens with some lovely long canters. We camp at Canyon Roadhouse, with its curious 'living museum' of old cars and movie memorabilia, and overnight at the intimate Mountain Camp lodge with its spectacular view.

Day 6-10: The Plains to the Orange
Starting with a transfer to view the main viewpoint of the Fish River Canyon, we continue riding after lunch. Being both a winter and summer rainfall biome, this area is known for its rich flora and fauna diversity. Large herds of seasonal plains game species can be seen.
We ride to our overnight location at the Ai Ais hot springs, where the deliciously warm water of the spring can be enjoyed in the afternoon- bring your swimsuit! Finally dropping down into the valley of the Orange River, we enjoy the last overnight on the banks of the river.

Day 11: Departure
After an early breakfast we depart on a 9.5-hour commute to Cape Town International Airport, arriving between 5:00pm and 6:00pm.

Rates and Dates for Desert Canyons Safari

Rates include:

Accommodations, All meals, Transfers, 7.5 riding days & Visit to the Fish River Canyon lookout site and Ai Ais hotsprings

Packages and Options

  • SeasonYearDescriptionGBP ~US$
    202411-day trip£5800$7250
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.25

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:

2024 Transfer from/to Windhoek Airport included £ 0 $0
2024 Single supplement - if requested only £ 250 $315
2024 Over 85 kg (extra horse charge) £ 1,065 $1,330

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2024 06/12 - 06/22 11d / 10n 11-day trip 4 /15 Expired

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Drinks and refreshments at lodges/restaurants, Insurance (mandatory) & Gratuities

Other Info
Meeting: Cape Town
Airport: Cape Town International Airport
Transfer: Cape Town International Airport

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Source: NOAA

This is Africa and the climate reflects it. But just as Namibia is filled with contrasting geography, equivalent climactic differences do apply depending on your location.
Partially covered by the Namib, one of the world's driest deserts, Namibia's climate is generally very dry and pleasant. The cold Benguella current keeps the coast cool, damp and free of rain for most of the year (when it does rain it is between October and April). Inland, all the rain falls in summer (November to April). January and February are hot, but nights are usually cool. Winter nights can be fairly cold, but days are generally warm and quite nice.
Keep in mind that temperatures vary hugely seasonally and geographically – coastal areas much cooler than inland, often subject to fog (10 – 20 degrees Celsius).  Day and night temperatures, particularly in winter, vary dramatically (below zero to 30’s).  Weather in desert is always highly variable and unpredictable – come prepared to all weather – layering is key to living in a desert.
The bottom line: Namibia is a year-round destination. Just pack accordingly.

An excellent weather report reference can be found on:

What To Bring:
What to Bring
Place all items in soft luggage, well labeled, and split into 2 bags if over 15kg- lots of pockets help with organizing.

Essential Items
Beanie / Woollen hat
Hat / Baseball cap
Fleece jacket
Buff / Bandana

Long sleeved cotton shirts for riding x 4 (preferably in subtle colours)
Riding trousers/jods x 3
Casual trousers x 2 (for travelling and excursion days)
Shorts x 1 (in summer for around camp)
T-shirt x 2
Long sleeved shirts for the evenings x 2 (also for lodge nights)
Pullover x 2
Warm ‘Pyjamas’ x 1
Lightweight waterproof jacket (for foggy mornings)
Lightweight down jacket / vest
Underwear, Socks
Flip Flops
Comfortable walking shoes / trainers (for around camp, travel etc.)

Riding Gear
Helmet (recommended not compulsory, but might be a condition from your insurance – please check!) Sun visor to fit around helmet or Wide brimmed Hat (with a string)Boots / Chaps - full or half
Seat saver (if needed)

Sunblock SPF 50 & Lip balm (with SPF!)
Toiletries (Shampoo, Toothbrush and -paste, wet wipes, moisturiser)
Personal medication / Pain killers (for sore muscles)
Power bank / extra batteries/ spare memory card