From Desert to Skeleton Coast

Namibia Namibia: (IT-NADSC)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/Namibia_desert_skeleton_coast.aspx

Introduction
Namibia Namibia
Welcome to the oldest, and one of the most scenic deserts on Earth, the Namib. With its iconic ochre dunes, huge plains and unique desert adaptations, this seemingly in-hospitable place leaves us enriched by its majesty.

This riding safari starts from the formidable Skeleton Coast and makes its way into the remote western Damaraland before heading back onto the wild Atlantic Coast.
This adventurous riding safari is not for the faint of heart!

Accomodation


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

Description
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.

You will be sleeping in a hotel in Swakopmund for the first night and in a lodge on the coast for the last night. The rest of the nights are spent camping.

Camping
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.



Meals
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


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.

Pace
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.

Horses
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.

Tack 
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.

Safety
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.

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

Itinerary


Sample Itinerary - subject to changes

Days begin at sunrise with the smell of freshly brewed coffee wafting through camp, followed by breakfast; departure is generally by 8am with 4 – 5 hours riding before lunch. Lunch breaks are an hour to 2 hours followed by another 2 – 3 hours riding in the afternoon.

Day 1: Arrival
Arrive at Walvis Bay airport and transfer to your hotel in Swakopmund. Sundowners and dinner with your guide.

Day 2:
Depart Swakopmund to our lunch spot on the Skeleton Coast with a visit to the lichen fields and a shipwreck en-route. Lunch in camp, saddle up and ride to first overnight camp.

Day 3-10:
There is an easy rhythm to camp life with memorable evenings around the campfire, making new friends, sleeping under the stars. This is a little bit of Heaven on Earth.  From the Ugab River to Leeuwkop (lions head) in this landscape of undulating, multicoloured and interesting geology. Some of the best going anywhere on the planet - so expect lots of fast riding! Descent into the lower reaches of the Ugab river before reaching the lichen-covered coastal plains of the Skeleton Coast. Last night in a luxury beach house.

Day 11: Departure
Transfer to Windhoek International Airport for flights leaving after 3:00pm.


Rates and Dates for From Desert to Skeleton Coast

Rates include:

All accommodations, All meals with drinks in camp, 7.5 riding days, Sightseeing to the World Heritage site of the Namib Sand Sea at Sossusvlei & Transfers

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionGBP ~US$
    A
    202111-day trip, AP£4900$6470
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.32

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionGBP~US$
2021 Transfer from Walvis Bay Airport included £ 0 $0
2021 Transfer to Windhoek Airport included £ 0 $0
2021 Single supplement - if requested only £ 240 $320
2021 Over 85 kg (extra horse charge) £ 1,000 $1,320

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2021 10/15 - 10/25 11d / 10n 11-day trip, AP 4 /15 Expired
A 2021 11/03 - 11/13 11d / 10n 11-day trip, AP 4 /15 Reserve

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

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

Note:

Due to COVID-19 Corona virus pandemic and certain travel restrictions we are applying some temporary policy changes to some of our tours.

For Between Desert & Skeleton Coast (IT-NADSC):
Where you have concerns (due to the COVID-19 pandemic) we are happy to move your booking to new dates without penalty fees, where seasonality, availability, and annual rate increase allows, under the following conditions:
  • The new travel date must be within 12 months of the original booking date.
  • Bookings may be amended free of charge up to 14 calendar days prior to the date on which the booking begins.
  • You are still responsible for covering any variation in price for the new date as a result of the exchange rate, availability, seasonality and annual rate increase.
  • In the event of a booking cancellation, instead of an amendment, the normal cancellation policy will apply.
We are able to comply with whatever safety regulations are current.
We have the space to spread out - our beds, our chairs, our beings…. You will not be required to get into close proximity with other guests or staff, we leave the choice up to you.
Your bedroll is yours for the duration, as is your saddle, bridle and horse.
We have always worn (and have available) buffs against the dust and sun so we are covered on the mask front.
We have always had a hand washing station - even in the middle of no-where. We will additionally supply a hand sanitiser in camp for those who wish to use it.
We have immediate access to medical advice, our team have advanced first aid training and we have a professional air evacuation service. Namibia has excellent private medical facilities and sufficient professional and ‘grass-roots’ medical savvy to deal with any medical emergency, no matter how remote.

For more information please visit our COVID-19 Updates page at https://www.hiddentrails.com/article/covid19update.aspx

Other Info
Meeting: Swakopmund
Airport: Walvis Bay Airport
Transfer: Walvis Bay Airport

Climate:
                                            Swakopmund area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

71

71

71

71

70

70

68

65

64

65

67

69

Average Low Temperature (°F)

59

60

58

56

53

52

50

49

50

52

54

57

Average High Temperature (°C)

22

22

22

22

21

21

20

18

18

18

19

20

Average Low Temperature (°C)

15

15

15

13

12

11

10

9

10

11

12

14

Average Precipitation (days of rain)

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Source: NOAA


Seasons
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:
www.yr.no/place/Namibia

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.

- Light-weight riding hat (recommended - it may be a condition of your insurance, please check)
- A wide-brimmed sun hat with strap or baseball cap
- Light-weight riding shoes/jodhpur boots and comfortable shoes for in camp. 
- Sunglasses on a string plus spare, wrap-around sort if you wear contact lenses
- Bandana/buff to help protect from sun and dust
- Comfortable clothes to ride in including jodhpurs/long trousers and chaps, long sleeved cotton shirts, jersey or long sleeved fleece, sleeveless fleece with pockets
- Lightweight waterproof/windbreaker jacket. Layering is key as temperatures fluctuate during day
- Warm clothes for evenings and to sleep in including a woolly hat (beanie) socks and gloves
- Underwear and socks (men might like to consider cycling shorts)
- Shorts, t-shirts, sarong, flip-flops, comfortable clothes to wear around camp and showers
- Sunblock, lip balm/chap stick
- A towel,  personal toiletries and mosquito repellent. 
- Personal meds including “second skin” plasters to protect areas of skin that might chafe, antihistamine and antiseptic cream, eye-drops. Anyone with chronic medical conditions should discuss medication with their doctor
- Head torch, camera spare batteries, memory card
- Although we provide a warm down-filled bedroll, you may want to add your own fleece or silk lining if you get cold
- Sweets to suck between canters
- A good sense of humour! ​