Escape to Namibia

Galloping through a spellbinding landscape alongside herds of zebra and oryx makes for a special holiday...

Adele Severs

Published 17 Nov 2023

This article has appeared previously with Equestrian Life. To see what’s in our latest digital issue, click here.

Almost at the end – time for a photo shoot.

Photo supplied.

Escape to Namibia

Galloping through a spellbinding landscape alongside herds of zebra and oryx and sleeping under a star-filled sky are sure to put this ride at the very top of your dream holiday list.


For many horse enthusiasts, the frantic pace of modern life places too many obstacles in the way of our dream of riding off into the sunset. Even when we do squeeze in time with our horse, chances are we’ll be distracted by the mobile phone in our pocket or the realisation that we are running late for an appointment.

Imagine then, what it would be like to spend eight days riding across one of the most remote deserts on earth with no commitments other than the daily rhythm of taking care of your horse and reflecting on the great expanse of nothingness that surrounds you.  Horsewoman Marie-Louise Ageis has just returned from the ride of a lifetime in Namibia’s hauntingly beautiful Namib Desert.

Namibia is probably not the African country people first associate with riding safaris, as the popularity of rides in Botswana’s Okavango Delta and across Kenya has long been established. The Namibia Horse Safari Company were the first to pioneer a route across the Southern Namib Desert and much of the 360km ride towards the Skeleton Coast is still relatively uncharted territory.

The company runs 10 rides a year, one of which is an exploratory ride to pioneer new routes. The rides can be challenging and riders need to feel secure at all paces. Most of the camps are wild and remote, and with long days in the saddle it is not the place for a novice.  However, experienced riders can have confidence in the quality of the horses provided. The mixed herd, derived from many breeds including Arab, Haflinger, Trakehner, Nooidgedacht and Boerperd, are raised on rough desert terrain ensuring that they are surefooted and tough.  Lead guide and expert horseman Andrew Gillies trains all the horses from a young age and takes pride in ensuring that they are all fit, healthy, good-natured and well suited to their riders.