Monthly Archives: September 2010

Namibia: Ride Across the Desert–Dispatch 1

Some say, once you’ve been to Africa either you leave it forever, or it’s in your blood like a malaria parasite and you are forever drawn to return. I’m in the latter category. Nothing could top my horseback safaris in Kenya and Botswana for sheer breathtaking animal and bird life. They were total Out Of Africa experiences, though unfortunately minus Robert Redford. Yet I longed to return to Africa for another riding experience. The Namib Desert ride seemed tailor made for me. Usually horseback safaris try to attract a broad variety of riders. Not so this one. “Toughest ride in the world,” the website trumpeted, followed by “not for the faint hearted,” “an extreme riding challenge,”and “experienced, fit riders only.”

Sunset at Sossusvlei

The Namib Desert is the oldest in the world, a place of so little rainfall it’s considered for all intents and purposes completely barren. Having been through Mongolia I figured I knew barren. I had another thing coming. Though the famous red dunes of Sossusvlei are found in the southern Namib, the area we’d be riding through was either rocky or made of coarse, hard-packed sand. Riverbeds hadn’t thrilled to the sound of gushing water for years. Plants and animals that do survive there get moisture from the morning fogs that roll in from the Atlantic ocean. If you’ve ever tried slaking a raging thirst by gulping fog, you know it’s no easy task. Unlike my other two Africa rides, this would be an endurance ride covering 280 miles of harsh ground in an unforgiving climate, taking care of our own horses.


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