Namibia, September 2010
I’m one of those who, having once been to Africa, am forever longing to return. I’ve been to Kenya, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe, Namibia and most recently, Ethiopia and Djibouti. Yet the African bush, the veldt and savannahs and most of all the desert, are examples of places where a car simply won’t do. Another mode of transportation is necessary if you want to let these places really get under your skin the way they should. And that mode is horses.
As with most countries eager to bring in the traveler’s currency, many places in Africa boast horse safari rides geared even to someone whose skill level barely exceeds novice. But I’m a good rider with three of my own horses, so when I go on a safari ride I choose the longer, rougher trips. Though using the word “rough” is perhaps not appropriate, since nothing in my decades of travel experience compares with the magnificent beauty of a tented bush camp. It is a sensual experience in all the right ways, with hooting of doves and catcalls of baboons ringing in your ears, the spicy smoke of a wood fire filling your nostrils, your eyes drawn skyward to mark the circling of lappet-faced vultures, the first sip of an icy beer washing away the dust of a hard day’s ride and the damning scratch of an acacia thorn reminding you to duck lower on your horse’s back next time.
After a two week riding safari in Kenya and another one in the Okavango Delta of Botswana, I signed on for the most extreme ride of all: 280 miles over 8 days across the Namib Desert. You can see the detailed route on the map.
To read more on the Namib Desert Ride, click HERE. To sign up for my Dispatches Newsletter click HERE. If you’re curious about specific aspects of the rides I’ve done, or want to know a reputable site for African as well as other country-specific rides, post below and I will reply.