In April this year, Abbie Woods was lucky enough to be offered the chance to visit Namibia. Here she tells us all about this magical trip…
Mention this country to anyone who has seen it for themselves and you are sure to be regaled with stories of a land of great beauty and diversity. Namibia’s astounding landscapes are far from subtle. From the towering rust-coloured dunes of Sossusvlei and the rugged mountain ranges of the central plateau, to the Kalahari with its ancient deep-red sands and the tropical forests and woodland savannahs of Kavango and Caprivi, Namibia’s topography and scenery offer astounding diversity in just one country. However short or long your stay, wherever you go, this country has to be seen to be believed. Let me try to make a start…..
The Desert Homestead
Close your eyes and imagine wide open grassy plains, only interrupted by the occasional jagged-topped mountain. Plains so vast that areas ahead and to the side of you change colour like a chameleon from soft sandy hues, to vibrant shimmery yellows as the clouds move overhead.
In this idyllic spot sits The Desert Homestead, a lodge offering fantastic riding over endless plains, rugged mountains, sandy dunes and dry river beds. Here you will experience a heady combination of a wonderful riding holiday, excellent food, relaxing dips in the pool, alfresco dining and breathtaking sunsets over the surrounding mountain ranges.
This is an area home to desert-adapted springbok, ostrich, oryx and hyena. You may be lucky enough to spot southern pale chanting goshawks or perhaps a dune lark, but you will almost certainly see social weaver birds and their incredible nests.
No doubt, your experienced guide will tell you all about the smelly shepherd tree and the intriguing fairy circles. But this is an area (and a country) worth visiting for more than just its resident wildlife. The geology is astounding, the light magnificent and the cultures intriguing.
Ride out in the early morning before the warmth of the day really sets in. Return to the lodge for a refreshing swim in the pool and to have lunch, then set out on horseback again in the afternoon. As the heat of the day begins to dip, pause for a sundowner as you watch the changing light shift the long savannah grasses into a magical expanse of dancing gold and silver fronds.
The itinerary is flexible and will be tailored to the wishes of the groups, but the sleep-out camps are a delight not to be missed. There is something magical about settling down around the camp-fire with a gin and tonic and then eating a delicious meal under the inky-blackness of the Namibian night sky.