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Compiled Sanet van Zijl | Main photo ©Paul van Schalkwyk
It is said that the Strand Hotel Swakopmund is the most ambitious hotel project in the history of Namibia. It has 125 rooms and is recognized as a four star hotel and the reason for this huge investment made by O&L Leisure is all the activities in and around Swakopmund. The Strand Hotel Swakopmund recommends exploring Namibia on horseback the next time you pay them a visit.
Those who love horse riding will love the experience of exploring the desert surroundings of Swakopmund. Just outside of Swakopmund you’ll find the horse farm Okakambe Trails. Serious Namibian equestrians call this their training ground and horses find refuge here. Okakambe offers something for the whole family – small children can enjoy pony rides, they offer horseback safaris throughout Namibia and afternoon rides on the plains or dunes are on offer as well.
If you’re an inexperienced rider don’t be afraid, you’ll be guided by well-trained riders. Horse riding has many benefits, it is great exercise and it means you don’t have to explore on foot and you’ll be able to get close to many animals as they seem to be less afraid around horses.
Day rides offer viewing of a wide variety of bird-life, meerkats and possibly some springbok or jackals. Many relics, such as wagon wheels and horse hooves can be seen on the old trail between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. They were left and forgotten a long time ago when traveling between the two towns meant an arduous journey of a day or more.
At Okakambe you’ll find peace and contentment. No one working at Okakambe is in a hurry, even though work starts early every morning and ends late every day. All the horses have to be fed, brushed and exercised.
Lots of people live on the premises and work together for a common cause. Not only are there horses, but many other animals to care for, such as dogs, cats, warthogs, birds and mules. All of the animals and humans on the farm live together in harmony.
Okakambe has been in the business of horse trail rides for the past 20 years. Half an hour before the tour starts the horses are groomed and prepared. Each rider is catered for according to his/ her level of experience and skill. You can choose from a wide variety of outrides that range from 90 minutes to one week in cooperation with other equestrian professionals.
Overnight expeditions are available to experienced riders. The route goes out past ancient Welwitschia plants, ringing stones and the moon landscape where you’ll be allowed to camp in tents and offered desert catered meals. Support vehicles will be available for the horses.
Kathrin Schaefer-Steige is the owner and operator of Okakambe Trails. Day tours start at 9:00 in the morning from the ranch, taking you over sand dunes, the moon landscape or the Swakop River Valley. You’ll be able to ride along the old railway line towards the beach where you’ll have lunch. After that you head home past the Rossmund Golf Course where there are usually springbok grazing and you’ll be back at Okakambe by 16:00.
Nothing compares to experiencing the Namib on horseback. Bookings can be made at Adventure and Activity office at Strand Hotel Swakopmund or at activities-swakopmund.com.
Photo ©Paul van Schalkwyk