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NNamaqualand attracts more than 100 000 visitors every year, mainly because of its spectacular variety of wildflowers. You can explore this vast region of the Northern Cape on horseback, allowing you to access areas off the beaten track.
The vast area of the Namaqua district just begs to be explored, and what better way to do that than on horseback?
David and Ann Barnes, who run Namaqua Horse Trails from a small farm near Springbok, have excellent knowledge of horses and an intimate familiarity with the Goegap Nature Reserve and its surrounds. They offer a variety of riding options, including tailor-made itineraries of up to 10 days.
The Goegap Nature Reserve has much to offer riders of all experience levels. Each spring, this semi-desert landscape is transformed; carpeted by a seemingly endless expanse of wild flowers. There's also lots of wildlife such as zebra, jackal, springbok, oryx and bat-eared foxes. You may even catch a glimpse of the world's smallest tortoise, the Namaqua speckled padloper.
Ann is a South African National Equestrian Federation-qualified horse-riding instructor, who also spends a large amount of time training horses. She says the most scenic months to ride in the area are between July and October.
Namaqua Horse Trails offers a 3-day trail ride on weekends. The trail ride includes a 2-night stay at the Goegap Nature Reserve Bush Camp, where dinner is cooked on an open fire, and you can listen to the sound of distant jackals as you dine. You could also opt for the 1-day mountain-climbing ride if you prefer.
There are also 1-hour or 2-hour rides available for children and beginners. And if you are a complete novice you can even take lessons with qualified instructors before embarking on a horse ride.
TTravel tips & planning info
Who to contact
Namaqua Horse Trails
Cell: +27 (0)82 877 5764 (Ann)
Cell: +27 (0)79 142 7900 (David)
How to get here
The closest town to the Goegap Nature Reserve is Springbok, approximately a 7-hour road trip from Cape Town (570km). Alternatively, you can charter a small plane to fly you to the Springbok airport.
Best time to visit
September and October to catch the full wild flower spectacle.
Length of stay
Stay at least a few days to get a good feel for the area; there's plenty to see and do.
What to pack
A riding helmet, comfortable riding gear, sturdy footwear, warm clothes for the evening and cool clothes for the daytime. Plenty of sunscreen and a hat are very important in this semi-desert region.
Where to stay
Goegap Nature Reserve Bush Camp. Alternatively, there are a number of lodges and B&Bs in and around the Springbok area.