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Okapuka Horse Safaris

Overview

Okapuka is a malaria-free private game reserve of 10,000 hectares, situated about an hour north of Windhoek. Riders can explore not just the reserves own land, but an adjoining 20,000 hectares of neighbouring farmland too. The landscape varies to include a combination of savannah and rocky mountain…

Highlights

  • Private game reserve home to rhino, giraffe and more
  • Ride endurance-trained Arabian horses
  • Combination of savannah and rocky mountains
  • Drinking a glass of wine with Ingeborg after your ride
  • Chill out at the pool with the ostriches

Essential Facts

  • 2 itineraries available
  • Max 6 riders per group
  • Average of 3 - 5 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: Safaris: 85kg / 187 lbs / 13st 5lbs Endurance: 80kg / 176 lbs / 12st 8lbs

Description

Okapuka is a malaria-free private game reserve of 10,000 hectares, situated about an hour north of Windhoek. Riders can explore not just the reserves own land, but an adjoining 20,000 hectares of neighbouring farmland too. The landscape varies to include a combination of savannah and rocky mountains up to 2,000m. Down on the savannah game sightings are good, whilst up in the mountains the game is scarcer, but the views are stunning.

Whilst riding you are likely to see white rhino, giraffe, eland, blesbok, gemsbok, kudu, black and blue wildebeest, red hartebeest, waterbuck, steenbok, duiker, ostrich, impala, springbok, black-backed jackal, bat-eared fox, mountain and plains zebra and the rare sable antelope. Sightings of cheetah, leopard and brown hyena do happen but are rare.

The horses are all Arabian or Arabian crosses - some bought in from overseas and others born and raised at Okapuka. They compete successfully in national and international endurance but also achieve excellent results in the show ring. They live out in large sandy paddocks and regularly go on holidays to a nearby 1,500 hectare camp where they can graze, play and be horses in-between safaris.

Your host, Ingeborg, is extremely knowledgable about endurance and has won many competitions on her horses. On a few dates throughout the year you can join her on an endurance competition and ride alongside her on one of her qualified horses, perhaps even winning a prize yourself!

It goes without saying that these rides are for competent riders. The long sandy tracks lend themselves to long canters and gallops, and the mountains are perfect for fittening work. Even though the horses are beautifully schooled, their spirit is not always suited to novice riders and so you need to be a capable and confident rider.

Okapuka is also a fantastic destination for couples/groups where one is a non-rider - game drives and hiking trails are on offer for non-riders and they will join the riders for all meals and non-riding activities. Whilst we have listed seven night itineraries below, it is also possible to plan a shorter stay as part of a longer itinerary in Namibia, so please just contact us for suggestions.

Horses & Riding

Tack

Lightweight endurance saddles covered with sheepskin covers, and wide stirrups for support. Bridles are simple eggbutt or french link loose ring snaffles. The riding style is English and you are expected to tack up your own horse.

Horses

The horses are all Arabian or Arabian crosses - some bought in from overseas and others born and raised at Okapuka. They compete successfully in national and international endurance but also achieve excellent results in the show ring. They live out in large sandy paddocks and regularly go on holidays to a nearby 1,500 hectare camp where they can graze, play and be horses in-between safaris.

Riding

There are 2 itineraries:

  • Okapuka Safari is a based ride
  • Endurance Week is a based ride

Ages

Children must be 10 years or older and be competent riders. There are only two horses suitable for children.

Health

General good health and fitness

Weight

Safaris: 85kg / 187 lbs / 13st 5lbs Endurance: 80kg / 176 lbs / 12st 8lbs

Food & Accommodation

Food

The restaurant specialises in game dishes based on Namibian and European cuisine. Special diets are available on request. The wine list is extensive boasting top quality South African wines.

Accommodation

You will be accommodated in a Park Room at Okapuka Ranch, with double or twin beds.

The thatched Park Rooms either overlook the riverbed of the Otjihavera or have a view over the savannah. The rooms are spacious and have an en-suite bathroom (shower, toilet and wash basin), safe, coffee and tea making facilities, mini-bar, fan, telephone and a terrace.

There's a central, thatched communal area with dining room and bar, plus two swimming pools and a tennis court. The dining and bar area overlooks the lawn and waterhole - this drinking spot is frequented during the late afternoons and evenings by many different species of game.

Please note that the rooms at Okapuka do not have double beds, unless you stay in the honeymoon suite. Other rooms have spacious single beds pushed together.

Itineraries

Okapuka Safari Standard accommodation.

Endurance Week Standard accommodation.

Other Activities

Non-riders will be offered game drives on the reserve, and of course, riders can choose to join some of these at extra cost. Sunset/night drives are popular to view game rarely seen in daylight.

There are two swimming pools and a tennis court, plus hiking trails through the reserve.

Travel

There are no direct flights from the UK to Windhoek, but you can route through Europe with Air Namibia, or through Johannesburg with South African Airways.

Transfers are available from Windhoek at extra cost.

Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1

Riding: No riding.

You will be met on arrival at Windhoek airport and transferred c. one hour to the ranch. After a welcome drink you can shower and enjoy lunch (depending on your time of arrival). If you arrive before midday then in the afternoon you can head to the stables for a short ride to acclimatise. After riding, head to the bar for a drink before dinner in the restaurant.

Day 2

Riding: 4 hours

After breakfast, set out riding over the savannah tracking game such as sable antelope, gemsbok, springbok, giraffe and white rhino. After approximately four hours riding you return to the lodge for lunch. The afternoon is free for you to relax or follow a hiking trail or pay for a game drive. Dinner is served in the restaurant.

Day 3

Riding: 3 - 5 hours

A slightly later start today as you head out on a full day picnic ride. You'll ride for a couple of hours in the morning, stopping for a picnic during the heat of the day (with a proper table and ice cold drinks). After a short siesta you ride back to the stables along a different route before heading to the bar for a refreshing drink before dinner.

Day 4

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

Set out after breakfast for another ride through the reserve looking for game, returning to the lodge for lunch. In the afternoon, head out on horseback to a beautiful spot for sundowners. Watch the sun set whilst enjoying a drink and listening to the jackals calling.

Day 5

Riding: 4 hours

Another morning ride in search of game before returning to the lodge. In the afternoon you can relax, swim, go hiking, or perhaps head into Windhoek with the team.

Day 6

Riding: 4 hours

A tough day today as you head into the mountains looking for kudu, mountain zebra, klipspringer and hyrax. The wildlife may be harder to spot than on the savannah, but the scenery is spectacular. On arrival back at the stables, there's time to refresh before lunch. In the afternoon, head out in the vehicle for sundowners.

Day 7

Riding: 4 - 5 hours

Another full day picnic ride, with a morning and afternoon ride and lunch out in the bush. You'll know your horse well by now and will relish the long canters along the sandy tracks.

Day 8

Riding: No riding.

Depending on the time of your flight, you may be able to have a final morning ride (only for afternoon/evening flights). You are then transferred to the airport.

Accommodation

All nights at Okapuka Ranch.

Experience Experienced

You should be an experienced rider, capable of riding a forward going horse in open spaces and riding in a light seat.

Minimum group size 1
Maximum group size 6
Departure windows

At any time during: Jan. 1, 2021 - Dec. 31, 2021  (Flexible arrival/departure but closed for endurance races)

Pricing

2021
Non-Rider, sharing
£1545 $2150 €1810
2021
Rider, sharing
£2410 $3355 €2825
Included 7 nights accommodation, riding, all meals including picnics and braais & drinks during sundowners.
Not included Flights, travel insurance, transfers, drinks in the restaurant/bar, tips & other personal expenses.

Extras

2021 - Single Supplement £265 $370 €315
Paid to Far and Ride
Single supplement payable by everyone in a single room
2021 - Windhoek Airport Transfer £171 $235 €200
Paid to Far and Ride
Return Windhoek International Airport transfers, per vehicle (up to 4 pax)
2021 - Windhoek City Transfer £94 $131 €110
Paid to Far and Ride
Return Windhoek city transfers, per vehicle (up to 4 pax)
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.

Day 1 - Monday

Riding: No riding.

You will be collected from Windhoek airport and transferred c. one hour to the ranch where you will meet your horse and have a briefing. For the next four nights you will stay at Okapuka and have dinner in the dining room overlooking the waterhole.

Day 2 - Tuesday

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

The morning ride is your first chance to get to know your horses. A session riding through the bushveld will introduce you to the wildlife and style of riding before returning to the lodge for lunch. After either a siesta, walk around the reserve on foot or cool off in the pool, you will have a training ride in the late afternoon. Here you will be introduced to some of the do's and don'ts of endurance and will go through the theory of vet checks.

Day 3 - Wednesday

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

Another morning ride exploring the bush and looking for game before returning to the lodge for lunch. A short training session in the afternoon where you can practise a vet check.

Day 4 - Thursday

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

A final chance to ride your safari horse around the reserve in the morning, and then a final chance to familiarise yourself with your endurance horse in the afternoon, with perhaps another vet check practise.

Day 5 - Friday

Riding: No riding.

It's time to pack up and start your journey to the endurance ride. Depending on your ride, the journey will take 1 to 4 hours. It's slow with the horses in the trailer but gives you a chance to see more of the countryside. 

On arrival at the venue you will get your grooming/holding area ready and then exercise the horses. The vet check, entries and weigh-in normally starts in the late afternoon, with a ride briefing in the evening, where the route and basic rules will be explained. The evening is sociable and you can join other riders for a drink and get to know everyone. After dinner, it's an early night ready for race day.

Day 6 - Saturday - Race day!

Riding: 3 - 6 hours

An early start for competition day! Depending on the expected weather, the ride starts around 5am. You will ride together with your guide, and even though there are grooms to assist, you are expected to crew and get your horse through the vet check. The horses always come first and their comfort and well being is the priority. Depending on the terrain, distance, horse and rider, the speed will be between 13 and 19 km per hour. The prize giving is in the late afternoon, and then you can settle the horses for the night and enjoy a well earned drink and a good meal.

Day 7 - Sunday

Riding: 1 - 2 hours

You'll be feeling your muscles this morning, so after a quick coffee you check and feed the horses before breakfast and then pack up ready for the road. You'll aim to depart c. 10am to trailer back to the ranch. In the late afternoon, you'll saddle up the endurance horses and take them for a relaxed ride to loosen up their (and your!) muscles.

Day 8

Riding: No riding.

After a busy week, it's time for sad farewells. You will be transferred back to the airport for your flight home. 

NB. Riders do not need to be members of an endurance club but must be fit. Riders who are NOT members of a club have a maximum distance of 80km and average speed of 16km/hr as they are considered novice endurance riders.

Accommodation

5 nights at Okapuka Ranch and 2 nights spent at the event venue (depending on distance).

Experience Experienced

You must be an experienced rider, capable of handling a forward going horse across varied terrain at all paces. You should be fit for long hours in the saddle in sometimes hot temperatures.

Minimum group size 1
Maximum group size 4
Departure windows

Jan. 1, 2021 - Dec. 31, 2021  (* Exact endurance competition dates to follow.)

Pricing

2021
Basic ride price, sharing twin/double room
£2410 $3355 €2825
Included 7 nights accommodation, all meals including picnics and braais, drinks during sundowners, riding, endurance training, entry fees to the endurance competition, as well as transfers to the competition.
Not included Flights, travel insurance, airport transfers, drinks in restaurant/bars/service stations, tips & other personal expenses.

Extras

2021 - Endurance supplement £1275 $1775 €1500
Paid to Far and Ride
Walvis Bay CEI/FEI 1* or 2*
2021 - Endurance supplement £765 $1065 €900
Paid to Far and Ride
NERA distance 1-day event
2021 - Endurance supplement £980 $1360 €1150
Paid to Far and Ride
NERA distance 2-day event
2021 - Endurance supplement £1065 $1480 €1250
Paid to Far and Ride
CEI/FEI distance 1-day event
2021 - Endurance supplement £850 $1185 €1000
Paid to Far and Ride
Walvis Bay NERA 30-60km
2021 - Endurance supplement £1065 $1480 €1250
Paid to Far and Ride
Walvis Bay NERA 90-120km
2021 - Single Supplement £265 $370 €315
Paid to Far and Ride
Payable by everyone in a single room
2021 - Windhoek Airport Transfer £171 $235 €200
Paid to Far and Ride
Return Windhoek International Airport transfers, per vehicle (up to 4 pax)
2021 - Windhoek City Transfer £94 $131 €110
Paid to Far and Ride
Return Windhoek city transfers, per vehicle (up to 4 pax)
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.