Much Better Adventures

Adventures / Remote Rides

Cycle the Desert of Namibia

Ride through Namibia's vast desert, dunes and Skeleton Coast, spotting wildlife and sleeping under the stars.

Location

Namibia

Fly To

Hosea Kutako International Airport

Perfect for

Cyclists of good fitness with an adventurous spirit, who are happy riding on mostly gravel tracks and some packed sand. No previous experience required.

Difficulty

Challenging

Why it's much better

  • Ride through ever-changing desert landscape under enormous open skies
  • Cycle along the Skeleton Coast, the world's largest shipping graveyard
  • Sleep under the star-studded milky way in remote desert camps
  • Ride through Otjiwa National Park at sunset, eyes peeled for lion, elephant and rhino
  • Safari day in Etosha National Park, camping next to a watering hole
  • Fat bike your way over densely-packed rolling red sand dunes, otherwise inaccessible
  • Visit the thousands of breeding Cape Fur Seals in their enormous reserve
  • Watch the sunrise over the tallest sand dunes in the world
  • Visit the highest point in Namibia, Spitzkoppe mountain

What's Included

  • Guides Expert, English-speaking local guide and mechanic
  • Accommodation 3 nights in a hotel, 5 nights desert camping
  • Meals All breakfasts, 3 lunches and 3 dinners
  • Equipment Silverback Sport bikes and camping equipment
  • Desert Truck To transport your overnight kit
  • Transfers All airport transfers
  • Permits All permits and entry fees
  • Happiness Guaranteed We're so confident that your holiday will be your best yet, we actually guarantee it
  • Feel Good Vibes We mitigate 4x the carbon emitted by all our travellers and support important conservation projects

Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Namibia!

Your private transfer will whisk you off to your hotel in Windhoek. If you’ve got time and energy, there’s plenty to explore nearby. Or, if you'd rather relax, the hotel has its own pool - so kick back and enjoy! Join the group and your guide later for dinner, where you can sample Namibian cuisine and get to know your fellow adventurers.

Day 2: Roadtrip and introduction to fat biking

Hopping into your private desert truck, you’ll head towards the north west, to Swakopmund, known as the adventure capital of Namibia (approx 4 hours driving). There’ll be a bit of time to explore the city and grab lunch. Then, you'll get set up on your fat bike, heading to the dunes for a couple of hours' riding at sunset. Overnight in central Swakopmund.

Distance: 15km / Ascent 400m / Descent 250m

Day 3: All about the dunes

Today will be a fairly chilled day. You will have a relaxing morning, before heading back to the dunes on your bike. There will be approx. 4 hours riding on the fat bikes as you explore further into the expansive Namib sand dunes. You'll cycle to the Moon Valley, an otherworldly landscape, as well a section of the coastline if the tide is in your favour. The dunes are tightly packed and a fat bike is the best way to explore them. Propelling yourself down huge dunes is an experience that won’t be forgotten in a while!

Distance: 35km / Ascent 500m / Descent 250m

Day 4: To the Matterhorn of Namibia

Departing Swakopmund early this morning, you’ll switch to your standard mountain bikes and descend to the Goanikontes Oasis, where you stop for lunch. You’ll hop back in the truck for the journey towards Spitzkoppe, a towering granite peak which rises over 1,780 metres above sea level. Also known as the “Matterhorn” of Namibia, this is the highest point in the country, standing tall out of the surrounding desert plains and you'll have great views as you pass by bike.

You’ll camp tonight at a small and secluded, community-run campsite. Make sure you explore the rock pools by foot or by bike and have a quick dip at sunset, before enjoying a campfire dinner under the stars.

Distance: 55km / Ascent 750m / Descent 300m

Day 5: Cape Cross and Cape Fur Seal Colony

After a tasty camp breakfast, you’ll cycle from last night's campsite to the Dorob Park. Keep cycling towards Cape Cross, steadily descending to the coast. Prepare for a real Attenborough moment as you visit the thousands of Cape Fur Seals that call this spot home. This unique marine phenomenon, thought to be the largest seal colony in the world, is a sight to behold. Watch these relatives of the Sea Lion jostle for space and avoid predatory Orcas at sea.

You'll overnight at a local campsite - just far enough away to not hear the rowdy seals while you're sleeping!

Distance: 100km / Ascent 300m / Descent 750m

Day 6: To the Skeleton Coast

Setting off early today, you’ll cycle North along a coastal salt road towards the Skeleton Coast. This is the world’s largest shipping graveyard, courtesy of the notoriously treacherous fog and hazardous weather systems that cause havoc for sailors. Now scattered with shipwrecks, whale bones and relics of the abandoned diamond industry, this is a coastline like no other. You’ll cycle along it while hearing tales of the sea.

At the end of your day's ride, you’ll transfer the rest of the way to camp. Keep an eye out for desert elephants, giraffe, zebra and springbok en route (approx. 5 hours driving). Take a cooling dip in the pool at tonight's campsite, Palmwag Oasis - perfect after a long day on the bike.

Distance: 70km / Ascent 350m / Descent 200m

Day 7: Etosha National Park

More of an undulating day's riding today. You'll pedal up to the high point of Grootberg Pass (1540m) to have far-reaching views across the plains. After lunch you’ll hop back in the truck and head towards Etosha National Park, a hot spot for lions and rhinos. Arriving at the camp, you’ll have the chance to sit by the local watering hole to watch the animals coming down to the water to drink. You'll have another campfire meal tonight and another chance to count shooting stars - if you haven’t run out of wishes from the previous nights!

Distance: 50km / Ascent 1100m / Descent 500m

Day 8: Safari Day and sunset riding

Leaving camp, you’ll drive out of Etosha (vehicles are a little safer here than bikes!) towards Otjiwa spotting game as you go. This is one of the oldest reserves in Namibia and is a haven to over 22 species of game, including white rhino. Near the end of the day, you’ll hope back on your bikes for a sunset cycling safari, spotting animals as they wake from their daytime slumber. This is your last night camping, so settle into your secluded spot and sleep to the sound of calling lions.

Distance: 20km / Ascent 400m / Descent 300m

Day 9: Early morning riding and back to Windhoek

You'll have an early start today, spending a few more hours on the bike. Take in the dramatic landscape and skies with a specialist wildlife guide before heading back to Windhoek in time for your flight home.

Distance: 30km / Ascent 400m / Descent 300m

Please Note

All our adventures take place in wild places. Things can go wrong in wild places. Your perfectly planned itinerary may change a bit (or a lot) if the weather turns, someone gets hurt, or a volcano erupts. Usually though, changes make it all the better.

Accommodation

In Windhoek, you'll stay in the Arebbusch Travel Lodge. Set in large grounds by the dry Arebbusch River, with a huge outside pool, this is the perfect spot to relax upon arrival. You'll stay in twin share rooms as standard.

In Swakopmund you'll stay in the Prost Hotel or similar, in a central location so the town can be easily explored.

When camping, you will spend the night in twin-share tents. The campsites all have shared ablution facilities and hot showers, but some are basic and very remote.

Private Room Upgrade

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room and tent can be booked for £125 per person (subject to availability). Please request this at the time of booking.

Location

Namibia is a vast country with huge deserts, dramatic coastline and endless open skies. Sand dunes gradually develop into granite hills, whilst rocky outcrops give way to vast plains where elephants, giraffes and lions roam. Travelling through the wilderness by bike is undoubtedly one of the best ways to experience the varied landscape of this desert nation.

Meeting Point

Start Point

Windhoek Airport

Your trip starts at 15:00 at Windhoek Airport on Day 1, where your host will collect you and take you to your overnight hotel.

Finish Point

Windhoek Airport

Your trip ends at 18:00 on Day 9 at Windhoek Airport, your host will drop you off. Please book return flights that depart from Windhoek after 20:00.

Please note: The transfer times for start and finish are fixed. If you would like a private transfer to fit your flights, this can be arranged with your host for £20pp each way.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are not included in the trip price:

  • Travel to/from Windhoek
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses
  • 5 lunches and 4 dinners
  • Alcoholic drinks

This trip is designed for cyclists of average fitness. You should be comfortable riding back to back days, covering an average of 48km a day. The terrain is undulating and you will largely be on desert gravel roads. Fat biking in the dunes will be on modified bikes and you can choose which dunes you ride up or down, making it as challenging as you like. There is no technical skill required for this trip, just some strong legs and a sense of adventure!

We will also have a desert truck to transport our overnight stuff so if the going gets too tough or too hot, here's always the option to jump in here for some respite and wildlife spotting.

It's no secret that we love cycling. Many of us at HQ really think it's the best way to see a country. However, we realise that organising your own cycling trip can be a total faff. So on our cycling trips, we have found a local guide who has put together a perfect route and will navigate for you all the way. We send a van that transports your overnight luggage and we even provide high-quality bikes and delicious snacks to keep you going. Faff eliminated! All you have to do is turn up, pedal and take in the amazing landscape with your fellow tourers. You don't need to be a lycra-clad 'roadie' although they're welcome too!

You will be using Silverback 29ers for the majority of the trip. These are light hardtail aluminium mountain bikes which are perfect for riding on the road and the tracks.

For your time on the sand dunes you will be provided with a fat bike - these are mountains bikes that have been fitted with extra large tyres that are perfect for riding on sand. The super fat tyres distribute the rider’s mass across a larger area, so not to sink in and also gain more traction than with a standard tyre size. You can ride easily and with stability over firm packed sand. No previous experience needed.

The cycling is approximately 80% on gravel/dirt roads, 10% on packed sand and about 10% on tarmac roads. There is a mixture of terrain, including some undulating rides, flat, downhill and uphill sections. The fat biking is in the dunes on densely packed sand.

Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

This trip will run with a minimum of 2 people and a maximum of 10.

When staying at campsites your guides will cook for you. These will be hearty meals cooked over an open fire and you can expect braai (BBQ) food, potjie and stir-fries for dinner. Breakfasts will be continental style and usually consist of cereals, coffee, yoghurt, muesli, fresh fruit or the occasional fried breakfast. For lunch, you can expect a good selection of sandwich ingredients like cheese and cold meats plus pasta and salads. Snacks are also provided while cycling.

Vegetarians will be well catered for as well as most other dietary requirements, just check with your host upon booking.

Namibia is in the Southern Hemisphere, therefore essentially has the opposite seasons to the UK. Due to the desert climate, it is generally dry and pleasant all year round. The months of June to August remain sunny and warm during the day (20-25 °C), but can drop down to single figures at night in the desert. Between September and May it is warmer, getting up to the high 30°C. However, it is always a dry heat and will still get cold at night throughout the year. Rainfall is usually in November to March. If it does rain, it is minimal and in short sharp downpours which are quite spectacular in the desert.

Nope! We will have a support vehicle on-hand to transfer your overnight luggage and also to meet you at stops if you need to grab an extra layer or similar. The van will also carry all tools and spare bike bits that may be needed. We suggest you bring either a bumbag or a small bag that can be attached to your handlebars for carrying your essentials e.g money, phone, suncream and a snack.

We’ve teamed up with the guys at World Nomads to offer insurance designed for adventurous travellers across 140 countries that includes overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities. To get yours sorted, click here.

We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book the trip, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

Our group adventures are adult only. However, if you would like to bring children along this can be arranged by requesting a private trip with the host. This trip is suitable for children from age 14 only.

Your host will provide you with clean, safe drinking water from large containers. Bring a refillable bottle, it will be used well.

Tips are not included in the trip cost. These are entirely at your discretion but the norm in African culture means there is an expectation to tip for good service. Your guide will help with advice however, we suggest allowing approximately £5 per person per day.

Of course, you are free to tip more or less and the amount should be reflective of your perception of service and quality - a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

Many destinations require a visa and for your passport to be valid for 6 months minimum. Up to date advice for UK citizens can be found here.

We recommend checking out the country specific information here and also talking to a travel nurse.

For current advice about travelling in Namibia, have a read of the FCO pages here

Clothes
Padded cycling shorts
Sports top or cycling jersey
Fleece jacket or similar Jacket for the evenings
Trousers/leggings for the evenings
Light waterproof jacket
Cycling gloves
Buff or neck scarf
T-shirts Underwear & socks Swimwear Sunglasses Sunhat Something to sleep in
Cycling shoes/trainers (bring your own pedals if using cleats)
Sandals

Other
Bumbag or small handlebar bag for when riding
Quick-dry travel towel for camping Padlock for left luggage
Universal travel plug adapter
Power bank or solar charger
Passports (and visas)
Travel Insurance documents
Ear plugs
Insect repellant
Suncream
Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
Alcohol hand-gel
Reusable water bottle
Energy bars and snacks

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Dates & Prices

Bespoke trips only

There are currently no planned group departures. Please contact this host to request a quote for a custom trip.

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