Visitors en route to Luderitz mostly have to pass through the plains of the Garub – a vast, barren expanse of land that is part of the Namib desert. In this unlikely territory one can see the wild horses of the Namib – a unique breed of horses that has adapted to survive in isolation in the harshest environment imaginable. With limited food and water and extreme weather conditions, their existence in this part of the world is nothing short of remarkable.
Part of the mystery of these feral horses is that no-one is one hundred percent certain of their origin, although there is speculation that their forebears were domesticated and worked in the service of the German cavalry at the time of the occupation.
Other theories include horses swimming ashore when a ship was wrecked off the coast at the mouth of the Orange River, and horses escaping from Duwisib Castle, where Baron Hans-Heinrich von Wolf bred horses before his death in the First World War.
Every year thousands of visitors are fascinated by these wild horses and the sheer beauty of the area that they live in.
There have been interventions by humans on behalf of the horses in times of severe drought and a water hole has now been established with a hide overlooking the site. Visitors are often lucky enough to see other indigenous wildlife drinking water, as the horses share the area with ostriches, gemsbok and springbok as well as the numerous birds of the plains.
The closest campsite (approx. 20 kilometers) to the Garub plains is at Klein Aus Vista, appropriately named the Desert Horse Campsite, where we spent the night before driving on to Luderitz. Here they have ten well-appointed sites under camel thorn trees.
Surrounded by the Aus Mountains, the energetic visitor can take a short hike up the hill and be rewarded with a spectacular sunset over the sweeping desert plains. A wonderful spot and seeing the wild horses is even more rewarding!