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Namibia Wild Horses Foundation


The Namibia Wild Horses Foundation (NWHF) was registered as a non-profit foundation in 2012 after a group of passionate individuals saw the need to protect the last remaining wild horses in Namibia. The Namibs, as the free horses of the Namib Desert are called, hold a powerful fascination for horse and nature lovers. Living on the barren plains around Garub on the eastern fringe of the Namib Desert, their origins are shrouded in mystery.

One theory is that diamond prospectors brought horses more than a century ago to since-abandoned mining fields. Another theory, says author and historian Manni Goldbeck, is that they arrived with South African soldiers, who landed in Luderitz in 1915. The troops were bombed by the German troops they were pursuing,  scattering the horses into the Namib Desert, where they remained. These horses have not only survived for over a century in a harsh desert, but they have thrived! However, particularly in times of extreme drought, the well being of the horses requires careful management.

NWHF has conducted research and long-term monitoring for almost 30 years, keeping careful records of the lives and deaths of the Namibs. The main aim of the Foundation has always been the horses’ quality of life, and to this end it advises the relevant Ministry in assisting with feeding programmes in times of drought as well as infrastructure maintenance where required. NWHF works with researchers to understand the link between the horses and predators in this region. In addition, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT), a new rock-gabion hide was constructed, allowing visitors to sit in comfort and watch the horses in their natural environment.

The Foundation raises funds through donations, including a  percentage of the sale of branded clothing and a percentage of the sale of a book: Wild Horses in the Namib Desert by Mannfred Goldbeck, Ron Swilling and Telané Greyling. Several of the directors are from Namibia’s tourism, veterinary and environmental management and research sectors.

  • To operate as an interest group for the wellbeing of the Wild Horses of Namibia and any related activities;
  • To receive and administer funds for use to the benefit of the wild horses. This may include equipment necessary for maintenance of the water supply as well as population monitoring, nutritional supplements and fodder in severe droughts;
  • To hold, sponsor or otherwise assist, exhibitions, demonstrations or lectures for the purpose of furthering the objects of the Foundation as set out above;
  • To educate the public in general with regard to the difficulties and realities of living in natural conditions
  • To do all such lawful things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of the above objects, or any one of them;


How your money helps

Examples of what they have accomplished and how your money helps:

While the horses roam freely, they are not officially recognised as wildlife and as such are not supported by the Nature Conservation Ordinance. However, the through pressure from Wild Horses Foundation, the horses have received recognition as a national treasure.

The Foundation has, in co-operation with the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT) and with donor funding, been able to provide supplementary feeding for the horses during two protracted periods of extreme drought.

In raising awareness for the horses, the Foundation has funded speed reduction signage on the main highway between Luderitz and Aus. This is an area where the horses often cross between natural grazing and the waterhole and where they area at risk.

The Foundation has been instrumental in bringing awareness regarding the risks pertaining to the horses and, as a result, a management plan was drafted by MEFT in 2019. This includes a predator management system, a new tourism centre, continued research and monitoring, public awareness, etc

NWHF responded to MEFT’s request to rebuild the historic Garub 1 drinking trough which has been out of order for some time.  At the same time, the failing water system at Garub 2 was upgraded with additional solar panels and leaking pipe connections replaced.  This was all accomplished with local donor funding.

Experience this for yourself

Head out on a horse safari and make a tangible difference in Africa!

For all horse lovers, and even just the wild at heart, seeing wild horses evokes a feeling of unbounded freedom. Namibia’s small population of wild horses is no exception. They pull on our heartstrings even more so, as they have not only survived living in the desert but thrived here. Most of the original herd was abandoned during World War 1, either having been bred for racing or for the military. The horses found refuge in the prohibited diamond mining area, called the Sperrgebiet, an area was off limits to civilians for decades. Finding themselves in the waterless expanses of the Namib Desert, they adapted their behaviour to drink less regularly, tolerate a certain amount of dehydration and eat the local vegetation.

If you’d like the chance to see these incredible horses for yourselves, you can join our Wild Horses Ride in Namibia – A fast paced, adrenaline filled ride covering the vast open desert that these horses call home. This is an adventure like no other; from the iconic dune sea of the Namib Desert to the edge of the stunning Sperrgebiet National Park, this ride traverses land previously unexplored and you will pioneer trails across spectacularly contrasting desert landscapes. You will cross some of the best riding terrain in the world, covering vast grassy plains, passing the inselbergs (island mountains) and encountering herds of desert-adapted game. The journey ends at Klein Aus Vista close to the home of the Wild Horses of the Namib – an unforgettable end to what will have no doubt been an unforgettable ride in Namibia. And if this one ride isn’t enough, we have 4 other amazing rides in Namibia that you can tick off your bucket list.


PHOTO CREDITS ON THIS PAGE: Teagan Cunniffe Photography, Telane Greyling (Namibia Wild Horses Foundation)