Wild Horses of Namibia - Sense Africa

Jenny's Blog

Wild Horses of Namibia22nd January '20

Wild horses are not found throughout southern Africa because the climatic conditions are not ideal for horses to live in. Horses were introduced by European immigrants with the colonization of southern Africa.

But where did these horses come from and why did they chose to settle in the Namib Desert, where temperatures soar and food is scarce.

Different theories regarding the origin of these horses exist. They horses are not true wild horses, they originate from domestic horses, but which domestic horses?

Here are some theories:Wild horse of Namibia  
1. Domestic horses have been bred by Hansheinrich von Wolf at Duwisib and Emil Kremplin at Kubub on studs about 250 km north-east of where the feral horses reside today. So they could originate from horses that went astray.
2. Wild horses originated from the horses of the German army – the “Schutztruppe” – which were let loose or went astray during the retreat in 1915.
3. A German baron became stranded with a ship load of horses and other animals about 25 km south of the Orange mouth at the end of the 19th century.
4. They could be from the 6,000 horses of the South African army during the First World War. A German air force lieutenant dropped a bomb into the enemy’s camp, and about 1700 of the horses fled into the desert.

Wild horse of NamibiaThe stud horses of the breeding farm at Duwisib and Kubub have many resemblances amongst the feral horses. It is thought that these horses must have met with the majority of South African horses in the mountains of Aus.

There are several natural fountains supplying the horses with water.

How did the horses survive?
With the discovery of the first diamond in 1908 and the creation of the huge Restricted Diamond Areas, the feral horses were protected from hunting. The feral horses had 80 years to adapt to the harsh environment and to live undisturbed. There was also a borehole at Garub that supplied the nearby railway line with water and which became the central place of residence for the horses.

Today’s population is 250 – 300 animals and can be seen from the road leading to Luderitz. Here are some photos I took this year.

Sense Africa provides bespoke self-drive, privately guided, or group guided tours to Namibia which provide opportunities to see the wild horses. Contact us to discuss the options available.

Jenny Bowen,
Director and Founder of Sense Africa

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