The Sandwich Harbour Day Tour from Swakopmund, Namibia is one of many activities you can do from this small town along the coast.
From skydiving, sand boarding, scenic flights, and atv rides, you will quickly realize its tough to make a decision. For most people on overland trips, you will have one full day to do an optional activity in Swakopmund, so you want to make your choice wisely.
Searching online before my trip, I found out about the place called Sandwich Harbour which is a few hours south of Swakopmund and only accessible by 4×4. The pictures I saw online showed amazing sand dunes rising up right beside the Atlantic Ocean, so I knew it’s what I wanted to do. Sandwich Harbour is actually a bay and the main attraction that most people see on the tour is a lagoon which during certain times of the year hosts thousands upon thousands of birds. More about that later though.
So before the start of my overland trip, I contacted Turnstone Tours who are one of the operators of the day trip and booked a trip with them for the day that I would be in Swakopmund.
Sandwich Harbour Day Tour
The morning of the tour, I got picked up early from my hotel by the friendly guide in a nice 4×4 and we commenced to pick up just 2 other people for the full day tour to Sandwich Harbour.
For the next 30 minutes or so, we drove down to Walvis Bay where we had a small stop to view the flamingos that are famous in the area.
Continuing on past Walvis bay, we drove past the massive salt refineries along the coast and finally reached the sand. At this point there was a sign notifying people that if you didn’t have a 4×4 you should not continue past that point. Our guide told us that numerous tourists have taken their vehicles to try to see Sandwich Harbour on their own, only to get stuck in the sand because they didn’t have a proper 4×4 or they didn’t know how to operate their 4×4 for the sandy conditions.
The way to Sandwich Harbour continued along the ocean as we drove in between large patches of fog, not knowing if it would clear up for us to see well when we would arrive to the harbour. Along the way, we were able to see various birds and wildlife like jackals.
After an hour or two along the coast, we finally reached the most important section. The thing I forgot to mention earlier, is that Sandwich Harbour is only accessible during low tide and even then, depending on the weather conditions, you may not be able to reach the actually lagoon at the harbour.
In fact, my guide had said that in the few weeks prior he hadn’t been able to access it with the guests because the way in is so narrow and you need the perfect conditions. Basically the way in is a narrow path between the sand dunes and the ocean. So if the ocean conditions are too high or too many waves, you don’t have a way in.
As you can see in the photo above, the way in is quite narrow. This photo was taken just around the time of low tide, so you can imagine where the water is during high tide. And below is a video of the narrow section we had to drive into.
Thankfully for us though, we got past the most narrow section where the guide hadn’t been able to get through in the week prior and it looked like we would be able to reach the bay.
As we continued in, the area became a bit wider and the dunes to our left became higher as well. Also, with our luck, the fog started to clear up just in time.
Finally, with a lot of luck, we reached Sandwich Harbour and it was a sight to behold. Massive golden dunes the the left and right in front of us, a beautiful blue lagoon of water. To the right was the atlantic ocean.
The sad part was, that we didn’t have a lot of time here. Because of the tides, I was given between 20-30 minutes to enjoy the area, so that meant a quick climb up the dune to get a better aerial perspective.
Much to our surprise, there weren’t many birds here. Some times of the year, this area has thousands upon thousands of birds. However, for whatever reason, there weren’t many birds to be seen this day. I wasn’t about to complain though, because even just the fact of us being able to drive in to Sandwich Harbour made the whole trip worth it.
So after about 30 minutes we made our way out of the Harbour area and into the dunes to finish up our afternoon. We drove through the dunes to an awesome lunch spot.
The lunch spot must get used a lot as there were three jackals hanging out around our area hoping for a scrap of food or just out of curiousity.
We finished our lunch and cleaned everything up before dune bashing our way back towards Swakopmund. It was amazing to see the guide navigate the 4×4 through and over top the large dunes.
He made safety first though and took things really easy in the most dangerous locations.
Finally, following the time through the dunes, we made it back out to the coast for our final stretch back towards Swakopmund.
Would you recommend the Sandwich Harbour Day Tour?
Yes, I would recommend this tour, as it was a great way to explore the coast of Namibia and also see the dunes so close to the ocean which you don’t get to see in too many locations. However, it is rather pricy, so if you are on a more budget tight trip, you may want to see about a different activity or doing just the half day tour vs. the full day tour. The full day is around $130US per person for a group of 3 and slightly less if you are a group of 4.
If you have any questions about the tour or sandwich harbour, let us know in the comments below!