Explore the best of Walvis Bay, Namibia on a kayaking tour of Pelican Point and an adrenaline-charged 4×4 excursion to the mesmerising ocean-side dunes of Sandwich Harbour.

Walvis Bay is something of an adventure-travel capital in Namibia.

At Sandwich Harbour, dunes of the Namib desert crash up against the rough Atlantic surf. It’s a wild and dramatic place, and one of the most spectacular views on the Namibian coast. Experiencing the shifting landscape on a 4×4 tour is an unforgettable experience in Walvis Bay.

Just a few miles north are untouched wetlands. Here, swathes of flamingos bask in pink waters and black jackals scout the area for food.

Pelican Point, a breeding ground for a large colony of Cape Fur Seals, offers the perfect spot to kayak with these playful creatures..

The tours to Sandwich Harbour and Pelican point offer an opportunity to see a side of Namibia that is rich in biodiversity and just a great thing to do. Here’s how to combine these fantastic experiences.

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Sandwich harbour, pelican point, Swakapmund Namibia

PELICAN POINT KAYAKING TOUR

The Cape Fur Seals have established a large colony at Pelican Point, 30 kilometres from Walvis Bay harbour. On the drive out, you’ll stop by the vast salt plains which are put to very good use in the desolate area.

The road is made of local salt and gypsum which softens when wet, then gets compacted by the weight of cars. This effectively fixes its own potholes.

On the salt plains, you’ll also see thousands of pelicans who give the area its name. It’s an incredible sight to see the birds dyed a light pink thanks to their diet from the mineral-rich salt plains.

walvis bay pelican point

KAYAKING WITH THE CAPE FUR SEALS AT PELICAN POINT

On the kayaking tour, the seals will generally come to you as close as 5 metres from the shore. Engage with them as much as possible and you’ll soon find them nibbling on oars and nudging up against the kayaks.

The tour guides will give you a debrief on what to do and not to do around the seals to keep them comfortable with the experience.

There was a sharp wind on the day of our kayaking tour so we ended up pretty wet by the end of it. Expect to get a bit cold and wet so rug up and bring a change of clothes for the drive back to Walvis Bay.

On the beach, the team from the tour provided sandwiches and hot drinks while we debriefed on the adventure.

SANDWICH HARBOUR 4×4 TOUR

Driving along the flat sand at the start of the Sandwich Harbour tour, with the ocean surf on one side; dunes, shrubs and salt pan on the other, the tour guide will debrief you on the local environment.

Walvis Bay has almost no rain, a mere 15 mm per year, so the jackals have learnt where to dig for fresh water. Springboks in this part of Namibia aren’t hunted because the plants they eat make their meat taste bad.

Heading deeper and deeper into the Namib desert, the shrubs, salt pan and sea were left behind. The dunes rose higher and higher. The landscape comprised only two elements: sand and sky. The 3 cars ahead appeared and disappeared as they traversed over the dunes.

DRIVING ON THE SANDWICH HARBOUR DUNES

Theoretically, you can drive these dunes yourself but,unless you are very experienced, it’s not advisable. The dunes present very challenging driving conditions and the fragile nature of the ecosystems needs protecting.

Additionally, a tour with a professional is a great experience. The 4×4 can manage slopes of about 30 degrees, taking you over incredible locations with spectacular views.

The highest point at Sandwich Harbour, with an ocean of rippling dunes on one side and an ocean of crashing waves on the other is a spectacular sight.

WALVIS BAY TOURS

Walvis Bay is around 4 hours, 30 minutes drive from Windhoek on the Atlantic Coast. The Pelican Point tidal lagoon is home to abundant birdlife and the nearby dunes mark the start of the Namib Desert. The spectacular scenery is best visited on a tour, here are several to pick from.

KAYAKING TOURS

Kayaking tours leave from Waterfront at Walvis Bay. Check-in time is 7:45 am or 8:30 am May to August. The trip out to Pelican Point takes around 30 minutes in their minivan where you’ll hear some interesting facts about the local salt mines and visit the pelicans. . Life jackets are provided, as is hot chocolate, tea and sandwiches.


SANDWICH HARBOUR TOUR

The Sandwich Harbour 4×4 tour leaves at around 1 pm from the waterfront at Walvis Bay. The tour involves driving over the sand dunes for the best viewpoints as well as fascinating information about the environment. Afternoon tea of fresh Namibian oysters and champagne is also provided.


KAYAKING + SANDWICH BAY COMBO TOUR

Combining the Kayaking with the Sandwich Harbour 4×4 tour will give you a discount on both activities. You’ll be dropped back at the waterfront in Walvis Bay where you’ll have enough time to grab some lunch before the 4×4 tour starts around 1pm.


WHAT TO TAKE ON THE TOURS

01 – Despite Namibia’s often searing heat, it can get pretty cold on the water when you’re kayaking so make sure you have a warm-ish top.

02 – You’ll also get pretty wet so a change of clothes and a towel is a good idea. You can get changed beside the bus while having lunch.

03 – A dry pack for your camera or a waterproof holder for your phone is a good idea as the seals splash a lot of water into the kayaks.

04 – You’re in the car most of the time for the Sandwich Harbour 4×4 tour, however, the wind at the top of the dunes can be blowing a gale, so a windbreaker and long trousers are a good idea.

05 – There is also a lot of sand blowing around which is not friendly to cameras, so something to protect your camera between shots would be a good idea (i.e. a raincoat). Also, make sure you change lenses inside the car if necessary.

MORE READING FOR NAMIBIA

Complete 2-week road trip itinerary for Namibia

Guide to self-driving in Etosha

What to see on the Skeleton Coast, Namibia


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