Peter Orsel

How To Visit Sandwich Harbour in Walvis Bay, Namibia

Have you ever wondered how people took these incredible photos of the Namibian coastline, where the desert blends into the ocean? I did the same, until I found out about Sandwich Harbour. An incredible place with so many photo opportunities. In this blog I tell you all about visiting Sandwich Harbour in Namibia. 

In This Post

Sandwich Harbour in Namibia
Sandwich Harbour in Namibia

Where is Sandwich Harbour?

The first thing you’re probably wondering: where is Sandwich Harbour? It’s located just south of Walvis Bay, on the Skeleton Coast of Namibia. When I saw photos of this spot, I just kept searching Google Maps to find the exact spot, trying to visit it on my own. I turned on satellite view and panned along the coastline. Little did I know that I could book this location with a tour? 

Where to stay?

If you’re doing a road trip through Namibia, you should surely spend some days in Walvis Bay or Swakopmund. Both places are a perfect base for this tour and there are multiple options on Booking.com. Find some inspiration below!

Desert and ocean view of Namibia
The dune textures with the ocean on the side. It doesn't get much better!

How to visit Sandwich Harbour?

There are people stating you can visit Sandwich Harbour on your own. And honestly, I don’t really like tours. But let me be clear: don’t go on your own. Some people suggest to join a self drive tour, but I won’t suggest you this. The whole trip will be off road and you need to be very experienced in 4×4 driving. The drivers know exactly where to go, they know when the tide kicks in and they make sure you have an unforgettable experience. Sounds good right? 

There are multiple tour agencies offering this trip and most of the tours will take place in the afternoon. There’s even a sunset photography tour! When I visited Sandwich Harbour, there was no availability on the sunset tour, but it’s something I wish I could have done. GetYourGuide is a great place to book your tour in advance. I already picked three options for you, see them below! 

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Flamingos in the wetlands of Walvis Bay
Flamingos in the wetlands of Walvis Bay

What your day trip will look like

Of course your goal is to capture that spot where the desert meets the sea, but before you get there you’ll visit some other sights. After just a couple of kilometers, you’ll see a lot of flamingos. And when I say a lot, I mean a lot. I didn’t take too many photos as the light was very bright, but they were stunning to see! After that, you get to see some salt flats and coloured lakes, before you enter the desert area. 

Tide kicking in in Namibia
A quick phone snap out of the window, the tide kicked in!

Our driver had been telling us that we had to hurry because of the tide. We didn’t really understand what he was talking about, but of course we trusted him. Once we got closer, we understood what he was saying. The tide was really kicking in and we were about to drive a couple of kilometers super close to the sea. After spinning wheels, partly sinking in the sand and some close calls, we made it through! Quite the adventure and a place I wouldn’t like to drive myself. The driver even told us that one of his friends lost his car here, because he got stuck in the sand. 

Dolphins just next to the coast of the Namib Desert
I didn't catch them jumping, but the dolphins came super close!

After passing the tight part, we made it to our lunch stop. We got a delicious lunch buffet with small snacks and cold drinks. There was more than enough for everyone and we got some time to swim, take photos or just relax. While watching the sea, we saw some dolphins jumping around. Only 20 meters away from us! 

Driving through the desert to Sandwich Harbour
Driving through the desert to Sandwich Harbour

Once we finished the food – it was actually so much food that we couldn’t finish it – we made our way to the viewpoints. We stopped at several spots to capture the beauty of Sandwich Harbour. Besides that, we had loads of fun going up and down the high sand dunes. The drivers showed us once again how experienced they are and even drove backwards from a 30-40 degree sand dune. I’ve done multiple desert tours all over the world, but this one was my favourite so far!

All the time, it was just us with one other car of the same company. We saw some other tour groups, but the desert is big enough to spread out. No mass tourism, something I really liked!

Expect views like this when you drive through the desert. Simply amazing!

After multiple photo spots, we made our way through the desert to get back to Walvis Bay. Something I liked, is that we weren’t in a hurry and we could stop as often as we want. The drivers knew a lot about the area and had their eyes open to spot some wildlife! We weren’t lucky with a lot of wildlife in the actual desert, but we saw some dolphins! All in all, I really loved this tour and it was one of my highlights of my two weeks in Namibia. Quite something for someone who doesn’t like tours in general!

Person enjoying views in Sandwich Harbour
Enough opportunities to get some great Instagram photos!

Photography tips for Sandwich Harbour in Namibia

If you’re visiting a place like Sandwich Harbour in Namibia, you just want to come home with amazing photos. That’s why I would suggest to take the sunset tour, as you’ll get the best light and circumstances to make stunning photos! The light is soft during golden hour and will be harsh during the day. Desert shadows are some of my favourite photography subjects, so try and capture some!

Are you into drone photography? I have to disappoint you. It’s forbidden to fly a drone in Sandwich Harbour and most of the tour operators won’t allow you to fly your drone. I got very lucky and my driver allowed me to fly for a bit. He was very cautious, as drivers can lose their tour license for letting people fly their drone. He only allowed me to fly for a couple of minutes, far from other tour groups. You can always ask, but be prepared for a no. 

Lens recommendation

It’s always hard to decide which lens to use on a trip. On my tour, I mainly used my Sony 70-200 F/4 and my Tamron 28-75 F/2.8, mounted on my Sony A7III. I didn’t see the need of an ultra wide angle like the 16-35 and you don’t really need more zoom than 200mm. Interested in all the gear I use? Take a look at my Amazon page

I hope you got some inspiration for your next trip to Walvis Bay or Namibia in general. It’s a pricy tour, but worth the money if you ask me. Stay tuned for more blogs about Namibia! 

 

Pelican Point
Pelican Point is a unique sight and staying at the lodge was a once in a lifetime experience

Extra: Visit Pelican Point

If you’re having some more time in or around Walvis Bay, you could visit Pelican Point as well. This is a beautiful peninsula with a huge wildlife diversity. Expect flamingo’s, countless seals, dolphins and whales. One of the best activities, is kayaking with the seals. If you have a couple of dollars to spend, you could opt to stay in the Pelican Point Lodge as well. Truly a once in a lifetime experience! 

 

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