Namibia Explored – Sandwich Harbor

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Atlantic Ocean Dunes | Namibia | 2017

If you are an internet junkie, Namibia might not be the perfect place for your vacation. We had no web connection for more than a week, since leaving Swakopmund. We are currently in Etosha National Park in the north of Namibia, almost at the end of our three week Namibia vacation. So far it was a magic trip. But with my posts about Namibia I want to stay in sequence, so today I want to show you photos of a trip to the high sand dunes of Sandwich Harbor, where the Namib desert meets the cold waters of the South Atlantic Ocean.

We booked a day trip from Swakopmund with Turnstone Tours (as always, the included links are just for your reference, because I really liked the service, and I did not receive any benefits from posting the links). With our tour guide/driver Burger (hey Burger, if you ever read this, thanks for a super great day!!) we took of at 8:30 am from Swakopmund and drove down to Walvis Bay. On the 1.400 kilometers of Namibian coast line, there are only two natural harbors, Luderitz Bay and Walvis Bay, the rest is barren coast, with no fresh water and plenty of fog, appropriately named the “Skeleton Coast”. First stop was the Walvis Bay Lagoon, where we had beautiful views of the resident Flamingo population. For all the infos and the photographs of our great dune adventure continue after the jump….

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Flamingos | Walvis Bay Lagoon | 2017

After stopping at the lagoon, we continued with our Land Rover into the protected area (you need a permit to enter). Besides a capable 4×4 vehicle you also need an experienced driver, because negotiating the sands of the dunes is quite a challenge. They just know which way are safe and where the quick sand traps are. First, Burger took us up and down the dunes which was quite a thrill, as you can see from below’s photo.

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Riding the Dunes | Sandwich Bay Harbor | 2017

Next was the trip to Sandwich Harbor on the really narrow piece of beach between the dunes and the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. I never thought we would get through these narrows, another real thrill. This strip can only be navigated  at low tide. At flood, the Ocean reclaims the stretch of beach and eliminates all traces of the vehicles.

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Narrowest Path | Sandwich Bay Harbor | 2017


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Daily Erosion | Sandwich Bay Harbor | 2017

The “cliffs” of sand created by the ocean’s waves at high tide erode soon again with the sun and the wind, resulting in sandy waterfalls.

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Oryx Antelope | Sandwich Bay Harbor | 2017

We saw many wild animals, like jackals, seals (they actually move inland a bit to sleep on the warm sand) and even an Oryx antelope on the crest of a dune, a truly magic (and rare) sight. We also passed the remnants of an old whaling station, now buried up to the roof in the sand. We also saw the graves of native inhabitants who lived on the coast about 300 years ago. The wind has blown free the remnants, bones and grave goods where clearly visible – until the next storm would bury them again under the sand. This and the many shipwrecks are the reasons why this part of the Namibian coast is called the “Skeleton Coast”

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Sandwich Bay Lagoon | Namibia | 2017

Above you see the destination of our day trip, the lagoon of Sandwich Harbor. The lagoon is almost 4 km in length and 1 km wide and is limited by the huge sand dunes of the Namib desert. Former visitors to the area assumed that the water in the lagoon was fresh, but a recent survey found out that the lagoon is filled with poor quality brackish water that seeps under the dunes and allows the growth of large reed beds at the water’s edge. The area was surveyed in the 1880s by the Royal Navy, but it was considered very inferior to Walvis Bay and no development took place. Occasional sealing vessels used the bay as an anchorage, instead of Walvis Bay, and there were some temporary settlements used by seasonal fishermen.

While Burger prepared the lunch we had on folding table and chairs down at the beach, we climbed the high dunes for a spectacular view of Sandwich Harbor lagoon. See yourself (the climbing guy in the above photo is me, the guy enjoying the view below is my big boy) the great views we had of those gigantic dunes where the hot Namib desert meets the frisk and windy Southern Atlantic Ocean.

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Ocean Dunes View | Sandwich Bay Harbor | 2017


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Atlantic Ocean Dunes | Sandwich Bay Harbor | 2017

Eventually we drove back to Swakopmund where we arrived around 5pm. Being all alone in those great dunes by the ocean was a thrilling experience.

Photographically the biggest challenge was to protect the camera from all the sand in the air due to high winds blowing in from the sea. The OM-D E-M1 and the 12-40mm F/2.8 are dust protected, but it was vital to keep the lens cap on when not shooting and not do something stupid like changing lenses.

Next up are the photos of a trip up north the coast to Cape Cross with one of the largest colonies of seals in the world. We were literally walking between 100.000 seals. So stay tuned.

Please accept for not being current on replying to your comments or reading your blogs, I’ll catch up when back home!

Have a great week!


Related Posts:

Sunset at the end of the road

Namibia Explored – Sossusvlei

Namibia Explored – Diamond Ghost Town

Namibia Explored – Fish River Canyon

Namibia Explored – Quiver Tree Forest

Namibia Starry Night (and how I photographed it)

The Streets of Windhoek

33 thoughts on “Namibia Explored – Sandwich Harbor

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  1. I enjoyed reading this post Marcus. Really interesting. My kids especially liked the picture of the 4×4 on the sand dunes and the narrow path.
    – Amor

    1. Thanks for commenting, Kristin, much appreciated! I assume you can swim in it, if you manage the 13 degree celsius water temperature in the Namibian winter 😉 Have a good weekend! Marcus

      1. Wow! I guess I imagined the heat at this time of year hahaha. I just read the Pacific is about 11 in the winter. As a Californian, I can say I’ve had my share of jumping into that. Maybe I’ll take that Namibian challenge hahahaha!

      1. We have just started our holiday in France, just hope everywhere has wifi, fingers crossed. You have had an amazing trip and it was wonderful to visit with you…..Have a great weekend Marcus 🙂 Lynne

      2. Thank you Marcus we are having a lovely time in France, the weather is wonderful. Look forward to more Namibia posts 🙂 Lynne

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