Sandwich Harbour in Namibia, where the dunes run straight into the ocean, is one of those places that is best explored on one of the Sandwich Harbour Tours. This is because you need special permits to enter and specialised knowledge to travel through the dunes safely.
So, if you are looking for the best Sandwich Harbour Tours in Namibia, they are all featured here. How do I know they’re the best? I’ve been on one of these full-day Sandwich Harbour tours, and experienced it in person!
I know what’s involved in the amazing 4×4 Sandwich Harbour Tours and all the options in this article have been vetted for quality. They all have great ratings and reviews, so all you have to do is browse, book and enjoy. 🐬
Don’t have time to read the whole article? I recommend this Full-day tour to Sandwich Harbour and Pelican Point— a visitor favourite with a perfect ⭐️ 5-star rating.
Sandwich Harbour and its towering dunes and desert wildlife, is one of the breathtaking highlights in Namibia. Whatever your preferences or budget, you’re sure to love at least one of these Sandwich Harbour 4×4 Tours.
Here’s a selection of what you can expect from Namibia’s famed Sandwich Harbour Tours:
- Stunning sunrises and/or sunsets as you sit between the vast Atlantic Ocean and the oldest desert dunes in the world,
- The chance to spot the desert wildlife,
- 4×4 beach and sand dune driving,
- Fabulous photography and viewing opportunities.
Read on to discover the highlights of these Top Five best Sandwich Harbour Tours or you can jump down to read all about my personal experience on a Sandwich Harbour Tour here.
Quick Overview of the Top Five Sandwich Harbour Tours in Namibia
#1 Top Pick
Full-Day Tour to Sandwich Harbour and Pelican Point
✔️ Lunch and snacks
✔️ 3 Walvis Bay Hotspots
✔️ Excellent Reviews
Sandwich Harbour 4×4 guided tours
✔️ Badge of Excellence
✔️ Champagne and Namibian Beer
Sandwich Harbour Half Day
✔️ Badge of Excellence
5 Best Sandwich Harbour Day Tours by 4×4
Most of these tours are from Walvis Bay, but #5 runs from Swakopmund as well.
If you are staying in Swakopmund, you can also enjoy a half-day Living Desert Tour, which takes you into the Dorob National Park, where you learn all about some of its unique wildlife.
1. Sandwich Harbour & Pelican Point Full-Day Tour – From Walvis Bay
⭐️ Rating: 5/5 Stars | ⏳ Tour Length: 7 hours | 🦭 Check Rates and Availability
This full-day Sandwich Harbour and Pelican Point Tour takes you to all of the hotspots around Walvis Bay.
On this 4×4 tour, you’ll explore the stunning coast of Walvis Bay, with its vibrant wildlife at Flamingo Lagoon and Pelican Point, and you’ll visit the incredible dunes that tower above the Atlantic coastline in Sandwich Harbour.
With a maximum of only eight travellers, this intimate tour ensures a personalized experience. The tour includes a picnic lunch and convenient transfers to and from your hotel or the port.
Only accessible by 4×4, Pelican Point right at the end of the Walvis Bay Peninsula is a sight to behold.
Black-backed jackals wander the beach looking for vulnerable seals and pink flamingos gather in the tidal lagoons.
2. Sandwich Harbour 4×4 Guided Tours – from Walvis Bay
⭐️ Rating: 5/5 Stars | ⏳ Tour Length: 4 hours | 🦭 Check Rates and Availability
This tour awarded the Badge of Excellence on Viator, provides a pick-up from Protea Hotel on the Pelican Bay Esplanade or from Walvis Bay.
With a knowledgeable guide leading the way, you’ll gain insights into the diverse array of animals and birdlife that call Namib-Naukluft National Park their home.
As nature lovers, MC Tours, prioritizes sustainability, making this eco-tour the perfect choice for conscientious travellers.
And don’t worry about snacks— they have you covered, with one guest saying the snacks were “phenomenal“.
Book your spot on this Sandwich Harbour 4×4 Tour and embark on an adventure that will leave you with lasting memories and a deep appreciation for the wonders of Sandwich Harbour.
⭐️ Rating: 5/5 Stars | ⏳ Tour Length: 5 hours | 🦭 Check Rates and Availability
This half-day tour by Red Dune Safaris sets out before sunrise, so it’s a great tour for those photographers wanting to capture the early morning light.
Cruise by giant coastal sand dunes en route to the Walvis Bay Salt Refinery, Walvis Bay Lagoon, and Sandwich Harbour in the Namib Desert. The picnic lunch includes oysters and sparkling wine.
Guests thought the tour was great value and an amazing day out, with easy-going, knowledgeable, and fun to tour with guides.
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⭐️ Rating: 5/5 Stars | ⏳ Tour Length: 4 hours | 🦭 Check Rates and Availability
Discover the wonders of Sandwich Harbour on this half-day tour. Start by observing flamingos at Walvis Bay Lagoon, then explore the Kuiseb River delta, accessible only to Sandwich Harbour 4×4.
Weather permitting, you’ll drive to the Sandwich Harbour Lagoon along the beach, a unique wetland and Ramsar site. This coastal paradise supports endangered species and abundant wading birds.
Plenty of photography stops are included, and the picnic lunch offers fresh Namibian oysters, snacks, sparkling wine, beers, and cool drinks.
NOTE:🦩The top 4 tours listed above include free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance and have a lowest price guarantee with Viator.
5. Sand Waves Adventures Sandwich Harbour Full-Day Tour – from Walvis Bay or Swakopmund
⭐️ Tripadvisor Rating: 5/5 Stars | ⏳ Tour Length: 12+ hours | Email: [email protected]
This tour isn’t as easy to book as the ones listed above, but it’s the one I organised for myself while in Walvis Bay.
You will need to email the company for a price, but you can also arrange a trip suited to your needs. I wanted a photography tour and the guide I was put in contact was a photographer too, so knew the best spots to be at certain times.
The tour can run from Walvis Bay or Swakopmund.
It was a long day, setting off before sunrise and getting back after sunset, which is why I recommend the above tours if you aren’t needing shots at both ends of the day.
You can read more about my experience on this Sandwich Harbour below, but needless to say, if you are visiting Walvis Bay, then one of these tours should be on your itinerary.
Namibia’s Sandwich Harbour – Where the Desert Meets the Ocean
My Sandwich Harbour Day Tour Experience
If you’re spending time in Swakopmund or Walvis Bay then you’re already at the perfect launch point for any one of the Sandwich Harbour tours.
I was overnighting in Walvis Bay and made a last-minute decision to join Sand Waves Adventure, operating from Swakopmund, on their Sandwich Harbour day tour.
To see where the Namib desert dunes meet the Atlantic Ocean was something I had really been looking forward to for some time.
The day trip totally exceeded my expectations.
Sand Wave Adventure – My Sandwich Harbour Day Trip
Here is a run-down of what was included in my full-day excursion with Sand Wave Adventure.
- The day started with pick up around 05:00 am (from Swakopmund) or 05:30 am (from Walvis Bay). Expect drop-off around 20:00 pm (Walvis Bay) and 20:30 (Swakopmund). Pick up and drop off are included in the price and can be from either Swakopmund or Walvis Bay.
- Photographing the iconic desert meeting the sea from Kodak Point (see map above)
- Photographing the sunrise and sunset at Sandwich Harbour from spectacular dune viewpoints
- Photographing the animals that inhabit the sand dunes and the harbour
- Photographing the flamingos at Walvis Bay Lagoon, a few kilometres south of Walvis Bay
- Morning Tea at Sandwich Harbour, a restaurant lunch in Walvis Bay with snacks and drinks provided throughout the day
- Enjoying sand dune driving with an experienced 4×4 driver.
Booking the Right Sandwich Harbour Tour for You
For those sunrise and sunset views and photography shots, the tour operator will need a special concession or permit that grants access to drive onto the Namib Naukluft National Park dunes before sunrise and after sunset.
Not all tour operators have this permit.
What makes this Sandwich Harbour excursion with Sand Waves Adventure special is that this company has a special permit allowing entrance into the Namib Naukluft Park before sunrise and after sunset.
This allows time to actually get in position for photographs before sunrise and to capture the blue hour after sunset.
What Wildlife Can I Expect to See at Sandwich Harbour?
The Sandwich Harbour Lagoon is a delicate wetland ecosystem with fresh-water vegetation and extensive mudflats. Many migratory wetland birds, such as terns, flamingos, plovers, oystercatchers, cormorants and sandpipers make Sandwich Harbour their temporary home.
Because of the fragility of the area, it is now listed with RAMSAR (Convention on Wetlands of International Importance).
Bottle-nosed and Heavisides dolphins, as well as Cape Fur seals, are often seen darting through the breaking waves, chasing the abundant schools of pilchards.
During my tour, I saw black-backed jackals, dolphin, ostrich, Namib Dune gecko (otherwise known as the Palmato gecko), springbok, and Cape fur seal.
Below, I photographed a male and female black-backed jackal killing a young Cape fur seal on Sandwich Harbour beach. This struggle lasted 20 minutes.
There were numerous bird species such as Terns, Greater and Lesser Flamingo, OysterCatchers, Cormorants and Sandpipers. Pelicans flew overhead and I managed to capture this shot of a Pale Chanting Goshawk taking to flight.
Brown hyena and Oryx have been reported but my luck didn’t extend that far, unfortunately, with no personal sightings to report.
Where is Sandwich Harbour?
It’s about 60 kilometres to Sandwich Harbour from Walvis Bay. This harbour is overlooked by the mighty sand dunes of the oldest desert in the world, the Namib Naukluft National Park.
Sandwich Harbour includes the harbour as well as the nearby lagoon.
A sliver of beach between the sheer dunes and the crashing Atlantic Ocean provides the only driveable access to Sandwich Harbour; but only when the tide permits.
Your vehicle must be a 4×4.
Walvis Bay and Sandwich Harbour Map
Can I Do a Self-Drive to Sandwich Harbour?
Yes… But the permit you will need to buy will only allow access to Sandwich Harbour itself, and not access to drive the sand dunes within the Namib-Naukluft Park.
Access to Sandwich Harbour is gained by driving the beach south from Walvis Bay. You’ll need a permit issued from the MEFT (Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism) office.
(Note: No permit is required if you intend to drive on the main road through the Namib-Naukluft Park.)
The nearest MEFT office to Sandwich Harbour is in Swakopmund.
Before you do jump at the chance to self-drive, be warned of the obstacles and limitations:
- The permit to drive into Namib-Naukluft Park begins after sunrise and you need to exit the park before sunset. This means you won’t be able to photograph the sunrise and sunset at Sandwich Harbour.
- There is no overnight camping allowed at Sandwich Harbour
- The permit does not include driving in the sand dunes within the Namib-Naukluft Park
- Tide times will govern how much time you are able to spend at Sandwich Harbour
- With sheer dunes on one side and the pounding sea on the other, getting bogged is a reality if you aren’t competent with beach driving.
- The driver will need to be experienced in recognising and taking appropriate action when dealing with salt marshes, inter-tidal zones and concealed mussel beds under the sand.
For the reasons above, it makes a lot of sense to join one of the Sandwich Harbour tours. This way you don’t put your expensive vehicle at risk of damage, or worry about insurance, leaving you to enjoy the whole experience.
Photography at Sandwich Harbour
Sandwich Harbour offers some fabulous opportunities for photographers throughout the day. You can mix it up with landscape, wildlife and macro photography.
I used my Tamron 28-75mm and Tamron 70-180mm lenses the most and reverted to my Sony 200-600mm for capturing wildlife images. My cameras are Sony a9s.
It does get windy at Sandwich Harbour. This whips up fine sand into the air so try to protect your photography gear as much as possible.
I made sure I always used the lens hood, tried to time my shots between gusts of wind and made sure any lens changes were carried out in the confines of the vehicle.
- Sunrise and sunset (remember to bring your tripod)
- Iconic shot of the desert dunes meeting the ocean with an exposed narrow driving track in between
- The contrasting light and shadows of the sand dunes
- Desert animals in the sand dunes
- Dolphins in Sandwich Harbour
- Flamingos near Walvis Bay
What to Pack for a Sandwich Harbour 4×4 Tour
There are a few essential items you’ll certainly want to bring with you on a Sandwich Harbour tour.
- Warm jacket. The wind blowing off the cold Atlantic Ocean keeps the temperature cool.
- Wide-brimmed hat. A lot of time will be spent out in the elements, a hat with a chin strap is necessary.
- Light-weight walking shoes. Walking in the sand is not easy and you’ll want to minimise any weight using light-weight walking shoes. Alternatively, I just took my shoes off and walked barefoot in the dunes.
- Gloves and beanie. My day trip was in early April, when daytime temperatures were warmer, but winter temperatures warrant bringing gloves and beanie.
Have you organised your travel Insurance?
Sandwich Harbour FAQs
Absolutely. If you’re a nature lover, enjoy majestic landscapes and wildlife, then this is for you. Sandwich Harbour is one of only a few places in the world that have towering sand dunes that meet the sea.
Sandwich Harbour is accessed by 4×4 only and is 55 kilometres south of Walvis Bay. It can be done as a self-drive day trip but it is highly recommended to join a tour with an experienced driver. The driving terrain can be treacherous.
There are a few theories on how the harbour gained its name but the first documented evidence was a maritime chart using the name Sandwich Harbour, published in 1791. It is thought that the harbour was mapped by whale men from an English ship named Sandwich.
Sandwich Harbour Tours … That’s a Wrap
As you can see, there are many wonderful Sandwich Harbour tours, running from Walvis Bay and Swakopmund.
This exciting 4×4 adventure to where the dunes of the Namib Desert meet the Atlantic Ocean is a great desert tour for photographers, nature lovers and those interested in the beautiful dune scenery in Namibia.
Now all you have to do is pick the one you like the best!
If you are interested in these incredible red sand dunes and photography, don’t miss a visit to Sossusvlei. Read more about how to visit, where to stay and how to get the most out of your experience in our Sossusvlei and Sesriem Canyon article here.
🏆 BEST Sandwich Harbour Tour
⭐️ I recommend this Full-day tour to Sandwich Harbour, Walvis Bay Lagoon and Pelican Point | ⭐️ 5/5 Star Reviews |
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