The 2 trips we make in the area of Walvisbai give us a totally new perspective on off-road driving. However, the drive through the sand to Pelican Point – a peninsula which more or less disappears with high tide – can still be topped by spending half a day in the sand dunes at Sandwich Harbor.
On our way to the South of Namibia, after passing the Hoanib River and the Skeleton Coast we decide to stop in the neat town of Walvisbai, on the western coast of the country. The weather at the Atlantic Ocean is pretty cold this time of the year: 12-14 C max and chilly wind blowing from the ocean. After trying to survive temperatures of 35-40 C for weeks, this could be a relief, but honestly, we are freezing. Which gives us another reason to stay in the car and go for driving activities.
Pelikan point – introduction to driving on the beach
As the first destination we choose the famous Pelican Point. A 12 km drive in pure sand onto a peninsula which is already partially under water when we enter. Several tracks in the sand from cars that entered before, we try to guess which ones will not end in mud or water. We succeed but are happy to be joined by another car – just in case…
At the end of the peninsula there is a lighthouse and a lodge – they both look completely abandoned, but allegedly the lodge is in operation. We are completely alone here, if you don’t count the hundreds of seals, flocks of flamingos, pelicans, a big variety of water birds and some jelly fish which are left in the sand from high-tide.
We stay about half an hour and then we decide to go, as the water level is quickly rising. And we are right: some sections of the drive are much wetter than while entering. Werner pushes the car hard, and only admits that the tank is basically completely empty when we roll into the fuel station. :)
Sandwich harbor – where the Desert meets the Ocean
For the trip to Sandwich Harbor we decide to take an experienced guide, Ati, who drives our car. For sure one of our best decisions! He drives on a gravel road past the salines then gets out of the car and lets the tire pressure down to 1 (?!?) bar. The road disappears and sand and mud takes over – not always easy to decide where is one or the other.
Finally, we arrive at the coastline and drive directly next to the water for about 15 km. The path between water and the red dunes which meet the sea here is very narrow and will disappear with high tide. Sandwich Harbor is a Former German village and factory site, sunken into sand, not much left to see. We look around and then continue onto the dunes.
We drive around in the dunes, finally Ati stops the car on top of a real high one, we get out, walk around and wait for the fog to lift. And when the Sun comes out, it is like a miracle. We see the blue waves of the Ocean from way up, standing on the edge of the red sand dune – the view is surreal.
The way back is real fun, Ati lets the car down on dunes which have an inclination of about 50-60 degrees. The girls are loudly protesting on the back seat, but no use – we are already half way down. Amazing feeling. We see some jackals and springboks on the way, and we arrive back to civilization.
We are so happy we have our really well equipped 4×4 – otherwise these trips would not have been possible.
Which one of these trips would excite you?