Sandwich Harbour is located approximately 80 km’s south of Walvis Bay and is part of the Erongo Region. Excursions to Sandwich Harbour are a very popular activity for those holidaying in Swakopmund or Walvis Bay. Half-day tours (full day tours are also available) to Sandwich Harbour are available via a number of professional and experienced activity operators and is an ideal outing for the whole family. The lagoon and bay have been incorporated as part of the Namib Naukluft National Park. It is one of the most inaccessible places in Namibia and all tours are conducted according to the tides. The area consisting of the lagoon, salt pans and the bird sanctuary is considered to be the single most important coastal wetlands in Southern Africa!
The area that constitutes Sandwich Harbour is an area on the Atlantic Coast of Namibia that features a lagoon at the southern end and a bay at the northern end. The lagoon on the southern end is known for prolific bird life and was declared a RAMSAR Wetland in 1995. The Bay is about 4 km’s wide and 4.2 km’s long – the lagoon that appears on the southern end of the bay is separated from it by an area of saltpans and beach dunes. The lagoon itself is 1 km wide and about 3.7 km’s in length and the lagoon water is held in place by desert dunes on the eastern side. A recent survey found that the water in the lagoon is of poor quality and brackish; however it seeps under the dunes and encourages growth of large reed beds located at the water’s edge.
Sandwich Harbour was a trading post in the 1950’s and has also served as a whaling station, a fish processing and shark-oil extraction plant as well as a sealing and guano collection point. Today very little remains except for one dilapidated solitary deserted structure.
The Royal Navy first surveyed the area in 1880 for anchorage and use as a harbour but considered it inferior to Walvis Bay and no development at Sandwich Harbour took place. The bay at Sandwich Harbour was occasionally used for anchorage by sealing vessels and some rudimentary temporary settlements were set up by seasonal fisherman who used to catch snoek here. It is now one of the most popular tourist attractions and points of interest for tourists visiting the Namibian Coast.
Tours to Sandwich Harbour normally depart from the Walvis Bay Waterfront and proceed past the Walvis Bay Lagoon onto Bird Rock.
Bird Rock is a guano island inhabited by 200 000 birds and one of the first examples of man’s efforts to utilize the rich natural resources of the area. The Kuiseb River delta is part of your journey and here you may catch a glimpse of the ancient Topnaar community who have made this area their home.
Then a sea of dunes and salt pans has to be navigated and crossed with a 4×4…you will be driven between the cold Atlantic Ocean on one side and the towering sand dunes of the Namib Desert on the other side – this is probably the most dramatic drive you will ever experience. You will experience scenery that you have never seen before. Along the way you may get to see small groups of springbok, jackal, oryx, ostrich and the elusive brown hyena.
Many tourists that decide to do a Sandwich Harbour tour comment that this adventure is the highlight of their holiday in Namibia. As you approach the ever shifting dunes at the edge of Sandwich Harbour one starts to sense that you are entering a different world.
Your activity operator will also provide you with a picnic which usually takes place on top of the huge surrounding sand dunes.
There are several established and experience activity operators that offer trips to Sandwich Harbour – book to avoid disappointment.
For accommodation options in Swakopmund and Walvis Bay click here.