The Namibian Coast!

Namibia’s coastline stretches 1572 km, from the southern border with South Africa, until the northern border with Angola. The coastline is rich in geographic diversity, as well as in natural beauty, sights and activities. The Namibian coastal towns include Swakopmund, Walvis Bay, Henties Bay, and Luderitz, and smaller spots to camp and visit such as Mowe Bay, Torra Bay, and Elizabeth Bay.

Swakopmund, or simply Swakop for short, is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Namibia. This quaint town is a well-known holiday town, where many Namibians and foreigners alike spend weekends away, and much of the festive season. Swakop is characterised by its colonial-era German architecture, as well as the big sand dunes that tower directly to the south of the town. It is no wonder why Swakop is one of Namibia’s top holiday destinations, as there are loads of things to do in this small but exciting town. Cultural activities include visiting the aquarium, the museum, the Kristal Galerie (‘Crystal Gallery’ – a museum dedicated to precious gems and minerals of Namibia), and more. The town centre is an exciting bustle of small shops and cafés, and you can easily walk from town to the beach, to the Jetty or to the Mole (ideally with an ice-cream in hand). 

Moreover, there are numerous outdoor activities such as electric motorcycle or bicycle tours of the town, fat bike (special bicycles with large tyres to drive over the sand)  and quad bike tours in the dunes, dune-boarding, dune-climbing, and so on. The desert is both beautiful and has many exciting activities in store! One can also take walking tours into the desert to witness the incredible fauna and flora, as well as tours to the landscape surrounding Swakop, such as the Moon landscape. For the extreme thrill-seeker, you can even go skydiving over the desert!

For a more relaxed, yet still lively experience, you can drive about 22 kilometers north of Swakopmund towards Henties Bay, where you will find the locally beloved Windpomp14, a restaurant with delectable fresh seafood dishes and warm, upbeat atmosphere. It is also a popular spot for camping on the beach, with spacious camp spots with individual bathroom and kitchenette facilities. 

Walvis Bay, which is 30 kilometres to the south of Swakop, is more of an industrial town, but also has its own unique charm. The Walvis Bay lagoon is an ideal spot for a sunset stroll, where you can see flamingos and pelicans, and there are restaurants and cafés on the water with wonderful seafood specialties. From the Walvis Bay waterfront, you can go on a catamaran tour of the harbour and lagoon area, with a chance of seeing seals, dolphins, and even whales! One can also do kayak tours from Pelican Point, which is a scenic drive out of Walvis Bay. From a kayak, you will be right amongst the playful seals, and if you are lucky, you can be visited by the dolphins! Dune 7, the tallest dune in Namibia, is another short drive out of Walvis Bay, and is a tough but exhilarating climb. For a longer tour out of the town, you can travel south of Walvis Bay to see the magnificent Sandwich Harbour – the ultimate desert-meets-ocean scenic experience!

Ghost Towns!

There are several ghost towns along Namibia’s coastline. The most famous of the ghost towns is Kolmanskop. It is situated about 10 kilometers inland from Luderitz, and it is an abandoned mining town. Kolmanskop is a photographer’s dream – the old wooden houses have slowly been permeated by sand dunes over the years, making for a fascinating sight as the desert has overtaken the town. Elizabeth Bay is a small mining town, situated about 25km south of Luderitz, and it used to be known as a ghost town. However, the mine was reopened, and the town has once again become occupied. Lastly, 15 km south of Elizabeth Bay, is Pomona, the smallest and least known of the three ghost towns. All three of the ghost towns are located in an area called the Sperrgebiet (‘prohibited area’), which, even though it is a national park, is mostly closed off to public access because of diamond mining.

Skeleton Coast!

Namibia’s Skeleton Coast makes up most of the northern half of Namibia’s coastline. The name comes from whale and seal bones that have always been found along the sea, as well as over 1000 shipwrecks that are scattered across along the coastline. The Skeleton Coast is known for its desert wildlife, such as desert lions, desert elephants, hyenas, black rhinos, and more. There is also a world-famous surf spot called Skeleton Bay, where surfers from all over the world come to experience the legendary barrels! The southern part of the Skeleton Coast, from the Ugab River until Torra Bay, is open to all travellers, however the northern part (up until the Angolan border) is restricted and one requires a permit to enter this area, which can be acquired from Windhoek or Swakopmund. 

Whether you want to have an outdoorsy, camping adventure, or whether you want to visit small coastal towns with a variety of sights and activities, the Namibian coast has a lot to offer! You will also be able to experience the most unique of natural phenomena, the desert meeting the ocean.

Getting Around in Namibia

From far away, planning a trip to Namibia may seem daunting. But, we want to help make it easier by giving you some advice for planning your travels, and what to consider before arriving as well as during your stay. The topic for our first blog post is: Getting Around in Namibia!

Namibia is a BIG country. Fortunately, there are several options for transport when travelling around Namibia.

Getting around in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. 

First, you need to consider that Windhoek’s airport, Hosea Kutako International Airport, is about 40 kilometers outside of Windhoek itself. So, it’s important to arrange transport from the airport into town. There are numerous shuttle services available that do airport transfers to Windhoek, which makes it simpler to find and book your transfer. Otherwise, you can rent a car at the airport from one of the several car rental companies. You can easily find these and book online.

Once you’re in Windhoek, getting around isn’t too difficult. Popular international companies like Uber aren’t available in Namibia, but we have our own version called LEFA. LEFA is the Namibian Uber, and it is a very new, exciting and convenient method of transportation in and around the city. It works the same way that Uber does, you download the LEFA app from the App Store or Google Play, register with a cellphone number, and voilà, you are ready to request your lift. And, you do not need to stress about always needing WiFi connectivity to be online in Namibia, because SIM cards are easily and cheaply available, and data prices are comparatively low. But do take note, LEFA rides have to be paid in cash at the end of your trip, because the app does not yet accept cashless payment methods. Another cab company is called Dial-A-Cab, which works exactly as its name describes, you phone them and they send you a cab.

There are also a huge amount of public taxis in windhoek, and they are easily recognisable because of the large numbers on their cars, in order to identify them. These taxis are cheap and easy to come across, but it is important to have your wits about you in terms of safety, and they may not always drive very responsibly. Namibia is a safe country,  but it always helps to practise caution and be alert when travelling in a new place. 

[Sun Karros Lifestyle Safaris’ Daan Viljoen Lodge and Daan Viljoen Campsites  also offer transport services into Windhoek, to take guests to and from the most exciting and popular local spots and activities.]

Public transport in towns and cities, such as busses, are purely catered to local commuters and would not be of much service to tourists and travellers. 

And there you go! Now you know how you would get from place to place in Windhoek, whether you are dining out in one of Windhoek’s many restaurants, going to a Windhoek city market, or just generally want to get out of the hotel. You can almost always be guaranteed of good weather in Windhoek, so you might as well make the best of the visit!

Getting around the rest of Namibia.

If you are planning on travelling extensively throughout Namibia, the easiest way is to have your own rental car. However, the more remote you go, the more things you need to take into consideration and plan for. Many of the smaller, less used roads will only be accessible with a 4 wheel-drive car, either a Land Cruiser SUV or a pick-up truck (known locally as a bakkie). You would also need to be prepared with extra fuel, in case you get lost or reach a place that is too remote, and may not have fuel available. In Namibia, it’s very easy to drive for hundreds of kilometres and not reach any towns! 

If you do not want to hire a car to travel around Namibia, the other option would be to take a bus. There are several bus services, the most popular being Intercape MainLiner which has routes from Windhoek going to all of the major towns in Namibia, as well as through to Cape Town, South Africa. To get the most of a Namibian safari experience, we recommend that you gear up, rent a car, and explore this beautiful country in its entirety. The most prominent feature that you should be setting your sights on is Sossusvlei. This beautiful pan is located in the Namib Naukluft National Park, one of the biggest national parks in the world.  It is known for its majestic red dunes and vast open expanse, and you can experience this either by camping at Sesriem Oshana Campsites, or you can live it up in luxury at our Dead Valley Lodge. The Dead Valley Lodge also offers scenic drives into the national park, giving guided tours of Sossusvlei and the not-to-be-missed Deadvlei. 

Between Windhoek and Swakopmund, the easiest way to travel is a shuttle bus. There are numerous easy, reliable and inexpensive shuttle bus services that run daily between the two towns. You would definitely want to make the trip through to Swakopmund, Namibia’s picturesque coastal town. It is about a 4 hour drive away from Windhoek, and when you arrive, you will immediately notice the vast expanse of sand dunes to your left as you enter into the town. Although Swakopmund weather is slightly less predictable than Windhoek weather, with the sun shining bright on some days and the mist hanging low and thick on others, there are always things to do in this little town. 

Outdoor adventure activities include beach days, catamaran tours, visiting the iconic Swakopmund Jetty, quad biking tours through the dunes, and dining out at the locally beloved Windpomp 14 restaurant, known for its seafood and live music. Indoor activities are also numerous, such as a visit to the aquarium or museum, or browsing the quaint and quirky shops and restaurants in the Swakopmund town centre.