Camping safari in the dunes
of Namibia’s Sandwich Bay

Disappear into the remote Namib Desert in search of desert-adapted species and sleep beneath the stars with a mobile camp.

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Camping Safaris in Sandwich Bay

Visit Sandwich Bay and disappear into the remote Namib Desert to discover desert-adapted species, gemstones beneath your feet and to sleep beneath the stars.

If a simple elemental experience appeals, then there can’t be too many things that will beat a couple of days exploring the colossal dune system that extends several hundred miles along the southern end of Namibia’s Skeleton Coast and reaches over fifty into the hinterland in a dramatic sweep of orange.

We organise private camping tours to Sandwich Bay and the Namib Desert, which we can include in self-drive itineraries or to combine with visiting other key areas of Namibia.

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Wind, sand and stars.But animals too

Beyond the shoreline you enter a world defined and dominated by sand. Sand as you have probably never imagined it before.

What’s truly startling is the quantity of life that this most rarefied of environments supports. Not just the specially adapted beetles that use elaborate adaptations to capture moisture from the sea fog, but mammals, from herds of springbok to magnificent oryx that, seemingly against all odds, manage to make a living in this monochrome world.

Let’s talk about the Namib Desert

Best time to experiencethis safari

Although for the most part Namibia’s desert climate makes for good year-round travelling, there are some times of year when rain or heat make particular areas a bit touch-and-go. 

The most popular time to visit Namibia in general is from June to November. June to August is fairly temperate during the day, but with cold nights (sometimes below freezing in the desert) and the wildlife is on the increase as the bush dries out. 

From September, it starts to warm up and until early November, is the best time for game viewing although it is usually very dry and dusty. 

The only times you might want to avoid the Namib are between December and February when temperatures can climb to over 50 degrees. Between February and April, you may well see the desert in its summer garb of green grass and wild flowers, pans of water reflecting the highest sand-dunes in the world. The rest of the year is all rich red dunes, warm light and true desert dryness.

The key thing to remember in Namibia is that the weather is changeable, both as you travel through the country, and also sometimes within the space of an hour. Pack layers and be ready for a scorching sunny day to turn into a chilly, foggy afternoon or vice versa.

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Best time to experiencethis safari

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“Natural High shines rays of adventurous light into some of the least explore, most exciting corners of the wider world.

SKELETONS & GEMSTONES

Most people who visit Namibia get to Swakopmund, the quiet provincial town that sits at the mouth of the Swakop River with its back to the desert and its face in the stiff South Atlantic breeze. But far fewer people take the time to visit Sandwich Bay, a few hours by 4×4 to the South.

This is a fascinating natural lagoon used at one time for small-scale fishing and commercial whaling, but today firmly in the grip of the wild once more. Today any signs of human presence (the odd decaying house) are rapidly being swallowed up by the dunes.

For birders, the myriad species from great white pelicans to greater and lesser flamingos, terns and turnstones make this place a must-see, but it’s the wider setting of the dunes and crashing breakers on the Skeleton Coast that make Sandwich Bay a place that you really shouldn’t miss

The drive alone, along miles of deserted Skeleton Coast beach, a world of sand to the east and the desolate expanses of ocean to the west, is an eye-opener. And one not to be taken lightly as the chances of inexperienced drivers being caught by unforgiving tides is high.

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RAIN (RARELY) STOPS PLAY

The astonishingly low amount of rainfall in the Namib Desert (more accurately described as precipitation because it’s mostly sea fog) means that sleeping out under the stars is something that can be done with little chance of the weather spoiling things.

Nights – as in all deserts – are cold (sometimes very), but bed-rolls with specially made canvas hoods do a great job of keeping the warmth in.

After a day gentling traversing massive dunes by 4×4 and on foot, camp is set up at the base of a dune. There’s a refreshing simplicity to this way of doing things. A windbreak is first up, then – cowboy style – a simple grill placed over a wood fire forms the centre-piece of the camp for the evening. As the evening turns to night and the stars emerge in their millions, you can sit quietly as a simple feast is prepared in cast iron cooking pots over the fire.

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NOT FOR EVERYONE?

Like all the best things in life, camping with simple bedrolls won’t appeal to everyone. This is a particularly good example of the luxury being in the experience.

The desert and dunes are harsh environments and while the guides we work with have many years of experience in this area, cars can get stuck (this calls for jacking and digging and is usually a straightforward process) and sleeping on bedrolls will never be as comfortable as a bed in a hotel.

But of course, that’s not the point. The objective here is to experience a unique environment without impacting it. And to have an experience the like of which you may not get a chance to repeat.

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It takes genuine local knowledge to craft trips that go beyond the ordinary. The Natural High team have unrivalled experience and will take your ideas and turn them into your trip of a lifetime.

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