A long-standing birding hotspot, isolated Sandwich Harbour, which lies 55km south of Walvis Bay, has recently begun to attract more casual visitors, drawn by the stunning wilderness scenery, as the rolling golden dunes of the Namib meet the wild Atlantic coast. The “harbour” itself is a lagoon, a mix of fresh and saline water, and an important site for migratory and resident seabirds and waders, which also spread over the nearby tidal mud flats. Numbers can top fifty thousand in summer, and twenty thousand in winter. Even non-birders will be amazed at the colourful carpet of huge flocks of flamingos and pelicans, vast numbers of grebes and the immense variety of terns and waders, dramatically enclosed by the dunes.

Though in theory anyone with a high-clearance 4WD can get a permit from the MET office in Swakopmund and drive themselves here, it is not advised, even for experienced 4WD motorists, as the driving conditions are treacherous, and the route constantly shifting with the sand. Better to leave your vehicle behind and take one of the organized day-trips. Even then, research the tide timetable thoroughly before booking, as access to the lagoon depends on it being low tide so that vehicles can drive along the beach.

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