Coastways Tours, on the B4 on the way into town, behind the Engen station, specializes in 4WD day- and multi-day trips into the desert. Coastways was the first operator with a licence to enter what is now the Tsau ||Khaeb National Park, but is better known as the Sperrgebiet (meaning “forbidden area” in German – reference to the fact that it is an off-limits diamond-mining area) – and a copy of your passport will need to be submitted well in advance for approval. For its most popular full-day tour, you’ll spend several hours in the back of a 4WD vehicle, but the experience is otherworldly as you cross dune fields studded with lichen and extraordinary succulents, and visit the abandoned mining communities of Pomona and Bogenfels. There are also sobering views of dunescapes wrecked by mining, which you can see before the tour finishes off at the gigantic Bogenfels Rock Arch on the Atlantic coast.

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