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“...and the best place there is Namibia. If there is somebody, who has not been in the desert, I can only say, go from Lüderitz to Walvis, one of the last adventures, one of the last opportunities to feel the nature. ”

Al the best from Germany, Volker.

Lüderitz to Walvis Bay 4x4

This adventure into the Namib Desert starts in Lüderitz and ends in Walvis Bay … the area was formerly known as “Diamond Area no 2”.

  • Sylvia Hill
  • Meob and Conception Bay
  • Sandwich Harbour
  • Shipwrecks of the Eduard Bohlen and Shawnee
  • Holsatia, Charlottenfelder and Grillenberger Settlements

Overview

This adventure into the Namib Desert starts in Lüderitz and ends in Walvis Bay … the area was formerly known as “Diamond Area no 2”.

Places to be visited along the way include Sylvia Hill, Meob Bay, Conception Bay and Sandwich Bay. Desert wildlife, spectacular scenery, untouched beaches, abandoned mining settlements, miles of sand-driving and shipwrecks are some of the attractions along the way.

Due to the discovery of diamonds in 1908 around Kolmanskuppe, an uncontrollable diamond rush resulted forcing the government to establish the “Sperrgebiet” between 26-degrees (Gibraltar) and the southern border stretching 100-kilometer inland. Prospectors were forced to turn northwards beyond the Sperrgebiet. This resulted in the discovery of diamonds at Spencer Bay in December 1908 and between Meob and the Conception Bay area (Diamond area no 2). A total of 5000 diamond claims were registered in 1909 and hopeful prospectors tried their luck at Saddle Hill and Spencer Bay as well as via Swakopmund and Sandwich Harbour southwards towards Meob Bay. However, the small yields of diamonds from these claims resulted in only a few prospectors being successful in the long term.

Transporting of supplies and mine equipment was done mainly from Swakopmund by ship and the cutter Viking via Sandwich Harbour, Conception Bay and Meob Bay. Various shipping casualties occurred, such as when the Eduard Bohlen intended to off-load mining equipment and were consequently lost at Conception Bay (1909).

In the area between Conception Bay and Meob Bay the mining settlements of Holsatia, Charlottenfelder and Grillenberger were established, and no form of engine-driven transport was available during the first 15 years. An ox-wagon fitted with special wide iron bands, which made transportation in sandy areas possible, is visible north of Grillenberger. The wagon and surfboats at Meob Bay are examples of pre-World War I historical relicts depicting the immense difficult pioneering days in those inhospitable desert conditions.

During 1912/1913 a light railway from Conception Bay to Conception Water and an 80-kilometer pipeline linking the settlements were constructed. It is not totally clear as to how many prefabricated buildings were erected at the various settlements as only the foundations of some of these are still visible today.

In November 1914 everyone had to stop operations and had to proceed to Swakopmund up-country. This order came as a result of an expected invasion of allied troops. During 1920 activities recommenced in this area and only four companies operated in this area until De Beers purchased one concession area after the other in 1929. From old mining records, it is clear that the average diamond found in this area was much smaller than those found south of Lüderitzbucht. Operators made use of hand-operated movable sieve jigs, of which some are still visible today at the old mining settlements.
They were largely dependent on an Ovambo labour force, for instance, Namaqua Diamonds employed between 500 and 600 Ovambos under contract. They were distributed in groups of 50 over the extent of the mining area.

In 1932 the price of diamonds dropped considerably and almost all known diamondiferous ground has been worked over at least once. The small diamonds left in the tailings of earlier workers made production uneconomic.

After World War II a company known as Industrial Diamonds of South Africa (1945) Ltd., conducted extensive prospecting in the Meob area in which no diamonds were recovered and CDM also abandoned Meob Bay in the early ‘60s.

Today only some remnants of the activities are visible and are deteriorating at an alarming rate. There is a limited quantity of hand-operated mining equipment left, two surf boats at Meob and an ox-wagon north of Grillenberger giving some insight into the hardships endured by Indigenous Namibians and early settlers to Namibia.

Saddle Hill became well known in Namibian diamond operations through the efforts of the remarkable Mose Kahan. The unsinkable Mose was born in Königsberg, Prussia and after immigrating to South Africa, he became involved in prospecting and mining. His application for a concession in Diamond area no 2 was successful and he named his claims Saddle Hill, Ophir and Atlantis.

To reach his claims with food and mining supplies, Kahan had to make his way through shifting dunes, which was indeed a hazardous undertaking. After World War II Kahan bought some Ford “stompneus” lorries from surplus war stock, fitting them with Dakota DC3 aircraft tyres. With these low-pressure aircraft tyres he was able to bring supplies and equipment to Saddle Hill. However, one of these lorries, nicknamed Suzie, unfortunately, had to be abandoned in the dunes, today still awaiting the return of a repair crew. Likewise, a bulldozer, pulling trailers with supplies and equipment can be seen close to the Uri Haugab Mountains.

Itinerary

DAY 0: RENDEZVOUS LÜDERITZ

The adventure starts at Lüderitz where the group assembles at 18h00 the evening at Kratzplatz, Barrel’s Restaurant for a dinner briefing before venturing into the desert the next day. (Accommodation and dinner for this evening is not included in the tour package.)

Dinner is a buffet and will be for the client’s own account.

O/N Lüderitz – ask your Live the Journey consultant to assist with accommodation bookings and suggestions.

DAY 1: LÜDERITZ – NAMIB DESERT

After backtracking for about 30km on the Lüderitz to Aus main road it is time to say goodbye to tar roads, starting an adventure of a lifetime. On day one we pass the ‘stompneus’ Ford and camp close to Suzy.

O/N Namib Desert (dinner included).

DAY 2: PASSING SUZY AND THE BULLDOZER

On the second day the trail leads north passing Suzy and the bulldozer before crossing into the dune belt on the way to Sylvia Hill. For the next couple of days participants will experience ‘camping under the desert sky’ in true expedition style.

O/N Namib Desert (breakfast and dinner included).

DAY 3: BEACH CAMPING

Dunes are getting progressively higher and driver experience and skills acquired during the previous two days will be tested and honed to perfection.

O/N Namib Desert (breakfast and dinner included).

DAY 4: MEOB BAY AND MINING SETTLEMENTS

The dune belt opens up at Meob Bay and it is in this stretch between Meob Bay and Conception Bay that active diamond mining was in the order of the day during the early 1900s. The settlements of Holsatia, Charlottenfelder and Grillenberger are visited en-route.

O/N Namib Desert (breakfast and dinner included).

DAY 5: PASSING THE EDUARD BOHLEN

From Holsatia the trail leads to Conception Bay and along the beach northwards towards Sandwich Bay. En-route the wrecks of the Eduard Bohlen and Shawnee are visited. Passing ‘Langewand’ where massive dunes end in the sea, a very limited time span is available to negotiate this stretch of beach. After Langewand the trail once again leads into the dunes, circumnavigating the salt pans ‘extensions’ of Sandwich Harbour.
The dunes are still getting progressively larger to offer an ever-changing new experience of ultimate dune driving. The night is spent approximately 1.5km from the ocean close to Sandwich Bay.

O/N Namib Desert (breakfast and dinner included).

DAY 6: ENDING IN WALVIS BAY

From Sandwich the trail enters the ‘Roller Coaster’, a series of massive ‘roaring’ slip faces, not only giving the participants a new thrilling experience but also offering breath-taking views of Sandwich Harbour. Follow a panorama of sandscapes exiting onto the beach south of Walvis Bay. The trail ends at Walvis Bay around lunchtime.

Please contact your Live the Journey tour consultant who will assist with booking accommodation for the night after your desert trip.

(Breakfast included)

END OF TOUR

Dates

2024 Dates:

  • 20 - 26 June 2024
  • 30 June - 06 July 2024
  • 08 - 14 September 2024
  • 02 - 08 October 2024
  • 03 - 09 November 2024
  • 18 - 24 December 2024
  • 31 December 2024 - 06 January 2025

2025 Dates: 

  • 10 – 16 February 2025
  • 16 – 22 April 2025
  • 20 – 26 May 2025
  • 29 June – 05 July 2025
  • 29 August – 04 August 2025
  • 20 – 26 October 2025
  • 03 – 09 November 2025
  • 18 – 24 December 2025
  • 31 December 2025 – 06 January 2026

Rates

Lüderitz - Walvis Bay 01 November 2023 - 31 October 2024
Prices are quoted in RAND
Guest Nationality Tour Cost Concession Fee*  Total
SADC:  Per Adult 12600 5780 18380
SADC:  Per Child 13 - 17 years 1900 3600 5500
SADC:  Per Child 06 - 12 years 1900 2850 4750
SADC:  Per Child 0 - 05 years 950 1600 2550
Foreign:  Per Adult 12600 6080 18680
Foreign:  Per Child 1900 6080 7980

*The concession fee above is indicative of the expected increase from 01 November 2023. Please use as a guideline only.
** A single supplement will apply if there is only 1 adult in a vehicle. Please asl your consultant for the applicable rate.

NOTE:

  • This tour operates on a minimum of 20 adult guests travelling.
  • Special terms & conditions apply to any tour booked on an exclusive private basis.
  • Prices for concession fees, taxes, park fees and fuel may be changed without prior notice. This is beyond our control and any increase levied will be for the traveller’s account.

Included

  • Breakfast and dinner (coffee/tea and fruit juices are supplied with meals)
  • Experienced guides with own vehicle
  • Two-way radios for vehicles
  • Camping fees
  • Concession fees and levies
  • Recovery equipment and on-site recovery only
  • “Communal” camping equipment; braai grid, cooking facilities & equipment, tables, etc.
  • Wind shelter, communal camp shower and chemical toilet at campsite
  • Additional vehicle to carry logistics

Excluded

  • Dinner and accommodation for the first night in Lüderitz
  • Transport
  • Fuel
  • Lunch
  • Snacks and drinks
  • Camping gear
  • Travel insurance and vehicle insurance
  • Items of a personal nature

OPTIONAL SERVICES

Guideline of prices for optional accommodation:

Kratzplatz, Lüderitz (2 adults sharing): from R 475.00 per adult per night
Lüderitz Nest Hotel, Lüderitz (2 adults sharing): from R 2,100.00 per adult per night

Lagoon Chalets, Walvis Bay (2 adults sharing): from R 450.00 per adult per night
Amjicaja, Walvis Bay (2 adults sharing): from R 695.00 per adult per night
De Baken, Walvis Bay (2 adults sharing): from R 850.00 per adult per night

We would also suggest a sundowner or dolphin cruise in Walvis Bay:

Sundowner Cruise: from R 550 per adult
Dolphin Cruise: from R 990 per adult

For more information or to book your accommodation, meals and / or cruise, please contact your Live the Journey consultant. We can also book other accommodation and excursions.

Reviews

Ted & Ann Waldburger - 02 to 08 October 2023

"We have recently returned from a most wonderful time driving in the magnificent Namib desert dunes and would like to commend our guides very highly! We are most grateful for their expertise and enthusiasm.
They looked after us oldies incredibly well, setting up camp, preparing delicious meals and hot showers and were always extremely helpful and patient with giving advice about driving and getting us safely through the dunes."

Angela Murphy - 20 to 26 May 2023

"The Lüderitz to Walvis Bay Live the Journey Tour was exceptional. The level of skill and professionalism from our team was incredible. They cook like top chefs and drive and guide 4x4’s brilliantly. If you want to do a trip like this, do it with Live the Journey!"

Wynand & Elmarie van Dyk - 03 to 09 April 2023

"I can only say that it was an awesome experience and with the calmness and experience that the guide and recovery team managed the entire trip made the adventure so much better."

Manie Prinsloo - 03 to 09 August 2022

"Wat 'n belewenis. Beslis die beste ervaring wat ek nog beleef het. Die mooiste mooi wat jy aan niemand kan beskryf nie. Baie dankie aan 'n ongelooflike span wat ons toer uiters lekker gemaak het. Dankie julle."

Mark Philp & Fred Strauss - 21 to 27 May 2022

“Luciano, Stephen and Sam were absolutely outstanding. Not only masters in the offroad sandy conditions but they are great hosts and chefs. Nothing was too much for them and they did it all with a smile. They are worth their weight in gold... or should I say diamonds? Many thanks to them.”

Werner Durand - 27 March to 02 April 2022

“Wow! Will remember for the rest of my life!”

Reservations

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