One of Southern Africa's most important harbor towns, the once industrial Walvis Bay has recently developed into a seaside holiday destination with a number of pleasant lagoonfront guesthouses and several good restaurants—including one of Namibia's best, Lyon des Sables. The majority of water activities advertised in Swakopmund actually depart from Walvis's small waterfront area, and there's an amazing flamingo colony residing in the Bay's 3,000-year-old lagoon.
The romance of the seas, small ship sizes and intimate atmosphere, Silversea has long been a leader in the ultra-luxury market. Travelling to both iconic and secluded ports, Silversea’s award-winning itineraries inspire wanderlust and exploration. With over 900 destinations, longer port stays and more late-night departures than ever before, even the savviest traveler will find something new. A butler for every suite, a complimentary in-suite bar stocked with your preferences, all-inclusive exquisite dining, award-winning onboard entertainment and an unparalleled space to guest ratio all contribute to the Silversea experience. Not forgetting our famed Italian hospitality, where new faces become old friends. Bienvenuti a bordo.
Take a short drive from the harbour to the jetty where you board an open ski boat for your cruise on the Walvis Bay lagoon. The water here is usually very calm and abundant with bird and marine life.
The boats depart the jetty and cruise around the harbour area. From here, cut across the lagoon to the moored Russian trawlers, where 'inquisitive' seals are known to swim up to the boats for something to eat. For the more adventurous guests, there is the opportunity to feed fish to these playful animals.
Continue to Pelican Point, where a large seal colony and schools of dolphins, which swim alongside the boats, provide entertainment. Dolphins sighted are the Heavy side and Bottlenose.
For the bird lovers, apart from seeing many flamingos, pelicans and cormorants, there are also common sightings of the White Chinned Petrel, Wilson's Storm Petrel, Cape Gannet, and Black Oystercatcher.
To round off the trip, sparkling wine and a selection of snacks are also offered.
On arrival at the jetty, take your transfer back to the ship.
Please note: This tour requires a moderate amount of walking; however, guests must be able to manoeuvre in and out of the boat and climb at least 10 steps at low tide. This tour is not suitable for guests with limited mobility or those who utilise a wheelchair. It can be windy and cold out on the open water. We recommend your bring a windbreaker or warm jacket and wear sunblock, sunglasses and a hat. Operation of this tour is subject to favourable weather and sea conditions and it may be cancelled on short notice. Although dolphin, seals and the bird-life described are regularly seen on this cruise, the sighting of wildlife cannot be guaranteed. Cruising time is approximately 3 hours.
Spend a day discovering the treasures of Namib as you travel to the Namib Haukluft Park, the largest game park in Africa, and the fourth largest in the world. On the way you will pass endless waves of sand dunes, a scene that comes to mind when thinking of Africa and the desert.
Depart the pier for the drive to the park that includes a brief photo stop at Dune 7, the highest sand dune in the area. On arrival at the park, turn onto the Welwitschia Drive where the landscape becomes dotted with the extraordinary Welwitschia Mirablis plant. Unique to Namibia, these prehistoric plants have adapted to their harsh habitat. Resembling a large wilted lettuce, Welwitschias only produce two leaves in their lifetime and have a lifespan of over 500 years. The locals in this area have dubbed the plant "two-leaf can't die".
After stopping to view these amazing and resilient desert plants in their dramatic landscape, the tour continues to the 'lunar landscape'. In this vast area of eroded valleys you can almost imagine you're on the moon. Different species of lichen grow here, thanks to the sea fog, which rolls up to 20 miles inland and provides moisture for these desert-dwelling plants. Enjoy the breath taking view at the moon landscape, before your tour takes you onwards to Swakopmund.
Following an orientation tour of the town, with its many beautiful historical buildings dating back to the turn of the century and built in the Art Nouveau style, browse through the Brauhaus Gallery, a small shopping arcade in the centre of town before re-boarding the coach for the return drive to Walvis Bay via the coastal road, passing sand dunes on one side and the sea on the other.
Please note: This tour requires a moderate amount of walking for approximately 165 feet (50 metres) over uneven sandy and gravel terrain and with few steps to manage; therefore it is not suitable for guests with limited mobility or those who utilise a wheelchair. The vehicles used are the best available and may be below the Silversea standard offered in other ports. The price of this tour is adversely affected by the cost of conducting business in this area of the world due to its high-cost infrastructure. Guides and adequate transportation need to be sourced from a distance. Sunblock, hats and comfortable shoes are recommended. The order of sites seen may vary.
Participate in a most unusual and exciting event amongst the dunes of the Namib Desert during this 4 hour evening extravaganza. The landscapes of Namibia are characterized by the brooding, desolate desert and its famous dunes. The combination offers an awe-inspiring sense of space and contrasting colours.
Departing the ship in the afternoon, transportation ranging from small coaches to 4x4 vehicles, will take you on the one hour (18-mile / 29 kilometer) trip north into the desert. The site of this evening's event presents a striking picture with its specially erected marquees against the dramatic backdrop of golden-coloured dunes, which form a dramatic backdrop, a natural amphitheatre.
On arrival, you are served a welcome drink and appetizers. Then sit back and take in the captivating atmosphere of a Namib Desert evening under the bright starts of the African sky while the chefs tend the open fires in preparation for your meal. A special, buffet-style dinner consisting of crisp salads, delicious seafood and succulent meats will be served in this magnificent setting, along with wine, beer, soft drinks and mineral water. Mouth-watering desserts are usually a well-guarded secret and a pleasant surprise.
To heighten the overall experience, marimba music, a youth choir, fire-spinning and colourfully clad Herero ladies will entertain you. More adventurous guests can enjoy a short camel ride in the dunes.
As you revel in this enchanting ambiance you will find it difficult to break the spell and return to Walvis Bay. Enjoy coming "home" to the ship following this unforgettable experience in the Namib Desert.
Breaking the spell will be difficult when this magical evening comes to an end and vehicles are ready to bring you back to the port and the ship.
Please Note: This tour requires a moderate amount of walking and is not recommended for guests who are wheelchair bound. Total walking distance is approximately 50 metres (164 feet) over sandy and unpaved surfaces. Flat shoes are recommended. Guests with limited mobility should be able to manage the walk with the aid of a spouse or other family member. To reach the desert dinner venue, a drive of approximately 45 minutes in required and and is conducted in a variety of vehicles. The final few miles into the desert require 4X4 vehicles to shuttle guests. Evening temperatures in the desert tend to get cool, and we therefore recommend bringing along a light jacket or sweater.This tour requires a minimum amount of guests to participate in order to operate.
Sandwich Harbour is a part of the Namib-Naukluft Park where many giant sand dunes run straight into the ocean, creating breathtaking sceneries and a unique off road driving experience. From the various lookout points you will be able to feel the isolation Namibia and the Skeleton Coast are so famous for.
Depart the pier and drive to Walvis Bay Lagoon. Stop to observe the flamingos and other sea birds before heading towards the Kuiseb Delta via the Walvis Bay Saltpans.
The Sandwich Harbour Lagoon is a large natural tidal lagoon, situated about 34 miles (55 kilometres) south of Walvis Bay. The lagoon is completely surrounded by large sand dunes, and is only accessible by 4x4. The lagoon area is fed with fresh water seeping through the sand dunes, and contributes to the beauty and natural diversity of the area. The water plays a fundamental role, as it feeds the plants on the shores of the lagoon, which in turn stabilize the dunes, preventing them from silting up the area. If the lagoon is not accessible via 4x4, you will get a chance to see the lagoon area from one of our lookout spots.
Depending on the tides and the swell, you will reach the Sandwich Harbour lagoon along the beach. Alternatively you will take an exciting dune ride to a lookout dune to get an aerial view of the Sandwich Harbour Lagoon.
Then enjoy a stop along the way for drinks and snacks. Depending on weather conditions (wind), this will be either on top of a high dune overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, on the beach, or amongst the dunes.
On the route homewards, test the power of the vehicles on the dunes, the highlight being the 65m high roaring dune and offering exceptional viewpoints on the return to Walvis Bay.
Please note: This tour requires a moderate amount of walking and guests must be agile and able to climb in and out of the 4x4 dune vehicles. The drive is along gravel roads and at times will be bumpy and dusty; however the ride can be very difficult and challenging at some stages. This tour is not recommended for guests with limited mobility, those who utilise a wheelchair, those who suffer from back/neck problems, breathing difficulties, or allergies to dust. The desert area is hot and dry; please dress accordingly. Guests are advised to wear comfortable walking shoes, hats, sun protection, and sunglasses. Please note it is not always possible to reach Sandwich Harbour if the sea conditions are very rough or the tides are too high. If the lagoon is not accessible via 4x4, you will get a chance to see the lagoon area from one of our lookout spots. Wildlife sightings are not guaranteed. Restroom facilities are not available on this tour.
Experience the awe-inspiring, bird's eye views of the Sossusvlei, in the heart of the Namib Desert, from the window of your exclusive charter plane, on this Silver Shore Privato excursion.
Depart the quayside and transfer to Walvis Bay Airport for a two-hour scenic flight. Fly at low levels along the Kuiseb River and over the Desert Ecological Research Unit, Gobabeb founded in 1959. Pass Tsondabvlei, the only known breeding area for the Lappet Face Vulture in southern Namibia, as you make your way to the stunning desert at Sossusvlei.
From an overhead viewpoint, one has the opportunity to truly experience the sheer magnitude and magnificence of this mighty Namib Desert and it's the 'sea' of shifting sand dunes. The warm tints of the sand range from pale apricot to brick orange and deep red, vividly contrasting with the large white clay pans at some of their bases.
Keep an eye out for the large Cape Fur Seal Colonies that can be seen on the beaches as you fly over the Conception Bay coastline. Some 270 feet (250 meters) off shore, one can still see the ancient the wreck of the passenger liner Eduard Bohlen which ran aground in 1909. Further along the coast one will see the remains of another ship, the Shaunee, which stranded on the shores of Namibia's 'Skeleton Coast' in 1976.
Continue towards Sandwich Harbour, a wetland of international importance and protected by the Ramsar Convention. This magical stretch of coastline en route provides breath-taking contrasts with the pounding Atlantic surf on the one side and the 'long wall' (Namib Dunes) on the other. The highest recorded density of Lesser and Greater flamingo's recorded at Sandwich Harbour was an incredible 7 791 birds/km at low tide.
Continue south of Walvis Bay where you will see the salt mines, which harmonise in a rare manner with the surroundings due to the thousands of birds attracted to the area.
Walvis Bay, Namibia's major harbour town and a former enclave to South Africa, which was incorporated into Namibia on March 1, 1994 is your final destination before landing at the airport.
On arrival at Walvis Bay Airport, your van awaits to take you back to the harbour.
Please note: This Silver Shore Privato tour is based on 4 guests in the aircraft. Less than 4 guests the tour cannot operate. This tour must be reserved or cancelled 72 hours prior to arrival in Walvis Bay to avoid penalties of up to 100%, to be charged to your shipboard account. Total flying time is approximately 130 minutes and is not entirely narrated. The aircraft does not make any touchdowns and is not air-conditioned. Operation of this tour is subject to favourable weather and wind conditions; it is not recommended for guests prone to motion sickness. This tour requires a minimal amount of walking; however, guests must be agile enough to climb in and out of the aircraft. This tour is suitable for guests with limited mobility but is not wheelchair accessible. Guests are advised to bring their video camera, as photo opportunities from the air are numerous. Order of sights may vary. Availability is extremely limited; we recommend pre-booking to avoid disappointment.
Embrace the splendid beauty of the Skeleton Coast and majestic Brandberg Mountain during this panoramic, half-day, flight-seeing excursion.
Swakop Riverbed, Oasis Goanikontes, Brandberg
Depart the pier for the short transfer to Swakopmund Airport. Upon arrival, receive your safety and tour instructions and begin your two-hour scenic flight along the Swakop Riverbed via the 'Moonlandscape', and crossing the Oasis Goanikontes. From here, travel northeast towards the Rössing Uranium Mine along the Khan River, then continue flying over Spitzkoppe and the majestic Brandberg, Namibia's highest mountain.
Ugab Riverbed and Skeleton Coast Park
Next, your flight follows the Ugab Riverbed in search of desert elephants, rhinos, giraffes, mountain zebras, and other game. Upon reaching the mouth of the river, turn southbound and head towards the Skeleton Coast. Upon arrival, fly over Skeleton Coast Park, a treacherous expanse of land littered with whalebones, shipwrecks, and remains of sailors and explorers. Fly back to Swakopmund Airport via Torra Bay, Palgrave Point and Toscanini, passing over the Cape Cross Seal Reserve and Dolphin Park Recreational Resort en route. Your tour concludes with a short transfer back to the pier.
Please note: This tour requires a moderate amount of walking, with a few steps to negotiate to embark/disembark the coach and airplane. This tour is not suitable for guests with limited mobility or those who utilise a wheelchair. Lightweight, comfortable clothing, flat, closed-toe walking shoes and sun protection are recommended. The guests' total weight must not exceed 882 pounds (400 kilograms) to participate on this tour. Operation of this tour is subject to weather conditions and the aircraft has no-air conditioning. Space on this tour is extremely limited; we suggest you book well in advance to avoid disappointment. Guests must provide their weight to the on board team prior to departure.
Depart the quayside and transfer to Walvis Bay Airport for a 2 hour 10 minute scenic flight over the Namib Desert. The total distance covered by air is 392 miles (630 kilometres).
This is the most popular scenic flight, guaranteed to be a highlight of your voyage. From Walvis Bay you will take a light aircraft over the Namib Desert to the Kuiseb River.
Enjoy some low-level flying along the Kuiseb River onto the Desert Ecological Research Unit, Gobabeb founded in 1959. Pass Tsondabvlei, the only known breeding area for the Lappet Face Vulture in southern Namibia, towards the highest shifting sand dunes in the World at Sossusvlei. No part of the desert is visually more stunning than Sossusvlei.
The warm tints of the sand range from pale apricot to brick orange and deep red, vividly contrasting with the large white clay pans at some of their bases.
From Sossusvlei into the Diamond Restricted Area flying over the remains of three old diamond camps and crossing the coastline at Conception Bay passing colonies of Cape Fur seals, the shipwreck of the passenger liner "Eduard Bohlen" stranded in 1909, she lies 250m away from the shore.
Further along the coast another shipwreck, the "Shaunee" stranded in 1976. Along the coast with the Atlantic surf on the one side and the "long wall" (Namib Dunes) on the other, we reach Sandwich Harbour, a wetland of international importance and protected by the Ramsar Convention. The highest recorded density of Lesser and Greater flamingos was recorded at low tide with 7791 birds per kilometer. In harmony with the surroundings you will find Namibia's coastal salt mines, south of Walvis Bay, attracting thousands of birds.
Back to Walvis Bay, Namibia's major harbour town and a former enclave to South Africa, which was incorporated into Namibia on 01 March 1 1994.
On arrival at Walvis Bay Airport, you will be transferred back to the harbour.
Please note: This tour requires minimal activity however it is not suitable for guests who utilise a wheelchair of those with limited mobility. Guests must be able to climb on and off the aircraft with little or no assistance. Please note that the aircraft will not make a landing at Sossusvlei.
Explore the scenic beauty and Colonial past of Swakopmund during this orientation tour of the city, and a visit to the Walvis Bay Lagoon.
Depart the pier for the scenic drive along the coastal road to Swakopmund, located 19 miles north of Walvis Bay at the mouth of the Swakop River. En route, you will take in magnificent views of sand dunes on one side, and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. Upon arrival, you will take a tour of this seaside resort, which resembles a Bavarian village. Along the way, you will see Swakopmund's Colonial past reflected in the early-19th-century Art Nouveau architecture; many of the charming buildings found here have been declared National Monuments. You will also see the Magistrate's Court, or Keiserliches Bezirksgericht, Lutheran Church and old Railway Station building, which is now the main reception area of the Swakopmund Hotel.
You will then pass by the old Hansa Brewery and jetty before proceeding to the Kristall Gallery Centre displaying crystals weighing up to 14 tons, and considered the world's largest. The Kristall Gallery is closed on Sundays, therefore will be replaced with a brief orientation of the city instead.
Enjoy some free time before returning to Walvis Bay. A brief visit will be made to the Walvis Bay Lagoon and tidal flood plains. A RAMSAR Natural Heritage Site and one of the most important wetlands along South Africa's West Coast, the Walvis Bay Lagoon is renowned for its abundance of marine life, flamingos, pelicans and other bird species.
Please note: This tour requires a moderate amount of walking with a few steps to climb and is suitable for guests with limited mobility. Guests who utilise a wheelchair will require the assistance of a travel partner. The vehicles used are the best available and may be below the Silversea standard offered in other ports. Portions of the roadway are gravel surfaces may be a little bumpy. The order of sites seen may vary. The price of this tour is adversely affected by the cost of conducting business in this area of the world due to its high-cost infrastructure. Guides and adequate transportation need to be sourced from a distance. Sunblock, hats and comfortable shoes are recommended. Local souvenir shop accepts local currency (ZAR) and credit cards only. On Sunday March 6, 2016 (Voyage 1606) the Kristall Gallery will be closed, therefore will be replaced with a brief orientation of the city. Guests who wish to purchase any gemstone from the Kristall Gallery are required to provide a photocopy of their passport.
The Namib Desert is the oldest desert in the world. The word Namib means 'place of emptiness'. Come and discover the life in this desolate landscape, while exploring the dune landscape.
Depart the pier in 4x4 vehicles and proceed to the dunes. The drive along the foot of the dunes is slow, taking precaution not to drive on the gravel plains and cause unnecessary damage. Conservation issues and the geological structure of the desert are discussed en route.
Continue on an exhilarating 4x4 adventure over dunes, stopping to try to find rare desert species. The guide will stop frequently to look for tracks (known locally as reading the bushman paper) to determine which creatures were active the night before and wherever possible, will try to catch some of them. Guides will share their knowledge about each little desert animal, including adaptations and design for survival in the desert. Great care is taken to ensure each animal is returned safely to its home.
Perhaps you will find the White Lady Spider (which generally only moves after dark) as she rolls down a dune to escape and possibly see her dance at the bottom to defend herself. Maybe you will discover the elusive Palmato gecko, a nocturnal reptile, which is also transparent - see his vertebrae, blood veins and large eyes.
The Desert Sidewinder Adder is also an inhabitant of the dunes. Follow his caterpillar tracks across a dune slip-face and you may find him lying submerged in ambush for an unsuspecting Aporasaura Sand Diving Lizard. You may also spot the Namaqua Chameleon and various other little beetles, lizards and geckos that live and survive in the hot desert conditions. Experience the silence and much more.
Return to the quayside via the coastal road.
Please note: This tour requires a moderate amount of walking and guests must be agile and able to climb in and out of the 4x4 dune vehicles. The drive is along gravel roads and at times will be bumpy and dusty. This tour is not recommended to guests with limited mobility or those who utilise a wheelchair, those who suffer from back/neck problems, breathing difficulties, or allergies to dust. The desert area is hot and dry; please dress accordingly. Guests are advised to wear comfortable walking shoes, hats, sun protection, and sunglasses. The sighting of wildlife cannot be guaranteed. The price of this tour is adversely affected by the cost of conducting business in this area of the world due to its high-cost infrastructure. Guides and adequate transportation need to be sourced from a distance.
Experience an up-close look at the Namib and her dunes on this half-day adventure into the desert.
Depart from the pier on-board your 4x4 and travel along the scenic coastal road to the Musical Rocks situated in the 'Moon Landscape' in the rocky section of the Namib Desert. Enjoy the magnificent view of the Swakop River Canyon before continuing to the 'Lichen Koppie', a small hill littered with a big variety of Lichen plants. See the blooming of life in these seemingly 'dead' plants when your guide gives them some precious water.
The safari travels further through the Swakop River, a dry riverbed that seldom flows, to the 'Moon Mountains' allowing time to explore this area of deep chasms and interesting geological features before arriving at the world famous Welwitschia Mirabilis plants. The Welwitschia plant was discovered in 1859 by Dr. Friedrich Welwitsch and has been recorded as living to 1500 years. It is the most talked-about plant in the Botanical World and considered to be the Paradox of the Namib.
Your return to the ship starts from here while travelling through the Goanikontes Oasis and alongside the impressive sand dunes.
Please note: This tour requires a moderate amount of walking and guests must be agile and able to climb in and out of the 4x4 dune vehicles. The drive is along gravel roads and at times will be bumpy and dusty. This tour is not recommended to guests with limited mobility, those who utilise a wheelchair, those suffering of back/neck problems, breathing difficulties, or allergies to dust. The desert area is hot and dry; please dress accordingly. Guests are advised to wear comfortable walking shoes, hats, sun protection, and sunglasses. A portable toilet is available but there are no other facilities.