Overland Travel: Sesriem – Walvis Bay, Namibia
Today’s travel experiences would have us travelling through the rugged rural landscapes of Namibia. Leaving the comforts of our camp in Sossusvlei, we’d head over land from Sesriem through the Namibian desert tundra to the coastal city of Walvis Bay. The drive was surreal, spectacular and remote; something any adventure traveler would enjoy.
This post is one chapter on our trip to South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mauritius and the United Arab Emirates. This trip was redeemed through American Airlines AAdvantage & Alaska Mileage Plan. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
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Read More from This Trip
- Trip Introduction: South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mauritius and the United Arab Emirates via Emirates First Class, South African Airways Business Class and Qatar Airlines Business Class
- American Airlines First Class: Vancouver – Los Angeles
- American Airlines AAdmirals Club: Los Angeles
- Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge: Los Angeles
- Qatar Airways Business Class: Los Angeles – Doha
- The Westin Hotel and Spa, Doha, Qatar
- Souq Wahif, Doha, Qatar
- Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Business Lounge, Doha, Qatar
- Qatar Airways Business Class: Doha – Johannesburg
- The Slow Lounge, O.R. Tambo Domestic, Johannesburg, South Africa
- British Airways Club Class: Johannesburg – Cape Town
- The Westin Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
- Winelands of Paarl, South Africa
- Shark Diving at Gaansbai, South Africa
- The Hermanus Coastal Walk, Hermanus, South Africa
- Returning to Stellenbosch & Franschoek, South Africa
- A Repeat Visit to the Test Kitchen, Cape Town, South Africa
- Air Namibia: Cape Town – Windhoek
- Overland Travel: Driving to the Desert; Windhoek – Sesriem
- The Sossus Dune Lodge, Sesriem, Namibia
- The Majestic Sand Dunes of Sossusvlei, Namibia
- Overland Travel: Sesriem – Walvis Bay, Namibia
- The Pelican Point Lodge, Walvis Bay, Namibia
- Overland Travel: Walvis Bay – Spittskope – Windhoek, Namibia
- The Hilton Windhoek, Namibia
- Air Namibia Windhoek – Maun – Victoria Falls
- The Victoria Falls Hotel, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
- Stopping Hippopotamus on a Zambezi River Cruise, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
- Feeling the Smoke that Thunders, a day at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
- British Airways Club Business Class: Victoria Falls – Johannesburg
- The Hyatt Regency Johannesburg
- South African Airways Business Class: Johannesburg – Mauritius
- The St Regis Mauritius, Le Morne, Mauritius
- Emirates First Class: Mauritius – Dubai
- The Grosvenor House, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- The Heat of the Desert at Al Ain, United Arab Emirates
- Emirates First Class Lounge Terminal “B” Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Emirates First Class: Dubai – Los Angeles
- Alaska Airlines Board Room Lounge, Los Angeles
- Alaska Airlines First Class: Los Angeles – Seattle
- Delta Sky Club Lounge Seattle South Terminal
- Delta Airlines First Class: Seattle – Vancouver
Activity: Overland Travel Sesriem to Walvis Bay, Namibia
“The Driving Route from Sesriem to Walvis Bay covered Desert to Coast topography and was among some of the most rural adventure drives of my life”
Checking out the Sesriem Canyon:
We departed the Sossus Dune Lodge and called in at Sesriem Canyon on the way out of town. It is located right across from the Sossus Dune Lodge entrance. A short clamber down what appeared to be a small river bed actually turned into a large deep ravine that contained water at one time over its life cycle.
Departing Sesriem for Walvis Bay:
Three Hundred and Twenty Kilometers Travelled.
After we explored, we left the Sesriem Canyon and started trucking North towards Solitaire. The route today was as follows. Like our earlier inbound trip, it was posted at 4 hours and change but was more like 6 hours actual time, including some stops. It was a pretty amazing drive along this route and one that I will easily remember for it’s scenic, desolate, isolated and rugged geography that was unlike anywhere that I had driven ever before.
We started out Northward on Route C19. The views were of rural mountains without a soul around.
We frequently spotted the Social Weaver building nests in the rural trees found on the side of the road.
We approached the desert town of Solitaire and stocked up on supplies.
We took lunch again at Solitaire as seen above before tanking up the truck with diesel and heading West on C14: a road that was in fairly good condition. When I mean that the road was in good condition, it was free of pot holes and debris. The next 234 km were mostly unpaved and packed gravel. There were a few paved spots in river beds and on the canyon hills but that was about it. There also happened to be very few people around as you can see from the photographs.
Heading West Towards the West African Coast:
We passed through some strong mountainous scenery, with game along the side of the road that included Impala, Oryx and Ostrich. The road was not completely fenced in all areas so we kept our eye out for wildlife.
Crossing the Tropic of Capricorn:
As we continued our journey, we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn. When you travel, there are some stories and milestones that make for great stories. You don’t get many opportunities to say that you drove through Africa and crossed the Tropic of Capricorn. As a result, we stopped for a photograph. We had the whole stop to ourselves and for once, there was no waiting for bystanders to get out of the way to get the right photograph.
The setting was pretty surreal. It was a marker line in the middle of nowhere surrounded by beautiful mountains
Passing through River Valleys:
Getting onwards with our trip, we passed through several mountain passes; Namibian style. These weren’t the typical interstate or highway mountain passes that we had at home, rather they were roads cut into the sides of mountains allowing the roadway to pass through canyons or hill sides and through dry river beds. Once again, there was some fascinating and rugged natural scenery as we passed through these two passes which had a lot of moonscape type of terrain.
The last part of the drive across the Tumas flats was pretty unexciting. We had about an hour of nothing, except for the odd power pole and burnt out car, which meant in some strange way that we were getting somewhere closer towards civilization. There was still the hot desert heat and the car thermometer read between 30 – 31 degrees Celsius.
Approaching Walvis Bay at Dune 7:
As we approached town, the Walvis Bay Sand dunes were ever present on the north side of the highway. We stopped at the locally famous Dune 7, where several locals were having a BBQ / Braii party with their car stereos pumping loud music as they took turns running up and down the shady side of the sand dune slopes. The sand here was much more grey and sandy coloured than the golds and reds of the Sossusvlei desert area.
We entered into town and headed towards the Pelican Point Lighthouse. The sand was almost taking over the highway on the C14.
My Thoughts on Driving Across the Namibia Desert
It was a fascinating day of driving across a vast tundra that didn’t have anyone around. I think we saw maybe 4 cars going the opposite direction the entire day, maybe less than 5-7 people total in our 6 hour drive. It had some spectacular sights along the way. It was pretty neat to get a selfie at the Tropic of Capricorn; certainly not something that you get to do everyday.