Overland Travel: Walvis Bay – Spitskoppe – Windhoek, Namibia


It was time for all good things to come to an end. As our time at the Pelican Point Lighthouse ended, it was time for us to return back towards Windhoek. Our trip today would have us pass through Spitskoppe along the way back to Namibia, travelling through scenic horizons along a reasonably well travelled road.

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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Activity: Overland Travel Walvis Bay – Spitskoppe – Windhoek, Namibia

“The Driving Route from Walvis Bay to Windhoek was a pleasant day made relaxing by our leisurely pace. “

Plotting the Route:

On today’s travel agenda was to get us back to Windhoek. It was a distance of 478 km travelled over 5 hours. Our drive looked mostly like this (the blue line). With the exception of the Pelican Point sandbar departure, the route was paved all the way.

After our walk about around The Pelican Point Lighthouse, we packed up the car and headed for Walvis Bay, Swanpkomund, and onward to Windhoek. For those that are contemplating the drive in / out on the sandbar, and can’t be bothered to bring or pack the gauge, our tires looked like this in their deflated state.

Driving on Sand: What 25PSI looks like

It took us almost 1 hour to get off the Pelican Point sand spit, as it took us a while to find the trail head, and I was driving slowly (25 km/h- due to the deflated tires) as I didn’t want any untoward damage to the rental truck. It took us a while to find the trail head as it wasn’t sign posted easily (it seems sand bars don’t have signs) and there were a lot of tidal pools of unknown depth or firmness that prevented cris-crossing the sand bar on the east side. I wasn’t about to get a rental truck stuck there, so we played it very safe.

Headed South from the Pelican Point Lighthouse
Locating the Trail Head

We eventually got closer to the trail head by passing by the natural pink flamingo populations near the edge of the sand spit.

Wild Pink Flamingo’s
Standing on One Leg
Pink Flamingo’s

Finally back on land, I located a Shell gas station in town, tanked up the car and were able to inflate the tires. We passed by the sand dunes of Walvis Bay and the upscale houses that they had on the coast line.

We also passed by Swankpomund, which appeared to be a charming sea side town with nice coastal views. It reportedly has very cold ocean water as most of the ocean currents come from the Antarctica south.

Headed to Swankpomund
A Sandy Deserty Highway

I was looking for a car wash as the truck was looking absolutely filthy and sure to withstand an additional cleaning charge on return to the airport thanks to all the salt encrusted sand stuck all over the running boards and the salt water smearing to the windows (with those white lined water droplets over every window). As it was Sunday, most of the car washes in Walvis Bay and Swankomund were lined up 7-10 cars deep. I had hoped to find another one in a highway town on the drive back, but was unable to locate one until Windhoek.


Checking out Spitskoppe:

We headed inland and took a drive past Spitskoppe. It was about 30 minutes off the main highway and the Namibian government wanted $16 USD for a permit for us to enter with our car, despite us only wanting to take a few pictures. Since time was tight due to the gates closing for the day and darkness falling in late afternoon, we just opted for the photographs from the roadside.

It was quite an impressive place, with a lot of opportunities to drive around. I would have loved to have spend some more time there looking as it appears that you can drive around the entire structure with lots of trails that begged to be explored on foot.

Arriving to Spitskoppe
Our Views from the Outside of the Gates at Spitskoppe
Spitskoppe at Dusk
Bluffs of Spitskoppe

Back on the Road towards Windhoek:

Without further Spitskoppe exploration, we carried on towards Windhoek. There was almost nowhere to stop for lunch or for snacks other than a few Engen gas stations that also appeared to be the town public washroom. MrsWT73 attempted to use one but found it lined up with about 20 people. Overall it was a very pretty and scenic drive from the coast to the capital.

Scenic Mountains Dot the Horizon
Driving Highway B2 Spitskoppe Towards Winhoek
Scenic Highways Towards Windhoek

It took us about 6 hours of driving to get from Walvis Bay to Windhoek with the side stop at Spitskoppe. It was pretty much single file traffic the whole way with a few trucks in between. There were only a few places that had passing lanes so it was a slow go all up.

Arriving to Windhoek:

When we arrived to Windhoek at about 7:30PM on a Sunday evening, I dropped MrsWT73 at our hotel for the night, the Hilton Windhoek. I set out to attempt to wash and tank up the car prior to it’s return tomorrow I asked the hotel concierge for some recommendations for an automated car wash or a self wash bay. They suggested two places and I drove over to them but they were all closed. All the wash bays in Windhoek, and Namibia for that matter, appeared to be full service bays (using hand human washers) that closed after regular working hours. Some were only open 5 days a week and being a weekend, I appeared to be out of luck. I was unable to find any self service bays or even the basic automatic roll over car washes at gas stations that we had at home.

I ended up going old school and asked a Shell gas station attendant if he could help me clean the car. He was entrepreneur and brought out the gas station high pressure fire hose and immediately hosed down the entire car and undercarriage right then and there in the gas pump lane. He did such a through job, I gave him a 100NAD ($7 USD) tip on the spot as it would have surely saved me some time explaining the state of the car to the Hertz dealer. Receiving the tip, he looked like he had gone over the moon with happiness and frankly I was thankful for getting the car looking new again.

My Thoughts on Driving from Walvis Bay to Windhoek

Our return drive back from Walvis Bay through Spitskoppe to Windhoek, Namibia was an enjoyable drive. The road was well maintained and the scenery was also pleasant. I’d recommend bringing along some self catered sandwiches as there aren’t too many obvious restaurants on the journey. Nevertheless, if you make a day of it and don’t rush the journey, it’s a really enjoyable experience.

If you’ve driven this route, did you enjoy the isolation and experience as much as we did?

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