Luís Simões, travel sketcher around the world
Namibia Pt. 2 – Sossusvlei to Swakopmund
Namibia by bicycle part 2 – Sossusvlei to Swakopmund is a 6-8 day bike touring route across Namib-Naukluft National Park that takes in a variety of terrain and landscapes. The route offers a unique barren road, with its burnished orange bedrock, valleys, and a long ragging path.
One bike touring course that is a must-do in Namibia undoubtedly is Sossuvlei to Swakopmund (or vice versa). It’s a 6-8 day bike touring route across Namib-Naukluft National Park that takes in a variety of terrain and landscapes. Together with the Namibia part 1 – Windhoek to Sossusvlei, it creates a 681 km (423 miles), 10-14 days of the venture.
Namibia by Bicycles
Sossusvlei is an enchanting playground that you won’t regret visiting. The forever shift in shape and hue of the dunes. Forms and reforms their contours by the wind, while their color changes from ochre to burnished orange to fiery red over the course of the day. The constant cobalt blue sky is in contrast to the blazing tones of the sand. The centerpiece is the shriveled weird white pan of Deadvlei where skeletal trees – some hundreds of years old, dot the cracked clay floor. The scene is nothing short of otherworldly.
The route will take you from Sesriem, the gate to Sossusvlei, to Swakopmund, the second biggest town in Namibia. It’s a mixed-terrain adventure made of rough corrugated roads, a short paved section through the valley of Namib-Naukluft National Park, and smooth tared along the Atlantic Ocean that connects Walvis Bay and Swakopmund.
Water & Food
Whenever you are doing this route, it’s recommended to start the day on the first light. Not only because the heat after 10 AM is a no joke, but to immerse yourself in the wildlife. Say hi to curious Zebras, or get a chance to race with Oryxes.
After Sesriem, the only place to stock up is Solitaire before you reach Walvis Bay. This section is 280 km away of nothing. Therefore, at least, prepare yourself with 3-4 days of food at this point.
Keep in mind that you are cycling through an arid region, yet touristy. You can see the tourists as a benefit or the other way around, it’s all up to you. If you consider them as a blessing, you don’t need to worry about getting a lack of water through the course. And if you are lucky, you will get an extra boost from them.
Once you reach the first valley, you will start to climb 280 meters up in 9 km before you roll down again to the second valley. In this section and a bit further up, you will ride through the hilly row that appears to be the wave on the ocean. A group of constant ragging roads that will demand your determination.
Note that although the valley seems like a good place to stay a night, we highly recommend you avoid staying overnight. You don’t want a big cat to be your company at night. Keep pushing your bike to a higher place or stop and find a spot before you went down to the valley. However, as this area is Namib-Naukluft National Park, it’s illegal to do wild camp. There are official campsites that you can check on our map.
When you reach Vogelfederberg, means you are a day before the city! Well done! Vogelfederberg is a small facility that offers a convenient overnight camp before you arrive in Walvis Bay. During the day, this place is popular for picnics or short walks. If you are lucky, you can dip yourself into intermittent pools – filled with rainwater – on the summit.
Unlike Swakopmund that quite a touristy town, Walvis Bay is actually the area where tourist spends their time enjoying the area. Such as observing a colony of an elegant wading bird on the lagoon, going to the pink beach, riding the fat bike or sandboarding on dune 8, or even riding the 4×4 on the sandwich beach.
However, if you want to skip Walvis Bay and go straight to Swakopmund, you can turn right into D1984 after Walvis Bay Internation Airport. You will ride with a huge pile of ochre sand on the left side, Dune 7, and Swartkoppies on the right side.
Once you arrive in Swakopmund, you will understand why most of the tourists prefer to stay in this town rather than in Walvis Bay. The violent Atlantic ocean to one side, the towering dunes of the Namib to the other, the German colonial town feels like an outpost time forgot. Enjoy the comfortable fresh weather and have a break of bike touring from the hot desert sun.
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- Sossusvlei: Salt pan
- Solitaire: A small settlement, yet an oasis for a traveler
- Namib-Naukluft National Park
- Dune 7
- Flamingo Lagoon
- Pink Lake