Vacation time

Our coastline is a haven for countless unique plants, animals and birds. The steady degradation of Namibia's environment in particular the coastal and marine environment mainly through Off-road Recreational Vehicle (ORV) driver behaviour threatens the well-being of everyone in Namibia. When planning to spend time at the coast, please be mindful of the environment and ensure a sustainable future for your children and grandchildren by applying the following advice:

Do not drive off the road - Adhere to legal requirements

  • Desert gravel plains and lichen fields are very sensitive: tracks leave permanent scars and the sensitive, delicate equilibrium is lost forever.
  • River beds are like linear oases for wildlife to find food and water in particular the large mammals like the desert elephant are extremely stressed by irresponsible human behaviour.
  • The endemic animals and plants in the dune belt are severely impacted.
  • For your safety and security: driving in dunes is dangerous, it is advisable to go with a professional, qualified guide. Moreover, because of the isolation, in case of an accident help may take hours, placing your life in real danger.
  • To preserve the aesthetic beauty and wild character of the dunes, inselbergs, beaches and gravel plains.

Enjoy the dunes between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay with your 4x4 / quadbike / motorbike in the designated ORV area (central and southern part of the dune belt) where a free permit** from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) is required

  • A specific zoning of the dune belt between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay was done specifically to accommodate the different activities and minimise impact to the dune ecosystem. These areas were identified as adequate areas for ORV activities.
  • If too much hooliganism is noticed, a moratorium will be put in place and all off-road activities will be forbidden on state land.

Motocross bikes or quadbikes are ONLY allowed to drive on the beaches between Swakopmund and Henties Bay

  • Driving on beaches has an impact on mussels, and other macrofauna.
  • Racing up and down the beach is both inconsiderate and dangerous.
  • Vehicle tracks are the most serious form of pollution in the Namib.

Inside the ORV areas, stay on the dunes and avoid slip faces, gravel plains and vegetated areas

  • Slip faces, gravel plains and vegetated areas are the most sensitive and productive areas in the desert, ORV activity impacts the abundant life found here.

No overnight camping is allowed on the beaches or in the dunes without permission from the Ministry of Environment & Tourism (MET)

  • Overnighting in sensitive areas disturbs wildlife.
  • For keeping the dunes and beaches clean.
  • For your safety and security.

In the Dorob National Park, remain on demarcated routes and do not venture into other areas without a qualified guide

  • To maintain pristine landscapes and vistas.
  • For your safety and security.
  • Vehicle tracks are the most serious form of pollution along the coast.

Do not leave your litter behind - use refuse bins or take your rubbish home

  • A litter free environment is more appealing for present and future generations.
  • Some litter items take a very long time to disappear.
  • A plastic bag can kill animals: sea turtles think that it is a jelly fish, eat it and die of asphyxiation.

Obtain a permit from Ministry of Environment and Tourism offices for entering or camping in all parks

  • To acquaint yourselves with permitted activities and where they are allowed.
  • To help the Namibian Government to protect this international heritage.
  • For your safety and security.

Do not drive over vegetation, lichen fields and mudflats

  • These areas are abundant with small animals that are essential for the desert ecosystem, your tracks will destroy them.
  • Tracks on vegetated areas take many years to recover, once the shallow root systems of the slow growing vegetation are destroyed the plants die.
  • Tracks on mudflats leave permanent scars.

Obtain a permit* from the Namibian Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) to catch fish, collect bait/mussels or dive for rock lobster and respect harvesting limitations**

  • These areas are abundant with small animals that are essential for the desert ecosystem, your tracks will destroy them.
  • The marine resources are limited and currently some of them are overfished or over collected. Use them wisely and carefully to secure the future harvesting needs by protecting the stock. Quantity/number of marine resources harvestable, minimum size limits of fish and rock lobster that minimum size limits of fish and rock lobster that can be caught, open season etc. help to manage stocks to avoid the total disappearance of some species in our waters.

* you will find the contact details of MFMR offices at the bottom of this page
** you can download the harvesting regulations at the bottom of this page

Do not leave bait or fish on the beach: Either take it home or return it to the sea

  • This food attracts scavengers like jackals and gulls that predate on other biodiversity. When you are back home after the holiday, it also inflates the predator population.

When ordering seafood in restaurants consider your purchase with care. Be an informed seafood consumer and choose healthy fish populations and relieve the pressure on overexploited species.

Do not feed wildlife

  • “A fed animal normally becomes a dead animal”, a global problem as these animals often become dependent on hand-outs and are aggressive when no food is given to them.

Ensure that tour operators whether in aircraft, boat or car keep a safe distance from wildlife

  • For your security: when you trespass the minimum distance tolerated by wild animals, they may attack.
  • Not to stress and disturb wildlife in particular during breeding season.

Never camp near waterholes

  • Animals travel great distances to get to water in desert areas and are disturbed by a human presence.

Read up on the biodiversity of the coast before visiting areas

  • To avoid activities which may destroy the biodiversity or have negative impacts.
  • To know what is possible to see and discover on the coast.

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Swakopmund and Swakop River Mouth Swakopmund is the premier holiday resort in Namibia. During the summer holidays and long weekends thousands of Namibians flock to t...

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