Last Updated on August 17, 2022
The deserts of Namibia are home to some of the highest sand dunes in the entire world and in the region of Erongo sports like sand surfing and dune skiing have gained much popularity amongst locals and tourists, especially on the dunes near Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, whereas the dunes of Sossuvlei are favorited by desert hikers and climbers.
Moreover, Namibia is the country where sand-skiing was made popular by Guiness World Record holder Henrik May who professionally operates dune skiing in the Namib Desert and entered history by sand skiing on the dunes between Swakopmund and Walvisbay at 92.12 km/hour in 2010.
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Sandboarding in Namibia
Swakopmund is a tourist-friendly resort town located in the north-western coast of Namibia and the most beloved spot by sandboarders in the country.
Sandboarding is a very popular recreational activity in Swakopmund and there are plenty of companies which will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the dunes and then back at your accommodation.
When you pick a company, make sure that they have actual sandboarding equipment and not cardboards. A real sandboard will make you slide faster and minimize risk of injury. Do not attempt stand-up boarding if your board is not equipped with foot straps.
There are many tour operators offering sandboarding as a stand-alone activity or as part of a sand duning package. If you love animals, you can enjoy sandboarding as part of a desert safari quad tour. We recommend using a renowned company that offers sandboarding boards rather than cardboard sleds:
Tours by Viator:
Tours by Civitatis:
Walvis Bay is where you can find the popular Dune 7, which offers great drops at 1256 feet (383 metres) of height. Dune 7 can be quite difficult to climb so it’s best to go there with a quad bike as you will have to hike back on top of the dune after every sandboard ride.
There are plenty of local operators organizing dune boarding in the area, but most of them will offer you a cardboard for sledding. If you are planning to do stand-up boarding, it is best to choose a well-known operator with adequate equipment.
Alter-Action Sandboarding has some of the best reviews and is mostly recommended by travelers. They offer two types of sandboardings with different ratings: lie down boarding with cardboard, which is slightly cheaper, easier and a lot of fun, and stand up boarding with sandboards equipped with foot bindings. The latter is an experience more similar to snowboarding but still rather beginner-friendly.
⚠️ Sandboarding is an extreme sport. While generally safe, the dunes in Namibia are VERY steep and many of the local sandboarding operators will offer you cardboard sleds rather than actual sandboards, which increases risk.
There have been cases of people getting severely injured and even deaths from sandboarding in Swakopmund and Welvis Bay. We recommend investing in a higher quality tour operator that provides proper equipment and making sure you are covered by sandboarding insurance in case something goes wrong.
Sandboarding is not normally allowed on any of the dunes at Sossuvlei National Park, although a permit may be granted on special occasions (mostly to professional sand-skiers).
Sand-skiing in Namibia
Namibia is at present the only country in the world where sand-skiing has been popularized thanks to the efforts of German-born resident Henrik May, who entered the Guinness World Record book for fastest skiing on sand in 2010. May skied down a 75m tall dune located between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay using a pair of HEAD skis with some wax for sand skiing applied to them.
Documentary: Sandboarding in Namibia
Enjoy watching this documentary from CGTN Africa, titled “Faces of Africa – Down Rise: A Sandboarder’s Dream“.
Synopsis: Namibia is a mecca for sand boarding in Africa. Raymond a Namibian knows too well the joy the sand dunes bring to his township as well as the tourists. He’s the founder of Township Tours and Sand boarding training. The profits made goes to empower his township.
International Sandboarding and Sand Skiing Insurance
World Nomads Insurance will cover the following activities during your trip to Namibia:
- Sand Skiing
- Dirt boarding (volcano boarding)
- Dune buggy
- Off-road BMX
- Off-road motorbiking
- Mountain biking
- Camel riding / trekking
- Camping (up to 19,685 feet/6,000 meters)
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