Welcome to our blog space

Buy now, travel later

Charly's Desert Tours is stretching our current COVID-19 special until the 30 June 2021. It is quite simple and super convenient, from the comfort of your home, from you smartphone or PC. You can buy our new offer ONLINE or you can use the traditional channels of emails, and phone calls to get our ADVENTURE VOUCHER for the BUY NOW, TRAVEL LATER special offer.

What this all means, if you purchase the BUY NOW, TRAVEL LATER voucher before or on 30 June 2020, we will honour our current specials until 30 June 2021! Yes, that is right, you will be able to make use of our amazing specials until 30 June 2021. Saving in the coastal activity market have never been this good!

This special offer is applicable for to our popular Living Dunes Experience and Kayaking@Birdrock tours.

Vouchers make wonderful gifts and experiences are better gifts that those that end up collecting dust on a forgotten shelve! So think of birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas or just think of good friends in need of some fresh air!

Get your voucher ONLINE now, Visa and Master cards accepted.

Terms and conditions:

  • This voucher cannot be redeemed for cash or used for any other activity.
  • This voucher cannot be extended past 30 June 2021
  • This voucher is for a minimum of 2 adults, should you be buying this voucher for 1 adult and 1 child, the rate of two adults will be applicable
  • This voucher is only available for Namibian citizens, and proof of citizenship is required on the date of the excursion
  • Bookings for a travel date are essential and subject to availability

Buy now travel later 2

Specials until the end of June

In an attempt to keep the business going and the keep our permanent staff and our loyal guides employed, we are cutting our prices.

Until the end of June we will operate our new Kayaking venture and our Living Dunes Experience at N$ 400.00 per person and N$ 200.00 per child under 13 years.

Both excursions require a minimum of 2 adults to operate and children must be accompanied by at least one adult.

Covid-19 precaution include:

  • Our comfortable 9 seater vehicles will only be carrying a maximum of 5 guests, private tours for minimum of 4 guests can be arranged.
  • Our vehicles are sanitized daily. This includes: door handles inside and outside, seatbelt buckles and window opening mechanisms.
  • Guests will be required to sanitize hands before entering the vehicle. Alcohol based sanitizer is provided.
  • Guests will be required to wear face masks as per Government regulation. Guests must supply own masks.
  • For the kayaking trip, guests are welcome to drive their own vehicle to the launch site near the Guano Island. 4x4 is required, (we will provide a compressor to re-inflate your tyres afterwards)
  • Should guests wish to be collected from home, we will be carrying a maximum of 5 guests in our 9 seater vehicle, or maximum of 3 guests in our 5 seater vehicles.
  • Kayaking guests must provide own towels.

So, here are some details for each tour:

Living Dunes Experience ("Little 5 tour")

  • Departure 8h30, we can pick you up at your home, or we can meet at our office in the Brauhaus Arcade
  • This tour returns just after 12h00
  • One bottle of still mineral water per person in included

Kayaking at the Guano Island

  • Departure 9h00, we can pick you up at your home or we can meet at our office in the Brauhaus Arcade
  • We return to Swakopmund just after 12h00
  • Life jackets (compulsory) and waterproof clothing is provided
  • One bottle of mineral water per person is included
  • Guests must supply own towel (don't worry, only your feet should get wet)
  • Coffee, tea and hot chocolate will be available after the kayaking
  • We will be kayaking for a little over one hour  
  • Kayaking is available from 15 May

Independence special

It is time to celebrate!

To celebrate Namibia’s 30 Year Independence, we will offer special prices for the next 30 days.

Our popular Living Dunes Experience will be reduced to N$ 450.00 per person. This is a massive N$ 250.00 per person saving for the next 30 days! Book this special online here.

The classic Welwitschia Tour will also be reduced to N$ 500.00 per person, which is another N$ 280.00 per person saving. Book online here

We are also discounting out new Kayak @Birdrock tour by N$ 250.00 per person for 30 days starting 1 April. Book this special rate online now!

All our vehicles are sanitized daily and our guides will make sure that each guest sanitizes their hands before entering any of our vehicles.

Direct bookings only, no agents.

Johnny feeding Chameleon small Welwitschia mirabilis small Child on kayak small

COVID-19 cancellation policy update 17 March 2020

Just like the rest of the world, the Namibian tourism industry is experiencing massive cancellations due to flight restrictions and general fear of travel. Namibia has restricted flights from Europe until 15 April 2020.

We encourage guests not to cancel any tours at this stage, but to rather postpone to a future date. Should a future date not be available yet, we encourage guests to rather keep their bookings on hold, until a new travel date is set. Payments made will lie as a credit for when travel will take place. Charly's Desert Tours will not be charging any cancellation fees should bookings be moved to a future date, or placed on hold.

Our standard cancellation policy stipulates that 80% of the full payment will be refunded if a booking is cancelled prior to 48 hours before the tour. We have re-evaluated this policy and we have introduced a more lenient interim policy to handle Corona virus related cancellations. 

Under this revised interim policy, should you prefer to receive a refund, we will refund 90% of the full amount paid for all bookings with travel dates from the current date until the end of April 2020. These refunds will be processed at the end of March for March bookings, and at the end of April for April bookings. 

Any bookings made for travel after 30 April 2020 will be subject to our standard cancelation policy. 

Re-instatement of bookings will be subject to availability as well as activity rate increases which come into effect after 1 Jan 2021.

We may re-evaluate these dates again, based on future flight availabilities. 

 

It is finally happening, Charly's now offeres Kayaking!

It has been thought, an idea and a wish for about two years. Now it is finally happening. Charly's Desert Tours now offers kayaking!

Kayaking at the Namibian coast is already quite well established and there are operators already offering quality kayaking tours, but our trips will be slightly different!

Where others have an hour long drive from Walvis Bay just to get to the launch sites at Pelican Point, we acknowledge that our guests are actually on holiday. Instead of expecting our guests to check in at Walvis Bay early in the morning, we will allow our guests to sleep in a little and have a leisurely breakfast, holiday style. Pick up is only at 9h00 in Swakopmund. Yes, we will actually pickup our kayaking guests. Transfer time is just about 20 minutes to get to the launch site at the historic landmark known as "Bird Rock". Sheltered by the big bay, we paddle in calm waters, enjoy wonderful bird life, see seals playing and dolphins swimming. Pelicans, cormorants and flamingoes are amongst the many birds to be seen on the beach, the water and the air.

Up to 16 guests at a time can join us every morning for a fun and peaceful kayaking trip. We paddle for about 1 hour 15 minutes, before we enjoy some hot beverages on the beach. Our brand new Fluid Synergy kayaks can be paddles solo or double, and they can even accommodate a little child together with mom and dad. Fun for the whole family. 

We have got life jackets in various sizes, and offer water proof pants and jackets. But is recommended to bring along a set of dry clothes, we even have a change room for your convenience!

So, come on, let’s have some fun, be a little active, breath in some fresh sea air and just enjoy nature!

Oh, before I forget, "Bird Rock" is also known as "Guano Island", which does not mean that it smells bad. It does sometimes smell a little, when the wind blows in the afternoon, but by then we are already gone again. We will however share the interesting story of one man's entrepreneurial spirit to build a man made island to harvest "white gold". By about 12h30 our guests are back in Swakopmund, getting ready for their afternoon activity, or leisurely stroll through our beautiful little town.

Combine the morning kayaking with any of the following afternoon activities and get 10% discount on the afternoon activity*! Choose from Living Dunes Experience, Welwitschia Tour, Swakopmund City Tour, Bites & Brews Culinary Experience, Sandwich Harbour tour or 2 hours of Quadbiking.

We are also working on a combination for active people, that includes a fat bike beach drive after the kayaking. This however will only be availbale on low tide. Check with us for suitable dates.

So here is the short version:

Pick up in Swakopmund at 9h00, 20 minutes transfer, 1 hour 15 minute kayaking, hot beverages and return to Swakopmund by 12h30. All equipment included. Price will be N$ 700.00 per adult and N$ 400.00 for Children up to 13 years. Pre-booking is essential.

*Terms and conditions apply, no agents.

Child on kayak small

 

Dolphin2

 

Team takes part in emergency training

As part of our Health & Safety training, our team took part in firefighting training. The handling of fire extinguishers and various other aspects of firefighting were addressed. Thank you to the staff of Excellent Fire Fighting Services in Swakopmund for facilitating this training session.

Implementing and renewing Emergency Safety Procedures are part of our commitment to the safety of our staff and our valued guests. All our guides are also trained in basic First Aid as required by regulation. Our fleet of modern vehicles undergoes frequent checks and all vehicles are equipped with required safety equipment.

Fire2

Testing re-usable glass bottles

It has been a long search to find a workable and feasible solution to get rid of single use plastic bottles on our day tours. Although we have not solved all the problems, logistical challenges and pricing, we are a step closer. Much closer! Today we are testing a re-usable glass bottle for the first time on tour. The water tastes great and the bottle is just the right size. So if the guides and the clients are happy, if we can manage to get the bottles back from our guests every time and if the supply can keep up with the demand, and if the price is acceptable....

For now it is just testing, but we got to start somewhere.

Glassbottle

Renaming an old classic

There has been too many misunderstandings as to the different desert tours we are offering. So we are officially renaming one of our tours in order to try to make things a little clearer.

The classic Charly’s desert tours which has always been called “Namib Desert Tour”, will from now on be known as “Welwitschia Tour”. The new name better represents the essence of the tour and hopefully assists travelers and booking offices to book the correct tour. We have ordered new brochures with the new name, however the old one’s will be in circulation for a long time.

So as a short reminder, the “Welwitschia Tour” explores the Moonlandscape, the ancient canyons carved into the Namib Desert by the ephemeral Swakop River. On this tour we focus on the desert flora, including the famous Welwitschia plants, the Nara and the lichens. Our guides will also introduce the basic geology and guests will see beautiful rock formations.

Although we occasionally come across some small creatures, the “Welwitschia Tour” does not enter the dunes, and we do not search for the “little 5” on this tour.

This 4 hour tour departs daily at 8h30 and at 14h00 with a minimum of 2 guests.

We also offer a full day “Welwitschia Tour”, starting at 8h30 and returns at about 16h30. A light lunch is included.

Brndler004

Intertidal Beach Tour

Probably the most underrated activity in Swakopmund must be the Intertidal Beach Tour offered by well-known fishing company Aquanaut Tours. These guys have been on our beaches and observing the live in the rock pools for many years. The intertidal beach tour is possible only low tide, so this activity will not be available every day and naturally not always at the same time.

Where we and others typically brag about the “little 5” tours in the dunes, the intertidal beach tour should have been called the “little 50” tour. The amount of life on our virtually pristine coastline is just amazing, but even more impressive is the skill of finding and identifying all these amazing little sea creatures. Sea cucumbers, crabs, variety of star fish, sea hare, mollusks, mussels, fish, anemones and so much more. This is the perfect outing for families, the kids will be as fascinated as the adults.

Make your reservation for December now. Since the departure time of this booking is tide dependent, the correct time of the tour will be communicated to you once we have your booking.

To reserve your seats, click here BOOK NOW

BeachDrivesmall

Book your fishing experience online

Online bookings and live availability checks are the way of to go. More and more Swakopmund based companies are making use of modern online reservations systems, and our fishing partner, Aquanaut Tours is one of them. Book your fishing trip online now, to make sure you don't miss out when the local holiday season starts.

It is all pretty easy via our website, where full and half day fishing trips and many other activities are available.

RodHookedDGsmall

First review of our new tour: Bites & Brews

 
 
The Bites & Brews tour was the highlight of our limited time in Swakopmund. We were introduced to locations and products that were off-the-beaten-path and would have escaped our notice otherwise. Every site we visited had a unique offering. It was a perfect combination of relaxed exploration and information. As a lover of olives, essential oils, coffee, beer, fine dining, and gin, this was pretty much a perfect excursion for me. The passion of the guides and the hosts at each location was evident and infectious. We actually came back to Two Beards coffee shop and bistro for more deliciousness the following day on our own, now that we knew where the place was, thanks to Gerald and Nick. We went out with Charly's again 2 days later for the Living Dunes, which was also fantastic. I wish I could go higher than 5 stars on this one.
snack

The first cruise ship for the season

 

Yesterday was the beginning of our cruise ship season. The "Europa 2" was built in 2013 in France and can accommodate 516 passengers. We were contracted for a full day desert tour for 48 guests, departing from the Harbour of Walvis Bay. The sister ship "MS Europa" with a capacity of 408 passengers will call in early December, and we will be there again.

Europa

 

Europa2

It has already been 5 years...

Today 5 years ago I took over Charly’s Desert Tours. What a strange experience it was to answer my first phone call with “Charly’s Desert Tours, how can we help?, still sitting in my little home office somewhere in Vineta and feeling a little lost.

The business was about to be closed under the previous owner and there were only one or two confirmed day tours on the calendar. Since I did not buy the old and familiar Land Rovers, I started with 2 second hand Mitsubishi Delica’s that I brought into the business from my previous work. A lot has changed since… I am no longer sitting alone in my home office, but we are a small team in a downtown office in a central location with lots of walk in clients and a great number of tour operators and hotels / guesthouses who are booking the various tours we are offering.

Today we are receiving the license to our 4th custom build and brand new 10 seater vehicle and our fleet has grown to currently 9 vehicles.

Some of the old tours, like the Cape Cross and Messum Crater Combo, were discontinued, and we have eventually stopped offering tours, so we can concentrate entirely on the day tours we operate and the activities we sell from our registered booking office. We have also retired the old bookings diary and moved to an online booking and management system. Our new tour “Bites & Brews” has been introduced and we are busy getting the word out into the world and working on future bookings. We are confident that it will be a hit, but we know new things take time.

For the period of 1 year until today, we have had about 14 000 customers, and have received TripAdvisor certificates of Excellence for the last three years running. Reaching this point is due to lots of hard work, long hours and weekends, but would not have been possible with the team in the office, including my wife Rene who took over all the admin and the dedicated team of guides that stuck with me. Jonny, Ernst, Kooitjie, Nick, Bawden, Harald and Egon (who have since retired), Jochen, Cleo that eventually moved on, Ruth and lately Klaus, occasionally Frank, and a few drivers that have taken care of so many airport and desert dinner transfers.

So here is a big THANK YOU to all that have supported Charly’s Desert Tours in the last 5 years!

Fun guide training with lots of beer

As part of guide training for our new day tour, here we are busy with many glasses of fine craft beer. What a fun afternoon this turned out to be. The guides are excited to start this new venture and we are sure our guests will have a lot of fun and will be amazed by the quality of products they will be introduced to on this tour. Online bookings for the BITES & BREWS are now open on our website.

beertasting

Our new tour is here!

West Coast Bites & Brews is a fresh new half day tour in Swakopmund,

Celebrating locally grown and crafted products.

In conjunction with local farms and craftsmen we introduce world class products made here in Swakopmund by passionate people. Local products are trendy, more sustainable, creative and fun.

At nearby farms we delve into the secrets of the ancient Jojoba oil, the endemic !Nara oil and visit an olive grove. We explore a coffee roastery, do tastings of Swakopmund craft beer and gin while snacking on some delicious local snacks.

Small groups of up to 10 guests ensure an intimate and fun experience.

Finally there is something to do in the afternoons, no matter if the South-west wind blows or not.

This tour includes visits to:

  • an olive farm and tasting olive oils and olives
  • a Jojoba plantation and testing of jojoba and other oils
  • a coffee roastery with coffee tastings
  • a gin distillery with gin tasting
  • Craft beer tasting
  • Delicious snack platter

Additionally we offer on-tour purchases of the products we test, taste and feel so bring you wallet

This tour will be available from 17 September, Monday to Friday 14h00-18h00

BitesandBrews

Our new day tour...

It is not yet time to reveal our new afternoon excursion, but the following two statements are true:

This tour will be departing Swakopmund with a minimum of 2 guests at 14h00.

We will operate this tour Mondays to Friday’s and not on weekends. (You see, it is already different to all the other tours that go out every day J )

Until we can tell you more, have a cold beer, the sun is shining in Swakopmund.

Beer2

 

A fresh new day-tour coming soon

For decades the Swakopmund day tour / activity market has been dominated by a handful of choices. Some are water based like the Seal & Dolphin Cruises or Kayaking, some are based on the dunes like the Sandwich Harbour Tours and the Living Desert Tours, some explore the hinterland like the Welwitschia plains and the Kuiseb River with the Topnaar community. Some even go to Cape Cross, some fly over the desert and some stay in town like City Tours or Township Tours. All of these come in different shapes and sizes. Different timings, durations, prices, bigger groups, smaller groups, older vehicles, newer vehicles.... Most if these activities are great and totally worthwhile experiences, offered by passionate operators and guides. 

But it is time for something new! Something different!

Sometime in mid-September hopefully, Charly's Desert Tours will start a fresh new half day tour called........................................... (Ha, we will not give it away yet).

All I can say at this moment, our new tour will depart in the afternoon at 14h00. Oh, the afternoon winds we typically experience here at the coast will not bother us.

So, when you are back from your Kayaking trips and Dolphin cruises, your Living Dunes Experiences and your late morning Quadbike trip, you will be in time to join us in small groups of up to 10 guests on the ................(almost gave it away).

Oh, something else I can say. The duration will be about 4 hours.

We will reveal more information sometime next week...until then, enjoy a good cup of coffee, maybe it can help with the cold weather.

Coffeecup

Staying at an Airbnb in Swakopmund?

With the ever growing phenomena of Airbnb, we as a local day tour / activity supplier are faced with the ever-growing frustration of not finding guests booked on our tours. As the overwhelming majority of Airbnb’s are private home and apartments with no branding, we are having real trouble finding guests booked on our activities. So, Charly’s Desert Tours will no longer pick up guests from Airbnb’s and private homes, but rather meet guests at an agreed upon location, like our offices or a central public parking area.

Other guests have to wait for long times, or drive around aimlessly with our guides in search of unmarked houses, often with not even a telephone number.

Should you be staying with friends or at an Airbnb, please let us guide you to a mutual meeting place.

Confused

Namibian Clean-up Day

Our country called for action and we answered. Namibia's first National Clean-up Day was held last Friday. Although it was a busy day for our guides and our office, we entered a small team to do our bit. Even my 9 year old son joined in. The young man was very eager and thinks it was a great idea to clean up the environment. Although it felt good collecting so much garbage, we are saddened by the fact that there was this much garbage in the first place.

We will soon have a trial month where we will not issue single use plastic water bottles. I have mixed feelings as to how our clients will respond to this, but let’s at least try. More on this will follow soon.

Cleanup3small

 

The Queen Elizabeth end off the cruise-liner season for Namibia

 

 

Yesterday the Cruise-liner season for Namibia came to an end on a high note with a call of the Queen Elizabeth. We had an early start and the harbour was still nice and quiet. Some of the guests had the opportunity to go "Safari for the little animals" as one of our guests called our Living Dunes Experience  yesterday.

Our fleet of 4x4 vehicles looks so small next to this majestic ship. We would have to make 38 trips in our fleet if we had to take all of the 2092 guests the ship can accommodate on tour. If we were to do two tours a day, this would keep us busy for 19 days. Unfortunately these cruise-liners arrive in the morning and set sail again the same day.

QE2small

Best way to eat steak

Typically I don't share recipes, but I have to share this today. Last night I learned something while celebrating a friend’s birthday at the Old Steamer Restaurant here in Swakopmund.

The best accompaniment to a Fillet steak with a pepper sauce is to enjoy it with another steak with Garlic butter! Who needs salads an all the other fancy stuff if chef Albi serves you his best cut of beef?

Find the Old Steamer at the Alte Brücke Resort in Swakopmund. The service is great, the décor is nice, the food is fantastic, and the price is pretty reasonable.

Oldsteamer

Sand & Rock Combo tour now online

Finally our Sand & Rock Combo is just a click away. We have managed to make this combo tour available online, and have even managed to add the delicious Crayfish lunch for those who want to be pampered.

Where our full day Namib Desert Tour is available only for a minimum of 4 guests, we offer the Sand & Rock tour with a minimum of 2 guests, as we are essentially combining the popular Living Dunes Experience and the half day Namib Desert Tour.

This combination shows the desert from all sides, what a wat to spend the day!

Johnny feeding Chameleon small Welwitschia mirabilis small

Book your Fat Bike trip online

Swakopmund is modernizing. One activity at a time. We are excited to be able to have our customers book their Swakopmund Fat Bike experience directly from our website. Availability is live and bookings are easy to make online. Book Now

FatBike

Queen Mary 2 visits again

We had the pleasure of welcoming a number of guests from the Queen Mary 2, one of the world’s largest cruise liners. With tours in the morning and in the afternoon, we treated a number of guests to see and experience the beauty of the Namib Desert. Our 3 hour tour in the dunes introduced the guests to the wealth of life in the desert. Plenty of exceptional photo opportunities and a glass of bubbly on the beach made for a fun and educational eco tour in our custom built Safari vehicles.

3 Rangers with Guest on beach