About Us

Charly’s Desert Tours started operating in 1966. A long history of creating memories and of pioneering spirt has since made Charly’s Desert Tours an established and trusted brand. Ownership changed a few times over all these years but the brand stood the test of time. The name originates from the founding owner, Charly Gürtel, who was endearingly called “Charly the Desert Fox”. In October 2013, Gerald Kolb became the proud owner of the legendary Charly's Desert Tours.

Gerald has been working in the tourism industry since 1997, initially guiding private camping safaris in Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe. This gave him the background knowledge of the tourism industry, and the experience of working with guests from many different cultures under many different and difficult circumstances.

Eventually working for one of Namibia's leading DMC's, Gerald became involved in planning and coordinating inbound incentive travel, event management and conferences for many years.

Changing circumstances awakened his old passion for guiding, which led to him starting a small company called Travel Time. The company offered interesting and informative half day tours in the Swakopmund area, where guests learned about the desert ecology and how the ancient cultures utilized many of the plants  which are found in the Namib Desert. After successfully building up "The Desert Tour", Gerald started Travel Time's second product, the "Swakopmund City Tour".

When the opportunity presented itself to take over Charly's Desert Tours, Gerald combined Travel Time and Charly's Desert Tours and is now trading under the grand old brand name of "Charly's Desert Tours". Today, Charly's Desert Tours  is the leading Swakopmund day tour / activity operator and booking office. We no longer offer overland tours through Namibia, but instead became experts in the day tour market for the central coast. We operate a number of these day tours and activities ourselves, and we partnered with carefully selected suppliers for some of the activities. Today we are a true one-stop booking office, offering a wide variety of experiences at the central coast. Come visit us in the Brauhaus Arcade in Sam Nujoma Avenue, opposite Nedbank.

Our Staff

Gerald Kolb

Gerald, as owner of the company, does a little of everything. He oversees the day to day operations, handles all the sales and marketing, looks after the fleet of vehicles and equipment, guides some desert and kayaking tours at times and oversees the general office operations. 

Rene Kolb

The administrative brain behind the company, Rene is responsible for all accounting and administrative systems.

Ernst Awaseb

Ernst is an experienced guide and at his most comfortable out in the dunes. His trained eye finds all the life in the dunes, no matter how small, and he shares this with great passion, making sure you get the pictures of a lifetime. His intimate knowledge of the local area and his friendly smile makes it a pleasure to travel with him.
Ernst speaks English, Afrikaans, a few words of German and Damara.

Johnny Nampungu

Sometimes we call Johnny "Captain Eagle Eye". Johnny's ability to identify and discover even the smallest sign of life in the soft dune sand is truly amazing. Reading tracks of little creatures that are blown over by the wind is quite an art, but Johnny with his no rush attitude and relaxed personality will find almost anything.
Johnny speaks English and Afrikaans and Oshiwambo

Immanuel Kooitjie 

Kooitjie knows the desert, and he knows it well. He is a gentleman with great respect for the desert, with excellent knowledge and a love of working with people; all the qualities we at Charly's appreciate and look for in our guides. Kooitjie is from the Topnaar community who still live in the desert environment today.
Immanuel speaks English, Afrikaans and of course his mother tongue Nama.

Ruth Feucht

Ruth is German and has been living and farming in Namibia for many years. Her agricultural background has been a great advantage for guiding tours out in nature, especially our Welwitschia tour that focusses a little more on plant life. But it is no surprise to see her in the dunes guiding out Living Dunes Experience, sharing her knowledge and passion about the Namib Desert. Here she is seen on one of our kayaking trips.
Ruth speaks German, English and a few words of Afrikaans



From time to time our guests may be guided by a few other handpicked guides like Nick Philander, Eckhard Demasius,  Joachim von Wietersheim and of course also Gerald Kolb himself.