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“Spectacular, just spectacular!!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Turnstone Tours

Turnstone Tours
| PO Box 307, Swakopmund, Namibia
++ 264 64 403123
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Ranked #10 of 25 Activities in Swakopmund
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Chicago, Illinois
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Spectacular, just spectacular!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2012

Three of us booked 2 half-day tours on a recent visit to Walvis Bay, Namibia. when our ship paid a visit there. All our arrangements with Turnstone Tours were handled via email. Turnstone was VERY quick to respond with clear, informative answers. Based on the reviews here and the friendly professionalism of the e-mail exchange I felt comfortable booking the tours.
The first tour was an afternoon tour which could be described as an ornithological extravaganza. Now, none of us are birdwatchers but our guide, Ernst, knew so much about what we were seeing that we all were filled with his enthusiasm. Ernst took us literally off the beaten path to see flurries of flamingos, colonies of seals, avocets and more. When we returned to our ship and told fellow passengers of the tour, all said that they saw NO flamingos and that the guides on the ship-sponsored tours said the flamingos had already migrated away from Namibia.
Our second half-day tour was of the German town of Swakopmund and the dunes that are prevalent in Walvis Bay. Again, Ernst really knew his stuff and his enthusiasm spilled over on to us.
All this to say, Turnstone WELL exceeded our expectations and for a cost LESS than the ship's sponsored tours.

Visited February 2012
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36 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Namibia
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Spiritual Sandwich Harbour, Namibia with Turnstone Tours”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2012

Sandwich Harbour is a RAMSAR Site (The Convention of Wetlands) and it is vigilantly preserved.
For me Sandwich Harbour is a very spiritual place. There is an amazing energy from the dunes as well as the sea. As Namibians, we have been to Sandwich Harbour many times. This time we were treated by a friend to a full day tour and have just had the most wonderful, highly stimulating and energetic tour with TURNSTONE TOURS based in Swakopmund. Ernst Ritter, our driver and guide, and his son, went out of their way to show us everything we wanted to know about Sandwich Harbour: bird life, animal and plant life, geology, photographic views, geographic and historic places of interest and so much more. Driving up and down the dunes in a 4 x 4 we listened to the humming (a very deep, low tone) of the dunes, saw at close range a variety of dune lizards including the sweetest and colourful shovel-nosed and wedge nosed lizards, dung beetles, plenty of black-backed jackal (some sleeping on the dunes others actively foraging for food on the beach) and loads of magnificent wetland bird life.
At low tide we drove along the narrow beach, with the massive dunes rising above us on one side and the mighty Atlantic rollers on the other side. Ernst was always extremely cautious and safety conscious with regard to which dunes we were gong to traverse, as well as negotiating the tides. Driving up and down dunes is not an easy feat, as one needs to know the desert like the back of one’s hand. Ernst knows exactly that: he is a walking encyclopaedia of knowledge of the Namib Desert and indeed Namibia.
Included in the package is a pickup from and drop off in Swakop, a drive to Walvis Bay to obtain permits to enter the Park, the whole dune tour and Sandwich Harbour as well as a delicious lunch of salads, breads and soft drinks. Tables and chairs were set right at the top of the dune overlooking the ocean. What a breath-taking view.
We had loads of exercise climbing up dunes, walking amongst the dunes to little oases, examining different plants and tasting some seeds, seeing wind-swept and shaped sand castles naturally built in the middle of nowhere! All in all it is worth the money and I would highly recommend TURNSTONE TOURS to everyone - Namibians included - to take this opportunity to experience Sandwich Harbour for yourself. Put this awesome place on your bucket-list!
Genie Albrecht
Namibia

Visited January 2012
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Paris, France
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“Great day out”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2012

When possible, we tend to stay two nights somewhere rather than the 'arrive, dinner, sleep, breakfast, leave' scenario so we can not only relax a bit but also to get acquainted with the area. We called Turnstone to arrange a day out of birding and beach combing. At precisely the hour agreed upon, Ernest arrived. We instantly knew he was just the guy to have as a guide. Passionate without being overwhelming, terrific depth of knowledge. We drove to Sandwich along a fabulous beach, spotting jackels tucking in to a dead seal that washed up, gulls cruising with the wind about 3 meters off the sand. Ernest showed us some 'tricks' about where to get fresh water, explained the reddish color on the beach, and on and on. The final scene was hundreds, maybe thousands of flamingos taking off. What a spectacle! Ernest even brought along a fine lunch, taken in full sun with the dunes protecting us from the wind. We highly recommend Ernest and Turnstone.

Visited November 2011
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Toronto, Canada
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
13 attraction reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
137 helpful votes 137 helpful votes
“Worth $100, not $150”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 20, 2011

The drive to Sandwich Harbour is right along the edge of the dunes and water south of Walvis Bay so the dunes are bigger than the ones around Swakopmund. It was really windy so we didn't spend much time driving around in the dunes, I wish we had but oh well. Overall it cost us $150 USD each for the day. If it cost $100 I would recommend it without hesitation but it is expensive. There are lots of tours that do half day trips to Sandwich Bay, I think that would feel rushed, it's a good 90 minute drive from Swakopmund. If I had to do it again I would skip the day to Sandwich Harbour and splurge on a flight over the dunes.. or do the living desert tour with tommy's, you get to spend more time driving in the dunes and see a lot more critters, and it costs half as much.

That said, Turnstone is very professional, and it was a full day, almost 10 hours door to door. Our guide was funny, friendly, and very outgoing. Lunch was delicious (lasagna) and the apple crumble for desert is the best I've ever tasted in my entire life. About ten times better than the world famous apple crumble everyone talks about in Solitaire. So if you have the time and money, go for it. But if you're on a budget financially or time wise.. I would prioritize kayaking with seals, quad biking in the desert (everyone should do this), and tommy's living desert tour. If you can afford it, we heard (from other travellers) that the desert flights are incredible if you have a window seat :)

Visited November 2011
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USA
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Spectacular”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2011

Recently completed the Sandwich Harbour 4X4 tour with Wayne. The tour has a lot of interesting insights into the history and geography and animal life along the coast. Wayne was very informative about every aspect of Namibia nature, wildlife and conservation. This is a great tour not to be missed! Especially enjoyed the sand dune views and drving along the narrow endless stretch of vast coastal parkland. Great lunch too.

- Point of view from an adventurous USA world traveler

Visited September 2011
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