Swakopmund lies on the B2, 370 km from Windhoek to the west and is one of the most preferred coastal destinations. This mostly German populated beach resort with its foggy presence and ever changing weather conditions all year around, has lots to offer.
Tourist attractions and loads of little collectables and antique shops, a variety of coffee shops and restaurants where you can experience true Namibian cuisine are only a few of the attractions of this coastal town.
ACTIVITIES: Fishing (boat and shore) dune boarding, Boat rides , Quad biking, Go karting, golfing, 4x4 tours
BEST TIMES: Oct – March
Palm-lined streets, seaside promenades, fine accommodation, a pleasant summer climate and decent beaches. Welcome to Swakopmund - Namibia's premier holiday resort! During the summer holidays and long weekends, thousands of Namibians flock to the coast, and this human migration happens for a number of reasons; Swakopmund has a real holiday feel to it and everyone wants to be there; during the December holidays, the cool Namibian coast offers relief from the intense heat of the interior; and more importantly as far as the tourist is concerned in these modern times, Swakop has changed, and has become the countries leading adrenaline destination, with a wide range of activities to suit all ages and (most) egos.
The area of Namib Desert around Swakopmund is named the West Coast Recreational Area. And recreation is the towns number one draw card. There are countless pursuits to help you spend your time, and money. For those interested in adventure activities Swakopmund offers sandboarding, quad biking, dune carting, parachuting, hot air ballooning, shark fishing, deep sea fishing and beach angling to name but a few. For the more sedentary there are restaurants, cafes, art galleries, the Swakopmund Museum, a snake park and aquarium.
If danger isn't your middle name, then the architecture and general feeling of Swakopmund might be more to your liking. This town has the ambiance associated with a small German village, and the town seems to be stuck in time. (Less for those who care to jump out of perfectly serviceable aircraft shouting 'Geronimo' before it lands safely.) Although in recent times the new generation have woken up to the tourist potential of the area, Swakopmund still manages to create a feeling of timelessness.
Buildings and monuments of note in Swakopmund include the Hohenzollern Building, the Marine memorial, the War memorial in memory of those killed in World War 2, Princess Rupprecht House originally a military hospital now a private guest house.The Kaserne buildings originally served as a barracks and is of a similar design to the Alte Feste in Windhoek and Fort Namutoni in Etosha. The old Swakopmund Prison is still fully operational and provides budget accommodation for the criminal fraternity of the Namibian coast.
The Swakopmund Railway station was completed in 1901 and now houses the Swakopmund Hotel, while the bells of the Deutsche Evangelical Church were imported from Germany. Standing close to the State House (Kaiserliches Bezirksgericht) is the Swakop Lighthouse at just over 20 meters it has been functional since 1902.
The main beach area is called the Mole, and is the result of a largely unsuccessful attempt to construct the artificial harbour (as South Africa owned the only natural harbour in the area at Walvis Bay). The towns most iconic symbol is the Swakopmund jetty, initially used as mooring for ships it later became a popular are for anglers and walkers, it has fallen into disrepair on numerous occasions and has been subject to several attempts to rescue it from complete dereliction. Recently large scale work has been completed on the jetty which now proudly boasts a small restaurant and bar area.
True to its German traditions early mornings and evenings in Swakopmund can be cold throughout the year, as the cold Atlantic Ocean meeting the Namib Desert creates a fog bank. This coolness is often a relief from the heat of the rest of Namibia, but does mean that Swakopmund is not the tropical sunbathing mecca that most people imagine.
There is a great variety of accommodation in Swakopmund which cater for all tastes and budgets. It should be noted that these establishments will definitely need to be booked in advance especially if you are travelling in the busy December holidays.
For day trippers a visit to the Cape Cross Seal Colony is worth a visit as it offers a taste of the Skeleton Coast and the seals are worth a visit. The Welwitschia drive is an interesting way to spend a few hours and introduces you to some of the fauna and flora of the Namib Desert. Bird lovers can pay a visit to the Swakopmund Salt Works or the Walvis Bay Lagoon, which in season is frequented by thousands of flamingos.