Sandwiched between Atlantic rollers and the Namib Desert, Swakopmund is one of those great traveller way stations along the African road. At once Namibia’s adventure capital and a surreal colonial remnant, part destination in its own right and part launch pad for an exploration of the Skeleton Coast and Namib Desert, this is a city with as much personality as it has sea frontage. Like Lüderitz on the south coast, with its half-timbered German architecture, seaside promenades and pervasive Gemütlichkeit (a distinctively German appreciation of comfort and hospitality), Swakopmund, especially out of season, can feel like a holiday town along Germany’s North Sea and Baltic coasts transplanted onto African soil. But the city is also thoroughly African and its multidimensional appeal means that most people end up staying longer than they planned.
Swakopmund is a perfect base for exploring the coast, from taking boat and kayaking trips from Walvis Bay to spot the abundant marine life of the Atlantic Ocean to going birdwatching at Sandwich Harbour further south. It’s also a centre for adventure activities – it’s easy to fill several days with adrenaline-pumping fun. Take your pick from sandboarding down the huge dunes just outside of town, quad biking in the desert or sky diving.
Tourism in Swakopmund
Today Swakopmund serves mainly as a holiday resort and is thus of touristic importance. Due to its mild climatic condition especially during the high season December and January the town is an attraction to many tourists especially from the inland – to such an extent that accommodation has to be pre booked way in advance. Many South African and Namibian pensioners take up residence here. During colonial times Swakopmund was referred to as “Germany’s most southern coastal resort“, even though water temperatures, due to the cold Benguela current of the Atlantic hardly reached over 20 °C.
Swakopmund offers many touristic attractions like splendid buildings, a wonderful town promenade, the aquarium and many more. The nearby surroundings are also of touristic importance. Especially the coastal road which is flanked by dunes on the one side and by the Atlantic Ocean on the other is very impressive. Excursions can be made 30 km south to Walvis Bay, as well as up north to the fishing paradise of Henties Bay or to Cape Cross to one of the world largest seal colonies.