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Swakop

What can I expect from Swakopmund?

Swakopmund is the premier holiday destination in Namibia. During summer holidays Namibians flock to the coast to escape the heat of the interior, to relax and enjoy the various cafes and bistros that grace the town. The town is most commonly called Swakop or Swakkies although one of our friends likes to call it ‘that grey little town’ (more on the reasons for that later).

For many tourists, Swakopmund is not what they would expect from a Namibian town. Swakopmund has a distinctly Germanic flavour which reflects in the architecture, cuisine and a significant proportion of German speakers. Even the weather plays along – Swakopmund is often grey and misty. The cooler weather occurs because Swakopmund perches between the hot Namib Desert and the cold Atlantic Ocean. This positioning causes some sort of weird weather pattern resulting in Swakopmund not being the tropical beach paradise most people anticipate.

The town itself is a typical holiday town; it has pleasant arcades, plenty of restaurants, pubs, cafes and bistros and an array of curio shops.

Things to See and Do in Swakopmund

Sandboarding on the Namib Desert dunes
Join a quad-bike tour along the Swakop River
Swakopmund Museum has some interesting displays
Have a craft beer at one of the bars at the Strand Hotel
The aquarium will keep you entertained
Walk around town admiring the elegant German architecture
Have dinner at the Tug or Jetty restaurants
Day trip to Sandwich Harbour
Swakopmund jetty

Swakopmund jetty

Peter's Antiques, Swakopmund

Peter’s Antiques

The Basics

Accommodation – Accommodation is abundant in Swakopmund, and there are establishments for all tastes and budgets. Booking in advance is always advised and essential during the busy Namibian summer school holiday period (December & early January)

Food – We’ve already touched on the towns German heritage, and several restaurants offer typical Germanic food – think schnitzel, sauerkraut, eisbein and currywurst. But the choice of food is plentiful with seafood restaurants, pizzerias and restaurants serving modern international cuisine.

Drink – The Brewer & Butcher at the Strand Hotel (overlooking Swakops main beach) serves craft beer on tap. As with the rest of Namibia Windhoek Lager is available everywhere along with a great selection of South African wines and international and local spirits.

Transportation – So long as your accommodation is not too far from the town centre, it is easy to walk around. However, at night it may be better to drive or take a taxi.

Hohenzollernhaus, Swakopmund
Hohenzollernhaus

Local Tips

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Swimming The main beach area (and only area suitable for swimming) is called the Mole. The sheltered bay is the result of an unsuccessful attempt to construct an artificial harbour. You have to be brave though - temperatures range from cold to freezing (actually 13-18°C). It is coldest in August, September and October and warmest in January and February.
2
Swakopmund Jetty The Swakopmund jetty is the town's most iconic landmark (or should that be watermark?). The extremely popular Jetty 1905 Restaurant adorns the end of the Jetty. Booking is essential (and can be done online).
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Activities Swakopmund is an adventure activity mecca. Activities include sandboarding, quad biking, parachuting, fishing, camel rides, scenic flights & more. Drop into the towns many adventure centres to see what is on offer. There are also less demanding activities such as a 'living desert' tour where you discover the hidden wonders of the Namib.
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Cape Cross A day trip to the Cape Cross Seal Colony is an amazing but smelly experience and offers a taste of what the Skeleton Coast has on offer.
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Scenic Drive The Welwitschia / Moonlandscape drive introduces you to some of the fauna and flora of the Namib Desert. You need to get a permit at the MET office in Swakopmund.
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Birding Bird lovers can pay a visit to the Swakopmund Salt Works or the Walvis Bay Lagoon which is frequented by flamingos, pelicans and many other aquatic birds. If you want an in-depth guide to birding in this area then we highly recommend using Batis Birding Safaris.
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Sundowner Tiger Reef is a bar serving some simple food situated on the beach. A great place to watch the waves. The bar often washes away with spring-tide and needs to be rebuilt. So do check if the bar is there before visiting.

Books & Maps

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