The adventure capital of Namibia
Adventurous travellers come alive in Swakopmund. The towering dune belt behind Swakopmund is a huge playground for anyone looking for exciting outdoor activities.
Swakopmund: Namibia’s Favourite Holiday Town
From elegant art nouveau German architecture to sandy beaches, from interesting museums to excellent restaurants, you certainly will not run out of things to see and try in Swakopmund. Whether you find yourself amongst the high dunes of the Namib Desert, or on the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Swakopmund offers something memorable for everyone.
Swakopmund was founded in 1892 by Captain Curt von François to be the main harbour for Germany’s newly acquired colony. The already existing nearby harbour at Walvis Bay belonged to the British and was therefore not as accessible to the Germans. Hence Swakopmund, only approximately 35 km north of Walvis Bay, was chosen for its availability of fresh water and relatively straightforward passageway to the inland, notably to Otjimbingwe and Windhoek. The town gradually grew, not only in size but also in importance both from an administrative and trade perspective. However, after the end of World War I, what is now Namibia was placed under South African administration and the barriers between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay were dissolved. This meant that the Swakopmund harbour became redundant, in favour of the better suited deep-sea harbour in Walvis Bay. So, Swakopmund started transforming itself, gradually becoming Namibia’s favourite holiday town.
Now Swakopmund offers a wide range of activities to all its visitors: exciting desert tours take you into the Namib and introduce you to different plants and animals which have adapted to survive these arid conditions. On quad bike tours you can ride up and down enormous dunes to get your adrenaline pumping. You could go sandboarding and even skiing down the dunes and for those in the mood for something more relaxed, camel rides in this beautiful desert landscape is also possible.
There are plenty of activities on the water too: catamaran tours will take you onto the Walvis Bay lagoon and show you some of the marine life nearby. Cheeky seals regularly jump onto the boats, hoping to score an easy, fishy meal. Dolphins, sun fish, leatherback turtles and whales can also be encountered on these boat trips. Maybe you would like to try some of the fresh local oysters whilst onboard, with a glass of sparkling wine or a couple of beers, as drinks and snacks are provided for during the excursion.
But Swakopmund offers more than just adventure activities. It has beautifully, brightly coloured buildings, many of which have an interesting story to tell. You can go on a guided city tour of Swakopmund if you would like to learn more about the town and hear some of its many stories. The museums are fun too and give you a greater background not only to the town, but to the whole of Namibia. And then there are the cafes, bakeries, and restaurants. This is where the town’s German heritage can really shine and you can indulge in delicious German-style cakes. Due to the fact that Swakopmund is on the coast, its many restaurants often serve delicious fish and seafood dishes, all fresh from the ocean. Enjoying a delightful seafood platter, with a chilled glass of white wine and a view of the ocean after having spent the past few days deep in the desert is always a wonderful change of scenery.
As is usually the case with holiday towns, there is a wide variety of accommodation possibilities available. These range from Swakopmund camping options to large luxurious hotels. Our personal favourites, however, are the small intimate guesthouses and bed and breakfasts which are either located directly on the beach or alternatively, are only a short walk away. These welcoming accommodations are often owner-managed and will let you feel the charm of the town which the locals affectionally simply call ‘Swakop’.
Swakopmund is always worth a visit. It offers more activities than you could possibly do on a single stay, so whether you are going to Namibia for the first time, or you are a returner, there is always a reason to visit this delightfully attractive and exciting little town.
You can hike up one of the highest dunes in the world and be rewarded with tremendous views once on top. If you start early enough, you could even witness a glorious sunrise over the Namib Desert.
You can explore the desolate hills and valleys of the Moon Landscape and along the way, learn more about the lichen and welwitschia mirabilis which grow in this harsh landscape before visiting the oasis at Goanikontes.
You can take a stroll along the popular Swakopmund Jetty, to enjoy a beautiful sunset whilst hearing the roar the waves of the Atlantic Ocean below, before heading to one of the nearby restaurants for a tasty dinner.
Where the desert meets the ocean – Swakopmund is bordering the Atlantic Ocean on the one side and the Namib Desert on the other.
One of the most popular activities in Swakopmund is the Living Desert Tour to see the Little Five of the Namib.
You will notice the German colonial influences in architecture but also cuisine when visiting Swakopmund.
Enjoy a picnic overlooking the fascinating Moon Landscape formed by the Swakop River.
WHEN TO GO
Best time to go to Swakopmund
You can visit Swakopmund at any time of year and need not worry about the weather too much. Because if one word can be used to describe the weather in Swakopmund it would be ‘consistent’. The climate is considerably cooler than in the inland, which provides a welcome relief for many, especially during the summer months. Regarding rainfall, there basically isn’t any. Foggy conditions in the morning, however, are quite common.
Dry seasonAll year
Pleasantly cool daytime temperatures
A rainy day in Swakopmund is very, very rare.
Why to go
Explore Namibia's most charming and incongruous coastal town
The high degree of German influence in Swakopmund is unique in Africa. It is undeniable and also fascinating. The historic buildings from the German colonial era make for an interesting city tour, with the Woermann House, the Old Magistrate’s Court and the Hohenzollern House all examples of this. Like the town’s architecture, much of the cuisine is still influenced by the town’s German heritage too, with many delicious cafés, restaurants, and bakeries for you to try.
It is officially a town, but Swakop feels almost more like a village. I like the tranquil atmosphere, the small shops and just taking a stroll along the ocean. After spending days and days in the sand, seeing the ocean is a very lovely sight!Mia | Namibia Travel Expert
Encounter some of the inhabitants of the Atlantic Ocean.
Namib Desert Tour
The Namib has its very own ‘Little 5’ which you can discover.
Sandboarding, skydiving, quad bike tours, scenic flights and more.
Things to do
One town so many activities
Swakopmund offers you a large variety of activities to explore, not only on land, but on water and in the air too. It’s the perfect place to go on a brilliant adventure which could be one of the highlights of your tour.
- Catamaran tour
- Namib desert tour
- Adrenaline activities
These little geckos get their water intake by licking the moisture which has condensated on their eyes.
Desert Sidewinding Adder
Bury themselves in the sand to camouflage, with only their eyes and the tip of their tail peering out.
Cape Fur Seal
Cape Cross is famous for its huge seal colony of up to approximately 250 000 seals.
You can see these curious creatures on a Living Desert Tour in the Namib Desert surrounding Swakopmund.
WILDLIFE & PLANT LIFE NEAR SWAKOPMUND
The Desert Five and many more
The desert surrounding Swakopmund is alive with more wildlife and plant life than you might expect and on the other side, the Atlantic Ocean also boasts a rich ecosystem with many marine mammals which can be spotted on either a boot tour or even from land.
Where to stay in Swakopmund
Organic Stay Guesthouse
Cornerstone Guest House
Atlantic Villa Boutique Guesthouse
Swakopmund is nestled between the Namib Desert and the Atlantic Ocean. North of Swakopmund lies the infamously rugged Skeleton Coast and to the south is the town of Walvis Bay, whose airport services local flights as well as flights to Cape Town and Johannesburg and is only a half an hour’s drive away.
Places Windhoek, Kalahari, Namib Desert, Swakopmund, Erongo Mountains, Damaraland, Etosha National Park, Waterberg Plateau
NAD 56,000 per person
The Namibia Family Tour
Places Windhoek, Namib Escarpment, Namib Desert, Swakopmund, Damaraland, Etosha National Park, Otjiwarongo Area
NAD 59,000 (adults) | 51,000 (children) per person
Marvels of Southern Africa
Places Windhoek, Namib Desert, Swakopmund, Damaraland, Etosha National Park, Zambezi Region, Chobe National Park, Victoria Falls
NAD 83,000 per person
Places Windhoek, Kalahari, Keetmanshoop, Fish River Canyon, Luderitz, Namib Desert, Swakopmund, Erongo Mountains, Damaraland, Etosha National Park, Waterberg Plateau
NAD 88,000 per person
Desert and Sea
Places Namib Desert (Sossusvlei, Deadvlei, Sesriem Canyon), Swakopmund, Spitzkoppe
NAD 13,100 per person
Wonders of the Desert
Places Kalahari, Namib Desert, Swakopmund, Spitzkoppe
NAD 18,500 per person
Places Namib Desert, Swakopmund, Skeleton Coast, Damaraland, Etosha National Park
NAD 28,300 per person
A Namibian Journey
Places Namib Desert, Swakopmund, Skeleton Coast, Damaraland, Etosha National Park, Waterberg Area
NAD 42,100 per person
Namibia’s Wild Side
Places Gamsberg, Namib Desert, Swakopmund, Brandberg mountain, Damaraland, Palmwag, Grootberg, Etosha National Park
NAD 34,500 per person
Places Windhoek, Namib Desert, Swakopmund, Spitzkoppe, Erongo Mountains, Damaraland, Etosha National Park, Waterberg Plateau
NAD 25,000 per person
Namibia Highlights in Style
Places Windhoek, Okonjima, Onguma & Ongava Reserves, Twyfelfontein, Erongo Mountains, Swakopmund, Namib Desert, NamibRand Nature Reserve
NAD 87,300 per person
Highlights Windhoek to Victoria Falls
Places Namib Desert, Swakopmund, Etosha National Park, Kavango & Zambezi Region, Chobe National Park, Victoria Falls
NAD 42,700 per person
The Best of Namibia
Places Windhoek, Kalahari, Fish River Canyon, Luderitz, Tiras Mountains, Namib Desert, Swakopmund, Ugab Valley, Etosha National Park, Waterberg Plateau
NAD 39,200 per person
The Best of Namibia and Botswana
Places Kalahari, Namib Desert, Swakopmund, Ugab Valley, Etosha National Park, Zambezi Region, Okavango Delta & Moremi Area, Chobe National Park, Victoria Falls
NAD 80,900 per person
Highlights of Namibia and Botswana
Places Namib Desert, Swakopmund, Etosha National Park, Zambezi Region, Chobe National Park, Victoria Falls, Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, Okavango Delta, Kalahari
NAD 81,200 per person
Footprints in Namibia
Places Waterberg, Etosha, Ugab Valley, Damaraland, Swakopmund, Sossusvlei, Namib Naukluft Park, Windhoek
NAD 58,000 per person
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