Swakopmund, German for ‘Mouth of the Swakop’, is Namibia’s most popular tourist destination. It is a beach resort with half timbered buildings and fine examples of German colonial architecture. These old colonial buildings are a bold contrast for a town sitting on the borders of the Namib Desert. People also come to Swakopmund due to it’s pleasant climate, which is a great relief when escaping from the intense heat of the interior in summer. Earning its place as an adventure sports destination, there is no shortage of thrilling adrenaline-fueled activities here.
Things to do
Popular Swakopmund adventure sports are sandboarding, quad biking, dune carting, parachuting, hot air ballooning, shark fishing and deep sea fishing, to name a few. Element Riders Adventure Sports can help you learn some of these sports in guided and assisted ways, while also offering full and introductory courses.
At the foot of the lighthouse, set on the site of the old harbour warehouse, you’ll find the Swakopmund Museum. This is the perfect spot to learn about the town’s history and the first German settlers, as well as some interesting information on Namibia’s local flora and fauna.
One must-see landmark is the Swakopmund Jetty. Originally constructed from wood in 1905, the jetty was battered by the seas, so the need for an iron jetty was soon realised. An unfinished iron pier was once again left to the elements, but in 1985 some much needed funds were raised for restoration. The jetty is now open to the public.
The Mole, is now the main beach area of Swakopmund. The Mole was a largely unsuccessful attempt to create an artificial harbour. Shortly after construction of the harbour, in 1903, major silting from the Benguela current caused a sandbank to form which limited access to the harbour. Today, the Mole is a sheltered beach with palmed walkways.
55km east of Swakopmund you will find the Rossing Mine, one of the largest and longest running open pit uranium mines in the world. Tours are available on the first Friday of every month and can be booked through the Swakopmund Museum.
Where to eat
For home baked bread and excellent coffee, the Village Cafe is the place to be. With its relaxed and friendly atmosphere it’s no wonder this place is a favourite with the locals.
No doubt one of the most exquisite restaurant venues in Swakopmund, The Wreck offers delicious food, ranging from fresh grilled line fish to sumptuous steaks. The Wreck is situated on the second floor of the Beach Lodge and has uninterrupted sea views.
A seafood restaurant with a twist, The Tug, is built around a real tug and boasts spectacular views of the Swakopmund jetty and ocean. It has a diverse menu which ranges from Pategonian squid to tender lamb. As The Tug grows increasingly popular, make sure you book in advance.
Centrally located, Bojos Cafe is a great spot for breakfast and some good coffee.The walls are filled with quirky posters and quotes. Bojos pride themselves in using only the freshest and most natural ingredients.
Right in the middle of the ocean, on the Swakopmund Jetty, you will find the Jetty 1905 restaurant. Known for their excellent seafood, this gem located on a historic landmark offers unsurpassed views.
Where to stay
The heart of Swakopmund is filled with comfortable guesthouses and B&Bs, while the beachfront is dotted with self-catering homes, lodges and luxury spa hotels. There truly is something for everyone.
Car: The best way to get to, and around Swakopmund is by car. Windhoek is approximately 4-5 hours away by car.
Air: Guests can fly into Hosea Kutako International Aiport, in Windhoek, which is aprroximately 400kms away. Alternativley guests can choose to fly into Walvis Bay Airport, which is only aprroximately 47kms away, but offers limited routes and flight times.
Train: There is a train service from Swakopmund to Windhoek which can take up to 21 hours.
Taxi: One cannot rely on a taxi service in Swakopmund, but the city is small enough to get around by foot.
Did you know?
Swakopmund was founded in 1892 as the main harbour for German South-West Africa.
Swakopmund is often misspelt as Swaarkopmond, Swarkupmond, Swarcupmund, and Swarcopmund.
A sizeable part of Swakopmund’s population are still German speaking.
Swakopmund is surrounded by the Namib Desert on three sides and the cold Atlantic to the west. It has a mild desert climate.