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Swakopmund, or ‘Mouth of the Swakop’, is a city located in the Namib Desert, on the north-west of Namibia’s coast. The city is situated 280 kilometres west of the capital of Namibia, Windhoek, and is the capital of the Erongo administrative district. Swakopmund is home to more than 42,000 residents and spreads over about 193 square kilometres. The town is a beautiful beach getaway, with palm-studded streets, oceanside promenades, luxury accommodation, enjoyable climate and golden beaches. Established in 1892 as the primary harbour for German Southwest Africa, Swakopmund is a prime example of German architecture, with a large portion of its population still speaking German to this day.

The city not only boasts stunning and refreshing oceans that relieve guests of the harsh heat, but also offers a large variety of thrilling activities in which to partake. Spend your days here learning how to sand board, quad bike through the desert plains, dune cart, parachute, hot air ballooning, shark fishing, deep sea fishing, beach angling and more! There is also an array of restaurants, cafes, art galleries and museums available to pay visits to, as well as a snake park and an aquarium.

If you’re not an adrenaline-seeker, feel free to roam the city whilst admiring the gorgeous buildings and enjoying its charming atmosphere. The town tends to feel like a small German village to many of its visitors, but still manages to create a sense of timelessness. Structures and monuments to note whilst in the area include the Hohenzollern Building, the Marine Memorial, the War Memorial (dedicated to those who lost their lives in WWII), and Princess Rupprecht House. The old Swakopmund Prison is still entirely operational and offers budget accommodation for the criminal groups of the Namibian coast.

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The Swakopmund Railway station was completed in 1901, and now contains the Swakopmund Hotel which boasts the Deautsche Evangelical Church bells imported from Germany. Close by to the State House is the Swakop Lighthouse that, at more than 20 metres high, has been functional since 1902. The primary beach region, the Mole, is the product of a hugely unsuccessful attempt to build an artificial harbour (due to the fact that South Africa was the owner of the only natural harbour in the region at Walvis Bay).

The most iconic feature of the city is the Swakopmund Jetty, which was originally utilised as mooring for ships. The Jetty later became a well-known area for fishermen and joggers, but constantly undergoes the strain of deterioration. New big scale work has just been completed on the Jetty, which now proudly houses a restaurant and bar area.

As in Germany, the early morning and nights of Swakopmund can reach low temperatures throughout the year as the crisp Atlantic Ocean meets the Namib Desert, forming a bank of fog. This coolness frequently comes as a relief from the harsh Namibian conditions, providing a great, relaxing climate for guests.

If you plan on simply taking a day trip to the area, a visit to the Cape Cross Seal Colony is a must. The Welwitschia drive is also an intriguing way to spend a couple of hours, and introduces you to some of the wildlife and vegetation of the wonderful Namib Desert. For bird lovers, a trip to the Swakopmund Salt Works or the Walvis Bay Lagoon (boasting thousands of flamingos) is a fantastic way to spend the day. With so much on offer, Swakopmund is most certainly worth a visit.


* Fishing

* Skydiving

* Safari drives

* Hot-air ballooning

* Paragliding over the dunes

* Quad biking

* Sandboarding

* Swakopmund Museum

* National Marine Aquarium

* Boat trips to see dolphins and seal colonies

* Dine out at one of the local restaurants or pubs

About Bronwyn Paxton

Article by: Bronwyn Paxton
on August 6, 2013
Filed under  Africa Blog • Destinations • Namibia 
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