Swakopmund is the finest coastal destination in Namibia. The town, with its distinct German character, is the gateway to the Skeleton Coast, one of the world's most desolate areas. African Sky features this unique town in most private overland tours and some fly-in safari packages we offer to Nambia.Need Advice?
In this seemingly stark environment, leisure seekers will find many different activities. One of which is sure to appeal to specific tastes.
The welwitschia drive focuses on two of the world's most unique plant species: Welwitschia Mirabilis and the Lichen Plant. Both are incredibly rare. Amongst the oldest plants in the world, Welwitschia occurs in a narrow stretch of about 1000km along the Kuseb River..
A trip to Sandwich Harbor is the most popular day excursion from Swakopmund. Here some of the world's highest dunes descend directly into the Atlantic Ocean and form a breathtaking lagoon. It is one of Namibia's most important wetlands and is home to eight endangered bird species.
Cape Cross is on a small headland in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is home to a seal colony of about 200 000 on the barren Skeleton coast. Many sea birds occur here, which will delight birders. The occasional jackal and brown hyena scavenge around the colony.
The interior of Namibia is stricken by intense heat during the summer months, making the coast the perfect December getaway for that natural holiday feel. A relief to the heat is the cool early mornings and evenings in Swakopmund.
The town is home to the Swakopmund Airport, lying on the B1 road, and the Trans-Namib Railway from Windhoek to Walvis Bay. Historical attractions in Swakopmund include buildings such as the Altes Gefängnis prison, designed by Heinrich Bause in 1909, and the Wörmannhaus, built-in 1906 with a prominent tower since converted into a public library.
Swakopmund offers a choice of accommodations ranging from guest houses and hotels to lodges in the desert surrounding the town.
Hansa hotel, with its German character, is the oldest hotel in Namibia. It offers a comfortable stay in the most popular coastal town in the country - Swakopmund.
The Swakopmund Hotel has been designed to blend in well with the old railway station, created in 1901. This building now forms part of the public areas at the hotel..
The Atlantic Coast is renowned for its various fishing attractions. Decide whether you want to cast your lines from the shore or if you'd prefer to brave the waters of the Atlantic in search of more significant challenges, one of which is shark fishing. Fishing in the area is strictly catch and release, and permits are required.
The Swakopmund Museum and its collections documenting the town's colonial history and indigenous people is a privately-run facility opened in 1951 by dentist Dr. Alfons Weber. It is the largest privately run museum in the country, and various types of indigenous plants, animals, minerals, and archaeological findings are on display.
Swakopmund is ideal for those who wish to travel to the coastal region of Namibia. It is a gateway to Henties Bay, the renowned fishing capital of the country, as well as the uncanny beauty of the Skeleton Coast to the north and Sandwich Harbor to the south.
Experiences available to visitors to Swakopmund center around the town's charming German colonial time warp and the bounties of the nearby coastal lagoons and bays. Savor something genuinely different when exploring this remote seaside outpost.
From the Fish River Canyon in the south to the Etosha National Park in the north, an unforgettable private tour includes a visit to Swakopmund.
This private tour, accompanied by an expert guide, visits Swakopmund in combination with the other highlights located in the northern part of Namibia.
Book a vacation package that travels to the Skeleton Coast, the most desolate and isolated of all the destinations in Namibia.
Many of the longer safari & tour itineraries offered by African Sky in Namibia include a visit to Swakopmund. We can also tailor-make a package to include a visit to this unique coastal town in Namibia.
Visitors to the town of Swakopmund can reach the area through various channels. The easiest is flying directly to Walvis Bay International Airport from Cape Town, Johannesburg, or the Swakopmund airstrip via Windhoek. Guests visiting Swakopmund, however, usually do so on tour through Namibia, and there might be other destinations.
Swakopmund is approximately 50km from Walvis Bay. The short drive along the coast is a great way to get to know both towns. Guests traveling to Swakopmund from other destinations can enjoy the scenic landscapes of Namibia. Guests will always be transported in a private, air-conditioned vehicle by an experienced guide.
Swakopmund is in the Namib Desert but is situated on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and therefore has a milder climate than the inland desert areas. As with the Skeleton Coast and the other regions on the coastline, the town often experiences fog blown in from the Atlantic. The mild climate ranges between 15°C and 25°C, making Swakopmund a year-round destination.
The winter months are foggier than the summer months, but the coastal regions can experience up to 180 days of fog a year, making it a highly likely occurrence. The fog is thickest in the early mornings and disappears in the afternoons. It is a vital source of precipitation for the region.
Swakopmund was founded in 1892 as the main harbor of German South West Africa. The harbor was officially established on the 8th of August when the gunboat Hyäne ('hyena') crew planted two beacons on the beach. The area was named after the Swakop River, as the German word Swakopmund directly translates to Swakop River Mouth.
The original breakwater silted up very quickly, and in 1905, engineers built a wooden jetty. The wooden jetty also proved inadequate; by 1914, work started on a steel jetty. This jetty became a pedestrian walkway after the First World War and is in use today. Some historic buildings still exist that were built by trading and shipping companies. In 1915, Walvis Bay became the main port when the Union of South Africa took over German South-West Africa. After this, many government services ceased, people moved away, businesses closed, and the town became less prosperous. Today, it is primarily a holiday town.
The most abundant animal in the region is the Cape fur seal. Cape Cross Seal Reserve is 120km north of Swakopmund - a short drive by Namibian standards. Cape Cross Seal Reserve is home to the world's largest Cape fur seal colony. The number of fur seals is estimated to be around 250 000. They make a living out of the vast fishing grounds of the Namibian shore. A Namibian government-initiated study states that seals eat more fish than the fisheries can catch. Still, Seal Alert South Africa estimates that they consume less than 0.3% of commercial fish resources.
Desert tours allow one to see some of the remarkable desert-adapted species. On these tours, there is a chance to sneak a glimpse of the 'Little Five' of the Namib Desert. The 'Little Five' comprises the Namaqua chameleon, sidewinder snake, shovel-snouted lizard, palmetto gecko, and the cartwheeling spider.
The area allows for excellent birding, containing both desert and coastal species. Species such as the endemic Damara turn and dune lark are a must-see for birders. Both African flamingo species occur here..
Regarding vegetative and terrestrial attributes, several sites in the area deserve mention, the first being the Swakop River. The river, although ephemeral, is one of the largest temporary rivers in the dry western reaches of Namibia and is home to some of the most unusual plant species in the country.
The Welwitschia, found on mostly dry banks, only produces two leaves that grow endlessly along the ground and can become thousands of years old. The river valley has also recently become used for agricultural developments such as growing tomatoes.
Swakopmund is Namibia's adventure capital. It also encompasses some of the country's most beautiful and ecologically significant landscapes. One such area is the Walvis Bay Lagoon. The pink greater flamingo often besieges the wetland, and more than 150 000 birds can be seen here at times. Various other migratory bird species occur here.
Adventure seekers can go quad biking on the dunes right outside of town. The waves of sand that shoot up into the air as you turn are a source of endless fun. Dune-boarding and dune-skiing are similarly thrilling experiences and relatively easy to grasp. If the heat gets to you, go to the ocean on a dolphin tour at Pelican Point to cool down while searching for dolphins, seals, and whales (in season). Orcas or killer whales frequent the area. The dunes next to the town are also home to various desert-adapted animals, and guided walks and 4x4 drives offer guests the opportunity to see unique creatures such as the legless lizard.