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Swakopmund is a charming seaside town that is ideally situated to tie in with an escorted or self-drive tour of Namibia. The name relates to the town’s geographical location at the mouth or ‘mund‘ of the Swakop River. Historically the settlement was of great importance to the German colony in south-western Africa, and this German influence can be seen today, particularly in the architecture of the town.
Swakopmund’s colourful buildings, seaside promenade, aquarium, lighthouse and a wide variety of restaurants and bars draw a lot of visitors each year. The town and nearby Walvis Bay are the perfect hubs from where Namib Desert and Atlantic Ocean excursions depart. A night or two in Swakopmund is a delightful way to break up your safari holiday or self-driving adventure around Namibia. Indeed, there are plenty of things to do on a day in Swakopmund.
Best Things to Do in Swakopmund
Namib Desert Adventures
There are several Namib Desert excursions that operate out of Swakopmund, with the ‘Living Desert’ tour being one of the most popular. Professional guides point out a wealth of wildlife and explain how it survives in these arid conditions. This trip is a highlight for many who visit Swakopmund. Other popular tours into the Namib have a more general focus, including visiting beautiful landscapes such as the Moon Valley.
Explore the Town
Swakopmund played an important role as a port town for the former German colony in Africa. As a result, parts of the settlement have a somewhat European aesthetic. Visiting traditional buildings such as the Woermannhaus and the State House offer an interesting insight into a bygone era, whilst other interesting places to see include the jetty and the lighthouse. Swakopmund has an excellent choice of restaurants and cafes as well as a growing art scene.
Whale Watching in Walvis Bay
Walvis Bay is a coastal town located south of Swakopmund, situated on the tidal lagoon in which a variety of birds such as flamingos and pelicans live. The bay is the departure point for dolphin and whale watching tours. Namibia’s whale season is between July and August, when it’s possible to spot southern right whales, humpbacks and even orcas. Bottlenose and Heaviside’s dolphins, leatherback turtles and Cape fur seals can also be seen during excursions. There are numerous restaurants and cafes to visit after your excursions.
Scenic flights from Swakopmund give an incredible aerial view of the Skeleton Coast. This coastline is one of the most rugged wilderness areas on the planet, and during your flight you’ll have the chance to spot shipwrecks, desert wildlife and incredible landscapes from above.
Best Places to Stay in Swakopmund
Swakopmund accommodation is typically guesthouses but there is a selection of luxury 4 and 5-star Swakopmund hotels as well. Many visitors to the town don’t stay for more than a night or two and guesthouses are a clean and comfortable base from which activities can be enjoyed.
Best Time to Visit Swakopmund
Swakopmund is a year-round destination and when you visit will likely be determined by the rest of your itinerary.