The former “Bavarian” village in Africa once appeared on the initiative of Captain Kurt von Francois. Even now, Swakopmund has managed to preserve the colonial atmosphere, aristocratic appearance and rich museum heritage. In addition to well-groomed squares, parks and luxurious hotels, the Namibian Riviera has also become famous for hot mineral springs, and now it is a popular spa resort.
How to get there
- by plane
You can fly to Swakompund using the airport in Windhoek or Walvis Bay from anywhere in the world. True, Swakopmund has its own airport, located east of the city along the B2 highway, you can fly here either by charter flight or from Windhoek.
- by train
Since Swakompund is an intermediate station of the TransNamiba lines to Walvis Bay from Windhoek and Tsumeb, you can use the train. The option from Tsumeb is not very convenient: you will arrive in Swakopmund at 2 am, but the train from Windhoek leaves daily at 19:55 and arrives at 5:20 in the morning.
There is also a special tourist train “Desert Express” (Desert Express), running between Windhoek and Swakopmund.
- by car
Accessible by car via the B2 motorway connecting Windhoek and Walvis Bay. Travel time is 4-5 hours. Another highway, C34, goes north from Swakompund along the coast and connects it with Hentisbay, Cape Cross, Skeleton Coast. Highway C28 leads to Swakompund from Windhoek through Nabib-Naukluft National Park.
- by bus
Another way is by bus from Windhoek. Two operators will do: Intercape and Econolux.
- by taxi
A taxi ride to Swakopmund from Walvis Bay costs about 40 NAD.
- on a boat
By water, you can get to the port of Walvis Bay on a cruise ship, and from there you can get to Swakopmund.
Weather in Swakopmund
The average temperature ranges from +15 to +25 °C. Precipitation practically does not fall: it is less than 15 mm per year. In December-April, the water temperature rises to +25…+26°С. See citypopulationreview.com for weather in the capital of Namibia.
The former train station, built in 1901 on Bahnhof Street, has now turned into the most expensive hotel in the city thanks to the designers. In addition, you can stay for a couple of nights at the Princess Rupprecht House, which now houses a cozy private boarding house.
Shopping and stores
The main streets for walking are the beautiful promenade and the Promenade, the central avenue of the city, Am Zoll Street, famous for its open spontaneous market, and Sam Nujoma Avenue. Shopaholics will be stuck at the Woermann Brock Mall (Ankerplatz), a dedicated shopping area. Another squanderer’s paradise is the Brauhaus Arcade on a German-style street.
Cuisine and restaurants
Most of the city’s restaurants are located on the waterfront. The average cost of dinner ranges from 150 to 300 NAD. The colorful restaurant The Tug, built in the hull of an old ship, is located on the shore at the end of the Promenade and is famous for its excellent gourmet cuisine. Another establishment built on stilts is located nearby – this is The Jetty 1905. It specializes in fish cuisine. A nice accessible place is the Lighthouse Restaurant. Interesting restaurants can also be found at the hotels, such as the Europa Restaurant at the Europa Hotel and the Anton Café at the Schweizerhaus Hotel.
Entertainment and attractions in Swakopmund
First of all, you need to look into the Swakopmund Museum, founded in 1951, which exhibits documents related to the history of the city, as well as exhibits of the Namibian flora, collections of rare minerals and the largest collection of bird eggs. Museum opening hours: daily from 10:00 to 17:00. Then you can go to the Public Library, mainly to stare at the unique collection of newspapers of the world, published from the beginning of 1898 to the present day.
The building of the former Tribunal
The building of the former Tribunal (Kaiserliches Bezirksgericht) is imbued with the colonial style, which for a long time served as the summer residence of the administrators of Namibia, and now it houses the summer residence of the country’s president. Despite this, the building can be visited from Monday to Thursday from 15:00 to 19:00 and from Friday to Saturday from 9:00 to 12:00.
The Crystal Gallery, open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, showcases a vast array of minerals and gems, including the world’s largest quartz crystal. By the way, mineral treasures can be purchased at two local shops. Entrance to the exhibition – 20 NAD per person.
No less picturesque and able to save from the heat are the gardens of the Lutheran church, built on Post Strasse.
The city aquarium is an oval-shaped glass tank 12 by 8 meters, and the tunnel inside makes it possible to get a closer look at the inhabitants of the ocean flora and fauna. Entrance costs 30 NAD per person.
You can complete your walk around the city by climbing up to the observation deck of the old Wurmann tower, which was saluted by each ship entering the port with raised flags.
If you drive 70 kilometers east of the city, you find yourself in the legendary Rössing mine – the world’s largest uranium mine. By the way, one of the expositions in the city museum tells in detail about the world’s largest open-pit uranium mine.
Between the city and neighboring Walvis Bay on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, you can see a natural phenomenon of unique beauty – colonies of pink flamingos. From here you can embark on an exciting journey along the famous Skeleton Coast, admire the rookeries of fur seals, oyster and ostrich farms.
Country dunes are a great place for outdoor enthusiasts. Jeeps and four-wheeled motorcycles are raced here. Dune number 7 in the vicinity of Walvis Bay is striking in its beauty and scale. Here you can have an excellent picnic. At the foot of the town of Henties Bay, on Cape Cross, Cape seals have chosen the slopes. This is one of the largest colonies of these animals in Africa, so the zone is protected. Tourists are allowed access.
The oasis of Goanikontes looks especially colorful among the bare stones, where you can have a picnic among lush palm trees and emerald eucalyptus trees.
7 things to do in Swakopmund:
- Touch the ancient 600-year-old rare velvichia trees growing in the vicinity of the city. Insignia: a short, no more than 5 cm thick trunk and 3-4-meter leaves creeping along the ground.
- Go sea fishing in unique places created by a strip of dunes along the coast, for which Henties Bay is best suited.
- See an unforgettable lunar landscape during a night walk along the Swakop river valley.
- Dress up for a traditional Christmas ball or visit a beer festival. Both festivities take place in December – January, another bright carnival begins in August.
- Conquer the largest water slides in South Africa, descending into a huge indoor pool.
- Devote half a day of rest to extreme entertainment that is not common in the world – sandboarding (sandboarding or duneboarding). This is a special way to get down from the dunes – on a snowboard or lying on a piece of hardboard.
- Ride a catamaran in Walvis Bay, during this walk you can feed fur seals, pelicans, see dolphins. Departure from the Walvis Bay Yacht Club, the duration of the walk is from 8:00 to 13:00.