Swakopmund (often shortened by locals and visitors to Swakop) is a rather odd town to come across in the middle of an African desert! Founded by German settlers, the town still retains a Germanic feel, especially in the rather quaint architecture, which is certainly more European in style than African.
Things to do in Swakop include buggy rides and sand-surfing on the dunes, flights over the desert and Skeleton Coast, and shopping (there are some excellent craft shops). It’s also the ideal place to catch up on those essential travellers’ tasks of laundry and emailing! But we didn’t (in July) get a real sense of it as a seaside resort, although the ice-cream we had one afternoon was very welcome.
We were there in July, the Namibian winter, so the town was fairly quiet, but apparently in December and the other summer months it is invaded by families and other holiday-makers from Windhoek, so it’s essential then to plan ahead.
Swakopmund is a important city in the middle of the desert with a important port, with German flavour.
It is a little city, but not for Namibia, is the second biggest Namibia's town and a summer place with beautiful big houses at the beach.
I had a free morning to walk around while the rest of the group went to Walvis Bay to see flamingos. SirRichard recommend me to search for antiques shops at the centre full of German colonial old things, and that I did.
I spend all the morning at Pete's Antiques shop ...uhm !!!! great place :))) very interesting one. I am sure there are more places, but I only had 4 hours and ...
Coming from the Desert, Swakopmund is often in the mist. And even if you are lucky and have no clouds and mist, it will be a lot cooler than you are used by now in Namibia.
Swakopmund is often said as to be a piece of Germany at the Rim of the Desert, and especially the german-speaking Namibians like it. So do not try to get there in the summer holidays or at christmas- or at least not without having booked before.
A lots of streets still have german names, but since 2002 they are changing it. So look, that you do have a newer map!
Things to see in Swakopmund:
-The Jetty: the first Jetty was built 1912. 1983 it was closed and restaurated, 1998 it was closed again. You will understand why, when you have a look at it.
- the Train Station. Built in "wilhelmic stile" 1901 it is today (totally renovated) a Casino, Hotel and Restaurant.
- The Worman house: today seat of the Namibia Wildlife Resort (if you need a permit: that is the place).
- The "Ritterburg" (Knights Castle) named after a Thomas Ritter. Located at the corner Bismarck Drive/Sam Nujoma Ave. (see picture). Today it belongs to the Municipality.
- The Lighthouse. 21m high, built in two steps..
- The Hohenzollern House. Built 1905 like a House in Berlin.
- The Antonius Hospital
- The Old Courthouse
- Princess Rupprecht Home
- The Aquarium: at the Strand Street. It is the only Aquarium in Namibia, opened 1995. They have a tunnel under the water where you can watch the Sandtigershark. Every day at 3 p.m. it is feeding time.
With lots of activities available and a lovely little town in its own right, Swakopmund is worth a couple of days visit. Said to be 'more German than Germany', the town draws lots of German-speaking tourists.
Activities include sand boarding, quadbiking, tandem sky-diving, rock climbing, balloon rides, microlighting, horseback riding, fishing and golf.
Driving around Namibia can be very hard and dangerous. Swakopmund is THE place to relax in Namibia. You have it all beach, desert, ocean, outdoor sports and braais. This is a picturesque little town where you can stay in a nice hotel and still afford it. It is also like an outdoor adventure playground without being several days from civilization and food. You can walk around the town and all the Mod Cons are here. 5 minutes later you can be sandboarding or quad biking in the desert. 5 minutes!
Please see my Swakopmund page for more excitement!
Swakopmund, affectionately referred to as Swakop by the locals, is Namibia's capital of adventure ... this little place between the Atlantic and the Namib is the base for all sorts of desert adventures, from dune boarding to flights over the Namib & Skeleton Coast.
The town has a heavy German influence, particularly noticeable from the architecture. It is used by tourists as a base for exploring this part of the Namib - or simply to chill out by the beach ... Chill out in the real sense of the word as the sea is C O L D!
There are some really stylish hotels and lovely guesthouses in the area, a highly recommended one is the Seabreeze Guesthouse.
Swakopmund museum close to the lighthouse is definitely a place to visit. It was founded by Dr. Alfons Weber in 1951 and offers an interesting insight into the past and present of the region. There are various displays: like those presenting the flora and fauna in the Namib desert and Atlantinc Ocean, showing weapons and domestic utensils used by the namibian indigenous people or the reconstruction of the colonial home interior.
My photos show an original ox-wagon (1), the interior of the apothecary shop with an old-fashioned till (2) and the trunk of a thousand year old Welwitschia.
The museum is open daily from 10a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and 3-5.30 p.m. So if you have at least two hours to spare, visit and you will enjoy it.
Swakopmund was founded in 1892 as the only harbour of German South West Africa (nearby Walvis Bay was in British possesion). The German spirit is still present today in the form of beautiful colonial architecture, broad roads and the feeling of order and neatness. If it wasn't for the streets lined with palm trees you could think that you are somwhere in Germany.
Nowadays Swakopmund is the premier holiday resort and popular destination for extreme sport amateurs. Adventure activities include sand boarding, quad biking, scenic flights, hot air ballooning or deep sea fishing. There are a lot of activity operators in the town who have all those attractions in offer. But it's not cheap. For example skydiving may cost about 280-300 USD and for two hours of quad biking in the desert you are expected to pay around 60-70 USD.
Swakopmund is rich in examples of German historic architecture. The old houses have a year of their construction placed on their front wall. Walking around the town you will come across the finest examples of colonial buildings which have been maintained and preserved very well.
Here are just a few:
- Hohenzollern Building - in my opinion one of the most impressive in Swakopmund. This Baroque-style building was constructed in 1906 as a hotel. At the top we can see Atlas supporting the world.
- Altes Amtsgericht - was constructed in 1908 as a private school. Because of the shortage of funds it was taken over by the local government and converted into the magistrates court.
- Woermanhaus built in 1906 as the office for a trading company. Its prominent tower served for years as a landmark for sailors. Today you can climb it and view the panorama from its top. The building houses now a public library and art gallery.
Swakop has some amazing old buildings, The German influence is still very visible.
This is a picture of the jail in Swakop. It looks more like a hotel than a jail. I assume it it not all that nice inside. I didn't bother to find out.
From the outside it is beautiful. The style is aparently that of a Bavarian Villa.
Swakopmund is like a German town in the 50ies! Or lets say how I imagine it.
Small and calm town. Every thing is more or less in walking distance!
click here for some more pics.
Swakopmund is an old German port city on the south Atlantic. Originally built as a colonial retort to the British port of Walvis Bay, Swakopmund slowly grew out of maritime importance as the Brits supplanted the German troops in Namibia after World War I.
Today, Swakopmund (or Swakop for short) is a laid-back, friendly and interesting city for visitors to Namibia. The German heritage guarantees a decent little bar scene, complete with tasty Germanic-style beers. There are numerous nice hotels, in all price ranges. And, Swakop is a good place to shop....both for necessities of travel AND souvenirs. There are a lot of "old settlers" for Namibia in and around Swakop, and they maintain a lively and well-stocked group of shops.
There are numerous eateries in and around Swakop, many featuring very fresh and tasty seafood dishes.
Swakopmund is the classic old city of Namibia as well and the beach resort by the Atlantic Ocean. Build by German immigrants this city has very interesting mix culture. It is also the place to try some of the restaurants and nightlife in Namibia.
Swakopmund is an indeed unique city. Being the second biggest city in Namibia, it is situated in between the Atlantic Ocean and the Namibian desert.
Approaching the city from the desert, you will suddenly have a feeling of approaching a Fata Morgana.
After passing by an alley of palm trees, you will see German colonial style houses with Bavarian spires. Incredible!
Just by the beach is a kinda informal market selling local souvenirs, mostly clay models and beadwork. Most of the work is quite good, and the price can genarally be bartered down to somewhere resembling cheap. Wonderful place to wander around.