Located on the coast of the South Atlantic Ocean, Swakopmund is a little town with a confused personality. Is it German or is it Namibian? The architecture in the city center resembles small German towns. It is much easier to find Western style cafes and restaurants than it is to find a local Namibian one. Italian ice-cream, American hamburgers, French croissants, you name it. Chances are you will be able to find it in the city center of Swakopmund, as long as it’s not Namibian. Keep reading for our list of things to do while visiting this interesting place!
1. Refresh yourself with a cold swim in the South Atlantic Ocean
Go to the beach and have a swim. Locals might say that the water is cold, but you should still do it. The main beach is located north of the town, next to the Swakopmund Museum. If the water is too cold for you to swim, you can just sunbath along with the locals and the other tourists. In case you want a break from the sun, there are also many cafes and restaurants around where you can have an ice-cream, a cold drink or lunch. Many locals like to hang-out at the beach. Yet, only tourists will swim.
Swakopmund Main Beach
Address: Strand Street, Swakopmund, Namibia
2. Pretend to be on the moon while visiting the Moon Landscape
The Moon Landscape is part of Namib-Naukluft National Park. It is between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund, closer to Swakopmund. It’s best to arrive here half an hour or one hour before the sunset, so that you can enjoy the sunset. Make sure to take an extra jumper with you as it can get cold once it gets dark. If you’re an independent traveler, be aware that you will need to buy a permit from the Ritterburg Office of the Ministry of Wildlife, Conservation and Tourism in Swakopmund.
Ritterburg Office of the Ministry of Wildlife, Conservation and Tourism
Address: corner of Sam Nujoma and Bismarck Streets
Contact: +264 61404576
3. Visit the Swakopmund Museum
Swakopmund Museum is located right next to the beach, so when you’re getting bored of the beach, you can just head into the museum. It’s the perfect place to learn more about Namibia’s history and ethnology. Even if it’s rather small, it also provides information about wildlife that exists in the area. However, since it is not a modern interactive museum, it might not be very interesting for children, even if you might find the information very useful. You can plan around one hour for the visit.
Address: Strand Street, Swakopmund, Namibia
Website: Swakopmund Museum
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4. Walk around Mondesa neighborhood
This is where most locals live and where you can find some traditional Namibian food. Tourist companies in town also provide organized tours of Mondesa with trained tour guides, who can tell you more about the history and development of Swakopmund. They can also introduce you to Namibian food and customs. You will also learn a lot about all the different tribes that coexist around the countries, their traditional clothing and customs.
Mondesa Township Tour
Contact: +264 812734361
Facebook: Mondesa Township Tour
5. Get dirty and go sandboarding
Why go sandboarding? Because it’s super fun. Besides, there’s no snow in Namibia. There are many companies who organize sandboarding adventures. Sometimes it is coupled with quad biking. You can head to the Tourist Information Center and choose a tour that fits you and your budget best. Alternatively, you can follow the below recommendation. It is one of the most popular options among other travelers.
Tourist Information Center
Address: 28 Sam Nujoma Ave, Swakopmund
Contact: +264 812551513
Sandboarding tours in Swakopmund
Address: 25 Moses Garoeb Street, in the Amanpuri Travellers Lodge, PO Box 3992, Swakopmund
Contact: +264 811282737
Website: Sandboarding tours in Swakopmund
Welwitschia Plains (also called Namib Desert) is a rather wide area between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay that offers wonderful landscapes. The area has impressive canyons and you might also be able to see some wildlife, mostly springbok and ostriches. There are tours available from both Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. In case you want to self-drive to the area, plan at least 4 hours. You will also want to take your time and enjoy the scenery, rather than rushing through it.
Namib Desert Tour from Swakopmund
Address: pick-up from any Swakopmund Hotel
Book a Tour:
7. National Marine Aquarium of Namibia
National Marine Aquarium of Namibia is placed close to the coast. If you’ve been to other aquariums, you might not be very impressed. Yet, this is the only aquarium in Namibia, so it is special for locals. The highlight, especially for kids, is the glass tunnel built under the tank. Visiting the museum is for sure an activity you should consider if you’re traveling with your family. Although small, they provide good extensive information on the species on display. You should plan about an hour for the visit.
National Marine Aquarium of Namibia
Address: Strand Street, Swakopmund
Opening hours: Tuesdays - Sundays, 10 am - 4 pm; closed on Mondays and public holidays
Website: National Marine Aquarium of Namibia
Get deeper into the desert
If you feel like you’ve explored Swakopmund enough, you have to head to either to Walvis Bay or up north to the Skeleton Coast National Park. The 30 km (18.6 mi) drive between Swakopmund and Walvis offers wonderful views. You will see the ocean on your right and the desert on your left. If you happen to drive by at sunset, you will witness the amazing colors blending the ocean and the sky. This area of Namibia is truly amazing, the landscape is unique, so make sure not to miss it.
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