About Swakopmund

Your seaside adventure awaits

Namibia is one of Africa’s most diverse, interesting, and entertaining destinations, offering a wealth of adventure on land and sea as well as in the air and Swakopmund offers easy access to them all.

Keep reading to find out how you can maximize your trip to Swakopmund in Namibia.

A Brief History of Swakopmund

As one of the few coastal areas with potable water, Swakopmund was originally frequented by indigenous folk who named the area ”Tsoakhaub”, a Nama word which translates into a very unflattering description of the river’s propensity to carry waste into the sea from inland.

Interestingly, Swakopmund was founded two years after the inland city of Windhoek, in 1892. At this time, Captain Curt von Francois declared the area as the main harbour of German South West Africa.

The town grew out of two beacons to mark the site (one at the Mole and one at the lighthouse). The first 120 troops and 40 settlers had to dig themselves caves on the beach to shelter from the weather and offload the trading ships by hand onto special boats with the help of 600 slaves.

They soon constructed a military barracks and then a hospital and various trading companies set up headquarters for their businesses in Swakopmund.

Since the only other viable site, Walvis Bay was in British hands, Swakopmund bustled with ever-increasing traffic between Germany and South West Africa in the years to follow. In the first year, only four ships landed, but by 1899 the traders were arriving every two weeks.

The German colonists changed the name to Swachaub and when the town received municipal status in 1909 its current version Swakopmund was introduced.

In 1915, the Union of South Africa took over South West Africa and transferred all harbour activities to Walvis Bay. This had a massive impact on Swakopmund’s prosperity, and the town turned its focus toward tourism, which is still a major income spinner today.

Currently, Swakopmund is also the site of a satellite tracking station and major salt works.

Explore More of Swakopmund’s Past

Much of Swakopmund’s appeal for tourists lies in its beautiful architecture. You can explore these on guided walking tours of the town or on your own.

Some highlights include:

  • Woermann House and Tower
  • Princess Rupprecht House
  • Kaserne, the original barracks
  • The Railway Station
  • Swakopmund Hotel
  • The German School
  • Deutsche Evangelical Church
  • Hohenzollern Building

The Jetty is another old-time development that’s a major feature of Swakopmund and is now home to Jetty 1905, one of the best restaurants in town.

In 1905, the first wooden jetty was built, only to succumb to the elements and marine borer worm.  Construction of an iron jetty began in 1912 in a joint venture between two companies, Flander A.G. Benroth and Grun & Bilfinger. Ongoing renovations were made over the years and improvements were added to the structure until it reached its current form in 2010.

Things to Do in Swakopmund

Swakopmund is a top spot for seafood lovers thanks to a roaring fishing trade and is also home to some outstanding German eateries and beer halls serving locally brewed ales.

The town is best known for its amazing adventure activities, though, and acknowledged as a top adrenalin-inducing destination.

Some of the things to do in this seaside town include:

  • Deep sea fishing trips
  • Whale and dolphin tours
  • Skydiving
  • Parasailing
  • Hot air ballooning
  • Dune biking
  • Kayaking
  • Mountain biking

You can also explore the desert on a camel or horse, take a trip to the Namib Naukluft Park, or check out the Swakopmund Museum at the lighthouse, the largest privately run museum in Namibia, or pay a visit to the recently overhauled Swakopmund Aquarium.

Desert tours are a top attraction where you can discover unique adapted plants and animals on thrilling 4×4 drives among the sands.

You can also head out to see the seals and birds at Sandwich harbour or take a day trip to the Welwitschia trail or Spitzkoppe.

As a result of the frequently foggy weather, there are numerous shipwrecks you can view along the Atlantic Coast, including the Gertrud Woermann II and Kongevisk near Swakopmund.

Accommodation in Swakopmund

Swakopmund boasts all the types of accommodation you’d expect in a coastal destination including swish hotels, bed and breakfasts, self-catering apartments, and campsites just outside town.

Getting Around During Your trip to Swakopmund in Namibia

You need a car to explore Namibia to its fullest, although walking around town is the best way to enjoy what Swakopmund has to offer.

The nearest airport is Swakopmund Airport located 4km outside town, but you can also fly into Walvis Bay, 35km away.

All international flights to Namibia land at Hosea Kutako International Airport in Windhoek, and you can hire a charter flight or domestic flight from there to Swakopmund.

Most people prefer to hire a car, so they can make the most of the road trip to Swakopmund from Windhoek, but there are also tour operators offering buses between the two destinations.

Swakopmund is 351km from Windhoek.

Get Started Planning Your Trip to Swakopmund

Reading about a destination is never as good as experiencing it for yourself. Swakopmund offers a huge variety of things to see and do during your trip to Namibia.

Start planning  your getaway now and be sure to set aside a few days for exploring Windhoek when you arrive in the country, it’s your ideal starting point for a trip to Swakopmund in Namibia.

Please Note: The details shared herein were correct at the time of publishing. However, with time some of this information may change. We recommend confirming information with suppliers prior to making final travel arrangements. If you do happen to find an issue with any information we’ve shared here, please feel free to contact us so that we can make the relevant changes.


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