Swakopmund is Namibia’s most famous coastal haunt, but it’s more than an average sun, sand and surf destination.
Settled by the Germans in the late 19th century, there’s something of a surreal colonial hangover in this Namibian holiday town. With its seaside promenades, sidewalk cafés, art nouveau buildings and trendy bistros, Swakopmund is all about Gemütlichkeit (a distinctly German appreciation for the good life).
And as the main springboard for explorations into the Skeleton Coast, it’s also considered Namibia’s adventure hub. Swakopmund’s wild and untamed surroundings provide an irresistible buffet of adventures for thrill seekers, from sandboarding, skydiving, dune-buggying and paragliding; to horseback and camel rides across the moon-like landscape.
Relentlessly pursued by the Namib Desert and persistently battered by the Atlantic Ocean, Swakopmund is sandwiched between two extremes, with a unique personality. This is the perfect pause-and-play destination along the endless Namibian road.
Best time to visit
While Swakopmund is a year-round destination, the drier months between May and October are ideal to combine with safaris in greater Namibia, as winter offers the best wildlife sightings.
Combine Swakopmund with:
- Skeleton Coast: explore the stark beauty and haunting solitude of Namibia’s rugged Skeleton Coast.
- Damaraland: find adventure and view Namibia’s desert-adapted elephants in the dramatic Damaraland region.
- Sossusvlei: discover a soulscape of sand dunes at Sossusvlei.
Swakopmund is roughly a four-hour drive from Windhoek.
The city is serviced by an airport which can accommodate small aircraft.
German, Afrikaans and English are the predominant languages spoken.
Swakopmund is considered more expensive than other Namibian cities.
Swakopmund Museum: explore Namibia’s history and ethnology and learn about its unique flora and fauna.
German architecture: from the delightful German-style Woermannhaus and the gabled Altes Amtsgericht to the Prinzessin Rupprecht Heim, Swakopmund is an architectural treasure chest.
Moon Landscape: take in the haunting view of the Welwitschia Plains, eroded hills and carved valleys of Namibia’s “Badlands.”
Adventure activities: Swakopmund is an adventurer’s playground and is particularly famous for skydiving.
Swakopmund on the Map
TOP TRAVEL TIP: Embrace this very ‘German’ town by flavouring the cake specialities at the various coffee shops in Swakopmund.