Swakopmund is a town where you will find something for everyone. There’s also plenty of things to do in Swakopmund.
It’s famous for the neighboring dunes that meet the sea & ample outdoor activities. Whether you’re adventurous, love the outdoors, have kids or if you just enjoy having a sundowner cocktail on the beach, Swakopmund can please everyone.
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The Best Things to do in Swakopmund in 2020
For the Nature Lovers:
National Marine Aquarium of Namibia
The only aquarium in Namibia is found in Swakopmund.
Home to all sorts of aquatic life found in the Benguela Current, the aquarium is open Tuesdays-Sundays from 10 am to 4 pm and feedings are daily at 3 pm.
A nominal fee of around N$10 (€1/$1) will get you in the door, and you can find the aquarium on the beachfront (Strand Street).
Living Desert Snake Park
Do you like creepy crawlies? Then this is the park for you!
You will find all kinds of beautiful reptiles, arachnids, etc. whilst getting tons of information and interesting facts about these species.
- Did you know: Whilst most snakes have their eyes on the side of their heads, the Namib Desert is home to the exception. The Sidewinder (or Peringuey’s Adder) has eyes which are situated on top of its head. This has its benefits whilst hunting in the desert, namely, it can bury its entire body in the sand and still see it’s prey.
You can find the Living Desert Snake Park at 5 Libertina Amadhila Street with their doors opening at 9 am & closing at 5 pm.
Nature & Wildlife Tours
This is a must when traveling to Swakopmund. There is so much to learn and see, so much life in the seemingly dead desert, from Welwitschia’s in the moon landscape to Sidewinder snakes waiting for their prey (although, as previously mentioned, you may not notice them 😉).
Take a stroll along Walvis Bay’s promenade and if you’re lucky, you may catch a glimpse of the flamingo flock. Alternatively, they may be found near the salt works.
- Did you know: The color of flamingo feathers is a result of their diet. Pigments in their food are responsible for the red & pink colors seen in their feathers. This is caused by carotenoids, which is also what gives tomatoes & autumn leaves their color. They obtain their carotenoids through eating shrimps, algae & crustaceans.
Seal Colony at Cape Cross
You & your family will love the seal colony located 120km north of Swakopmund. Until you get out of the car that is.
Neither of our fathers ventured out into the stink during our visits in the past. You may think this is an exaggeration, but you’ll realize it isn’t once you get there. 😉
It’s well worth the trip though, and if you can get past the smell, you’re in for an incredible view over Africa’s largest mainland seal colony.
Mola Mola Tours
For those of you that like seals, but do not want to have to experience the above odor, the Mola Mola tours in Walvis bay may be a better option. Not only will you be able to pet the seals that come onto the boats, but you may also see dolphins, pelicans, etc. while enjoying a picnic on the boat. Just be careful that the seagulls don’t steal your food!
Where is it?
At the end of Atlantic Street, Walvis Bay.
What does it cost?
Between N$750-830 for adults (about $60/€55 pp) & N$460-500 for children (about $40/€35 pp) depending on the time of year.
Tours start at 9 am and run for 3 hours, just make sure you’ve checked in 30min before the departure time. Bookings are recommended.
Swakopmund Camel Farm
The Swakopmund Camel Farm is located 12km outside of Swakopmund, towards Windhoek. Kids will really enjoy this camel experience that you won’t find too often in Southern Africa. The added headgear will make you look the part and when climbing atop your camel, and peering into the desert, you’ll feel the part.
Visit the camels or take a ride Mo.-Sa. Between 2pm & 5pm. A 20min ride will cost you N$200 for Adults & N$100 for children under 13 years of age (about $16/€13 or $8/€6,50).Discover the many things to do in Swakopmund. Namibia's city by the sea.
For Adrenalin Junkies or Outdoor Adventurous
Swakopmund has plenty to offer those that are looking for a bit of an adrenaline rush and to get their blood pumping.
- Hiking up Dune 7 (Pro tip: Do this early morning or late afternoon, the sun will heat up the sand during the day making it a very uncomfortable climb.)
- Sandboarding, lying or standing on a dune board, and then ‘surfing’ down the dunes.
- Quad biking through the Namib desert at daredevil adventures or desert explorers.
- Horseback riding tours at Okakambe trails, 12km outside of Swakopmund.
- Fat bike tours through Swakopmund
- Go Karting
- Tandem Skydiving, book your adrenalin rush at ground rush adventures.
- Hot air balloon tours at African Balloons.
- Air safari tours at Scenic Air or Bush Bird-Sossusfly
- Paintball, at Swakopmund’s paintball center. Adventure groups and families can enjoy a wide variety of activities and sports.
- Surfing, learn to surf at element riders adventure sports.
- Kayaking at pelican point kayaking.
Experience a kayaking trip like you’ve never had before. A 4×4 tour takes you down the Walvis Bay lagoon, past the salt works and the flamingo flock. After about an hour you’ll reach Pelican Point, where the kayaking begins. In the safe side of the peninsula, you’ll see the over 50 000 Cape Fur Seals that call Pelican Point home. After about 2 hours you’ll head back inland for lunch and the trip back.
- Dolphin Park, this one is more for the kids. The waterpark at Long Beach, between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, has a number of chalets, making it a good place to stopover for some unwinding whilst the kids play amongst the various water features.
A lot of these activities can be found at desert explorers or the other companies next to the activity.
Related: Erindi, an Etosha alternative?
For those interested in history and culture
Swakopmund has so much history and culture, some even greeting you as you enter the town. There are plenty of attractions to stop by during your stay. Whilst we’re on the topic of history, Swakopmund gets its name from its location. The river it is situated on is the Swakop river, and ‘mund’ is German for ‘mouth’, as this was originally a German colonial town.
Meaning Swakopmund directly translates to the Mouth of the Swakop river.
This is the largest privately-owned museum in Namibia and was founded in 1951. Here you will find many different types of indigenous flora and fauna, old transport systems and you can learn more about the different ethnic groups of Namibia.
Martin Luther Museum
Martin Luther once said, “Here I stand, I can do no other.”
This steam locomotive was then appropriately named Martin Luther after it came to a halt 4km outside of Swakopmund, at the beginning of 1897, and was abandoned there. It’s an interesting stop before driving in, but not really worth a trip all by itself.
Karakulia Weavers and Kirikara art gallery
Handmade crafts, weaved rugs and carpets are sold at these two art markets. Buy beautiful, handmade, unique souvenirs here and support the local artists.
In Swakopmund, you will find a number of street craft artists, from wooden sculptures to bead artists. These talented artisans will even engrave your name into makalani nuts right in front of you in a matter of seconds! Another group of local talented artists that you should support (as opposed to the overpriced tourist-targeted souvenir shops).
In this crystal gallery, you can find the world’s largest quartz crystal cluster. This is a really beautiful and unique experience after you’ve taken a look at Namibia’s precious gemstones, take a look at the craft area. Then enjoy a coffee at the refreshment area and maybe take along some souvenirs from the gem shop.
The Old German Town
Make wonderful memories and photographs of the lighthouse, the Woermann house, the old Bahnhof (railway station), the old prison, cafes, etc.
For all the German tourists, you’ll feel right at home in the desert.
Food & Nightlife
Tiger Reef Beach Bar and Grill
Sundowners, beach, food, cocktails & great music. This is the perfect place to finish off a perfect day at Swakopmund. Opening hours is largely dependant on the season, with doors opening at 4 pm in the week and the last call is at midnight. You’ll find Tiger Reef at the mouth of the Swakop River.
The trending nightclub in Swakopmund.
You can find it at 898 Mandume Ndemufayo Street, with the doors opening at 7 pm and closing around 2 am.
A place to meet and eat. The great food is also served with occasional live music.
You can find the Desert Tavern on the Swakop Street.
Doors open at 4 pm and close just before 2 am.
“Jetty 1905 is much more than a restaurant, it’s a landmark”
The jetty, as the name suggests, was built in 1905 for offloading cargo from boats.
Today it is a really good restaurant with a unique view.
Where is it? Just head out to the beach and look for a jetty, you can’t miss it! 😉
You want to experience the Old German Towns friendly people and great German food (and of course the great beer)?
Then head over to the Arcade, number 22, Sam Nujoma Drive, to visit the Swakopmund Brauhaus.
The Wreck Restaurant
Breath-taking ocean views, delicious food, great staff, what more can I say, Bon-Appetit.
This is another building rather difficult to miss, mostly because it’s designed to resemble a beached ship.
The interior is tastefully decorated, giving the dining room a romantic ambience, perfect for dinner with that special someone.
Located above the beach lodge, you can also stay the night.
A casual restaurant for seafood and grill, as the pub name suggests.
This is a really great place to hang out and enjoy a couple of beers.
You can find Kückis on Tobias Hainyeko Street, with the doors opening at 5 pm & closing at 10 pm.
One of my favourite Cafes in Swakopmund. Make yourself at home and enjoy some very unique food and drinks.
Once you arrive you will immediately be greeted with an “African village feeling”.
Make sure to head out to the courtyard in the back for the full experience!
Visit the Village Café at 23 Sam Nujoma drive for a delicious breakfast or filling lunch, with opening hours being between 7 am and 5 pm.
Monkey Puzzle Café
An atmosphere similar to the village café, but with the addition of a large playground outside, perfect for the kids.
You can find Monkey Puzzle Café on the Henties Bay Road.
The doors open 8 am & close at 5 pm, except on Saturdays when they close at 1 pm and on Sundays when they’re only opening between 9-12 am.
Those are the top things to do in Swakopmund in 2018, a wide variety of fun activities and adventures that will surely make your stay a memorable one.
Remember to pack plenty of sunscreen!
Have you visited Swakop yet? How was your trip? Let us know down below. 😊
If you enjoyed this post, we’d really appreciate it if you would share it with someone that may also enjoy it. 😊
David & Maike
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