Best Things to do in Swakopmund in 2021

By David Woutersen

Swakopmund is a town where you will find something for everyone.

There’s 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.

Swakopmund, Namibia

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For the Nature Lovers:

National Marine Aquarium of Namibia

Aquarium

The only aquarium in Namibia is found in Swakopmund.

Home to all sorts of aquatic life found in the Benguela Current.

Where is it:

You can find the aquarium on the beachfront; 1 Strand Street in Swakopmund.

Opening Hours:

The aquarium is open Tuesdays-Sundays from 10 am to 4 pm and feedings are daily at 3 pm.

Entrance Fee:

A nominal fee of around N$10 (about €0.60/$0.70) will get you in the door.

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.
Sidewinder, Namib Desert

Where is it:

The Living Desert Snake Park is located at 5 Libertina Amathila Ave.

Opening Hours:

Their doors opening at 9 am & closing at 5 pm.

Nature & Wildlife Tours

Welwitchia and Moon Landscape, Namibia

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 😉).

There are lots of options in this regard as well and many different tour companies that offer different tours, like Charly’s desert tours and living desert Namibia.

Flamingo Viewing

Flamingos in Walvis Bay, Namibia

Take a stroll along Walvis Bay’s promenade, about 40 minutes South of Swakopmund. If you’re lucky, you may catch a glimpse of the flamingo flock. Alternatively, they may be found near the salt works.

Flamingos in Walvis Bay
  • 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

Seal at Cape Cross, Namibia

Another animal you need to see is the seals in the Cape Colony. You and your family will love the seal colony located 120km north of Swakopmund at Cape Cross. 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 experience the above-mentioned 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 in Walvis Bay.

What does it cost?

About N$950 for adults (about $65/€55 pp) & N$ 590.00 for children (about $40/€35pp) depending on the time of year.

Opening Hours:

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-riding experience that you won’t find too often in Southern Africa.

It is a very unique and special feeling sitting on top of a camel and riding through the seemingly endless sand dunes.

For Adrenalin Junkies or Outdoor Adventure:

Swakopmund Adventure

Swakopmund and its surroundings have plenty to offer for those that are looking for a bit of an adrenaline rush and to get their blood pumping.

  • Hiking up Dune 7. The highest Dune in Namibia. It is free, will get your heart pumping and reaching the top will give you an amazing view over a sea of sand dunes. (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. This is also a really fun and free activity (if you have a board). You can however also have a professional help you at Desert Explorers. Here you can also rent the boards. (Tip: When lying down, make sure to lift up your board infront of your face high enough, to avoid sand getting into your face)
  • 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. Tours are also offered by Desert Explorers.
  • Go Karting.
  • Paragliding.
  • Tandem Skydiving, book your adrenalin rush at Ground Rush Adventures.
  • Hot air balloon tours.
  • 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, at Namibia Surf Tours. It might also be of interest, for the advanced surfers amongst you, to know that you can experience the worlds longest left-hand barrel at the Skeleton Coast in Namibia.
  • Kayaking at Pelican Point Kayaking in Walvis Bay. 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. On your trip you’ll see the Cape Fur Seals that call Pelican Point their home. After about 2 hours you’ll head back inland for lunch.
  • Kite Surfing in Walvis Bay at Namibia Kite Center.
  • 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.

Related: Erindi, an Etosha alternative?

For those interested in history and culture:

Swakopmund has so much history and culture, greeting you as soon as you enter the town. There are plenty of attractions to stop by during your stay.

  • Did you know: Swakopmund was once a German colonial town. Even today you will find many german-speaking locals, german cafes and see lots of german buildings in the old town. Also the name Swakopmund is german and translates directly to the Mouth of the Swakop River.

Swakopmund Museum

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.

Where is it:

Strand St. Swakopmund

Entrance Fee:

Adults: N$ 30,00 (about €1.70/$2); Children: N$ 10,00 (about €0.60/$0.70)

Opening Hours:

Daily from 10 am to 5 pm.

Karakulia Weavers and Kirikara art gallery

Buy beautiful, handmade, and unique souvenirs at one of those markets and support the local artists.

Karakulia Weavers, specialize in beautiful handmade carpets, wall hangings, and rugs.

They can be found at Rakotoka Street 2, Swakopmund.

At Kirikara art gallery, you can find a lot of all different kinds of handmade arts and crafts.

It is located at; Am Ankerplatz, Sam Nujoma Avenue.

Street Market

Handmade Arts and Crafts

In Swakopmund, you will find a number of street craft artists. They make wooden sculptures, jewelry, pottery, etc. These talented artists will even engrave your name into Makalani nuts right in front of you in a matter of seconds. These Makalani nuts then make great key chains.

These local talented artists deserve your support (as opposed to the overpriced tourist-targeted souvenir shops).

Kristall Galerie

Kristall Galerie, Swakopmund

In this crystal gallery, you can find the world’s largest quartz crystal cluster.

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.

Gem Stones

Where is it:

At Theo-Ben Gurirab Ave, Swakopmund.

Opening Hours:

Mondays to Saturdays, from 9 am to 5 pm.

The Old German Town

Swakopmund, old historical 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, far away from home in the desert.

Related: 10 Places in Namibia you need to visit.

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 depend on the season.

Where is it:

You’ll find Tiger Reef at the mouth of the Swakop River, Südstrand Street.

Naps Club

The trending nightclub in Swakopmund.

Where is it:

You can find it at Patrick Lungadha Unit 18 & 19, Swakopmund.

Opening Hours:

The doors open at 6 pm and close around 2 am.

Desert Tavern

A place to meet and eat. The great food can occasionally be enjoyed with some great live music.

Where is it:

You can find the Desert Tavern on Swakop Street.

Opening Hours:

Doors open at 4 pm and close just before 2 am.

Except for Sunday, where they are open from 12 to 10pm.

Jetty 1905

Jetty 1905 is much more than a restaurant, it’s a landmark”

Jetty 1905. Swakopmund.

The jetty, as the name suggests, was built in 1905 for offloading cargo from boats.

Today it is a really good restaurant with a stunning view, especially during sunset.

Where is it?

Just head out to the beach and look for a jetty, you can’t miss it! 😉

Swakopmund Brauhaus

You want to experience the Old German Town, mingle with the friendly locals, and enjoy great German food (and of course the great german beer)?

Then head over to the Swakopmund Brauhaus.

Where is it:

Located on the Arcade, Sam Nujoma Drive 22, Swakopmund.

The Wreck Restaurant

The Wreck, Restaurant

Breath-taking ocean views, delicious food, great staff, what more can I say… Bon-Appetit and enjoy.

The Wreck is located in a building rather difficult to miss, mostly because it’s designed to resemble a ship.

The interior is tastefully decorated, giving the dining room a romantic ambiance, perfect for dinner with that special someone.

Where is it:

Located above the beach lodge, where you can also stay the night. 1 Stint, Swakopmund.

Kückis Pub

A casual restaurant for seafood and grill.

This is a really great place to hang out and enjoy a couple of beers.

Where is it:

You can find Kückis on Tobias Hainyeko Street 22.

Village Café

One of my favorite Cafes in Swakopmund.

Make yourself at home and enjoy some unique food and drinks in an entertaining atmosphere.

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!

Where is it:

Visit the Village Café at 23 Sam Nujoma drive for a delicious breakfast or filling lunch.

Swakopmund, Namibia

These were some of the top things to do in Swakopmund. 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. 😊

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