Swakopmund – Your Gateway To The Namib Desert

Swakopmund is a beautiful Namibian town with a distinctly German flavour due to its history and its many German inhabitants. It is snuggled on the outskirts and seen as the gateway the magnificent Namib Desert. The Namib is the oldest desert in the world and home to the amazing natural wonders and wildlife of Namibia, affectionately known as ‘The jewel of the desert.’ Swakopmund, at the mouth of the Swakop River is an elegant, charming and friendly city with broad avenues. Founded by German settlers, it is a little piece of Hamburg at the edge of the desert.

In this article we feature just a handful of the highlights and unique and interesting activities on offer in and around this beautiful town of Swakopmund – your gateway to the Namib Desert.

German Architecture and Cuisine

There are beautiful German architecturally designed buildings in this place that feels more like a beautiful little hamlet than a city, that tell of a bygone era. German cuisine abounds too, with many restaurants offering tourists plenty of variety, but obviously the German options are a favourite. These offer the traditional German fare like Eisbein, pork belly and of course a variety of German sausages with sauerkraut! It’s also super easy to get around here, with the city being small enough to navigate on foot. 

Desert Adventure Activities

For the adventurous, hot air ballooning at nearby Sossusvlei, sandboarding and exhilarating quad biking on the dunes of this beautiful desert landscape, are just three of the adventure activities one can experience. Magnificent sunrises and sunsets can also be experienced by just walking the dunes!

Living Desert Tour

For those more inclined to examine the natural creatures of the area, you can take an extraordinary ‘Living desert tour’ with one of the preferred tour operators. Here you enter what appears to be barren lifeless terrain where you don’t see a living creature, but to your amazement, your guide digs out over 25 species of geckos, spiders, snakes, chameleons, legless lizards and many more! You will also be shown how plants and small animals survive the unforgiving desert climate, and how they attain water for life, a unique and fascinating experience.

Walvis Bay Sightseeing And Catamaran Cruises

A good day-trip would be south from Swakop to Walvis Bay, Namibia’s port town. The road to Walvis Bay provides good views of the Namib dunes meeting the Atlantic. From the port of Walvis Bay guests can enjoy a catamaran cruise to Pelican Point with its landmark lighthouse and 60,000 resident Cape Fur Seals.  In season (July to November), larger mammals such as the Southern Right Whale and Humpback Whales are often spotted, while other whale species, such as the Gray whale and the Pygmy Right whale have made appearances.   Bottlenose, Heaviside and Dusky dolphins are regularly seen, as are Mola Molas and Leatherback Turtles.  

Accompanying the catamarans throughout are a variety of seabirds, such as the Kelp Gull, Hartlaub’s Gull, Pelicans and Cape Cormorant.  

See An Endangered Plant Species

For hobby botanists a half day trip to the south east will take you to the legendary, endangered Welwitschia mirabilis plants. In a place where there is no rain for decades the only water source this plant uses are fog and humidity. Welwitschia plants can become over 1000 years old and only live in this part of the Namib desert, 40 to 120 km away from the coast. 

All of these sights and activities can be experienced in fact in one 10 day Namibia highlights tour offered by local highly recommended tour operators ‘Jewel of Africa’. As always though, Jewel of Africa also offers tailor made options to any of their destinations and you need only visit the website to find out more, or contact us to talk about your specific requirements when you choose to visit Swakopmund – your gateway to the Namib Desert!


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