The appearance of Swakopmund, with its 30 000 inhabitants, is characterised
by numerous colonial buildings with the Woermann House from 1905
as its landmark. The former trading house in Bismarck Street with
its 25 metre high Damara Tower and its courtyard bordered by arcades
today houses the city library, an art gallery and the office of
the Namibia Wildlife Resorts.
Swakopmund is a popular seaside resort with a slightly
nostalgic atmosphere, many tourist attractions and a pleasant climate
in summer. For those interested in adventure activities Swakopmund
offers sandboarding, quad biking, dune carting, parachuting, hot
air ballooning, shark fishing, deep sea fishing and beach angling
to name but a few. For the more sedentary there are restaurants,
cafes, art galleries, museums, a snake park and aquarium.
There is a great variety of accommodation
in Swakopmund which cater for all tastes and budgets.
It should be noted that these establishments will definitely need
to be booked in advance, especially around Christmas when the town
is full of people from Windhoek and accommodation is extremely hard
Swakopmund still manages to create a feeling of timelessness.
Driving along the stunning dune-lined coastline is particularly
attractive, whether you go south to Walvis Bay (30 km) or to the
National West Coast Recreation Area in the north.
The road (slippery when there is fog) goes right along the beach
and leads to the Ugab rivermouth and further to the fishermen's
resort of Henties Bay and Cape Cross
on the way. North of the Ugab, the Skeleton Coast National
Park starts, for which a permit is required.
Interesting is also the Welwitchia Drive that leads
to the Moon Landscape at the Swakop Rivier and
into the northern part of the
Namib Naukluft Park.
History of Swakopmund
Swakopmund was of major importance as a harbour during the German
colonial era even though the water at the coast is actually too
shallow and the bay is unprotected. But Luederitz was too far away
and the seaport of Walvis Bay was in British possession in those
In August 1892, the gunship "Hyäne" under the command
of Captain Curt von François, staked out a wharf north of
the Swakop River mouth. A year later, 40 settlers from Germany and
120 members of the Schutztruppe were taken ashore on landing boats
to embark upon an adventurous undertaking. The 325 metre long wooden
jetty was only completed in 1905 and it was later replaced by a
more solid iron construction. Swakopmund became the gate to South-West
Africa and the entire supply for the colony was wound up through
this little town. The narrow-rail train to Windhoek started operations
in 1902 while at the same time, the station in the Wilhelminian
style (equivalent to Victorian style) was built. It was completely
restored some years ago and has become an entertainment centre,
a casino and a luxury hotel.
Climate of Swakopmund
In Swakopmund it is much cooler than inlands. The water is usually
too cold for swimming. This is due to the cold Benguela current.
The town is often covered in thick fog until noon. Swakop is a popular
holiday destination. Especially at Christmas time, when it gets
too hot in Windhoek, it is crowded here. Early booking of accommodation
The beautiful historical buildings in Swakopmund - Hohenzollern
Haus, Woermann Haus, Old Provincial Court, Prinzessin Rupprecht
Home - you can see an a walk through town. The Lighthouse was built
in 1902 and is 21 metres high. The museum next to the lighthouse
shows interesting exhibits of the local history. One of the new
attractions is the Aquarium of Swakopmund which opened in 1995.
It shows examples of the marine life along the Namibian coast in
a couple of seawater basins, the biggest having a volume of 350
cubic metres. Among many other fish species, stingrays and sharks
can be seen. Daily at 3 o'clock pm the fishes are being hand-fed
by divers. Very impressive! The aquarium lies in Strand Street und
is open daily - except mondays - from 10am to 4pm.
Steam Mobile "Martin Luther"
This curiosity from the times of the ox-wagon before the introduction
of the railways stands on the B2 a few kilometres before Swakopmund.
The wealthy Schutztruppe officer Troost imported the steam engine
in 1896 from Germany. The vehicle with a weight of 1.4 tons was
meant to go to Windhoek, but got stuck in the sand straightaway.
The people called the engine "Martin Luther" because he
once said "Here I stand and can't do otherwise. God help me.
Facilities in Swakopmund
Map showing Swakopmund in Namibia
from Swakopmund to
Fish River Canyon
Borders to Swakopmund
Ariamsvlei - SA
Noordoewer - SA
Velloorsdrift - SA
Buitepos - Botswana
Ngoma - Botswana
Wanela - Zambia
Kazangula - Zambia