30 Things To Do In Swakopmund

Note, this post is now a bit out of date. For more information about Swakopmund and elsewhere in Namibia you can view our website frantic-naturalist.com and contact us from there.

In response to a question about things to do in Swakopmund, here are 30 things to do in Swakopmund with a heavy dose of my opinion.

Swakopmund and the coast have become Namibia's adventure towns, and there are a number of activities available. It is a strange town, of some 40000 people, one of the very few towns along Namibia's entire, huge coastline. Often foggy, it is popular with locals in summer to escape the heat of the interior.

1. Skydiving - Ground Rush Adventures offers one of the most active skydiving clubs in the southern hemisphere. Most people do tandem jumps, but you can also do a static line jump. I did two static line jumps (in 1998...a while back now) and to me it was much better than bungee jumping (Which I did at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe earlier that year).

2. Quad Bikes - Desert Adventures is one of the most experienced companies running Quad bike trips at the coast. I personally hate quad Bikes with a deep passion...but it is very popular in Swakopmund.

3. Sand-boarding - I know people. If you want to do sand-boarding, I can organize it for you. There are two forms usually (I may be out of data...the only sand-boarding I do is with my boys...slowly) but basically, there is lie down and stand up. Lie down requires no skill and you go fast. Since you only go as many times are you are willing to walk up the dunes, you want to make the best of the runs you get (or get really fit.) Stand up takes skill. My one day of doing it, I just fell down the whole day. I am tall and lanky, and my fitness far beats my co-ords, so lie down works much better for me. But, if you have done snow-boarding, you may find the stand-up easy.

4. Birding - This I have covered well already in this blog and elsewhere. If you are planning to visit Namibia and going birding anywhere, you should contact me anyway. I only know a few people, but I know the people who really know the people... No, jokes aside, the coast has some interesting birding. The best operators with regards to birding are Turnstone tours and SafariWise Namibia.

5. Walvis Bay Boat trips - There are a number of operators doing boat trips on the Walvis Bay Lagoon. I believe that at the moment Mola Mola has the most informative guides and most interesting trips. It is usually a morning trip out, and includes some snacks, oysters and Champaign. Dress in layers and put on sunscreen and hats even on a foggy day. On most of the trips the boat captains let a Cape Fur Seal jump on board the boat, which isn't the greatest thing, but I guess it's interesting. You see Dolphins on most trips. I recently saw my first Mola Mola, an Ocean Sunfish. It is rather strange. People have seen Whales, though I never have. In winter there are large populations of flamingos and in summer, waders, on the lagoon. The Walvis Bay Lagoon has been declared a Ramsar Site.

6. Cape Cross Tour - most tour operators run trips to Cape Cross. Cape Cross is the site where Portuguese explorer Diego Cao erected a stone cross in 1486 in honor of King Johannes of Portugal. Today the crosses standing at the site are replicas of the original cross. The site is most interesting due to the number of Cape Fur Seals there. At their peak there are nearly 200 000 Cape Fur Seals in the area. There is a great deal of international pressure on Namibia to stop a cull of the Cape Fur Seals, but to date the government hasn't taken much notice. Regardless of the politics, it's a very interesting place to visit. One thing to be aware of...Cape Fur Seal colonies STINK. If you visit you can get away from the smell and have a nice lunch (depending on the state of your stomach) at the Cape Cross Lodge.

Cape Cross is rather far out of town, and it is possible to visit the area on your way to or from Swakopmund if you are heading north of the town along the Skeleton Coast road.

7. Fishing - There are a number of operators who run fishing tours. I don't know to much about it...I can't imagine anything worse than sitting out in the cold wind, getting sunburned and then pulling out large, wet fish. But, if it's your cup of tea, there are a number of operators. Here is a link to get you started.

8. Swakopmund Museum - A very interesting museum near the lighthouse area in Swakopmund. Here is a link to some info about it...just beware...the website is a bit pink!

9. Golf - Swakopmund is in a hyper arid area, but there is a full golf course called Rossumund Golf Course. Again, I am not a golf player so can't give you to much insight into the Golf, but it's there, people like it and if it's your thing, go play golf. Just don't hit any of Swakopmund's only Springbok.

10. Swakop River Tour - You should do this trip with Charlie's Desert Tours, they started it like a hundred years ago or something. It is a very, very interesting day tour. The trip takes most of the day. Oh, just so you don't miss understand, the Swakop River tour is done in a 4x4, not a boat, and the river is a place with sand where water sometimes (but rarely) flows.

11. On Fridays you can go to the Rossing Mine if you want to find out more about Namibia's growing Uranium mining industry.

12. For the naturalist, one of the best tours is the Living Desert's tour, run by Tommy. He finds all the small creatures of the desert for you, and shares it with passion and knowledge. I have never done the trip, but people really enjoy it. Here is a video.

13. A tour to Sandwich Harbour is perhaps one of the most interesting things you can do in Swakopmund, Walvis bay area. You are out the whole day for this trip, but it is really worth it. I did a few trips for them to Sandwich Harbour last year.

14. A very interesting trip is to go into the township and visit people there. Township tours are done by Mondesa Township Tours

15. Or, if you are interested in the people living outside of the towns, there are the Topnaar people living on the Kuiseb River. I don't know exactly what tour operator is best for doing this trip, but I can find out. With any 'people' oriented tours, one wants to do it with sensitivity to the people.

16. If you want to part with lots of bucks, you could do a helicopter trip.

17. You can do scenic flights out of Swakopmund, and trust me, it is amazing to fly over the Namib Sand Sea and over Sossusvlei. There are a number of operators doing these flights out of Swakopmund, but I recommend using Scenic Air.

18. You can also do a Balloon Flight. I have never done it (in this area) and can't comment on how good it would be.

19. Shopping - well, my father-in-law has some good links on his website, Swakop.com. Buy gems, Karakul carpets, buy some property, get a haircut at Zeppelins, buy leather goods, beads, curios, safari cloths, ice cream. Don't phone me about shopping...I do my best not to go shopping. Perhaps optics...oh, yes, you can get your camera fixed (like if you got to much sand in it while down at Sossusvlei) or buy a new one (if you dropped it from your 4x4 in Palmwag). Rent cars.

20. Visit the Snake Park in Swakopmund. It's in the main street. If you can't find it, ask someone. Or Tweet me and I'll help you find it. It is interesting. Have you ever seen a real live Black Mamba?

21. Places to eat diner: Popular: The Tug (Sea food), The Lighthouse (more family oriented), Kucki's Pub, Eric's (more German). My favorite: The Grapevine (nice if you like wine) and The Wreck (a little fancy, nice setting, out of center town). If you just want to grab a pizza, the best is at Western Saloon.

22. Where to have sundowners - Tiger Reef Bar (dress warm)

23. Where to have lunch - The Light Keeper's Cottage Tea Garden...just look for the lighthouse.

24. Breakfast - At the Village Café or Café Treff. Mid-morning, have some cake at the famous Café Anton.

25. Need to blog/tweet/email, visit the Swakop icafe.

26. Scare yourself silly at the 'Flying Fox'. This is the cable slide on the top of Rossing Mountain. It is said to be the world's longest (1100 m) and highest (200 m) cable slide. It's done by the same people that runs the ballooning in Swakopmund. 
27. Where to stay: Lots of places, Big hotel: Swakopmund Hotel, Historic Hotel: Hansa Hotel, really cheap: Swakopmund Municipal Bungalows, Out of center town (and perhaps my favourite): Beach Lodge, newer and nice: The Stilz. There are lots of places...Sam's Giardino, you can stay at Rossmund Lodge at the golf course (mentioned above), you can camp if you like (don't), there are many guest houses. There are even many people who provide accommodation at their houses.

30. Did you bump an elephant in Damaraland, or get malaria in the Caprivi - you can visit the Cottage Hospital. You think that's a funny link, well some time back a tourist in the area had a baby there...mom's name was Angelina Jolie. More importantly, we also had our baby there in 2007. I guess it's unlikely that you will have your baby there, but it's possible???

For more info about the coast and it's environment - visit Nacoma's website.
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kyungmee said...

wow..very cool blog you got here. I found your site through looking at viewers from blogcatalog;) Looking forward to following!

Vernon said...

Thanks for the nice comments

Vernon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vernon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I love the suggestions especially as I'm going to be adventuring to Namibia after soccer finishes. . . .

thanks a mill

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Ferry Companies said...

Great post!. It's clear, helpful and so interesting.i love the suggestions.. thanks

Vernon said...

Janet and the rest of you, I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I have re-posted a more cleaned up version on see-namibia.com if you want to have a look.

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