Tuesday, 25 October 2016

NAMIBIA: Town Of Swakopmund

The town of Swakopmund is situated on the desert coastline of the Namib Desert. Despite the arid conditions, the town is surprisingly attractive, warm and friendly. A variety of restaurants, hotels, guesthouses, shops and a casino provide a vibrant and lively feeling to Swakopmund.

The predominantly German colonial architecture makes Swakopmund an attractive and interesting place to visit. There are a number of historical buildings and attractions in the town, such as Woerman House, which is now a monument, and the “Martin Luther” locomotive which was brought into the country in 1896 and eventually abandoned in the desert. Today it is a monument.

Swakopmund was founded in 1892 as the main harbour for German South-West Africa. It had sufficient fresh underground water in the dry Swakop riverbed and thrived as a harbour town for many years until Walvis Bay harbour became more suitable for shipping activities. Today Swakopmund is a seaside resort that is more attuned to holidaymakers than shipping and offers a variety of activities and accommodation. One can reach Swakopmund by road on an excellent tar road from Windhoek, or you can approach through the Namib Desert after a visit to Sossusvlei. There is also an airport if you would like to fly in.

It is well worth staying in Swakopmund for a few days as there is something to offer for most holiday-makers in this beach resort. The weather is mild with average temperatures ranging between 15° and 25° Celsius. There is often a bank of fog hanging over the coastline, due to the cold Benguela current that streams down the coastline. This current is rich in nutrients and attracts a variety of fish species which means excellent fishing for the eager fisherman. For the more adventurous, there are balloon trips, quad-bike trips in the spectacular dunes between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay and skydiving. There is also a camel farm just outside of town and trips up the dry Swakop River can be organized to see the “Moon Landscape”. Restaurants are plentiful and coffee shops draw you in with the delightful scent of freshly baked German confections.

There is accommodation to suit a wide variety of visitors. For those with a taste for an extra touch of luxury, there is The Stiltz Hotel which offers luxury log cabins built on stilts in the Swakop riverbed. Spectacular views of the birdlife and the sea make this a unique experience. Another option is the Beach Hotel, which is right on the beach and provides superior accommodation close to the water for either couples or for families.

There are a number of hotels that provide excellent accommodation and fine dining right in town. Hotel Eberwein offers old-world charm and a Victorian atmosphere, while The Hansa is a classic old building that retains the feeling of a previous era while being centrally situated.

Sam’s Giardino is a more intimate boutique hotel which provides high quality accommodation for all. Hotel Pension Rapmund is an affordable option, centrally situated and ideal for families.

For those who require self-catering accommodation, Alte Brücke is the perfect option, while the Swakopmund Municipal Rest Camp offers budget accommodation for the fisherman or those on a tight budget.

The Swakopmund Hotel and Entertainment Centre is situated in the beautiful old station building and offers luxury accommodation, a casino and restaurants for those who would like to spend a few days relaxing in the lap of luxury.

This is truly a town to suit all visitors.