Arguably Namibia’s most interesting town and certainly offering the widest range of entertainments and activities, Swakopmund is an essential stop on most itineraries. The central coastal location, at the mouth of the Swakop River and the edge of the Namib Desert, makes Swakopmund perfectly situated for self-drive itineraries including Sossusvlei to the south or Damaraland to the north. The wide streets, colonial architecture, well-kept gardens and raft of European-style guesthouses are recognisably Germanic, lending the town a unique feel amidst the remote African desert and wild Atlantic coast. It is certainly an outpost of civilisation and relative urban development compared with the rest of the country, which explains why it works so well in the middle of a wider itinerary taking in other hot-spots where abundant wildlife and stark, majestic scenery are the focus.
Within the town there are a couple of small beaches (swimming not recommended) and a lighthouse, with decent bars and restaurants overlooking the ocean for a relaxing afternoon drink or tasty seafood dinner. The centre makes for a fascinating stroll, with immaculate, colourful German architecture and a decent range of galleries, shops, spas and activity centres. Just outside of town there are some major attractions, including the beautiful Skeleton Coast scenery at Sandwich Harbour, the flamingos and seals of Pelican Point and whale and dolphin watching opportunities out on the high seas. With a selection of attractive, excellent value boutique guesthouses on offer, we would highly recommend a couple of nights in Swakopmund.