Swakopmund Info & Attractions & Tours
INTRODUCTION TO SWAKOPMUND:
In 1884, South West Africa – the future Namibia – was declared a German Protectorate. By 1907 Swakopmund had the largest European population of any German colony in Africa, the town pulsated with life – a quaint town had emerged out of the desert!
Today this curious desert town, nestled between the dunes and the ocean is perfectly situated to spend a few days relaxing in the cool climate, browsing through the galleries, bookshops, craft markets and jewellers. Take part in adrenaline sports; view the dunes from balloon, aircraft or parachute; get close up to our marine life – on foot, by boat or kayak. Explore the desert with expert guides; wander through the town to admire the beautiful architecture or relax and soak up the ambience of the quaint desert town.
WHAT TO DO IN SWAKOPMUND:
A variety of excursions are on offer from this historic town and can easily be arranged, contact us for further details and assistance:
This museum offers an excellent insight to a variety of subjects – the contrasting life in the Namib Desert and the Atlantic Ocean; Namib flora; archaeological and entomological collections; mineral and mining displays; pioneer transport and a wonderful collection on the cultures of Namibia’s indigenous peoples. The museum is open daily (including Sunday) from 10h00 - 13h00 and from 14h00 - 17h00.
NATIONAL MARINE AQUARIUM
Meet Namibia’s marine life. Wander through the glass tunnel and get seriously close to ragged tooth sharks; rock lobsters; deep-sea red crabs and blue stingrays. The aquarium is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10h00 – 16h00. Open on all public holidays except Christmas Day.
WOERMANN HOUSE GALLERY & TOWER
A landmark on the Swakopmund skyline Woermann House was built in 1894. The tower served as a water tower and navigation point for the ships of the Woermann Line. It now houses the public library, art gallery and the offices of Namibia Wildlife Resorts (permits for the Welwitschia Drive). Climb Woermann Tower for wonderful views and good photographic opportunities of the town with the dunes as a backdrop. Collect the key for the tower from the library or the gallery from Monday to Saturday. Best views mid morning as the fog lifts and the light shines on the dune fields.
For anybody with an interest in geology, crystals and semi-precious stones – be prepared to spend several hours in this fascinating gallery that houses the largest known crystal cluster in the world. Dig around in the scratch patch for semi-precious stones, wander through the cave – a replica of the original Otjua Tourmaline mine with its crystal and tourmaline studded walls; watch jewellers at work and browse through the shop. The gallery also has a coffee shop, where you can enjoy a light lunch or just take a break. Open Monday to Saturday from 09h00 - 17h00. Closed on public holidays.
Looking for that special momento of Namibia? Then visit Jenny Carvill and her team of dedicated weavers who bring Namibia to life on the loom. This team of men and women (including disabled persons) form a close and talented team. Not only is training in the skilled craft of weaving given, but also training in office, computer, management and design skills are incorporated. The team has even started a housing project. Enjoy a guided tour and watch the carding, spinning, dyeing and weaving of pure karakul wool into beautiful rugs and wall hangings. All this and a great team of Namibians working together for a better future.
Looking for a unique, good quality pair of sandals or boots. Perhaps a leather bag or wide brimmed hat? Visit the Swakopmund Tannery for a pair of unique “Swakop Vellies” - perfect for exploring the vast Namib. Open Monday to Friday from 08h00 - 13h00 and 14h00 - 17h00. Saturdays from 08h00 - 12h30.
SAVE THE RHINO TRUST
Heading into Damaraland or maybe you’ve heard about our unique population of Black Rhino? A visit to the Save the Rhino Trust (right next door to Karakulia) offers a wonderful insight into the life and struggles of this magnificent animal. Meet the dedicated people, who strive to protect the Rhino and work to promote community development through conserving natural resources. An outlet for the rural Crafts for Conservation you can browse through the shop in search of an unusual gift – vegetable ivory carvings, handmade Himba & Herero dolls, seed necklaces, crystals, paintings, recycled products, sand candles, wooden pipes pots and carvings. The centre is open Monday to Friday from 08h00 - 13h00 and 14h00 - 17h00. Saturdays from 09h00-13h00.
OTAVI-BAHNHOF ARTS & CRAFTS CENTRE
This was the original railway station and the west coast terminal of the narrow-gauge railway line to/from the copper mine at Tsumeb. Built in 1906, it now houses an arts and crafts centre. The centre is open Monday to Friday from 10h00 - 13h00 and 15h00 - 17h00. Saturdays from 10h00 - 13h00.
PALM BEACH ART
A large, informal open-air craft market with crafts and curios from all over Africa. Spend some time browsing and bargaining!
EXCURSIONS & ACTIVITIES:
Swakopmund and Walvis Bay offer a variety of activities and excursions, know as the "action adventure centre of Namibia" – something to suit every taste - from sedate and peaceful to adrenaline pumping action.
The following half and full day activities can easily be arranged, simply contact us for further details and assistance.
Quad Biking - the thrill of riding a four-wheeled motorbike through Namibia’s shifting sand dunes.
Sand boarding - stand up or belly down!, the Namib is reputed to house some of the largest sand dunes, experience these wonders in an environmentally friendly way by zooming down on a traditional Swakopmund Sand board.
Sea Kayaking - experience the wetlands and offshore coastal areas from the unique vantage of a sea kayak.
Parasailing - is the way to surmount the shifting sand of the Namib. Experience the timeless desert and dunes from a unique vantage point 50m up in the air.
Tandem Sky Diving - for the adrenaline junky, magnificent views of the desert and Atlantic Ocean.
Horse Riding – the route covers the dry riverbed to the Mini Moon landscape. Moon-lit rides can be arranged.
Camel Riding - the ancient way to experience the desert...
Golfing - Desert Classic!
(All trips depart and return to Swakopmund airfield)
SOSSUSVLEI SCENIC FLIGHT
Often described as “the flight of a life time”, we take you along the Kuiseb River bed, shortly the awe-inspiring dunes at Sossusvlei come into sight. Over-fly the forbidden Diamond area where remains of old diamond camps and shipwrecks can still be seen.
SOSSUSVLEI DAY FULL DAY EXCURSION
As described above, land at Sesriem. Accompanied by a guide you will be driven in a 4x4 vehicle into Sossusvlei for time at leisure. Transfer to the landing strip and continue our flight as described above.
THE DESOLATE DIAMOND COAST
A diminutive of the premier flight. Take-off from Swakopmund flying over the ‘sea of sand’ approaching the shore at Conception Bay you soar along the coastline flying over the shipwrecks north to Sandwich Harbour and over Walvis Bay.
FUN FLIP / FLIGHT
A ‘sunset cruise’ which gives guests an aerial impression of the surrounding area, enjoy a sundowner in the sky. Head southward to Sandwich Harbour, over-fly the harbour of Walvis Bay, soaring along the coast and with the setting sun, land at Swakopmund.
FISH RIVER CANYON AND LÜDERITZ
Head towards Sossusvlei then Eastwards to Keetmanshoop and the Fish River Canyon where we land. A short drive takes one to the viewpoint with a spectacular view of the canyon. Lunch at the lodge before the flight continues as below, but excludes the stop over in Luderitz
Flying low-level in the canyon, our flight continues over towards the coastal town of Luderitz where we land. Enjoy a guided city tour and visit Namibia’s most famous ghost town, Kolmanskop. The return flight is along the desolate coast, passing shipwrecks, Sandwich Harbour, and Walvis Bay.
COAST OF LONELINESS SCENIC FLIGHT
Head inland, over the Spitzkoppe Mountains, the majestic Brandberg, to the Uniab river bed. As we near the coastline, the sand dunes form intriguing ripple patterns, fly over Toscanini and continue to Palgrave Point, Cape Cross and Henties Bay.
SKELETON COAST DAY TRIP WITH STOP OVER AT CAPE CROSS LODGE FOR LUNCH
Flight as per above but includes a stop over at Cape Cross Lodge for lunch.
HIMBA DAY TRIP
Head inland, over the Spitzkoppe Mountains, the majestic Brandberg to Opuwo. Accompanied by a guide and translator visit the Ovahimba tribe. After lunch, take off and continue your flight back to via the treacherous Skeleton Coast.
Fly to Windhoek and on to a Guest Farm, situated in the Kalahari Desert where you visit the Naro Bushmen. The flight continues over the dunes at Sossusvlei, to the coast. Soaring along the coastline we fly over various shipwrecks, Sandwich Harbour and Walvis Bay.
TOURS & EXCURSIONS:
SHARK & SHORE FISHING
We specialize in shark fishing and can guarantee a 90% success rate in catching the well-known copper shark, which can weigh up to 180 kg. Our guide represents Namibia in International Rock and Surf Angling competitions and was the 1996 champion angler in a series of competitions in South Africa. He takes you to some of the best angling spots along the coast where you also have the possibility of catching well-sized Cob, ‘Steenbras’, Blacktail and ‘Galjoen’. Fishing tours from a boat for bottom fish, Shark Fishing, Deep Sea Fishing are available on request.
(09H00 – 12H30)
Cruise the harbour and trawler boat areas in ski boats. Cut across the lagoon to Pelican Point, while a large seal colony and schools of dolphins swimming alongside the boats provide entertainment. Alight just beyond the lighthouse at an old shipwreck, where fresh and grilled oysters and mussels with cold South African sparkling wine are served (for groups of 10 or more only; on scheduled cruises, fresh oysters and sparkling wine are offered on board the boat). Return to Walvis Bay Yacht Club around 12h30.
(According to tide)
Via the Walvis Bay Lagoon, Bird Paradise, salt pans, Kuiseb Delta and dramatic desert shoreline drive to Sandwich harbour. This is an ecological, ornithological and scenic phenomenon, which played and intriguing role in Namibia’s whaling history. One of the most difficult to reach places in the country and one of the most memorable.
WONDERS OF THE DESERT
(9H00 - 13H00 \ 14H00 - 18H00) The safari takes you through the Swakop River, a dry riverbed that seldom flows. Then to the Moon Valley, allowing time to explore this area of deep chasms and interesting geological features, before continuing to "Welwitschia Valley", where literally thousands of Welwitschia plants litter the ground. The plant was discovered in 1859 by Dr Friedrich Welwitschia and has been recorded as living to 1500 years and considered to be the Paradox of the Namib. You will also visit the Namib Naukluft Park to study the interesting lichens before returning to Swakopmund.
ROCKS & GEMSTONES
Special Interest Tour (08H00 - 13H00) A 4x4 excursion along, the Swakop River for sightseeing of historic base metal and crystal mining claims. Namibia’s exciting mining past and interesting geological features are discussed and there is opportunity to collect your own specimens of rocks and minerals. Back in town see the largest quartz crystal cluster in the world (1.4 tons), which took five years to excavate.
(09H00 - 13H00 \ 13H30 - 17H00) This concentrates on the Nama speaking population, birdlife and history of the Walvis Bay area. Here an abundance of aquatic bird species and strange desert-dwelling creatures and plants can be found. Also visit the community of the Topnaar Namas to experience their frugal, yet interesting lifestyle. Their rich cultural heritage and community life offers an insight into Namibia’s past not to be missed. Choose between morning and afternoon departures.
(09H00 - 13H00 \ 14H00 - 17H00) Ever seen the White Lady Spider roll down a dune to escape and dance at the bottom in defence or marvelled at the transparent Palmato Gecko or the Desert Sidewinder lying in ambush for an Aporasaura Sand Diving Lizard? Ever heard of fishmoths, roaring dunes and the endangered Damara tern? Join us on this Desert Magic excursion into the Namib and let us show you that it’s anything but a ‘place of emptiness’. Choice of morning and afternoon 4x4 departures – times may vary with seasons.
CHAMPAGNE & OYSTER SUNDOWNER CAN BE ADDED TO ANY OF THE EXCURSIONS:
Round off the day’s experiences with an unforgettable sundowner in the oldest desert. This option can also be offered at any other time of the day, as it is sundowner time somewhere in the world.
Ever seen the White Lady Spider roll down a dune to escape and dance at the bottom in defence or marvelled at the transparent Palmato gecko or the Desert Sidewinder lying in ambush for an Aporasaura Sand Diving Lizard? Join us on this excursion into the Namib.
ROCKS AND GEMSTONES
A 4x4 excursion which takes one along the Swakop River for sightseeing of historic base metal and crystal mining claims. Back in town; see the largest quartz crystal cluster in the world (1.4 tons) which took five years to excavate.
WONDERS OF THE DESERT
Travel through the Swakop River, a dry riverbed that seldom flows, to the “Moon Mountains” allowing time to explore this area of deep chasms before continuing to “Welwitschia Valley” where hundreds of these fascinating plants litter the ground.
BIRDING TOUR IN WALVIS BAY LAGOON
The lagoon is regarded as one of the most important wetland areas in Namibia. These are rich feeding grounds with altogether some 80 000 wading birds, including flamingo’s and rare white pelicans.
CAPE CROSS TOUR
In addition to being of historical interest, Cape cross has a breeding colony of Cape Fur seals, the largest breeding colony of these seals along the coast of South Africa and Namibia.
(View the Cape Fur Seals in our gallery)