Newest Review: ... Without it's natural wonders the town wouldn't have flourished at all. And like most African towns near spectacular natural beauty Sw... more
Bucket and spade optional
Member Name: moronboy
Date: 24/10/00, updated on 24/10/00 (102 review reads)
Advantages: A good place to relax
Disadvantages: Not as spectacular as the rest of the country
Swakopmund is as close as Namibia gets to a recognisable holiday resort. It lies between the desert and the sea, to the extent that there are sand dunes close by behind it. Despite being very small (drive ten minutes in any direction but the sea, and you're out of town), this is one of the few places in the country where you will encounter lots of tourists.
Most of the tours we saw while in the UK, and most of the tourists we met in the country, had Swakopmund on their itinerary. It is a good spot to cool down after the heat and dust of the desert, even if the wilderness is almost certainly what has attracted you to the country. Many locals talk of how cold and foggy Swakopmund is - it was warm and sunny when we were there and all the more pretty for it, but I think we were lucky.
Swakop is fascinating, if sometimes for the wrong reasons. It is said to be one of the few remaining colonies of the German colonists, and we were told rumours of some locals flying swastikas on Hitler's birthday, but the closest we got to this was a very stern German Frau in a cafe, glowering at us while muttering to her chihuahuas.
Like in Windhoek, Swakopmund has a very strange appearance for a town on the West African coast; at times, it feels like a theme park version of a small German resort transplanted to Namibia, the buildings seem almost parodic in their teutonic elegance. The place feels very relaxed, with a long clean beach (we didn't swim, as the waves were gigantic, but it's lovely to sit and watch them come crashing down). There are also lots of nice shops, and if through your travels in Namibia, you've been desperate for some really nice cake, then look no further than the Cafe Anton or one of the other cafes in the town, which serve quite outstanding cakes and pastries.
Close your eyes, and you might even imagine that you're in Vienna... but you aren't, and after strolling round the town and window shopping
, you would probably be well advised to drive down the coast to see the flamingos or wander on the big dunes.
There are several good restaurants, but the best one we went to was the Tug, a real tugboat marooned beside the sea, where absolutely gorgeous seafood is served in a relaxed atmoshphere. I'd recommend the shark.