Moving colonial history – exciting museums and fascinating landscapes
Swakopmund is located in Namibia on the Atlantic Ocean and is the capital of the Erongo regional region. Windhoek is around 360 km away. The whole year round there is a rather mild climate, which is not only appreciated by the locals, but also by the numerous visitors from all over the world.
The Benguela Stream creates a cold Atlantic, but Swakopmund has a large swimming pool for guests to swim in. The Swakopmund lighthouse, the old landing stage and many other attractions and sights are also very striking. There are plenty of guest houses, hotels and restaurants for tourists, many of them run by German owners. The eventful colonial history of Namibia can be experienced up close every day in Swakopmund.
In the immediate vicinity there is a bizarre lunar landscape, which is also very popular with visitors as a photo motif. In Welwitschia Drive, located directly in the lunar landscape, there are some fascinating plant species to marvel at that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. About 35 km south of the coastal town is Walwis Bay. It is an important business location in the region with a port that is well worth seeing. And the so-called Skeleton Coast begins about 200 km north of Swakopmund. This extends up to the border to Angola and can only be visited in sections without a permit.
The cityscape of Swakopmund is still shaped today by the colonial times
The cityscape of Swakopmund is characterized by cozy, partly colorful half-timbered houses and a typical beach promenade in colonial style. Anyone who spends some time here often feels like in a German seaside resort on the Baltic Sea or North Sea coast and not like on the edge of the Namib Desert.
But that is exactly what defines the very special flair of this tranquil coastal town with around 44,000 inhabitants. A visit is worthwhile all year round. Old Jetty is what the locals affectionately call the old Swakopmund jetty, which at the time of construction was the only important construction for the supply. Today the pier is a popular mooring point for water sports enthusiasts, if the water is too cold for you, you can also switch to the adjacent indoor pool on the pier, which even opens the roof when the weather is nice.
Sea water aquarium offers fascinating insights into the underwater world
At the end of Swakopmund’s promenade is the National Marine Aquarium. The impressive glass tunnel of this fascinating saltwater aquarium was opened in 1994 and has fascinated visitors and locals alike ever since. It is particularly recommended to watch the feeding, which takes place here daily around 3:00 p.m.
History buffs shouldn’t miss a visit to the museum
The Swakopmund Museum is also worth a visit at any time, the privately run institution offers a large-scale historical overview of the country’s history and homeland. Here, those interested not only learn interesting facts about the German colonial era, but also about the various ethnic groups in Namibia. This museum also includes the Sam Cohen library with more than 10,000 books, a complete newspaper archive and the extensive Afrikana collection of the first bookseller in the region, Ferdinand Stich. The museum very close to the lighthouse opens daily between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm, lectures and changing exhibitions round off the museum program in the interests of guests and visitors.
The old lighthouse still shapes the cityscape today
The landmark of the city is the 21 m high lighthouse with a range of around 35 nautical miles. The lighthouse was built in 1902, in the immediate vicinity there is a marine monument, which was erected in memory of the fallen soldiers during the so-called Herero Wars. The former imperial district court near the lighthouse should also be visited. Today the building serves as a summer residence for the President of Namibia. On the opposite side of the street is Café Anton, known for its excellent home-baked cake specialties.