Swakopmund is an exquisite coastal town that will take your breath away with its splendid geographical surroundings, its foggy weather, and its architectural masterpieces.
Snaking along the Namibian coast, snuggled between the desert and the ocean, Swakopmund is often described in terms of the obvious contrasts created by its climate, geography, history, and the many cultures represented among its inhabitants.
Probably the most popular image to describe the natural beauty of this seaside town is created by the cold blue Atlantic, which on a sunny day shows off the lovely undulating soft and curvy dunes of the Namib Desert. Traces of colonial Germany is evident in the streets, coexisting with a group of flamboyant Himba women selling their crafts, defying the typical cold misty weather in their traditional outfits, covered mostly in a thin layer of their animal-fat-and-red-clay cosmetic mixture.
Two years younger than Windhoek, Swakopmund also came into existence through the involvement of Colonial Germany and Captain Curt Von Francois. A very strong German flavour is still evident in the language spoken on the streets. It is also visible in beautiful old buildings, like the still operating Old Prison, the Old Station building now housing the Swakopmund Hotel and Entertainment Centre, the German Evangelical Church, the Woermann House, and the Old Municipality, to mention but a few. The Germans borrowed the very suitable local Nama name, ’Tsoakhaub’ for their new settlement. They gave it the German ring of ‘Schwachaub’, which later changed to ‘Swakop’.
Seen as their most popular holiday resort by Namibians, frequented by South African and European tourists too, Swakop’s population almost doubles during the December holiday season. Namibians seek the cool coastal climate to escape from soaring temperatures inland during high summer.
Regarding the weather one can only say, “Never a dull day!” Rather mild, but unpredictable - and as the locals say, on many days you might experience all four seasons.
Often overcast due to coastal fog, the weather is mostly cool and the glorious sunny days during summer are welcomed by the residents. Occasionally, during the winter months, the widely dreaded east wind brings hot weather and sandstorms to the coast.
North of Ocean View, new residential extensions are causing Swakop and Mile 4 to blend into one urban area. To the east of Kramersdorf, on the northern bank of the Swakop River, overlooking the Namib’s dunes, another upmarket residential area is rising from the dust.
Swakop might just be Namibia’s most precious gem, her people are passionate about protecting her splendor, and a lot of her glory is still unexplored. Suspended in time, Swakopmund simultaneously launches into a prosperous future.