Namibia's seaside resort on the west coast has a population of some 38,000 people and reminds the visitor of a small Bavarian village transplanted to a location between the desert and the sea. It has a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere with walkways, palms and beautifully tended gardens. The main attraction of the town is the fact that you can enjoy the natural attractions of the desert and the coast and yet be within easy reach of the solid comfort of Swakopmund's hotels, bars and restaurants.
It was founded in 1892 as the principle harbour for this old German province, it is not only the German architectural influence has survived; German is also the predominant language used. The town is surrounded by the Namib Desert on three sides and the Atlantic on the forth, a combination which gives the town a pleasant year-round temperature of between 15-26 degrees. Rainfall is however minimal, with 15-17 mm being the annual average. The discovery and exploitation of Uranium in the area in recent years has brought additional prosperity to the town, and makes it a base for the mine-workers.
For the visitor there is not only the quaint atmosphere to enjoy, together with sightings of women complete in their Victorian-style clothes. It is on the Skeleton coast, a harsh coastline renowned for the number of shipwrecks along its length, the noise of the Atlantic breakers often audible from the town itself. You can visit the Seal colonies or travel into the desert to witness its unique landscapes. Most famous of these is the Moon landscape, a bizarre series of never ending hills and ridges that look to have come from a different planet, found just out of town. The more active can visit a cluster of towering dunes which have been set aside for extreme sports - here you can have a go at things like sand boarding.
If you prefer gentler pursuits you may prefer to drive south down the B2 to Walvis Bay. Here you can cruise the waters of Walvis Bay under sail to see the marine life including dolphins and Cape Fur Seals. During whale season, July to August, keep your eyes peeled for Southern right whales, humpbacks and even orcas. Other marine life to look for includes the elusive sunfish and leatherback turtles.
There are also kayaks tours which paddle out into Walvis Bay to the remote Pelican Point, punctuated by a prominent 100 year old lighthouse. Pelican Point is home to up to 50,000 playful Cape Fur seals, Heaviside's and Bottlenose dolphins, black-backed jackals, flamingos, pelicans and the odd brown hyena.