Located in western Namibia, Swakopmund is the country’s undisputed adrenalin activity destination with everything from skydiving to sand-boarding on offer. And even if you don’t want to get your heart racing, Swakop (as locals call the town) has much to offer. Here we present 15 must-do experiences in Swakopmund.
For the ultimate adrenaline experience, nothing beats jumping out of an airplane at 10,000 feet, free falling for 30 seconds (down to an elevation of 5,000 feet) at a speed of 220 kilometers per hour, before your chute deploys and you can enjoy the breathtaking dune landscape you’ll be landing in. If this sounds like a rush, hit up the folks at Ground Rush Adventures in Swakopmund. Oh and the price includes a 25-minute scenic flight on the way out — although you might be freaking out too much about what’s to come to really enjoy it.
A couple of companies offer quad-bike (ATV) adventures on the red dunes outside of town. You’ll get to race the bikes at speeds up to 60 kilometers per hour up and down the dunes and even grab air with some jumps.
Riding a snowboard down the dunes is another must-do Swakop experience. Here you’l hike to the top of a dune then clip into a board and carve your way down the dune.
4. Ride a camel
You can also play Lawrence of Arabia in the Namib Desert riding a camel. Pay a visit to the Camel Farm located around a 10-minute drive east of town.
5. Drink coffee
The Out of Africa Coffee Shop has been Namibia’s best for more than a decade now. It also does awesome breakfasts and lunches.
6. Day trip to the Skeleton Coast
Do a day trip to the treacherous coastline known as the Skeleton Coast. The National West Coast Recreation Area portion of the eerie Skeleton Coast is easy to reach on a day trip from Swakopmund. Stop off at the Cape Cross Seal Reserve and then head north for a few hours — the landscape changes dramatically about 12 kilometers from the seal reserve and remains similar the rest of the way up.
7. Rössing Uranium Mine
Located 55 kilometers east of Swakopmund, this is the world’s largest open-cast uranium mine and merits a visit. The scale of operations is staggering, and at full capacity the mine processes about one million tonnes of ore per week. Three-hour mine tours can be booked the previous day at the Swakopmund Museum on Strand St.
8. Aerial view
If the thought of skydiving scares the living daylights out of you, try a scenic flight instead. You’ll get a great aerial view of the dunes and coastline, as well as the town itself.
9. Horseback ride
From single-day to multi-day trips, horseback riding is another must-do Swakop experience. Check out Okakambe Trails, a stable run by a caring German woman who loves her horses dearly.
10. Catamaran cruise
In nearby Walvis Bay — where Angelina Jolie Pitt and Brad Pitt had their daughter Zahara — sign up for a catamaran cruise to see dolphins, seals and pelicans.
11. Township tour
Sign up for a township tour to discover what life is really like in a Namibian township. The tour lasts for four hours.
12. Organized day trip
If you don’t have your own vehicle, or if Swakopmund is your only stop in this part of Namibia, sign up for an organized day trip that will take you to the highlights of the stunning region surrounding the town.
13. Namib Desert experience
If you aren’t going to make it to the stupendous dunes at Sossesvlei on your own, you can do a guided day trip of the Namib Desert. You won’t get as far as Sossesvlei, but you will get to experience the desert and learn about its ecology.
A Swakop eating institution, this seafood restaurant is housed in a beached tugboat near the jetty. Lobster anyone?
15. National Marine Aquarium
The National Marine Aquarium is another spot to check out. It allows close-up views of rays and sharks. Don’t miss the daily fish feeding at 3 p.m.