Text and Photographs Nina van Zyl
Text and Photographs Nina van Zyl
Namibia has many stunning locations to feature on your feed, but you don’t necessarily have to “rough it” to get to all of them. Some are a little closer to home than you think. Case in point: Swakopmund. Yes, we know you go there almost every other December holiday (if you’re a local). You’ve been there before. We get it. This time though, think like a tourist, act like it’s all new, in fact chances are a few things on this list will be. Your next visit to the coast can be your opportunity to explore the quaint town and experience it from a whole new angle. And for those of you who have never been there, finish reading this and then pack your bags. Swakopmund, as the adventure capital of Namibia, has a ton of exciting activities you need to try (and then boast about to your friends).
There are the obvious things one does by the seaside. These involve water. But with the Atlantic Ocean’s chilly temperatures, perhaps a better idea is staying on dry land, but close enough to hear the waves crashing and feel the sand between your toes. In fact, why not try a dose of Zen and open your arms to the start of the new day with a relaxing yoga session on the beach? There are a number of yoga studios at the coast, but the best would be to search online for a seaside class or workshop that you can join. The aim is to twist yourself into those epic yoga poses that are so photogenic in front of a sunrise or sunset.
Speaking of sunsets, Swakopmund is the one place where you need to stop whatever it is you are doing when the sun starts to sink into the sea, and pay attention. Namibia’s sunsets are spectacular, but at the coast they are so much more magical. Make your way to the dune belt that lines the road between Swakopmund and Long Beach, climb to the top (or halfway there, we won’t judge) and enjoy the view. It is said that when the sun disappears behind the ocean, it sometimes causes a green flash. Watch closely and maybe you will have a great story to tell. But it is up for debate whether anyone will believe you.
However, when you decide to jump from the open door of a plane, kilometres above the ground, make sure someone takes photographic evidence. Swakopmund is a great place to try out skydiving for the first time, with jumps taking place high above the town. If you have a fear of heights, this is not for you. Or perhaps it is – maybe you want to get rid of that fear?
A less daunting but no less exciting activity might be climbing onto a quad bike and rushing across sandy plains and over yellow dunes. Join an excursion into the desert coast southeast of Swakopmund with one of the established quad bike tour companies in town, and let loose. You will be provided with a helmet, but remember to wear a warm jacket or windbreaker, because the effects of the relentless wind will make you freeze up if you don’t.
For those of you for whom the mere thought of braving the elements is the furthest from your idea of fun, don’t despair. Kick up your feet for a pedicure, stretch yourself out for a massage, or just chill during a relaxing day at the spa. In this regard you will also be spoilt for choice, but we recommend the spa at the Strand Hotel Swakopmund – the hotel sits right on the beach and after your appointment you can enjoy a soothing cup of tea on the terrace.
The biggest draw-card for Swakopmund is Swakop itself. There is only one place like it, and even if you want nothing to do with any of the activities mentioned, simply basking in the atmosphere of this town will relax and unwind you. Even when the weather turns, and the sun ducks behind the mist, you will find that there is nothing quite like being tucked in your warm, thick jacket, as you stroll along the jetty hand-in-hand with your S.O. (Significant Other for you non-millennials). Just remember to take a selfie.
Shuttles drive to the coast every day
Frequent flight specials from Windhoek to Swakopmund are advertised on social media
The Namlifts group on Facebook offers lifts
There’s even the train!
PUB CRAWL YOUR WAY THROUGH SWAKOP’S FINEST ESTABLISHMENTS:
• Tiger Reef
• Brewer and Butcher
• Bar Zonder Naam
• Hansa Hotel
• Kücki’s Pub
FOR THE FOODIES:
Two Beards and a Saint
SlowTown Coffee Roasters
Old Steamer Restaurant
FROM TOP LEFT TO RIGHT
Memorabilia and flags inside the Brauhaus
Relish a seafood meal on your coastal trip
Be sure to make time to stop for coffee
Enjoy some craft gin at Bar Zonder Naam
Striking street-art in the city centre
Camping at Tiger Reef