Wandering along the orderly main streets, past half-timbered colonial-era buildings and pavement cafés, where German is spoken at every turn, it’s easy to see how SWAKOPMUND – or Swakop, to use its more familiar name – is sometimes jokingly referred to as “Germany’s most southerly Baltic seaside resort”. German-Namibians may only constitute a small percentage of the town’s 45,000 population, but German influence is surreally omnipresent in Namibia’s only real seaside resort. However, you only need to gaze across the dry Swakop River at the rippling golden dunes, or experience a savage sandstorm on a winter morning, to be brought back to the more defining presence of the desert. Indeed, it’s the recent exploitation of the desert – and the dunes in particular – as a location for adventure activities that is helping attract more foreign tourists and a younger crowd.

Though midweek in winter Swakopmund can seem like a ghost town, the place really comes alive in the summer holidays (Dec–Jan), when half of Windhoek decamps here to enjoy the cooler coastal climes, and get some respite from the dry desert interior. The downside of this is that guesthouse rooms and restaurant tables are hard to come by. At other times of the year, the place is less busy, though long weekends can attract crowds too.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Namibia features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Namibia from above: the world's most extreme landscape

Namibia from above: the world's most extreme landscape

The Namib desert is one of the world’s most extreme environments. Covering 81,000 square kilometres, its vastness can only truly be appreciated from above. He…

17 Jul 2017 • Lottie Gross local_activity Special feature
In pictures: the otherworldly landscapes of Namibia

In pictures: the otherworldly landscapes of Namibia

From the spectacular dunes of the Namib Desert to the serpentine chasm of the Fish River Canyon, the rugged mountains of the Great Escarpment to the acacia-stud…

05 Jul 2017 • Sara Humphreys camera_alt Gallery
27 awe-inspiring pictures of Namibia

27 awe-inspiring pictures of Namibia

Namibia has some of the world's most astonishing landscapes. It's home to the world's oldest desert, a long and undeveloped coastline and national parks that te…

31 May 2016 • Lottie Gross insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month