#TravelTuesday: Go on an adventure in Swakopmund

22 June 2021 - 00:00
By Sanet Oberholzer
Climb to the top of the golden peak of Dune 7.
Image: yuliialakeienko/123RF Climb to the top of the golden peak of Dune 7.

Swakopmund is a small town on the west coast of Namibia. Popular amongst locals for its holiday vibes, it offers the strange contrast of beach on one side and endless desert stretches on the other — making it a perfect spot for outdoor adventure. With Namibia once again open to international travellers, there is no time like the present to dust off your passport and take a trip across the border.

Covid regulations

Travellers to Namibia will need to present a valid, printed negative Covid-19 PCR test that is not more than 72 hours old and undergo a health and temperature screening. Be sure to undergo a PCR test for travel purposes - other Covid tests will not be accepted. Mandatory quarantine is not necessary unless your PCR test is older than 72 hours (but not older than seven days). It is also advisable to have your full itinerary available to present to customs officials upon arrival.

For travel back into South Africa, travellers will need to present a valid, printed negative PCR test obtained no more than 72 hours before arrival and complete a traveller health questionnaire.

If your flight arrives or departs outside of curfew hours, you need to be able to show proof of your boarding pass if asked to do so en route to or from the airport.

Swakopmun's main beach.
Image: Sanet Oberholzer Swakopmun's main beach.

When to travel

The low percentage of rainfall Swakopmund receives makes it a great outdoor destination year round, even in winter months when the temperatures are comfortable during the day. Just like it is in South Africa, the town is busiest over the Christmas season with an influx of domestic holiday goers and the hottest months are January, February and March.

How to get there

You can book direct flights through Airlink between Johannesburg and Cape Town to Walvis Bay or Windhoek. From Walvis Bay, Swakopmund is approximately a 40-minute drive. If you’re not renting a car, a taxi driver will be happy to either drop you in town or ferry you around for the day for a flat rate of around R700 (this requires some bargaining). Windhoek is just under 3 and a half hours' car drive from Swakopmund. Intercape busses also run between Windhoek and Swakopmund and cost around R200 for a one-way trip. 

Highlights you shouldn’t miss

 1. Take on the dunes. The most famous of them all, Dune 7, is free to hike up and promises spectacular views over Namibia's vast desert. If you’re looking for an adventurous twist, check out Desert Explorers. They give you the option of booking a variety of dune adventures. Rent a fat bike and pedal your way cross the sand mountains. Better yet, learn to sand board on the dunes, either lying down or standing up, without hurting yourself when you fall or freezing off any limbs. You always have the option of taking to the dunes on a quad bike or dialing it down a notch with a camel ride through the desert.

Skydivers floating above Namibia's sand dunes.
Image: VW pics/Universal Images Group/Getty images Skydivers floating above Namibia's sand dunes.

2. If the dunes don’t scare you, you can always go skydiving. There are numerous companies that offer this. One such company is Tandem Skydive Swakopmund, a company that operates out of the Swakopmund Skydiving Club and has great reviews on Trip Advisor. According to their website, the club is open seven days a week all year round and skydiving happens daily – weather permitting.

3. To appreciate the marine life in the area, you can go kayaking amongst seals and dolphins at Pelican Point, just past Walvis Bay. Pelican Point Kayaking arrange 4x4 transfers from Walvis Bay to the Kayaking site where half day tours begin. The tours are run without being intrusive, meaning the animals interact with the rowers.

4. If you would like some down time but want to feel the surf on your skin, head to Swakopmund's main beach for a short kayak paddle or a swim in the ocean. Once you've worked up an appetite, head to one of the restaurants on the beachfront or grab a local craft beer from Swakopmund Brewing Company. 

Kayak with seals and dolphins at Pelican Point.
Image: Fabio Lamana/123RF Kayak with seals and dolphins at Pelican Point.