Swakopmund : Travel Informations & Sights
In Swakopmund it is much cooler than inlands. The water is usually too cold for swimming. This is due to the cold Benguela current. The town is often covered in thick fog until noon. Swakop is a popular holiday destination. Especially at Christmas time, when it gets too hot in Windhoek, it is crowded here. Early booking of accommodation is necessary.
The beautiful historical buildings in Swakopmund - Hohenzollern Haus, Woermann Haus, Old Provincial Court, Princess Rupprecht Home - you can see an a walk through town.
The Lighthouse was built in 1902 and is 21 metres high. The museum next to the lighthouse shows interesting exhibits of the local history.
Casino & Entertainment Centre
Some years ago, the former station of Swakopmund - one of the numerous colonial buildings of the town - was transformed into an elegant casino and entertainment complex, including a 5-star hotel. The Swakopmund Entertainment Centre & Hotel also facilitates camel excursions in the Namib Desert. Tel ++264 (0)64 400800, Fax 400801.
Kristall Galerie Swakopmund
Not to be missed in Swakopmund is the "Kristall Galerie", home of the World's largets quartz crystal cluster on display. The minerals, rocks, and meteorites contain clues to the history and workings of our planet. They are all products of the stardust that formed our solar system 4.6 billion years ago. Forces such as heat and pressure deep within the earth, and wind and water at the surface, have created these geologic wonders. Enter the "Crystal Cave" with its magnificent collection of crystals - it's pure magic! The tunnel is a replica of the original Otjua Tourmaline Mine with its twists and turns, is one of the most intriguing parts of the Kristall Galerie. But most impressive is the giant quartz crystal cluster found on the Farm Otjua near Karibib. The cluster is 3 metres high and 3 metres wide and weighs 14 tons. Excavation took 5 years. Address: Kistall Galerie, Corner Tobias Hainyeko and Theo-Ben Gurirab Avenue. Open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.. Cosed on Sundays. Tel: (0)64 406080. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Swakopmund Café. 13, Daniel Tjongarero Avenue. Café and Bistro. Delicious cakes and pastries. Tel 064-400774.
Erich's Restaurant. 21, Daniel Tjongarero Avenue. Very good international cuisine with emphasis on fresh seafood. Tel (0)64-405141.
Kückie's Pub. 22, Tobias Hainyeko Street. A long established sociable pub with great meals. Tel (0)64-402407.
The Lighthouse Pub & Restaurant. At the jetty. Wonderful view of the ocean from a terrace. Specialities: steaks and fish. Tel (0)64-400894.
The Tug. Beach Front. Close to the jetty in hull of an old ship. Terrace with wonderful sunsets. Specialised in fish and seafood. Tel (0)64-402356.
Fish Deli. 28, Daniel Tjongarero Avenue. Snack bar. Fish, fresh and cheap, from fish roll to Bouillabaisse. Tel (0)64-462979.
A special attraction is the Aquarium of Swakopmund, opened in 1995. It shows the marine life along the coast of Namibia in a couple of huge seawater basins - the biggest having a volume of 350 cubic metres. Among many other fish species, stingrays and sharks can be seen. Daily at 3 o'clock pm the fishes are being hand-fed by divers. Very impressive! The aquarium lies in Strand Street und is open daily - except mondays - from 10am to 4pm. Tel (0)64-4101000.
"Welwitschia Mirabilis" is the most famous Namibian plant. Most specimen are about 1000 years old, some even older. 1859 the "living fossil" was discovered by the Austrian botanist Dr. Welwitsch and named after him. The Welwitschia plant only grows two leaves, which over time get slightly shredded by the wind. The desert plant belongs to the succulents, i.e. is able to store water. It takes the water it needs for growing from the air.
Welwitschias occur exclusively in the central part of the Namib, between 40 and 120 kilometres off the coast. This unique plant can be found along the sign-posted Welwitschia Drive in the Namib Naukluft Park. Behind the steam engine "Martin Luther" you turn off the B2 on to the C28. After 17km turn left on the D1991. The drive leads through the bizarre and bare "Moon Landscape" along the Swakop River. About 450 million years ago layers of soft stone were deposited here and over the ages the river eroded its bed in them.
A permit is required for the Welwitchia Drive. One can buy it for 50N$ per person at the tourism office in the "Ritterburg", Knight's Castle. The stretch is some 160 km long, and one should plan half a day for it.
Steam Mobile "Martin Luther"
This curiosity from the times of the ox-wagon before the introduction of the railway stands at the B2 a few kilometres before Swakopmund. The wealthy Schutztruppe officer Troost imported the steam engine in 1896 from Germany. The vehicle with a weight of 1.4 tons was meant to go to Windhoek, but got stuck in the sand straightaway. The people called the engine "Martin Luther" because he once said "Here I stand and can't do otherwise. God help me. Amen!" The engine was restored in 2004 and is exhibited indoors in order to protect it from the harsh extremes of the desert climate.