Swakopmund is Namibia’s premier holiday resort. It has the architecture and atmosphere of a small German town from an earlier era. Despite its coastal location, it isn’t the place for sunbathing – as the cold currents of the Atlantic meet the Namib Desert it creates a fog bank, and early mornings and evenings can be cold throughout the year.
Generally, the town enjoys a temperate climate, with temperatures of 15 - 25°C. Average annual rainfall is less than 15mm - you will notice the rarity of gutters and drainpipes on the buildings - and it is the sea mist that provides the moisture to sustain plant and animal life.
This coolness can be a relief from the heat of the rest of Namibia, and, even without sun-bathing, there are plenty ways to spend your time. Swakopmund is a centre for adventure activities: sandboarding, quad biking, dune carting, parachuting, hot air ballooning, shark fishing, deep sea fishing and beach angling, to name but a few.
For the more sedentary, there is a boat to observe the seals in Walvis Bay, and restaurants, cafes, art galleries, museums, as well as an aquarium. You should allow at least a couple of hours to enjoy the colonial architecture along the seafront, in Post Street, Kaiser Wilhelm Street and Brucken Street.
Swakopmund is a birding hotspot. In the reed beds of the Swakop estuary, you can observe various waders and land birds. The Saltworks, 6 km north of town, with its resident population of waders (oyster catcher, Cape teal, Cape shoveller, Blackwinged stilts, pelicans) is best visited early in the morning, before work begins. Between September and April, many migrants can also be seen. Nonidas Castle, 10 km east of town, is another good birding spot.