Nestled between the vast Namib Desert and the wild Atlantic Ocean, Swakopmund offers an overload of epic activities and cultural experiences. From sandboarding down towering dunes to exploring German colonial architecture, there’s something for every traveler in this vibrant seaside town. sThis blog post covers all the best things to do from Swakopmund to Walvis Bay, including prices and epic day trips!
Activities from Swakopmund to Walvis Bay and Prices
Swakopmund is the adventure capital of the country drawing more than 300.000 visitors annually, some for relaxation while others for thrilling activities like skydiving or quad biking. The city offers something to do for everyone.
1. Quad biking through the mesmerizing desert landscapes
Quad biking through the dunes is one of the most popular activities in Swakopmund. Most tour operators offer this experience in combination with other activities like sandboarding or the Living Desert Tour.
💰 Price: tours start from €27
2. Dune 7 – Conquer Namibia’s highest dune
Dunes are found all over Namibia and Swakopmund is home to the country’s tallest one. Dune 7 is 383 meters high and an epic spot to watch the sunset. The views from the top are outstanding.
💡 Make sure to bring enough sunscreen!
💰 Price: entrance to area is NAD 150 per person (16+) or NAD 100 for SACD countries
3. Sandboarding down the Dunes
Sandboarding down the dunes is one of the most popular activities to do in Swakopmund and is often combined with quad biking. Standing up is quite a challenge for those who haven’t snowboarded before, so lying down might be a better and more fun option.
The only hard part is the hike back up the dune as the slide down not even takes a minute. Therefore it’s best to combine this activity with something else as it’s not something you want to do for hours straight.
💰 Price: tours start from €43
Travel tip: take off your shoes when hiking dunes, but keep your socks on to avoid burning your feet! 😉
4. Sandwich Harbour
There are only a few places as unique as this. Sandwich Harbour is where the orange sand dunes of the Namib desert meet the Atlantic Ocean, rewarding you with spectacular views. It’s by far one of the most epic and unique places I’ve seen and therefore earns its statement of a UNESCO Heritage site.
However, Sandwich Harbour is only possible to visit with an organized 4×4 tour and is in a different price range than other activities in Namibia. Tours often last a full day and are well worth it!
Depending on the weather and time of day, you may be lucky to drive on the small stroke of land between the dunes and the ocean. Sometimes it may be too dangerous to drive there, hence the name ‘Sandwich’ as you truly feel sandwiched by the ocean and dunes.
I highly recommend going with Sand Waves Adventures. We booked them very coincidently during our dinner out, when the waiter gave us recommendations and brought us to the tour desk of the hotel where we were. Our guide Ben was so much fun and had so much knowledge of the desert and everything that lives there.
⭐️ Our favorite activity in Swakopmund!
💰 Price: tours start from €115
An epic and thrilling way to admire the dunes and ocean from a different perspective. Skydiving may not be for everyone, but if you’re looking for the ultimate adrenaline-seeking adventure in Namibia, take a look at this Sky Diving Tour here!
💰 Price: €200
Namibia is known for its abundance of wildlife in the famous Etosha National Park and deserted wildlife in Damaraland. However, wildlife is all around the country, even in Swakopmund. It may not be the average species you would expect in an African country, especially not one where you could spot the Big 4 (no not the Big 5, as the buffalo is missing ;)), but just as special and fun!
You may also like..
Ultimate Self-Drive Guide to Etosha National Park for 2024
6. Living Desert Tour
It’s easy to forget about all the smaller creatures when there’s the Big 4 to spot. Join one of the many tours into the desert and go searching for the ‘Little 5’. This consists of the Gecko, Snouted Lizard, Sidewinder Snake, White Lady Spider, and Namaqua Chameleon.
They’re called little as I’m telling you, there are very small! As they’re living in the sand dunes of the desert, it requires some expertise to find these creatures as most of them tuck themselves into the sand. Choose a tour that searches for the animals by bike or quad as it’s definitely more fun than by car.
With this tour, you’ll search for the Little 5 on a quad bike, so win-win! 🙂 You can also combine the Living Desert Tour with both sandboarding and quad biking, which is what we did and it’s the perfect combination to do it all in one day. The Living Desert Tour definitely earns its position in my top 3 of Best Things to do in Swakopmund!
💰 Price: tours start from €45
7. Spotting Flamingo’s in Walvis Bay
Only 10 minutes outside Swakopmund, beautiful pink flamingos gather at the coast of Walvis Bay all year round. Walvis Bay Lagoon is one of the most important wetlands of southern Africa and attracts more than 150.000 birds during the summer months.
You don’t need a tour to go see them, as they’re easily spotted from the side of the road. However, some tours combine a stop at Walvis Bay with for example this Sandwich Harbour Tour.
By far one of the most fun free things to do in Swakopmund ;).
💰 Price: free!
8. Dolphin and Whale Watching
The shores of Swakopmund and Walvis Bay are full of marine wildlife, including dolphins and whales. Between July and November, species like the humpback whales and southern right whales migrate to the waters here, and is, therefore, the best time to join one of the tours trying to spot these beautiful gentle giants.
💡 Travel tip: make sure to choose an ethical tour operator that respects the space of these animals and doesn’t hunt them down.
💰 Price: tours start from €60
9. Stroll through Swakopmund’s charming colonial town
Exploring a new country doesn’t only mean seeing new places but also learning about their culture and way of living. Swakopmund has one of the best preserved German Colonial architecture dating back to the 18th century when Namibia was still a colony of Germany.
A few spots to check out during your self-guided walk through Swakopmund are the Old Prison, the Lighthouse, Woermannhaus, and Hohenzollern. Choose a sunny day to explore and end your day at the Swakopmund Jetty which is the perfect spot the watch the sunset.
If you want to learn more about the country’s history and all the flora and fauna, head over to the Swakopmund museum.
💰 Price: free 🙂
You may also like..
7 Best Campsites in Namibia: Sleeping Under The Stars
10. Explore local markets and sample Namibian cuisine
Another fun way to learn more about Namibian culture is by trying new foods and getting some fresh produce from the local markets in town.
Most of the Namibian cuisine includes a lot of fresh meat (also called ‘game’ in Namibia) and because I’m vegetarian I haven’t tried any Namibian foods. As Swakopmund is a coastal town, there’s lots of fresh seafood to find as well.
💰 Price: free, depends on what you’re getting. 😉
Day Trips from Swakopmund
11. Visit the Cape Cross Seal Reserve
Around 100 kilometers north of Swakopmund, you find the world’s largest cape fur seal breeding colony. Between 100.000 and 200.000 seals relax here on the beach, creating a spectacular sight for wildlife lovers and photographers.
The beautiful sight does however come with an intense scent, so it’s recommended to bring a scarf or mask to cover up your nose. If you’re traveling towards the Skeleton Coast, this is a perfect stop to visit for an hour or two.
💰 Price: entrance NAD 150 (€7) per person + NAD 50 (€2,50) per vehicle
3. Discover the diverse Marine Life at Pelican Point
You don’t have to go far to witness the cape fur seals. Just off the shores of the neighboring town of Walvis Bay, a colony of these curious seals is established in the area of Pelican Point. Besides the seals – pelicans, and flamingos are regular visitors as well. The most popular option is to go with a kayak tour that takes you through Walvis Bay Lagoon to Pelican Point.
💰 Price: tours start from €55
13. Visit the Peaks of Spitzkoppe
Spitzkoppe is only 2 hours away from Swakopmund and therefore a perfect day trip to escape the city. You can opt to go on an organized tour from Swakopmund to explore Spitzkoppe or head off with your car and opt for tours once you’ve reached Spitzkoppe Restcamp.
I’ve written a complete guide for visiting Spitzkoppe so make sure to check that out first! Even though, you could visit Spitzkoppe on a day trip, sleeping at the campsite here is a unique and memorable experience you don’t want to miss if you have the chance.
💰 Price: entrance to Spitzkoppe for day visitors is NAD 150 (€7) per person.
You may also like..
Spitzkoppe Campsite, Namibia: Essential Tips for Visiting
Where to stay in Swakopmund, Namibia
Okay, first things first. Check the weather before arriving in town, as the weather in Swakopmund can be cold and windy at night. Personally, I don’t recommend camping in Swakopmund. Use this base to recharge and stock up on groceries (if you’re camping) for your trip ahead.
We absolutely loved our stay with Charmaine in a beautiful affordable apartment with a balcony and an incredible view of the dunes. The owners are super sweet, the Airbnb is located in a quiet and safe neighborhood and it’s the perfect place to recharge for the rest of your camping trip! Make sure to check them out here. 🙂 Besides that, great hotels and guesthouses are scattered throughout town as well.
Best time to visit Swakopmund
Swakopmund is located on the coast where the Atlantic meets the Namib Desert causing a huge fog that brings a fresh breeze. Temperatures are spring-like year-round and there could be cold nights and mornings. The best time to visit this coastal city would be between June to October, with an average of 20 degrees during the day.
How to get to Swakopmund
Swakopmund is one of Namibia’s biggest cities and there are 3 options to get there. Public transport is practically nonexistent in Namibia, so a rental car is often your best option if you’re traveling through the country on your own.
By rental car
- Windhoek to Swakopmund: 362km – 4 hours
- Sossusvlei to Swakopmund: 405km – 5.5 hours
- Spitzkoppe to Swakopmund: 162km – 2 hours
For those who don’t travel by rental car or those on a time limit, you’ll find a small airport in Walvis Bay only a short drive away from Swakopmund. Fly Namibia operates with daily direct flights to Windhoek, Johannesburg, and Cape Town. Perfect for people who are planning a short getaway to the coast of Namibia.
By Private or Shared shuttle
Even though, I highly recommend getting your rental, it may not be suitable for everyone. There are private or shared shuttles operating between Windhoek (and other places) and Swakopmund, which might be a good option to look into. Carlo’s Shuttle and Tours is one of the main shuttle services in Namibia with great reviews on Tripadvisor.
💡 Note: I haven’t tried them out myself so this isn’t based on my own experience.
How to get around Swakopmund
Most sights are located in the city center of Swakopmund, so everything is within walking distance. If you’re camping outside of town or staying in an Airbnb located a bit further, a rental car could be the best option for you. When staying in a hotel or guesthouse instead of an Airbnb, you could always ask the reception to provide a taxi for you.
Conclusion of ’13 best things to do from Swakopmund to Walvis Bay’
Swakopmund is a must-stop during your time in Namibia and we absolutely loved the abundance of activities to do here! From unique sights at Sandwich Harbour to spotting wildlife in the Namib Desert and sand boarding down the dunes.
Any other questions, drop them in the comments section and I’m happy to help! 🙂
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Swakopmund known for?
Known as the adventure capital of Namibia, the town attracts lots of visitors coming here to enjoy the dunes. To Namibians, Swakopmund is a very popular holiday destination to enjoy the ocean as it is one of the few places to do so in the country.
Is Swakopmund expensive?
Swakopmund itself isn’t an expensive town to travel to. Cheap guesthouses and Airbnb are located throughout town and there are food options in every food range. The only thing that could make your trip to the coastal town expensive is because of the activities to do here. There are lots of budget or free activities to do as well. I’ve listed them all out here in the blog post including their average price.
Is Swakopmund safe?
We traveled through Namibia as two females and never felt unsafe anywhere! However, we didn’t walk through the town at night and took our car for dinners out.