SWAKOPMUND

Fondly referred to as “the playground of Namibia”, Swakopmund is Namibia’s pre-eminent coastal resort for the locals. A melting pot mix of bohemian cultures, European cafes, German pattiseries and architecture, and a real mining hub, this town offers more adventure and activities than any other place in the country. With palm-lined streets, seaside promenades and fine accommodation for all budgets, Swakopmund is the most popular holiday destination in Namibia for locals. Its pleasant summer climate and decent beaches attract anglers and surfers from all over the world, and for those hardy Namibians, also beach lovers. For the international guest, Swakopmund is a bohemian mix of German correctness with Africa time, laid back attitude with adrenalin activities, misty mornings and desert heat. It is coulourful, it is vibrant, but most of all, it is fun.

Swakopmund Jetty

Few Swakopmund attractions, perhaps even Namibian attractions, are as prominent as the Jetty jutting out to sea from Swakopmund. Although it is a favourite for photographers at sunset, it also has an interesting history. The German colonial government needed a means to offload goods destined for the coast and the interior of the country but had no access to Walvis Bay. The number of goods and passengers to Swakopmund was increasing and an urgent solution needed to be put in place to stop the arduous hardship of landing directly on the beach. Also the unstable wooden jetty had been infested by bore worms to such a state that it was impossible to use it. It was decided to build a steel jetty, featuring a length of 640 m and housing two cranes capable of lifting two tons and three tons respectively. A railway line was also planned to run the length of the jetty, and link up to other rail lines. A German engineering company, Grün and Bilfinger, who had experience in marine construction in Africa, began work with the assistance of an engineering regiment which were housed in the Old Barracks. In 1914, World War 1 broke out and construction came to a complete stand still, only a third of the jetty having been completed. Having been defeated by the year 1915 and handing over all power to the Union of South Africa, the German government of course had no need or interest to carry on with the construction of the jetty, not did the South African forces have a need for the jetty as Walvis Bay belonged to them. But work was not yet completed, and a wooden walkway was added on the northern side of the jetty, facing the Mole. The jetty soon became a very popular feature of life for the people of Swakopmund. It was used for walks and for fishing. But the weather took its toll. In the early 1980s, the jetty was closed for repairs, and the ‘Save the Jetty’ Fund was launched. The jetty reopened in 1986 but was closed again in the late 1990s when an investigation by the town council found that the structure was unsafe. The jetty was reopened after a major renovation project in October 2006. The southern side is reserved for walkers. The northern side is reserved for fishing. Today the jetty also boasts a restaurant on the far end and is still a very popular place to enjoy the sunset over the Atlantic Ocean.

Diaz Cross

On a lofty point on the Lüderitz Peninsula, Bartolomeu Dias erected a padrão or stone cross in 1488 on his homeward voyage to Portugal, after he had rounded the Cape of Good Hope. He is believed to be the second European sailor to have set foot on Namibian ground. The original cross has been removed and replaced by a replica made from Namibian Marble. The original is kept -- as found, in pieces -- in museums in Cape Town and Lisbon. Seen from a sailing boat or catamaran at sea, Diaz Point gains its true perspective, a rocky headland with its back to the desert and host to a colony of seals…we are sure that this was the exact sight Bartholomew Diaz had on his first encounter with the wind-swept rocky outcrop and not much will change in the next hundreds of years. Guests have a grand sight of the Lighthouse close by, while a unique yet cosy restaurant ensures culinary delight and shelter from the extreme winds that can haunt this bay.