Namibia lies on the West coast of Africa between South Africa in the South and Angola in the North. A scarcely populated country where you can drive for 100's of kilometers without seeing a town.
Swakopmund nestles between the sea and the dunes, a true oases in the desert. The German influence is still strongly visible in the architecture. Hotel Europahof is but one of the many examples of this European inheritance.
Even the old prison is a beautiful building.
Swakopmund is one of the most popular holiday towns for Namibians and quite busy over the Christmas holidays. Bordering the colder Atlantic ocean makes water temperatures relatively low. Early morning mist is a common appearance. The mist can stay the whole day and create a fairytale picture on the road between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. On the one side you have the ever changing dunes and on the other side the boats that look like something out of "Pirates on the Caribbean" far of in the haze over the ocean.
Accommodation can be found in one of the many hotels as well as self catering apartments and holiday homes. The Swakopmund Hotel and Entertainment centre use to be the Old Station Building, It was beautifully restored and now hosts a five star hotel with casino, restaurants, shops and a cinema.
There are enough restaurants to keep the hungry happy. Cafe Anton is popular for it's typically German pastries and biscuits. The Lighthouse Pub & Restaurant has a nice outside area with views over the ocean. On a clear day sunsets over the ocean are spectacular.
The Naukluft Park just outside Swakopmund is one of the must see places in the area. You need to get a entry permit at the internal affairs office before you enter. It costs N$40 (less than $4) per person and N$10 per vehicle. The big attractions, apart from the desert dunes, are the moon landscape and the Welwitschia plants. While these plants are not particularly pretty, they definitely have a charm of their own. Some of them are over a 1 000 years old. They grow very close to the ground and have only two leaves. You won't think this when you see them, as the leaves are torn from many years of exposure to the elements of nature. They are endemic to Namibia and a wonderful photo opportunity.
Dune 7 is the other must do when in Swakopmund. It is a few kilometers outside Swakopmund close to the Walvis Bay airport. Everybody that has been to Namibia is asked the same question " Did you climb Dune 7" From the bottom it looks relatively easy, until you start sliding back more than you go forward. If you don't feel like climbing you can try sand boarding. You are taken up with a quad bike and then you just slide down, again and again. Sunscreen is a necessity for this activity if you don't want to look like a prawn after a few minutes. It is said to be the highest sand dune in the world.
English is the official language of Namibia. Afrikaans and German are also heard a lot as well as the many local languages. The currency is the Namibian dollar which is equal in value to the South African Rand. Rands are accepted by most businesses in Namibia. Restaurants and hotels in tourist areas accept most credit cards for payment. Visa seemed to be the most widely accepted.
Swakopmund is just one of the places this beautiful desert country has to offer.
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