Swakopmund locally referred to as “Swakop” is located within the Namib Desert yet also has access to the Atlantic ocean. It is the coastal town of Namibia and is located about 350km West of Windhoek. It is more like a resort town, very organized, super neat and has lots of German influence from the buildings to the main delicacies. This town is indeed a mystery as on one side of the road you could be enjoying the beaches along Atlantic Ocean while on the other you could be hiking sand dunes. We enjoyed staying here as well as exploring its neighbouring towns.
Walvis Bay is indeed an exciting and interesting area to visit. I was impressed by the large number of flamingoes that we spotted in several areas like Birds paradise, to actually getting to hike the famous Dune 7. Everyone spoke so highly of hiking the dune 7, that we decided we must. What everyone had forgotten to inform us was how taxing the climb is. As we slowly started the ascent in the scorching sand, it was all fun and games. However as we got higher, it started getting treacherous. For every step forward we took, we sank in and moved backwards a few steps. The sand became loose and just making a step became a challenge. However we trudged on, we held hands to assist each other, and finally after what seemed and felt like forever, we successfully conquered Dune 7.
There is no public transport from Swakopmund to Walvis Bay so your best options are to hire a car or join a tour. We hitch hiked and were picked up by an amazing group of gentlemen who then became our friends and guides.
Visit Skeleton Coast:
The area is famous for being home to both the Cape Cross and several shipwrecks. It is indeed off the beaten paths, but well worth seeking it out.
This place is amazing and should be on everyone’s itinerary. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Namibia is not only home to fur seals, but has one of the largest fur seal colonies in the world. This place is covered in thousands and thousands of seals either swimming in the Atlantic Ocean or relaxing on the shores of Cape Cross.
Fur seals are indeed a beauty to look at. The little ones are called pups and they have large beady eyes and black fur. The adult female seals are called cows while the males are called bulls. The seals have no legs but instead use their “flippers” to move both on land and in water. To move on land, they basically crawl or drag their bodies using their front flippers as the back ones are hardly functional. In water however, the back flippers are used for swimming. We also saw the seals being aggressive with their fights resulting in deep, bloody wounds.
The only glitch with this place is the smell, it stinks real bad. This is as a result of their excrement, as well as the smell of death as the place is strewn with lots of dead pups caught in the crossfire of the adults in most cases.
The waters in this area seemed very rough and the winds very strong, I believe the area is not recommended for swimming. While here, we got to see the remains of a shipwreck even as we struggled to battle the strong winds and the cold for a glimpse.
There is no public transport to this area as it is away from any civilization or even much human settlement. The best options are to hire a car or to use a tour company. We got a local to take as there at a “friendly” price.
Swakopmund has a wide variety of accommodation options, to suit all tastes and budgets. We stayed at Swakopmund backpackers and I really liked it. The rooms are very clean and spacious and their facilities great.
I highly highly highly recommend this area as indeed it is a once in a lifetime chance to see A fur seal Colony, in their natural habitat, in their millions, live and better yet in Africa. Getting to hike Dune 7 is another highlight that I will definitely treasure as well as my whole stay in the area. Thank you David for permission to use some of your amazing pictures and for everyone we interacted with. For more on Namibia exploration, check out: