Swakopmund is worth the visit

We were so thrilled when we heard that Lyn & Tyrone had been transferred to Swakopmund on the West Coast of Namibia. Lots of new things to see and do.

Town the dunesA view of Swakopmund and inland to the dunes

As previously mentioned, Namibia (or German South West Afrika and then just South West Africa until independence in 1990) was a German territory from 1894 until 1915 when it was mandated to South Africa to administrate. This lasted until 1966 when the UN declared that all pre-German African colonies should be granted independence but SA refused to comply and maintained the now illegal mandate. A civil war ensued and Namibia finally gained independence in 1990.

There are still a large number of German speaking residents whose traditions and language have remained dominant in some areas of Namibia, in particular the towns of Swakopmund and Luderitz. The town of Luderitz had been on my ‘bucket list’ for many years. I don’t really know why but I remember learning about it in Geography and was fascinated by it.

 View from our BB in LuderitzThis was the view from our B&B in Luderitz 

 Once again we did not drive to Namibia but flew from Durban to Johannesburg and then on to Walvis Bay in a twin-engined plane. Walvis Bay is the only natural bay in Namibia and thus the only large craft harbour. It, like the Caprivi, remained under SA administration until full independence was achieved in 1990 following a lengthy civil war. One of the most beautiful things about Walvis Bay are the flamingos - hundreds of them

 84. Flamingoes in flight

Flamingos in flight over Walvis Bay with ships in the background

At the time there was only 1 direct flight each way between Johannesburg and Walvis Bay per day. The 2 hour flight was supposed to arrive at 1pm (WB time) and return at 2pm (WB time) but arrival was often late so departure was similarly delayed. [In Winter, Namibia is 1 hour behind SA. Thus we left at noon, flew for 2 hours and arrived at 1pm]. Going through Customs was very slow as there were just 2 persons on duty. Lyn met us there and drove us the 45kms to Swakopmund where they had a lovely new home.

another view if town

Another view of Swakopmund

Before we went on our trip to Luderitz, we spent a day walking around Swakopmund town which is spotlessly clean and has a number of interesting buildings. The German influence is obvious, especially in the eating places which offered delicious, decadent food.

 Delicious German cake

Trevor tucks in to some delicious German cake

We started out walking along the promenade with beautiful views out across the Atlantic Ocean. Although Swakopmund had been a small harbour for the Germans, today it is only for private boats while Walvis Bay was developed into a very active, fully-fledged port post-independence in 1991.

The West Coast of Namibia has a most interesting weather pattern. Most mornings in early Spring the sea is invisible as it is covered in fog which rolls inland for about 10kms and then gradually recedes. It is the moisture from this fog which allows for the growth of many mosses on stones in the desert. On other occasions a very strong Easterly wind blows bringing heat and lots of SAND!! It comes into the house through every nook and cranny where the sand finds its way in. The sand is deep enough to leave clear footprints and it gets into every possible place in the house. The wind gradually dies down by 10:00 but cleaning up is irritatingly hard work.

47. Lichen on rocks bet Swakop Henties

 Lichen growing on rocks near Swakopmund

46. Succulents on a hummock in the desert

 Succulents on a hummock in the desert near Swakopmund

Back to our day out in Swakopmund town – one of the first places that we visited was the Woermann House with its Tower. This landmark in the town was built in 1894 and originally the tower was a water tank and a navigational guide to the ships of the Woerman Brock Company. Today the house is a library and museum and the tower is empty. It may be ascended via a number of stairs which were not difficult to climb. It is absolutely worth making the effort to get to the top of the tower and see the iconic views of Swakopmund, the dunes in the distance to the East and the Atlantic Ocean on the other side.


On the way up the towerTrevor halfway up the staircase to the tower

At the topTrevor and Vicky at the top of the tower

 The Woermann and Brock families were businessmen in Germany who set up trading and agricultural businesses in German South West Afrika in the late 19th Century. In 1909 they merged their businesses to become Woermann, Brock and Co. which still has a large supermarket simply called WB in Swakopmund today.

Woermann Brock

 WB Supermarket from the top of the tower 

Having spent quite a time at the top of the tower we went and had lunch at a super seafood restaurant called The Jetty at the end of a long pier. We were able to see the see rolling beneath us as we sat at our table.

Jetty RestaurantVicky & Trevor outside the restaurant 

The Jetty from the tower

 The pier at the end of which is The Jetty Restaurant. Photo taken from the tower

 From there, we went home to prepare for the start of the long drive to Luderitz the following day.

About Me

I was born into the early part of the Baby Boomer generation, the 3rd of what came to be a family of 6 daughters. Although both our parents, who are now deceased, had been raised in rural Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal) and the 2 eldest daughters were born in a country town, the other 4 of us were all born at home in Durban. Read More

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