Swakopmund and Namibia Activities
Activities in Swakopmund and Namibia are diverse and cater for everyone. There are so many things to do in Namibia whilst on Holiday. Activities in Namibia are incredibly diverse and you are sure to find something that appeal to you. Namibia offers a wealth of different kinds of activities ranging from the soft and leisurely activity to the fast and action-packed adrenalin pumping activity. With Namibia’s diverse and vast landscapes and generally sunny weather, tourists can choose from a multitude of activities whilst on holiday in Namibia. Activity operators are generally of a high standard and great emphasis is placed on caring for the fragile environment whilst minimizing the ecological impact. Safety of tourists is also of great concern.
Swakopmund and Walvis Bay are considered to be the adventure capitals of Namibia. From partaking in historical town tours to township tours, birding trips, 4 x 4 excursions to Sandwich Harbour to informative guided tours through the desert surrounding Swakopmund. You will be amazed at the wildlife in the desert and how these creatures and plants adapt to the harsh desert environment. You will encounter the ‘welwitschia mirabilis’ which is unique to the Namib Desert and parts of Angola. This plant is often referred to as a ‘living fossil’ and many of these plants found in the Namib Desert are over a thousand years old whilst some individual plants are thought to be as old as 2000 years!
Seal and dolphin tours are also very popular. The Namibian coast is full of life and there is a good chance that you will encounter a seal up close and personal. Some of these seals are known to actually climb aboard these boats and you are able to feed them. You may also experience a pelican flying alongside your boat in the hope of getting some snacks thrown their way. The elusive Mola Mola (sunfish) is also spotted occasionally as well as the occasional shy Leatherback turtles surfacing the water.
Swakopmund cycling tours are a popular way of exploring the Namib Desert and the town itself. These bicycles have ‘fat’ tyres and one is able to partake in a guided tour of the desert in a very ecological way. E-bikes are also available to hire.
For the more adventurous skydiving, quad biking, sand boarding and fishing can be undertaken. Scenic flights and ballooning are an excellent way to appreciate the vastness and stunning landscapes of Namibia. A scenic flight over the Namib Desert is probably the best way to truly appreciate the beauty of this harsh and unforgiving environment. There are just so many things to do in Namibia – you will not be bored.
The Living Culture Foundation of Namibia offers numerous ‘living museums’ across Namibia. Visitors to the Living Museums can learn a lot about the interesting cultures of Namibian language groups and have a great opportunity to get to know the people of Namibia. Every visit to a Living Museum actively contributes to the preservation of traditional culture and the creation of a source of income in rural areas. Currently these living museums are available in the Caprivi (Mafwe), Kunene (Damara – close to Twyfelfontein), Ju/Hoansi-San (Bushman), Kavango (Mbunza).
One of the best ways to experience Namibia is via horse or foot. Whether you are an experienced horse rider or just a beginner there is something available for everyone. Guided horse safari’s are available whether it’s a camping horse safari or stopping off at lodges. Another very good way of experiencing Namibia is by foot. Some lodges offer fantastic walking and hiking excursions ranging from shorter walks to those that take several days. This is an excellent way of getting close to nature and truly appreciating the unspoiled landscape.
Sossusvlei is one of the highlights for many tourists visiting Namibia. Tourists are able to enter the park and visit the Dead Vlei. There are many things to do in this area: climb one of the biggest dunes in the world (Big Daddy is one of the biggest dunes and is approximately 340 meters high), take a scenic flight and be awe struck with the natural beauty of the Namib Sand Sea which is Namibia’s second World Heritage Site, take a guided nature walk and discover just how much life there is in this dry and harsh desert.
If you are planning to include the Kavango and Zambezi (Caprivi) in your travels then one of the activities on offer is fishing and bird watching. Tiger fishing is very popular and whether you are a novice or an experienced fisherman you will not be disappointed when you catch your first tiger fish – they are known to give a great fight! Other things to do whilst traveling in this area include visiting some of the craft centers in this region. The Caprivi Art Centre at Katima Mulilo is popular with tourists as is the Ngoma Crafts Centre at the Ngoma Border Post. There is a long history of craftwork in the area and the centre provides the community with an outlet for their products. All the ladies that work at the centre are self-taught and their weaved baskets and other products are beautifully made. Pottery and wood carvings are also made and available here. Mashi Crafts in Kongola is a tourism centre providing not only an outlet for craft produce, but also information on history, culture and traditions of the people in the area, the local flora and fauna and conservancy activities. Informal businesses selling firewood, honey when in season and devils claw natural remedies are also to be found.
The historical town of Lüderitz also offers a number of activities which are suitable for families as well. A Luderitz boat cruise which explores the surrounding bay of Luderitz and gives visitors a chance to see the African Penguins on Halifax Island to Namibia’s famous Kolmanskop Ghost Town tours. This ghost town was once home to hundreds of German miners who were seeking their fortunes in the desert but almost 100 years later it was completely deserted and is now slowly being reclaimed by the harsh desert sand. The Bogenfels Arch is worth a visit, as is viewing the wild horses at Garub, which is located 100km’s east of Lüderitz.
One of the most popular activities in Namibia is viewing wildlife and game. Seeing an elephant or a lion is the highlight for many tourists when visiting Namibia. Most lodges and guest farms offer guided game drives where depending on the region one is able to see game such as Kudu, Gemsbok, springbok, giraffe and other interesting species. The more exotic animals such as Rhino, elephant, lion and cheetah are generally found in the northern part of the country. Namibia has numerous national parks that generally have exceptional wildlife. Etosha National Park is Namibia’s flagship and if you are lucky you can get to see 4 of the big 5. Buffalo are not found in Etosha but in the Zambezi where one can encounter huge herds of these beasts along the banks of the many rivers found in this region.
If you plan on visiting the Kunene region (north-western region) then it is highly recommended that you partake in a guided tour to view the desert lions, desert elephants and the desert Rhino. Namibia has the biggest population of the highly endangered black rhino. Seeing these magnificent creatures survive and thrive in this hostile environment is something that you will never forget. The Kunene region is also home to the Himba tribe. The Himba’s are a group of semi-nomads who live in scattered settlements throughout the Kunene region. The Himbas have been relatively successful in maintaining their culture and their traditional way of life. Guided tours are on offer from most of the lodges in this area should the tourist wish to see these interesting and fascinating people.
Namibia’s first World Heritage Site is also to be found in this region. The Twyfelfontein World Heritage Site has over 2000 rock engravings in this area and this represents one of Africa’s most important and largest rock art galleries. Tourists can visit the Visitors Interpretive Rock Art Centre at Twyfelfontein for informative guided tours. The Brandberg Mountain and the famous White Lady rock engraving are found south of Twyfelfontein and tourists can also undertake guided tours. The Brandberg Mountain is the highest mountain in Namibia. Other attractions in this area include The Burnt Mountain, Petrified Forest and the Organ Pipes all in the vicinity of Twyfelfontein.
There are several wildlife sanctuaries available in Namibia and one is able to visit these organizations and view some of the big cats from real close. A visit to the AfriCat Foundation or Cheetah Conservation Fund allows tourists to experience these cats up close and personal, whilst being educated about the conservation efforts to ensure the long-term survival of these endangered species. Namibia is in fact home to the largest free-roaming cheetah population in the world.