It’s the perfect day for exploring, and after a quick bite at Café Bojo next door to our accommodation, we decide to take to the town once again, this time on a walking tour.
Books, bargaining and a brothel
We are early birds so we opt to head out to see the famous Swakopmund Beach. Complete with a classic red and white lighthouse, the beach is liberally sprinkled with the glittering dust of powdered gemstones.
We have opted for a guided tour of the historical buildings but these are not the only attractions. Before long we are ambling about among gorgeous – predominantly German-styled, architecture and admiring the work of the town fathers.
Our guide fills us in with interesting snippets on each historical building. The Woermann house and Tower with its collection of 50 000 books, Hohenzollern Haus which was once rumoured to be a brothel, The State House which now serves as a summer residence for the president, and the Clock Tower all undergo our scrutiny.
Next up is the town museum, one of the largest in Namibia. It is close to the town market, which is filled with local crafts and the most persistent hagglers in the country.
The Kristall Gallerie has amazing displays of gemstones and crystals of every shape and size. We are not surprised to hear that this is the largest collection of these sparkly stones in the world. All the way quaint alleyways filled with antique stores, bookshops and restaurants clamour for our attention.
A ‘very’ nice lunch
With over 50 restaurants to choose from in Swakopmund, lunch poses a dilemma, so it’s a good thing that we had already decided on the yellow beachfront food truck we had spotted earlier. Who can resist trying out an eatery called Fork ‘n Nice while watching the Atlantic Ocean in action?
The food lives up to the name and we devour yummy pulled pork wraps and the best beer-battered fish and chips, served as it should be – wrapped in newspaper.
Into the Namib
We have made special arrangements with Living Desert Adventures for a 5 hour Desert Tour this afternoon so we need to hustle.
Before long we are on our way out of town towards Walvis Bay and into the truly spectacular Namib Desert. Our guides are chatty and informative, stopping the trucks every now and then to ‘read the bushman newspaper’ i.e look for tracks and small creatures.
We tick off most of our wish list as we progress in this stop-start fashion – Damara terns, a cartwheeling spider, a couple of dune gecko hot-footing it across the sand, and even a Namaqua chameleon, along with various beetles.
It’s late when we trundle back into town, exhilarated and exhausted but we can’t resist the lure of a hearty dinner before hitting the sack. A quick shower and we’re off to the Butcher and Brewer at the Swakopmund Hotel.
Cocktails and craft beers
I wish we had arrived in time for sunset, but we take a seat outdoors overlooking the ocean and sip on pre-diner cocktails anyway. Before long it’s time to order and, overwhelmed by the selection, we all stick to the familiar comforts of smoked ribs and roast chicken, accompanied by superb craft beers, which are made right there on site.
It’s an early night tonight, with big adventures in store tomorrow – as we try to cram as many of Swakopmund’s extreme activities into one day as possible.