Things to see & do in
Swakopmund, Namibia

On any overland journey, you need a place to park up, rest up and stock up, and on a Cape Town to Victoria Falls tour, Swakopmund fulfils all those needs. After driving hours through the Namib Desert in the south, or bumping about on game drives in Etosha National Park and camping out in the shadow of Spitzkoppe, Swakopmund makes a welcome place to pause for a few nights. Most tours stop here, whether they’re going clockwise or anticlockwise on the route, and this quaint little town welcomes them all warmly.
That’s not to stay that Swakopmund is simply a way station, where you can get your laundry done before heading back out on the road. It’s a destination in its own right, both a historical settlement and a modern-day adventures sports hub. Want to stroll along the boardwalk and eat cake? There is a pleasant promenade and the town is famous for its bakeries. Fancy upping the adrenaline? No problem – there are tons of activities to try, from sandboarding down huge dunes to taking a fat bike out on the sand. If you’re hungry to see nature, you can take a dolphin cruise or go kayaking with seals at nearby Cape Cross, or scratch that itch for Namibian history and human context by taking a tour of the nearby township of Mondesa with a local guide, visiting the lighthouse and popping into the Swakopmund Museum.
Sand and sea define Swakopmund. It sits right on the coast, surrounded by the massive dune fields of the Namib Desert on three sides and pummelled by Atlantic Ocean breakers to the west. It was founded in 1892 as the main harbour for German South West Africa, and its colonial past is plain to see. You’ll still find German speakers here and the streets are designed in Bavarian-style architecture. There are plenty of cake shops, too, in true Germanic style – Swakopmund puts the strudel into Southern Africa.

In recent years, Swakopmund has developed a new identity as an adventure sports hub. Most Cape Town to Victoria Falls tours will give you a couple of nights here, carving out one full, free day in the town, which is ample for sampling some adrenaline sports and fun activities. A flight over the desert will give a jaw-dropping aerial perspective on the vast Namib Desert, or you can go sky diving, quad biking or horse riding.

Our top Cape Town to Victoria Falls Holiday

Cape Town to Victoria Falls holiday in Southern Africa

Cape Town to Victoria Falls holiday in Southern Africa

A spectacular and diverse African journey

From £3199 to £3549 22 days inc UK flights
Small group travel:
2020: 29 Feb, 18 Jul, 29 Aug, 7 Nov
Travel Team
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Practicalities

Most Cape Town to Victoria Falls tours stop in Swakopmund and spend two or three nights here. Travelling north overland you’ll reach the town after driving through the Namib-Naukluft Park, usually after exploring the sand dunes at Sossusvlei on the previous day. This is a four- to five-hour drive, but you won’t be bored. You’ll be soaking up some of Africa’s best scenery.

The Namib-Naukluft is one of the largest national parks in the world and home to one of the driest and oldest deserts on earth. It’s a vision of jagged rock formations and incredible lunar landscapes. There’s often the chance to stop off at Walvis Bay, too, which in summer is home to thousands of flamingos that migrate here to feed on the abundant algae and crustaceans, alongside pelicans and waders.

If your tour runs anticlockwise, from Victoria Falls to Cape Town, you’ll approach Swakopmund from the north. It’s a five- to six-hour drive from Spitzkoppe, ‘the Matterhorn of Namibia’, a 700 million-year-old mountain that’s almost 2,000m high. Tours often stop here so you can hike the trails beneath this impressive peak, discovering rich plant life and bush paintings, before admiring the craggy landscape as it turns orange and red at sunset. The journey to Swakopmund then takes you down the slightly eerie and very remote Atlantic coast, with a stop off at Cape Cross, home to one of the largest colonies of Cape fur seals in the world – an amazing sight, and a quite remarkable smell, too.
Written by Joanna Simmons
Photo credits: [Page banner: Julius] [Intro: Jean & Nathalie] [Sand and sea: Olga Ernst & Hp.Baumeler] [Practicalities: Keith Roper]
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