Submitted by: Liesel Wild
Traditionally known as the land of contrasts, Namibia’s 824 268km² surface area certainly does provide contrasts aplenty! From high rise dunes and exceptional landscapes to rugged canyons with towering walls of volcanic rock, it is exactly these contradictions and differences in beauty, nature, culture and traditions that makes Namibia so popular with the South African market and have them returning time and again to experience its gems.
Namibia’s coastal region is no exception, offering travellers a variety of entertainment, activities and accommodations, from tented camps and desert lodges to seaside rest camps and luxury hotels.
Founded in 1892, Swakopmund remains much loved by Namibians for its laidback nature and easygoing charm, while simultaneously offering a break from the interior’s continuous heat and humidity. It offers travellers a wide variety of accommodation and activities, especially for those with a sense of adventure!
Places of interest well worth a visit include Woermann House, Swakopmund Arts Association and the Public Library. Step back in time with a visit to the old barracks known as Die Alte Kaserne which now houses a youth hostel. The Swakopmund Museum provides a comprehensive display of natural history, mineralogy and botany as well as historical and ethnological dioramas.
Known as the Namibia’s adventure playground, Swakopmund provides the backdrop for many adventure activities in which guests can indulge, such as quad biking, skydiving, dune boarding, sand skiing, paragliding, surfing, windsurfing, yachting and angling. There are even motorcross and 4×4 rally facilities on the outskirts of town for enthusiasts to enjoy!
Walvis Bay, apart from being Namibia’s major port, is well known for its remarkable wetlands and its large concentrations of water birds, such as waders and flamingos as well as the variety of shore birds that frequent the area. The lagoon is widely regarded as the most important wetland within the Southern African region. It is popular with boardsailing and water sports enthusiasts while its large dunes provide the perfect backdrop for adventure activities such as sand boarding, quad biking and parasailing. Very popular with visitors to the region are the whale and dolphin cruises held in Walvis Bay harbour and surround waters.
A must visit while exploring Walvis Bay is Dune 7, on the outskirts of town. It is the highest dune in the area and while energetic members of the group may try their luck and reach the top, other members can enjoy the braai facilities and day camp site, perfect for a family outing.
For fisherman, a trip to Paaltjies is well worth a visit and consists of four angling spots south of the town. The “paaltjies” are navigational beacons used by commercial fishermen.
Popular with both Namibians and foreign tourists alike, Henties Bay’s remote setting and peaceful atmosphere provides the perfect backdrop for a holiday destination along the Skeleton Coast. The relaxed way of life of this coastal town encourages visitors to be as active – or “chilled – as they prefer, with activities such as a round of golf on the Henties Bay Golf Course, a chance to enjoy some quad biking in the surrounding dunes, a spot of shore fishing or even a walk on the Omaruru River walking trail.
As Henties Bay is situated in the Dorob National Park, it offers nature lovers a diverse range of both fauna and flora to enjoy.
Skeleton Coast Park
The Skeleton Coast Park in the northern Namib is managed as a wilderness reserve. Two fishing resorts, namely Terrace Bay and Torra Bay are used primarily by anglers while the northern section of the park is managed as a wilderness area and can be visited with a private concessionaire who conducts fly-in safaris. This section of the park is well-known for its desert-adapted elephant, springbok and gemsbok species.
Day visitors wishing to dry through the park can obtain a transit permit at the entry points of Ugab Mouth and Springbokwasser. If wishing to stay the night, visitors must be in the possession of valid reservation confirmations at either Terrace Bay or Torra Bay.
Namibia’s west coast remains a firm favourite, with its annual highlights such as yacht races, windsurfing regattas and the December triathlon between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay ensuring viewing pleasure second to none!
For further information on Namibia’s Coastal region and what it has to offer holidaymakers, contact the NTB on (021) 422 3298 or visit their website on www.namibiatourism.com.na. Like NTB on Facebook/namibianexperience or follow them on twitter/ntbsa.