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Swakopmund is Namibia's premier beachside location and one of the larger settlements in the country (bear in mind this is Namibia so that equals just under 30,000 inhabitants). It's sometimes called even more German than Germany itself and there are indeed some influences regarding architecture, food and drinks. The town itself is fairly attractive for Namibian standards, but if the common fog comes in from the Atlantic Ocean, things suddenly look a bit boring, even the brightly pained houses.
Most visitors to Swakopmund spend very little time hanging about the town however, rather they come for the plethora of activities available in the local area. It is a bit of an adventure traveller's mecca and as such attracts a lot of backpackers and overlanders.
Although Swakopmund has a very arid climate with just about 15 mm of rain a year, the area receives a lot of fog meaning that plants and lichens can grow here, even up to 100 kilometres inland. The average maximum temperatures are between 23 and 28 °C on most days, though when it stays foggy all day temperatures can drop well below 20 °C, while highs of around 40 °C are sometimes recorded when winds blow directly from the warm desert areas. Average lows are mostly between 12 and 16 °C.
TransNamib offers overnight trains between Windhoek and Swakopmund (9½ hours) and Walvis Bay (1½ hours) daily except Saturday. There are 3 trains a week between Walvis Bay and Tsumeb (17½ hours) also passing through Swakopmund.
The B2 mainroad runs south from Walis Bay (just half an hour away) towards Swakopmund and from there north/northeast inland via Usakos towards the B1 road that runs south-north across the country. The C34 coastal road connects Swakopmund to the north via Hentiesbaai towards the Cape Cross Seal Reserve and further along the Skeleton Coast.
The C28 and C14 roads go inland from Swakopmund and Walvis Bay respectively. The C28 is the shortest route towards Windhoek while the C14 is best taken when you are heading towards the Namib Naukluft National Park, including the famous Sossusvlei.
The Interncape Mainliner offers bus services to Walvis Bay (half an hour) and Windhoek (4¼ hours) on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, with connections to and from South Africa.
The Friday Star Line bus between Khorixas (6½ hours) and Walvis Bay (one hour) passes through Swakopmund, and returns on Sundays. There are minibuses between Swakopmund and Windhoek (four hours) and Swakopmund and Walvis Bay (45 minutes).
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You won't need a car for transport around central Swakopmund, only when you are going within the wider urban area or more inland.
Most of Swakopmund is easily explored on foot and distances between most hotels, the beach and the central pubs, restaurants and shops are short.
|Amanpuri Travellers Lodge||Moses Garoeb St. Anton Lubowski Avenue, erongo||Hostel||89|
|Skeleton Beach Backpackers||14 Moses Garoeb str, Vineta P.O. Box 23658 Windhoek||HOSTEL||90|
There are Internet cafes in Windhoek, Swakopmund and Opuwo, and hostels often have access as well. Wifi is on the rise, but still not on the level of neighbouring South Africa.
See also: International Telephone Calls
Namibia's country code is 264. Each city or region has a two-digit area code. When calling long distance within Namibia, prefix the area code with a '0'. Mobile phones are very common and run on the GSM network, using the same frequency as Europe and the rest of Africa. Be aware that when you get off the beaten track signal can be erratic.
To avoid high costs, switch off data roaming and/or buy a local SIM card instead. Internet rates especially are extremely high still, but you will also save money on calling costs.
Nampost is the national postal service of Namibia. It has post offices in most major cities and towns or postal services are incorporated within small shops in the smallest settlements. As for many countries in Southern Africa, services are actually fairly reliable but not very fast. Count on 2 weeks or more for postcards or letters to be send to countries in Europe or North America. Most post offices are open from 8:00 or 9:00am to around 4:30pm, with shorter hours (mornings) on Saturdays. Note that local variations may apply. For parcels, you might choose more expensive but faster companies like DHL, UPS, FedEx or TNT.
Ask bythebeach a question about Swakopmund
Worked in tourism industry for 10 years in Namibia
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