© Nova Fisher 2015


The characterful, relaxed town of Swakopmund, situated halfway along Namibia’s long Atlantic coastline, has a cooler climate with a bracing sea air which makes it a convenient cool stop-off between the heat of the deserts on the southern and northern circuits. Founded, in 1892, as the main harbour for German South-West Africa, a sizable part of its population is still German speaking. Much of the town is a colonial relic full of traditional pastry and cake shops. The Swakopmund Museum is excellent and well worth a visit. We stayed at the centrally located, historic Hansa Hotel that dates from 1905, which makes it one of the oldest buildings in this seaside town, and something of an architectural icon. Dinner was at the Tug restaurant, close to the Swakopmund jetty on the coast.

Walvis Bay

We drove to Walvis Bay passing new holiday developments and ‘Millionaires Row’ of expensive houses before arriving at the lagoon where there are hundreds of flamingos. The varying shades of pink flamingoes were a photographer’s dream. Walvis Bay lagoon is a world-renowned sanctuary for some 160,000 birds, as well as a biannual feeding station for 200,000 migratory shore birds and terns. 70% of the world’s chestnut-banded plovers rely on this lagoon for survival, and 80% of southern Africa’s flamingos feed here. We drove to Pelican Point, southwest of the lagoon passing a 3500-hectare saltpan complex, which currently supplies over 90% of South Africa's salt. These pans concentrate salt from seawater with the aid of evaporation. They are also a rich feeding ground for shrimp and larval fish.