Swakopmund sandboarding, Namibia
Adventure Travel Ideas Africa Namibia

Namibia: Crepes & sandboarding in Swakopmund

 On the peaceful beach promenade of Swakopmund a cheerful park bench looks out on a chilly Atlantic Ocean that churns, crashes, foams, rumbles and roars.

After weeks in the deserts and bushland of Namibia, tasting the most delicious cinnamon crepes, as well as date and walnut muffins, was a treat. Cafes surround the town square where souvenir sellers spread their wares.

Swakopmund, Namibia

Swakopmund is a funny little town of early 20th century architecture – German of course as this was German South-West Africa from 1884 until the end of the First World War. The still noticeable German population are known as “Sud-Westers”.

As with many colonial regimes in Africa, the German rule was a tragic one for the native peoples and Namibia has seen many years of suffering before achieving its current stability.

Thankfully now they’ve replaced street names like Kaiser Wilhelm Strasse and Bismarck Strasse with more appropriate heroes such as Sam Nujoma.

Typically in the mornings a spooky sea fog rolls inland for kilometres – this is what sustains most of the shallow-rooted plant life on the gravel plains of the Namib Desert.

Swakopmund sandboarding, Namibia

On the gravel plains south of Swakopmund lies a pile of apricot-coloured watered silk, with folds and shadows of dark titanium sand. These dunes are a popular spot for sandboarding (talk to the Desert Explorers Adventure Centre).

The sandboarding was a lot of fun. I opted to just slide down the dunes on a piece of plywood rather than struggling with all the snowboarding gear. Being light I went airbourne again and again. The landing was not quite so exhilarating and I had egg-shaped bruises on my hipbones for weeks afterwards!

Walvis Bay, Namibia

To get to Swakopmund you should drive through Walvis Bay, where a shallow coastal lagoon contains thousands of pale pink flamingos. They strut along the shore, feeding in the shallows, and take off if you get too close, displaying their bright salmon pink underwings.

Swakopmund, Namibia

Swakopmund is a charming town and a perfect rest stop on a Namibia road trip itinerary. It’s so unexpected in its Europeanness and the hotels, cafes and restaurants are a refreshing change if you have been camping in the wilderness for weeks!

There is a museum with exhibits on local heritage and cultural history. Architectural highlights include the railway station (now a hotel), the Hohenzollern building and the lighthouse. It’s also a perfect place to stock up on souvenirs.

By Natasha von Geldern

Have you had a cinnamon crepe in Swakopmund, Namibia?

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  1. Was the sand boarding on a piece of plywood worth the bruises? Your photos are great!

    • Natasha von Geldern

      It was exhilarating, especially the brief moment of flying. The landing definitely hurt but I climbed back up to do it again about 7 times so yes I guess it was worth it! I think being in such an otherworldly place added to the experience.

  2. I love these shots! I haven’t been to Namibia yet, but this place looks like fun and also relaxing and tasty! What was your favourite part about this trip?

    • Natasha von Geldern

      It’s really hard to pick just one favourite thing about Namibia. The red sand dunes at Sessriem were a highlight (blog post still to come) and I loved Damaraland. It’s just an incredible country.

  3. Those little elephants are too cute, and cinnamon crepes sound amazing! I’ve never tried sandboarding, but I did see a bunch of people trying it on the dunes at the Oregon Coast. It looks fun.

  4. Sounds fun! Hope the bruises were worth it!

  5. Not had a cinnamon crepe, but I did both the sandboarding and the quad biking here. It was absolutely amazing fun, and what a country 😀

  6. Would love to try sand-boarding, especially in Namibia. Never thought about the rough landing before, although it makes sense.

  7. We went sandboarding in Australia and while it was fun- i had the biggest bruises the next day. Like purple and blue bruises.. haha, they were disgusting!

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