Namibia - Swakopmund
With its proud German architecture and palm-hemmed promenade, Swakopmund sits snugly between the dunes of the Namib Desert and the surf of the Atlantic Coast.
The vast, terracotta sands of the world’s oldest desert have become an adrenaline junkies playground: its steep banks provide runs for sandboards that rush past and reach speeds of 60kph; above light-planes glide over the wilderness offering otherworldly scenes; while those with a little more daring can skydive back to the sands with views of the glassy sea.
Against the heat of the desert, the cooling Atlantic Ocean has its own charms. A trip to Cape Cross is a wonder for wildlife watching visitors. On its rocks, a mass of nearly 100,000 bleating, basking Cape fur seals make for a captivating sight. Also swimming the seas are some of the water’s finest creatures and a boat cruise offers the chance to spot dolphins, humpback whales and leatherback turtles.
Inland, the Namib-Naukluft Park is only a short drive away. Here, the ancient dunes of Sossusvlei are a spectacular sight for keen snappers - in some light they appear pastel purple and in others like the surface of Mars. Meanwhile, at the white clay pan of Deadvlei, lifeless trees eerily remain, despite the lack of water.
For visitors wanting sand with a shoreline, the swimming at Mole beach is ideal.
Otherwise Swakopmund, with its jetty jutting out from the oceanfront and its peaceful promenade, is a delightful destination to dine, drink and while away the warm evening hours, especially if you love freshly caught seafood.