Most Namibian journeys lead to the coast where the tumultuous Atlantic Ocean kisses the windswept dunes of the Namib Desert. It is a magnificent sight to behold for those who have the privilege to disembark here.
Namibia might surprise you with its historic richness, and I am not only talking about hosting the world’s oldest desert. As soon as you lay eyes on Swakopmund, you will be enchanted by its old-world charm. The German architecture creates the feeling of walking through the streets of Bavaria. Without the snow, of course, which is a big plus in our books.
Swakopmund was founded in 1892 by the Germans. Interestingly, the first civilian homes were prefabricated in Germany and then transported by ship, which explains the half-timbered structures.
When the main harbour in Swakopmund moved to Walvis Bay during South African occupation, the first-mentioned turned into a beautiful holiday resort. Its industrial-looking neighbour, Walvis Bay, houses the current international harbour.
Now for the fun stuff. Boot beers. It’s a glass boot filled with beer. If the shoe fits … pour your cold brew in it. As you toast, don’t forget a hearty “Prost”, that is if you manage to lift your giant glass/jug off the table. Pair your draught with deliciously filling German cuisine. There is no shortage of fabulous restaurants and cafés throughout the town. Think ocean-fresh seafood and premium-quality Namibian meat. Vegetarian options are also proliferating, so you are sure to find a place that will please everyone in the family … even the in-laws.
Swakopmund is well known as the activity hub of the country. One of the Namibian coast’s biggest drawcards is its ample fishing opportunities. Local and international travellers flock to the coast in the summer months, with December being the peak season. But there is so much more. Want to kayak amongst dolphins and seals? Jump out of a plane? Paraglide over the magnificent scenery? Sandboard or sand surf down some of the highest dunes? Go on a thrilling Sandwich Harbour tour and adventurous dune driving? If you need your trembling legs to calm down after all that action, opt for an educational desert tour to discover the most incredible creatures that call the Namib home. Go for a beer tasting at the variety of brewers that have popped up over the last few years. On colder days, a coffee tasting will warm you up. Of course, an artisanal gin tasting will have the same effect.
A walk through this town is a treat and all roads lead to The Delight Swakopmund. This modern hotel was developed by and is under management of one of the leading names in the Namibian tourism industry - Gondwana Collection Namibia. Staying at The Delight is an experience in itself.
As soon as you meet the smiling faces at reception, you will realise that this is Namibian hospitality at its best. The stylish interior is absolute eye candy and the “We are here” sign with the map of Africa is a definite Instagram-worthy shot, or postcard-worthy, if you are old-school.
The drinks menu at the bar in the reception area is on par with any of the bars you will find in town, and the bartender a helpful delight. While hanging around here, sipping on your locally produced gin, plan your adventures for the upcoming days and ask reception to book them for you, or even to make restaurant reservations on your behalf.
Rooms decorated in blue and red are spacious and have all the creature comforts one could ask for, such as a hairdryer, a tea/coffee station with a Nespresso machine and cookies, a flat-screen television, plush and comfortable bedding, and a bright red mini fridge. In the words of my travel partner, “The Delight is exceptional. Take the red fridge for example. It’s not just a fridge – it talks to you.”
A favourite amongst all guests is the copious breakfast buffet, almost creaking under fresh and delicious food. Enjoy your traditional eggs, bacon and sausage, or yoghurt and muesli. Go French with fresh pastries, jams and cheeses. Feel like a kid again when you decorate your own waffle and ice cream with the colourful sweets on display. The ultimate highlight, however, is the oysters fresh from the ocean paired with a glass of sparkling wine.
Although we have ruled out physically talking furniture and/or appliances, the hotel’s character tells a story, and it wholeheartedly shares it with guests. Will you experience your first or next Namibian story here?
First published in the Autumn 2020 edition of Platteland.
Author – Annelien Robberts is an avid wordsmith who turns her pen to all things travel, culture, and lifestyle. She was born in a small town called Otjiwarongo and grew up on a farm nearby. Creativity, nature and animals make her happy.