There are probably many weird and wonderful attractions that are luring you to visit Namibia’s Diamond Coast. Stretching down the westerly side of the country between the sandy Namib Desert and the very cold waters of the South Atlantic, this section of the country is home to ghost towns, living fossils and the famous flamingos that visit the Walvis Bay lagoon.
Whether you are mild or wild at heart there are activities along the Diamond Coast to appeal. Swakopmund is known as the adventure and adrenaline capital of Namibia and you can pick your poison – parachuting, quad biking, dune carting, sand boarding, hot air ballooning, the list goes on… The town is, of course, Namibia’s premier holiday spot with its palm-lined streets, seaside cafés, luxury accommodation options and pleasant summer climate.
If you want a respite from the heat explore the café culture of Swakopmund in between visiting art galleries, museums, the snake park and, of course, the aquarium. If you want to get up close and personal with the denizens of the deep there are many deep-sea fishing excursions, shark fishing trips or just head to the beach with your rod for a few hours of introspection.
The sight of thousands of pink flamingo’s settling onto the Walvis Bay lagoon or the Swakopmund Salt Works will take your breath away as will the giant Welwitschia mirabilis – the living fossils that have become so famous. These trees don’t grow much taller than two metres above ground but often have underground stems that are double that length. They only have two leaves; if one leaf dies, the entire plant dies. The oldest living specimen has been dated at 2 000 years with the youngest clocking in at between 500 and 600 years!
Further down the coast, heading towards the Fish River Canyon, you will find the small town of Lüderitz. Often covered in a blanket of fog caused by the interaction between the hot desert air and that coming off of the icy Antarctic, Lüderitz started life as a trading post and enjoyed a brief period of prosperity when diamonds were discovered at Kolmanskop but it has now reverted back to the quaint and quirky town it was before. There are many houses of historical importance in Lüderitz but the main attraction is its proximity to the ‘ghost town’ of Kolmanskop. This tiny mining station is partially buried under the shifting desert sands, you are welcome to tour around the town and explore at your leisure. Other excursions leading from Lüderitz are boat cruises out towards Diaz Point and a highlight are the dolphins and seals that will accompany you on your trip.
Choose from one of our luxury accommodation venues to ensure a comfortable stay while exploring the myriad of attractions of the Diamond Coast of Namibia.
The ‘ghost town’ Kolmanskop
Kolmanskop came into existence in 1908 when a railway worker found a diamond in the sands along the track; within weeks a rush of fortune hunters descended on the area. The settlement soon grew into a bustling little town but declined again in the 1920s when the market for diamonds crashed and richer deposits were found elsewhere. Since then the winds have taken their toll on the settlement and it has all but been reclaimed by the desert sands.
These bizarre plant species are only found in the Namib Desert and the greatest concentration of them is found to the east of Swakopmund. They are one of the rarest plants in the world and live for 2 000 years or more depending on ground water and fog dripping onto the two leaves of the plant. Not particularly attractive plants, they are true survivors of the harsh conditions experienced in the Namib Desert.
Flocks of Flamingos
This region is home to some of the most important wetlands found anywhere along Africa’s coastline. They provide refuge during the dry season for up to 80% of Southern Africa’s flamingo population. Watching these elegant birds rise or descend to the lagoons, in groups of up to 20 000, is an awesome sight and not to be missed.
Dive on the dunes
Don’t miss out on the chance to glide down some of the largest sand dunes in the world. The Namib is the oldest desert on the planet having been arid or semi-arid for at least 55 million years. The space and silence is breathtaking and to undertake activities here is a privilege and a pleasure. So get on your dune board, standing up if you are feeling brave, and take to the dunes for an adrenaline rush you will never forget.
Play golf in the desert
Rossmund Golf Course, just outside of Swakopmund, is one of only five desert golf courses in the world. A green oasis in the midst of the rolling sands of the Namib, enjoy a challenging game while strolling along from hole to hole with the resident buck on the course. There is an excellent floodlit putting green and driving range positioned in front of the lodge. An experience you will never forget!
Go camel riding
Head out into the Namib on a camel! Experience the utter silence of the desert, the cool evening air in your face and the still warm sands from the beating sun of the day while you sway on the back of these ‘ships of the desert’. The camels will carry food, water as well as tents and sleeping bags for longer trips or you can book for a desert picnic and get there by camelback.
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