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Bliss in Swakop, Alte Brücke Caravan Park

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Every visitor to Namibia needs to visit the historic town of Swakopmund for a couple of days. For caravanners and campers, the very best campsite in Swakopmund is the Alte Brücke Holiday Resort. Situated in the old part of town – and a mere 200m for the beach – the resort is safe, comfortable, and exceedingly well-run. Over the years I have stayed numerous times at this first-class resort.

Alte Brücke has 36 private campsites, all with their own roomy, well-tended, grass campsite. Each and every campsite has its own private bathroom and a built-in braai with washbasin close at hand. The resort also has Wi-Fi available for both campers and visitors staying in the chalets. Safety and security are a top priority at the camp; there is an entrance guard gate with 24-hour security. This is just one of the features that makes this a first-class venue for campers exploring the town of Swakopmund. Alte Brücke is a mere 1.2km from the centre of town and there are good restaurants, pubs, and local shops all within easy walking distance. I enjoyed a great meal at the nearby Tug restaurant and the Jetty 1905 Restaurant. The Tug is built around the original oil-fired Danie Hugo tugboat built in Scotland. She was decommissioned in 1984 before being turned into a great restaurant looking out at the oft-pounding seas of the cold Atlantic.

A great example of the town’s early architecture, the façade of Hohenzollernhaus.

The Tug eatery is shore-bound, so to speak. But from here you can head out down the old steel pier to another famous Swakopmund eatery, the Jetty 1905. I haven’t eaten here but apparently the mainly seafood menu, including sushi, is first-class. I hope one day to get a chance to sit and have a meal on this jetty, first built in wood and then completed on 25 April 1905.

High and dry – expect the unexpected when visiting Swakopmund, this is the Tug restaurant, a novel eatery.

Later the jetty was extended and built of steel. The night we ate at the Tug an Atlantic storm was raging. One could only wonder at the bravery of those early workers as they constructed this jetty, sometimes under appalling conditions. This nautical theme is continued at Alte Brücke itself. The resort has its own first-class eatery the Old Steamer Restaurant. With its warm maritime décor, the restaurant is run on a buffet basis. The whole menu is changed three times a week. The menu consists of four different starters with fillet steak on the menu every night! Speaking to a young Swiss couple whilst photographing the restaurant, they both said, “…the food is great.”

You will meet interesting people from all over the world staying here and all will have fantastic stories to tell.

Next time I’m in Swakopmund I’ll head up the gangplank and spoil myself. I’ve visited Swakopmund a bit on my travels but every new meeting throws up something new. Personally, I would recommend taking a drive around to look at the seaside town’s rich architectural history. The information desk at Alte Brücke will certainly point you in the right direction if you wish to visit some of these stunning buildings. Just get into your car; you will be heading parallel to the sea. Take the 4th street to your right, Albertina Amathila Avenue, and literally in 150 meters you will see the façade of Hohenzollernhaus, a beautiful example of the town’s early architecture. Ask the resort’s action desk and they will certainly point you to a few of the others such as Kaiserliches Bezirksgericht, now known as State House, Altona Haus, Freud Haus, Hansa Hotel, Evangelical Lutheran Church and Parsonage, and a host of others. It really is well worth your time. If time allows, I always take the coastal salt road up to Henties Bay.

A favourite spot on the way up to Henties is the small, crazy-eccentric, holiday homes at a place called Wlotzkasbaken. You’ll immediately see some of the wonderful, zany cottages, some seemingly made from flotsam and jetsam on your right between the road and the sea. It really is worth popping in for a visit. Another tour I can recommend is called Tommy’s Desert Tours. Sadly Tommy Collard, a legend in the Namib, has since retired. But I know others also offer desert tours. It is well worth taking one of these tours into the seemingly barren sand – and dunes – of the Namib, and being amazed at the myriad of hidden creatures that live below. In fact, in summing up a trip to Swakopmund, it’s like one of Tommy’s Tours. The desert doesn’t just open its beauty at first glance. You need to slow down and get into Namib Desert time. I can promise you, if you set aside a good few days in Swakop, as the locals call it, you will be chomping at the bit for more exploration. It’s that special.

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