The desert around Swakopmund seems to stretch away forever and forever. In the centre, this small, holiday town nestles on the edge of the cold Atlantic, waiting to welcome foreigners and locals alike. Although it is busy all year, it fills up more than usual during December. I struggled to find backpackers accommodation at short notice. Not that I’m complaining – I ended up staying in a lovely, comfortable B&B (Hotel-Pension D’Avignon). Between backpacker stops in Windhoek, a nice, comfortable bed and my own shower for a night wasn’t exactly a hardship.
Accommodation establishments aren’t scarce in the town, which is probably an indication of just how popular it is. They are scattered all over the place, many of them in beautiful old, occasionally nation-monument, buildings. Some are more distinctive than others. Turning a corner and coming upon the Hotel Europa Hof was delightful – a picture of (possibly movie-ified) old Europe, complete with dark roof and edging and window-boxes full of flowers. The government-run Youth Hostel is situated in the old army barracks, built in 1905 to house the 2nd Eisenbahnbaukompagnie while they built a landing jetty in Swakopmund. Pension Prinzessin-Rupprecht-Heim was once an old German Military Hospital, built in 1901.