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Things to Do & Must-See Attractions in Swakopmund

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Mondesa

During apartheid, Namibia’s bigger towns were divided between the “town,” where wealthy whites lived, and the “location,” where blacks were forced to stay. While independence and the end of apartheid rule have banished these now archaic laws, it’s still possible for visitors to Namibia to take a location tour to learn how life used to be.

Visitors to Mondesa, a location in Swakopmund, say that owners of these small houses tend to offer travelers a very big welcome. Exploring the streets of this famous location put visitors up close with history, and expert guides can explain how segregation—not only based on skin color, but also based on culture and tribe—determined the lay of the land. See the traditional dress, sample traditional food and even hear the Khoe-Khoe, the famous clicking language spoken by Namibia’s Damara and Nama people.

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Democratic Resettlement Community

Namibia ranks high on the world’s economic disparity list, as the income gap between its richest residents and the nation’s poorest people is one of the largest on record. The difference between the haves and the have-nots is particularly evident on a visit to Swakopmund, where well-paved roads, modern streetlights and beautifully constructed colonial buildings sit next to quiet cafes and restaurants dishing up international cuisine. But just beyond the city limits lies an informal settlement called the Democratic Resettlement Community. Once a temporary holding ground for people awaiting government housing, some 6,000 people call the thriving DRC home, an area built from reclaimed trash discarded by the city’s rich.

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