The only aquarium in Namibia is located on the shoreline of Swakopmund, south of the famous pier. The National Marine Aquarium is very small but it is still worth a visit. It opens a window to the wonders of marine life found in the cold Benguela Current off the coast of Southern Africa and also serves as a place of recreation for those who merely want to put their feet up and relax. The entrance is very affordable and as such even the traveler on a strict budget can visit this aquarium.
The tunnel allows the visitor to view the sharks and fish really up close. There is a small tank with manta rays and plaice, and the rays come up for a tickle every now and then, looking a bit like small dogs with wings! One wonders what the fish may think seeing all these strange creatures wandering through their world. The separate tank with the rays is interesting too- they almost seem to want to climb out and say hello.
Seawater, drawn from the old jetty, is pumped through a series of filter systems before reaching the exhibition tanks. The main tanks has a holding capacity of 320 000 litres, is 12m long and 8m wide. An underwater walk-way allows the visitor to view sharks, rays and fishes from close range. The smaller exhibition tanks house organisms from the inshore waters, mainly found along sandy and rocky beaches. Numerous information posters line the walls of the Aquarium.
Scientific information, regarding the rich resources of Namibia, is simply, yet comprehensively displayed. Species that can be seen at the aquarium include Galjoen, West Coast Steenbras, Baardman, Ragged-tooth Shark, Shyshark, Kipfish, African Penguin, Cape cormorant, Blacktail, Redfingers, Horse Mackarel, Octopus, Green Turtle, Pipefish, Hermit Crab, Kelp Gull, White Pelican, Anemone, Horseshoe Sea Cucumber, Spotted Grunter, Mullet, Spotted Gully Shark, Blue-spotted Ray, Sand Shrimp, Crumb-of-bread Sponge, Silver Kob, Barbel, Houndshark, Eagle, Ray, Hawksbill Turtle, Three-spot swimming Crab, Red Crab and Cape fur Seal.
The more commercial species include Chub Mackerel, Horse Mackerel, Deepwater Hake, Orange roughy, Alfonsino, West Coast Sole, Kingklip, Cape Hake, Mako Shark, Red Crab, Cape rock Lobster, Anchovy, Pilchard, Mullet, Silver, Kob, Monkfish, Swordfish, Snoek, Yellowfin Tuna, Blue Shark and Cape fur seal.
Feeding takes place each day at 15h00. Fish in the main tank are fed 8-10 kg of filled hake. Special feeds are prepared for the filter-feeders (such as mussels and barnacles) and smaller creatures such as crabs, anemones, starfishes and sea snails. The aquarium is open on weekdays from 10h00 to 16h00 and the same time on weekends. Entrance is N$5 for children and N$10 for adults.