Swakopmund (German for "Mouth of the Swakop") is a city on the coast of northwestern Namibia, 280 km (170 mi) west of Windhoek, Namibia's capital. It is the capital of the Erongo administrative district. The city has about 34 300 inhabitants
The Herero called this place Otjozondjii. The name of the town is derived from the Nama word Tsoakhaub ("excrement opening") describing the Swakop River in flood carrying items in its riverbed, including dead animals, into the Atlantic Ocean. The German settlers changed it to Swachaub, and when in 1896 the district was officially proclaimed, the version Swakopmund (German: Mouth of the Swakop) was introduced.
Swakopmund is located in a section of the Namibian South Atlantic, just north of the mouth of the Swakop Riviers. North and east of the city there is the desert Namib and the Skeleton Coast, which is typical for a region with very littel rainfall. The nearest higher "mountains" are the Rössingberge which are 20 km east.
The mild coastal climate makes the city especially during the months of October through March, a popular tourist destination and seaside resort on the South Atlantic. Surrounded by the Namib Desert on three sides and the cold Atlantic waters to the west, Swakopmund enjoys a mild desert climate The average temperature ranges between 15°C (59°F) to 25°C (77°F). Rainfall is less than 20 mm per year. The cold Benguela current supplies moisture for the area in the form of fog . The fauna and flora of the area have adapted to this phenomenon and now rely upon the fog as a source of moisture.
Swakopmund in 1910
Historical importance achieved the city during the German colonial administration time as part of the colony of German South West Africa and as a main port for immigrants from Germany. The more suitable natural port of Walvis Bay was under British administration and the natural port of Lüderitz was too far away from the main road to Windhoek.
As one of the first Europeans entering Namibia, the Portuguese navigator Bartolomeu Diaz in 1487 entered the Namibian coast near Swakopmund at Cape Cross. Here he erected a stone cross and named the place Terra de Santa Barbara. Dutch sailors first anchored in 1793 briefly at the mouth of the Swakop.
In 1862, the crew of the German gunboat "Wolf" hoisted as a sign of the German occupation the country's flag at the mouth of the Swakop. On 4 August 1892 marked the German gunboat SMS "Hyena" with two wooden beams, the possible landing site for boats north of the mouth of the Swakop. Swakopmund was chosen for its availability of fresh water, and because other sites further north such as Cape Cross were found unsuitable. The site did, however, not offer any natural protection to ships lying off the coast, a geographical feature not often found along Namibia's coast.
With this act demonstrated the Germans the majestic legal act of taking possession of this coastal part of Africa and start the construction of a port for the German Reich. Always kept in mind that British Walfish Bay is just a stone trop away. On 12th September 1892 the national commissioner and commander of the "Schutztruppe" (security force), Captain Curt von Francois, founded the place and built the basis for the establishment of military and civilian facilities. In 1893 the first 225 soldiers of the "Schutztruppe" landed here, under adventurous, because life-threatening circumstances, as reinforcements. When the first 120 Schutztruppe soldiers and 40 settlers were offloaded at Swakopmund, the had to dig caves into the sand for shelter. The offloading was done by Kroo tribesmen from Liberia who used special boats. Woermann Line, the operator of the shipping route to Germany, employed 600 Kroo at that time.
Swakopmund quickly became the main port for imports and exports for the whole territory, and was one of six towns which received municipal status in 1909. Many government offices for German South-West Africa had offices in Swakopmund. The Hamburg-based shipping company Woermann started in 1894 a regular freight traffic to the colony. In the following years, all that was needed by the German colony of German South West Africa, was imported via Swakopmund. Trading and shipping companies founded branches in Swakopmund. A number of these buildings still exist today. After German South-West Africa was taken over by the Union of South Africa in 1915, all harbour activities were transferred from Swakopmund to Walvis Bay. Many of the Central Government services ceased. Businesses closed down, the number of inhabitants diminished, and the town became less prosperous.
The Germans started during colonial times at high cost to create a man-made harbor to secure the supply of the new colony. Soon, the harbour created by the Mole silted up, and in 1905 work was started on a wooden jetty, but in the long run this was inadequate. In 1914 construction of a steel jetty was therefore commenced, the remains of which can still be seen today. After World War I it became a pedestrian walkway. It was declared structurally unsound and was closed to the public for seven years, and in 2006 renovations to the portion supported by concrete pillars were completed, with a seafood restaurant and sushi bar being added to the end portion of the steel portion of the jetty soon after. A new timber walkway was also added onto the existing steel structure, and the steel portion of the jetty reopened to the public in late 2010.
District office and lighthouse in Swakopmund before 1910
On 20 June and 1 July 1902 opened the first German-South-West African railway from Swakopmund to Windhoek where the 100 km wide, sandy desert (382 km long, rising up to 1,637 m above sea level.). The construction of the tracks and stations in Swakopmund and Windhoek was begun by railway troops from the German Reich.
In 1907, the German politician William Külz came to Swakopmund in German Southwest Africa to introduce the local self-government. 1909 Swakopmund finally received its city rights and on 4 February 1912 finally a radio station.
On 23., 24. and 30. September 1914 Swakopmund was fired by British navy. The former German colony was made in 1919 a Mandate of the League of Nations and administered by the Union of South Africa. The UN withdrew South Africa's mandate in 1966 and 1990 was declared the independence of the Republic of Namibia.
The discovery of uranium at Rössing, 70 km (43 mi) outside the town, led to the development of the world's largest opencast uranium mine. This had an enormous impact on all facets of life in Swakopmund which necessitated expansion of the infrastructure of the town to make it into one of the most modern in Namibia.
In October 2000 an agreement was signed between the Namibian and People's Republic of China governments to build a satellite tracking station at Swakopmund. Construction was completed in July 2001 at a site north of Swakopmund to the east of the Henties Bay-Swakopmund road and opposite the Swakopmund Salt Works. The site was chosen as it was on the orbital track of a manned spacecraft during its reentry phase. Costing N$12 million, the complex covers 150m by 85m. It is equipped with five meter and nine meter satellite dishes.
In July 2009, the City Council changed over 110 years after establishment, the crest of Swakopmund. The central shield shown the black-white-red flag of the German Empire was replaced by the crest of Namibia. In addition, the three mandrel was replaced by a Welwitschie.
Although only 10 percent of residents are of German origins, their influence is obvious in the city life. Swakopmund is still regarded as the "most German" city of Namibia, which even the renaming of a number of the original German street names in "contemporary African" little has changed. Swakopmund is also called “südlichstes Ostseebad Deutschlands” (most southern Baltic Sea Resort of Germany) . The unique blend of German-influenced resort, African Population and imposing dunes Swakopmund make it a popular destination for tour groups and individual tourists. Even residents of the capital Windhoek flee during the great heat in the summer here, which also reflects the building boom, which in recent years has Swakopmund north grow.
The Municipality of Swakopmund is located in the building of the Municipality of Swakopmund.
Neighborhoods and suburbs of Swakopmund are:
• Mile 4
• Bird beach
Most citizens live outside the city center in the suburbs Vineta, Tamariskia, Mondesa and beach birds. Vineta is the living place for the Whites and Black Namibians with money, Tamariskia is the colored area and Mondesa in 1960 originally as a reserve established is the housing area for the poor blacks
Culture and sights
The Swakopmund Museum has exhibitions on the archeology, mineralogy, botany, prehistory and early history and the German colonial history. There is also an exhibition about the people of Namibia. The museum is open daily from 10:00 to 17:00 clock. Not far away is the lighthouse located, the style and color of it is the same like on the German North Sea coast.
An indoor pool with a fifty-meter lane and an outdoor swimming pool are available outside of the attractions near the beach. Swimming in the close South Atlantic is certainly possible, but recommend only to the most hardened athletes, because of the cold Benguela current keeps the water temperatures below 15 ° C.
The National Marine Aquarium Marine Aquarium of Namibia is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 16:00 clock and shows also sharks, which are fed at 15:00 clock. The Living Desert Snake Park is open daily.
Other special attractions within walking distance of the beach are the "Naval Monument," the old jail, the old County Court (1908), the former district court and now the summer residence of the Namibian President, the Crystal Gallery (a newly built Mineral Museum), the shopping arcade at the Sam- Nujoma Avenue, the house of Hohenzollern, the pioneer barracks of 1905 and the former hospital, the Woermannhaus and the old train station from 1901.The old train station was also built from the German colonial forces in the style of that time as a commercial buildings. Today it has been converted into a luxury hotel and is the center of a casino and entertainment complex.
Another important sight is the 1911 built church and the parsonage of the German Lutheran church in neo-baroque style. Sunday services are held there are in German.
At the eastern edge of town, near the National Road B2, is an old Locomobile. It was intended to bring supplies into the country. Due to lack of water and probably also because of technical problems remained the Locomobile are on the outskirts. This gave him the name of Martin Luther, because this is supposed to have said at the Diet of Worms: "Here I stand, I can not help it." For years the the Locomobile was placed under the open sky, but today after the restoration, it is put in a specially built hall.
Attractions in the area
• Rössingmine, the largest uranium mine in the world. It lies on the national highway, about 70 km east of Swakopmund.
• lunar landscape in the Swakop
• Namib Desert
• Oasis Goanikontes
• Sandwich Harbour
• Vogelfederberg, a 60 m high mountain island, about 50 km east of Walvis Ba] at (23 ° 03'23 South, 14 ° 58'51 East)
• Walvis Bay
Economy and infrastructure
Swakopmund is a tourist destination and has especially during the summer months of December and January, a busy season. The tourism sector and the associated trade sector are probably the most important sectors of Swakopmund economy, feed not only by the many tourists especially from Europe, but also by the Namibian tourists. Swakopmund is, thanks to its favorable climatic conditions, a preferred refuge for many Namibian and South African retired people. In 2011 the beach hotel should be opened as a five-star hotel, but the construction was postponed until further notice. The city budget for the financial year 2011/2012 is 267.7 million Namibian dollars.
Swakopmund has the well-maintained and paved highway B2, which begins here and linked to Mozambique's leading Trans Kalahari Highway and Windhoek. The linkage to the neighbor Walvis Bay is the Swakop bridge.
Swakopmund has a regional airport which provide fights to different destinations in souther Africa. Swakopmund has no connection via public transport to Walvis Bay.
Since 1902 the railway route Swakopmund-Windhoek is in operation. A freight train runs once a day, leading four times a week and passenger cars. At irregular intervals, especially after driving the need for so-called Desert Express, a luxury train serving the purposes of tourism.
• Atlantic Primary School
• Festus Gonteb Junior Primary School
• Coastal (Hermann Gmeiner) High School
• Hanganeni Primary School
• Namib High School (until 1997 German High School Swakopmund)
• Namib Primary School (until 1997 German elementary school Swakopmund)
• Private School Swakopmund
• Pro-Ed Academy Primary School
• Swakopmund Primary School
• Swakopmund Christian Academy
• Swakopmund Secondary School
• Tamariskia Primary School
• Vrede speech Primary School
• West Side High School
Swakopmund is situated in the German private boarding school Swakopmund, which acts as an accommodation for students, especially the former two German schools. It is operated by the German School Association Swakopmund.