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Swakopmund travel guide — Swakopmund tourism and travel information

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about Swakopmund

Swakopmund is a city in Namibia, with around 35,000 inhabitants. It is Namibia's premier beach resort. It is one of the best preserved examples of German art-deco architecture in the world. It was founded in 1892 as the main harbour for German South-West Africa.

Swakopmund history

Swakopmund was founded in 1892, two years later than Windhoek, by Captain Curt von Francois. It was intended to be the main harbour of German South-West Africa. Increased traffic between Germany and its colony necessitated establishing a port of its own, as Walvis Bay, located 33 kilometres south, was in British possession. The choice fell to a site north of the Swakop River, because water was readily available, and because other sites were unsuitable.

On 4 August 1892 the crew of a gunboat named Hyena erected two beacons on a large dune, probably in the vicinity of the present lighthouse. This is regarded as the founding date of Swakopmund. The first settlers were 120 Schutztruppe with equipment and 40 settlers who offloaded from the Marie Woermann using four landing boats. The settlers had to build caves on the beach to protect themselves against hostile weather. Before a breakwater was built in 1898, which later became known as the Mole, all offloading was done with special boats that could only be handled by Kroo men from Liberia. At that time, up to 600 Kroo tribesmen were employed by the Woermann Line. The number of vessels offloading in Swakopmund was increasing rapidly. In 1894, only four ships offloaded, and in 1895 there were five. In 1896 the Woermann Line introduced bi-monthly service, and in 1899, monthly service to Swakopmund. Due to a lack of building materials, most of the first settlers' houses were prefabricated wood.

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.

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 an iron jetty was therefore commenced, the remains of which can still be it became a pedestrian walkway, but it is now closed as it is unsound structurally.

Well-known trading and shipping companies founded branches in Swakopmund. Fortunately quite 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 drastically, and the town became less prosperous. However, the natural potential of Swakopmund as a holiday resort was recognised, and this potential has subsequently been developed. Today tourism-related services form an important part of the town's economy

The discovery of uranium, led to the development of the world's largest opencast uranium mine. At Rössing, 70 km (43 mi) outside the town, had an enormous impact on all facets of life in Swakopmund and necessitated expansion of the infrastructure of the town to make into one of the most modern in Namibia.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Swakopmund".

This city is also known as: Swakopmund.

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