Swapkomund


A stay of 2 nights is suggested in this small but delightful little town reminiscence of a German township. The city has scattered coffee shops, night clubs, bars and hotels. There are balloon rides, sky diving and quad biking, as well as small marine cruises which take you to the seal colony and to see the dolphins. Desert drives from town taking 4-5 hours are a must do. Fishing for sharks from the shore or from a boat are also an amazing activity.

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, making gutters and drainpipes on buildings a rarity. The cold Benguela current supplies moisture for the area in the form of fog that can reach as deep as 140 km (87 mi) inland. The fauna and flora of the area have adapted to this phenomenon and now rely upon the fog as a source of moisture.

Swakopmund is a fine example of German colonial architecture. It was founded in 1892 as the main harbour for German South-West Africa, and a sizable part of its population is still German-speaking today.

Buildings in the city include the Altes Gefängnis prison, designed by Heinrich Bause in 1909. The Woermannhaus, built in 1906 with a prominent tower, is now a public library.  Attractions in Swakopmund include a Swakopmund Museum, the National Marine Aquarium, a crystal gallery and spectacular sand dunes near Langstrand south of the Swakop River. Outside of the city, the Rossmund Desert Golf Course is one of only 5 all-grass desert golf courses in the world. The city is known for extreme sports. Nearby lies a camel farm and the Martin Luther steam locomotive, dating from 1896 and abandoned in the desert.

The Herero called the 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 was introduced.

Captain Curt von François founded Swakopmund in 1892 as the main harbour for the Imperial German colony—The deep sea harbour at Walvis Bay belonged to the British. The founding date was on August 8 when the crew of gunboat Hyäne (“Hyena”) erected two beacons on the shore. 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.

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.

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