Swakopmund

At the dawn of the 19th century Imperial Germany needed a harbor in order to increase their presence in South West Africa (now Namibia). The British were occupying the deep harbor at Walvis Bay so Curt von François decided to settle 70km to the north. On 8 August 1892 he landed on the beach with 120 soldiers and 40 settlers and erected 2 beacons to mark their new settlement. Whenever the Swakop River would come down it would carry not only water but also mud, tree debris and even animal corpses towards the cold Atlantic Ocean. The Namas called it "Tsoakhaub", or "excrement opening", referring to the dirty river spilling into the ocean. The Germans chose to call their new settlement Swachaub which was later changed to Swakopmund, German for "mouth of the Swakop", after the town was proclaimed an independent district in 1896. Efforts were made to permit ships to dock near the town through the construction of a steel jetty in 1914 which allowed the town to play a very important role in the economic and industrial progress of the country. With South Africa gaining control of Namibia in 1915 all harbor and shipping activities were delegated to Walvis Bay, but the town of Swakopmund never lost its German flair. With quaint little shops lining the streets and old architecture the town is today regarded as a resort town with beautiful hotels and guesthouses. Swakopmund is known for extreme sports such as skydiving and a myriad of other activities are offered including quad biking and historical tours. The steel jetty still exists and after being closed in 2006 for extensive repairs to its pillars, it reopened in 2010 with a restaurant and sushi bar to add an extra special touch. The streets are lined with history and culture and the town of Swakopmund is a sure visit worth. Old buildings include the Altes Gefängnis prison, designed by Heinrich Bause in 1909, as well as the Woermannhaus built in 1906. Restaurants and hotels look out across the ocean and the National Aquarium gives a view of the wealth of underwater life.