a short History
In 1884 the territory of South West Africa became a German
"protectorate" the territory's only large natural harbour,
Walvis Bay, which had already been annexed by Britain in 1878,
was excluded from German control. In order to
authority and to develop the country, the necessity of an own harbour became apparent.
After much investigation, a place north
of the mouth of the Swakop River was decided upon.
On August 4, 1892 Hauptmann
Curt von Francois erected two beacons on a large dune, probably
in the vicinity of
the present lighthouse. This is regard as the
founding date of Swakopmund. Several attempts were made to
landing facilities. in 1898 the construction of a
breakwater, which became known as the "Mole" was commenced,
this harbour soon silted up. In 1905 work on a wooden jetty
began but in the long run this was inadequate.
construction of an Iron jetty was therefore commenced, the
remains of which can still be seen today.
After the first World
War it became a pedestrian walkway, but is now closed as it
Swakopmund, was the main port
for imports and exports for the whole territory, and one of six
towns which received
municipal status in 1909. Many departments
of the Central Government had branch offices here.
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
However, the natural potential of Swakopmund as
holiday resort was recognised, and has subsequently been
Today tourism-related services form an important part
of the town's economy
The discovery of Uranium,
which then developed into the worl's largest opencast uranium
mine. At Rössing, 70km
outside the town, had an enormous impact
on all facets of life in Swakopmund and necessitated expansion
infrastructure of the town to make in one of the most
modern in the country.