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Swakopmund
a Short History




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Swakopmund a short History

                                                                                                                                                                     In Afrikaans

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 establish German 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 create landing facilities. in 1898 the construction of a breakwater, which became known as the "Mole" was commenced, but this harbour soon silted up. In 1905 work on a wooden jetty began 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 seen today. After the first World War it became a pedestrian walkway, but is now closed as it became unsafe.

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 prosperous. However, the natural potential of Swakopmund as holiday resort was recognised, and has subsequently been developed. 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 of the infrastructure of the town to make in one of the most modern in the country. 










Swakopmund 'n Kort historiese oorsig

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Toe die gebied Suid-Wes Afrika in 1884 'n Duitse protektoraat word, was Walvisbaai wat toe alreeds in 1878 deur Britanje ge-annekseer was uitgesluit van Duitse beheer.  Die noodsaaklikheid om 'n eie hawe te hê het die Duitste Owerhede genoop om indringend die moontlikheid te ondersoek.  Na deeglike ondersoek is 'n gebied noord van die Swakop Rivier Monding ge-identifiseer.

Op 4 Augustus 1892 rig "Hauptmann" Curt von Francis twee bakens bo-op 'n groot duin,  waarskynklik in die nabyheid van waar die bestaande lighuis vandag staan.   Dit word algemeen beskou as die stigtings datum van Swakopmund.  Verskeie pogings is aangewend om landings fasaliteite te skep en in 1898 is toe begin met die konstruksie van 'n keerwal, wat later bekend  geword het as die "Mole" maar hierdie hawe het spoedig toegespoel.   In 1905 het werk aan 'n hout jetty begin, maar ook dit was op die lang duur onvoldoende.  In 1914 is
toe begin met die konstruksie van 'n Staal  jetty en waarvan die oorblyfsel vandag nog staan.  Na die eerste Wêreld oorlog het die jetty 'n gewilde wandel en visvang plek geword, maar is tans gesluit aangesien dit onveilig geword het.

Swakopmund was die hoof uit en invoer hawe vir die hele gebied (SWA) en was ook die eerste van 9 dorpe wat munisipale status ontvang het in 1909.  Baie departemente van die sentrale Regering het hulle kantore in Swakopmund gehad.

Wel bekende handels en verskepings maatskappy het takke in Swakopmund oopgemaak en baie van hierdie geboue het gelukkig bewaar gebly en staan vandag nog.  Nadat Duits Suid-Wes Afrika deur die Unie van Suid-Afrika  in 1915, is alle hawe aktiwiteite oorgeplaas vanaf Swakopmund na Walvisbaai en het baie van die Sentrale regerings kantore gesluit. Die aantal inwoners het drasties afgeneem en gevolglik het dit ook minder voorspoedig gegaan vir die dorp self.   Die moontlikheid van Swakopmund as 'n Vakansie bestemming is raakgesien en daar is begin om dit te ontwikkel.  Vandag is Swakopmund sekerlik die mees gewildste vakansie bestemming in Namibia en vorm Tourisme 'n belangrike deel van die dorp se ekonomie.

Die ontdekking van Uraan by Rössing het gelei tot die Wêreld se grootste oop put Uraan myn, en het 'n enorme impak gehad op die infrastruktuur van die dorp en alle fasette van die daaglikse omgang in Swakopmund.  Die noodsaaklikheid om die infrastruktuur uit te brei en te onwikkel is dadelik aangepak en het tot gevolg gehad dat Swakopmund ontwikkel het in een van die mees modernste dorpe in Namibia.

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