The German gunboat Wolf hoisted the German flag in 1884 at the mouth of the Swakop River. Germany declared Namibia as their colony "German East Africa". The german troops built a seaport and many other buildings. Even today, the colonial past is still visible.
The landmark of Swakopmund is the lighthouse. The German colonial administration built a jetty in 1892. In the following years they built an artificial harbor. The natural harbour of "Walvis Bay", only 30 km to the south, belonged to the British Empire. The shipping company of "Woermann" established a cargo route in 1894 to Hamburg. The lighthouse was built in 1902 with a hights of 11 m. 1910 the tower was increased to 28 m.
The "Spitzkoppe" is a 1,728 m high mountain approximately 120 km north-east of Swakopmund. Because clouds are slowed down on the mountains, there is a little bit more rain for the surrounding vegetation. Spitzkoppe is a popular hiking and climbing area with campsites and an "Info Center". The Spitzkoppe is the most famous mountain in Namibia.
Directly on the northern outskirts of Swakopmund, large water basins for salt extraction are found. The facility is located between the Atlantic Ocean and the desert. For ornithologists this place is very popular, because many birds rest here for a stop over. Flamingos, cormorants and oyster fish can be seen here. Microorganisms color the water of the salt basins red.
The "Namib" is a 2,000-kilometer desert that stretches along the coast of Namibia and Angola. South of the Swakop River begins the sandy desert with large dunes. This part of the Namib has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. North of Swakopmund is the "Skeleton Coast" stranded ships, whales and people gave the coast its name.