What we wrote about Namibia in our last posts shows how diverse this country is, so one should maybe not be too surprised to find a "real" German town here. Still, Swakopmund surprised us a bit.
It was founded in 1892 because the new German colony needed a harbor for trade with the "motherland". There were only two other options to construct a harbour along the coast of what is now Namibia, Walvis Bai (then British) and Angra Pequena, which today is Lüderitz. But Angra Pequena was separated from the habitable lands by a stretch of dry desert of more than 120km.
Today, 124 years later, in Swakopmund there is the strange feeling that suddenly, you are back in Germany, even though the German "Schutztruppe" in "Deutsch Südwestafrika" surrendered 101 years ago.
Most shops have German shop signs, there are German memorials, German houses and a lot of German products in the shops (which especially our two daughters just love - homesickness cure!).
For us parents this town is a bit like one of the towns on the mainland near our island ...
... or it could be one of the small towns on the German Baltic Sea coast, or in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands.
Still, it feels a bit too unreal here on the west coast of southern Africa. In a way, this town simply "doesn't fit". Also, it seems a bit too much "made" to fit the expectations of the tourists - most of which are, of course, German.
Really strange are the extremely wide (and empty!) streets.
A boat trip from Walvis Bai
Walvis Bai has an interesting history, being "discovered" by the Portuguese Bartholomeo Diaz, used by whalers since the 17hundreds and from 1795 being part of the British Empire. From 1884 on Walvis Bai was part of the Cape Colony ... so it remained in South African ownership until 1994 when it was handed over to Namibia.
We think this place is rather monotonous and without any "real flair" and just go here to go on a boat trip.