Swakopmund (German for "Mouth of the Swakop") is a city on the coast of western Namibia, 280 km (170 mi) west of Windhoek, Namibia's capital. It is the capital of the Erongo administrative district. The town has almost 45,000 inhabitants and covers 193 square kilometres (75 sq mi) of land. The city is situated in the Namib desert and is the fourth largest population centre in Namibia.
Swakopmund is a beach resort and an example of German colonial architecture. It was founded in 1892 as the main harbour for German South-West Africa, and a sizable part of its population is still German-speaking today.
Buildings in the city include the Altes Gefängnis prison, designed by Heinrich Bause in 1909. The Woermannhaus, built in 1906 with a prominent tower, is now a public library. Attractions in Swakopmund include a Swakopmund Museum, the National Marine Aquarium, a crystal gallery and spectacular sand dunes near Langstrand south of the Swakop River. Outside of the city, the Rossmund Desert Golf Course is one of only five all-grass desert golf courses in the world. Nearby lies a camel farm and the Martin Luther steam locomotive, dating from 1896 and abandoned in the desert.
After Namibian independence from South Africa in 1990 many street names were changed from their original German, or in some cases, Afrikaans names, to honor (mostly black) Namibians. For example in 2001, then-president of Namibia Sam Nujoma renamed the main street (Kaiser-Wilhelm-Straße) Sam Nujoma Avenue in honor of himself.
In October 2000 an agreement was signed between the Namibian and People's Republic of China governments to build a satellite tracking station at Swakopmund. Construction was completed in July 2001 at a site north of Swakopmund to the east of the Henties Bay-Swakopmund road and opposite the Swakopmund Salt Works. The site was chosen as it was on the orbital track of a manned spacecraft during its reentry phase. Costing N$12 million, the complex covers 150m by 85m. It is equipped with five meter and nine meter satellite dishes.
In August 2008 filming commenced in Swakopmund on the AMC television series The Prisoner starring Jim Caviezel and Sir Ian McKellen. Swakopmund was used as the film location for The Village.