The Swakopmund Jetty opened on 25 April 1905, it was 275m long and 9m wide. By 1907 the volume of goods being handled by the jetty warranted the expenditure of not only extending the jetty by 50m but also widening it a further 5m in order that the bulkier cargo could be handled efficiently. During the early days of the colony shipping goods to Swakopmund presented a major costing problem for there were no return loads for the ships. It was as late as 1907 before the Otavi Copper Mine came into production and the export of ore began, and by 1911 the first blocks of Karibib dimension stone marble were shipped through the port of Swakopmund.
The jetty soon encountered problems as the foundations were affected by spring tides and the marine ship-worm (Teredo navalis) bored into the submerged wooden beams, which had to be replaced at regular intervals, so it was decided that a steel built jetty should replace the wooden one. The construction of the (steel) iron jetty, which commenced in 1912, was contracted as a joint venture to the companies Flander A.G., Benroth and Grun & Bilfinger. The jetty was originally planned to be 640m long, and stood on the south side of the wooden jetty. However only 262 m of the steel jetty had been completed at the outbreak of the Great War. Drilling and securing into the bedrock overcame foundation problems. Two of the original ‘stamper’ drills bits of 63cm and 93 cm across the chisel ends can be seen mounted on a pedestal at the entry point to the jetty.
The unusually heavy rains of 1934 resulted in so much sand being washed down the Swakop River that the shoreline was moved out past the end of the jetty. It took several years for the shoreline to return to its’ normal position.
The Swakopmund Jetty soon became a favourite with anglers and at times would literally bristle with fishing rods. It was a popular walking place and from the end of the jetty you could look back at to the coastline and see a panoramic view of Swakopmund. However,by 1983 and never having had any major repairs done to it the jetty was considered unsafe. A ‘Save The Jetty’ fund managed to raise R300, 000. However this was insufficient to complete the much needed repairs. Concrete pillars were placed around some of the more corroded steel legs, but sadly the jetty was still considered unsafe for pedestrian use.
The Municipality of Swakopmund recognized the value of the Jetty to the town. Funds were eventually made available and following extensive repairs about half of the jetty length was in October 2006 opened to the delight of locals and tourists. The north side of the jetty walk is reserved for anglers.