Luderitz - Namibia

Luderitz is an Atlantic-coast quirky town lodged in one of the best harbours on the least hospitable coast in Africa yet it has appeal for its barren beauty and solitude. Founded in 1883 when Angra Pequena and some of the surrounding land was purchased for Adolf Lüderitz from the local Nama chief. It began life as a trading post, fishing and guano-harvesting town, but when diamonds were discovered in 1909 in nearby Kolmanskop, Lüderitz enjoyed a sudden surge of prosperity. Now the diamonds are mostly found elsewhere and offshore, so Lüderitz has reverted to its former self Iand little has changed since the early 20th century. Many charming and fine buildings reveal its colonial history as the first German settlement in South West Africa. Goerke House is the most impressive and sits with a fine view, on top of Diamond Hill. It is well worth a visit for its fine Art Deco interior of stained glass and wood panelling. To the south of Luderitz along the coast is Diaz Point, where a big stone cross commemorates the Portuguese discovery of the area. You might see Jackass Penguins and seals in the cold Benguela current and an old whaling station, where the rusted blubber boiling pots stand on the sand. Another point of interest is that Shark Island which now houses the Luderitz campsite was once a concentration camp where thousands of prisoners were kept in under terrible condition leading to an extremely high mortality rate. One of Luderitz' main attractions is Kolmanskop Ghost Town on the outskirts of Luderitz It was a diamond boom town with a casino, skittle alley and a theatre of acoustic renown. The stage and decor appear ready for an evening show should anybody turn up. The diamonds were so plentiful that they could be picked up off the ground and between 1911 and 1914 five million carats (approximately 1,000 kilos) were found. However, the town had severe water problems and a constant sand-blasting wind. So in 1926, when larger diamonds and a richer field were found further south at the mouth of the Orange River, Kolmanskop began a slow decline to its current deserted ghostly status. This previously bustling diamond town is now abandoned and fights a constant struggle with the sand dunes of the Namib desert. There are also 4x4 tours to Elizabeth Bay, another abandoned Diamond town, and Bogenfells, a gigantic rock arch. There are more than 30 cruises calling at this port. Click the month or cruise line logo you are interested in to see details of the cruises.