Luderitz is a quirky town lodged in one of the best harbours on the least hospitable coast in Africa. It was founded in 1883 when Heinrich Vogelsang purchased Angra Pequena and some of the surrounding land on behalf of Adolf Lüderitz, a hanseat from Bremen, 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. Its appeal as a town lies in the fact that little has changed since the early 20th century (and in fact it has hardly grown at all).
There are many historic buildings in Luderitz these include the Deutsche Afrika bank, the Railway Station, the Old Post Office, and the 'church on the rocks' or Felsenkirche. Built from proceeds of the diamond industry and situated on the wonderfully named Zeppelin Street is the Goerke Haus. Other important buildings are the Krappenhoft and Lampe building,Woerman House, Troost House, Kreplin House, and the Turnhalle.
Unfortunately for Luderitz the harbour has a rock bottom and the shallow depth has meant that modern ships have not been able to use the harbour, this has meant that the main thrust of the Namibian shipping industry is based in Walvis Bay, recently the addition of a new quay has allowed larger fishing vessels to dock at Luderitz. Luderitz has re-styled itself in an attempt to lure tourists to the area, and there is a new waterfront shopping and office area.
Those seeking accommodation in Luderitz will find that the town has a variety of hotels, guest houses and self catering establishment on offer. There are also several interesting activities and day trips available from the town.
One of Luderitz' main attractions is Kolmanskop Ghost Town. This previously bustling diamond town is now abandoned and fights a constant struggle with the sand dunes of the Namib desert. There are tours every morning around Kolmanskop which are very informative, a particular highlight of the tour is a visit to the bowling alley where you are invited to try your hand. After the guided tour you are welcome to explore the town at your leisure.
Also highly recommended is the Zeepaard Catamaran daily boat trip to Halifax Island, where you will see 1000+ African penguins (unique in Namibia) with heaviside dolphin often swimming across the bows and seals in their natural habitat just below the famous Diaz Point (1487). Whales are sometimes spotted. You will return in time to drive out to Kolmanskop for the start of the ghost town tour.
The drive to Diaz Point and Grusse Bucht (Big Bay) is also a worthwhile activity, the original cross that Batholemeu Diaz planted on his early excursions to Southern Africa is long since gone but a replica still stands. There are numerous small bays and inlets on the rocky coastline many of which have evocative names such as Griffin Bay and Conception Bay. 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.
When the wind blows, which is quite frequently, the final 10km of road into Luderitz may be covered by low sand dunes, which seem eternally determined upon crossing the road. The drifts can pile quite high before the road crews clean them off, and conditions do get hazardous, especially if it’s foggy and visibility is restricted, so care is advised.
Many of our guided safaris visit Luderitz, we can also help arrange a self drive trip around Namibia which includes a visit to this scenic town and even help with booking accommodation in Luderitz.
Well equipped & maintained self catering apartments on Shark Island
A unique and very popular bed & breakfast establishment on Shark Island
A prime sea-front location is complimented with sea facing rooms, a top class restaurant & a private beach
Budget accommodation & campsite on shark island
Luxury self catering holiday apartments
visit the Kolmanskop Ghost town near Luderitz
trip into the Sperrgebiet (forbidden diamond area) with visits to the abandonded mining town of Pomona & the rock arch at Bogenfels
Several cruises around Luderitz harbour, options include sunset cruises & a visit to an oyster farm