The scorched desert that surrounds Luderitz gives its German art nouveau architecture an incongruous appearance on the Namibian coastline. This quirkiness gives the former German colony a distinct charm.
The city is a wildlife lovers paradise with gangs of playful penguins skipping across the waves, pink flamingos wading by the coast, and dolphins leaping into the air near Penguin Island and Seal Island.
A more haunting location is Shark Island, forever marked by its dark past as a German concentration camp between 1905 and 1907, leading to the deaths of between 1,000 and 3,000 Nama and Herero prisoners during a genocide committed by the German Empire in response to a rebellion by the native population.
Inland from Luderitz is Kolmanskop, the site of a famous diamond mine and ghost town. The abandoned city saw explosive growth at the beginning of the 20th century, but was abandoned in the 1950s when the diamonds ran out.
Why Cruise to or from Lüderitz?
Nestled between the arid Namib Desert and the rugged Atlantic coastline, this small harbor town is steeped in history and natural beauty, making it a compelling destination for cruise passengers. Cruisers to Lüderitz can delve into the town’s diamond mining past, explore the ghost town of Kolmanskop, and marvel at the unique flora and fauna adapted to the desert environment. The combination of cultural heritage and natural wonders makes Lüderitz a memorable stop on any African cruise itinerary.
How to Behave in Lüderitz
When visiting Lüderitz, it’s important to respect local customs and traditions. As a town with a strong German influence, many of Lüderitz’s cultural norms align with European etiquette. It is courteous to greet people with a handshake and maintain a polite demeanour.
Environmentally, given the proximity to both desert and marine ecosystems, visitors should be particularly careful not to disturb the local wildlife or damage the delicate natural surroundings. As with any destination, visitors should be conscious of their environmental footprint and behave responsibly.
Location of Lüderitz Cruise Terminal
Cruise ships dock within the commercial Port of Lüderitz, close to the town center. This convenient location allows passengers to easily access the town’s main attractions. The port itself is smaller and more intimate compared to larger international ports, offering a personal and welcoming entry to this quaint town. There is no dedicated cruise terminal.
Currency and Language in Lüderitz
The currency used is the Namibian Dollar (NAD), on par with the South African Rand (ZAR), which is also accepted. English is the official language and is commonly spoken in Lüderitz, especially in areas frequented by tourists. German and Afrikaans are also widely understood and spoken due to the town’s historical and cultural ties.
Top 5 Attractions in Lüderitz
- Kolmanskop Ghost Town: Once a thriving diamond mining town, Kolmanskop is now abandoned, offering hauntingly beautiful scenes of desert sands reclaiming the buildings.
- Diaz Point: A scenic lookout that offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean, complete with a replica of the cross planted by Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias.
- Lüderitz Museum: Dive into the local history and cultural heritage at this informative museum showcasing exhibits on the town’s diamond mining past and natural history.
- Goerke House: Built into the rock face on Diamond Hill, Goerke House is an architectural gem that gives visitors insight into the affluent lifestyle during the diamond rush.
- The Waterfront and Halifax Island: Enjoy a stroll along the waterfront and take a boat tour to Halifax Island to see the penguin colony and other marine wildlife.
Lüderitz offers an off-the-beaten-path cruise experience filled with fascinating history, unique landscapes, and wildlife encounters that provide a distinct contrast to the more familiar tropical cruise destinations.