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About Luderitz

The small town of Luderitz on Namibia's Atlantic Coast is famed locally for its stark, windswept beauty and the variety of its wildlife as the cold Benguela current keeps the waters chilly enough to attract seals and penguins. A former whaling station still stands close by.

The town itself was the first German settlement in southwest Africa and its early inhabitants have left behind some fine examples of German colonial architecture, the most notable being Goerke House which has a lovely Art Deco interior, fine wood panelling, exquisite stained glass windows and an impressive view from its perch at the top of Diamond Hill.

Just outside Luderitz is the atmospheric 'ghost town' of Kolmanskop, which was established during the diamond rush of 1908 but left deserted when more substantial diamond mines were discovered elsewhere. Its crumbling, sand-filled houses and desolate streets create a wonderful setting for a memorably spooky walk.

 

Shore excursions in Luderitz

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

Kolmanskop Diamond Ghost Town

Activity medium

Duration: 2 hours

Visit the eerie ghost town of Kolmanskop, which once told a different tale, as a diamond mine boomtown.

In 1908, Zacharias Lewala, a railway worker found a sparkling stone amongst the sand near Kolmanskop. The news spread like wildfire, sparking a ‘diamond rush’. Kolmanskop soon grew to become a bustling town, with large elegant houses and an impressive array of amenities including a hospital, ballroom, power station, school, theatre and sports hall, bakery and the first X-ray station in the southern hemisphere.

Following the drop in diamond sales after World War I and the discovery of richer deposits further south, Kolmanskop went into decline. Within a span of 40 years, the town lived, flourished and died.

Today the ghost town's crumbling ruins bear little resemblance to its former glory. The stately homes have been nearly demolished by the wind, and are gradually becoming enveloped by encroaching sand dunes. With your guide, enjoy a walking tour of this fascinating town. Visit the old shop, now a Museum, where photographs are displayed to provide an insight into the social life of this once prosperous town, in the middle of the Namib Desert.

Explore the town and its dune-filled houses independently during your free time.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. The guided walk through the town will include many places filled with dune sand. Guides are not professionally trained, however their enthusiasm and charm will make up for any lack of experience. Due to limited availability, early booking is recommended.

Luderitz Walking Tour

Activity medium

Duration: 2½ hours

Discover the charms and rich colonial history of the hazy Atlantic coast town of Luderitz.

When diamonds were found near Luderitz in 1908, hectic building activities began. On this walking tour, you’ll view the town's wonderful colonial houses dating back to this time.

With your friendly guide, you’ll stroll past many colonial German-style buildings, with their domes, towers & turrets, steep roofs, oriel windows, embellished gables, bay windows and Wintergärten (sun rooms), which provide shelter from the wind.

From here, you’ll view other brightly painted houses before visiting the impressive Goerke House. Admire its fine Art Deco design with stained glass and wood panelling, built in 1910 as a German colonial home from the proceeds of diamonds mined. Unfortunately the bride, fresh from Germany, for whom it was built, did not enjoy the bleak and windy isolation and left with her husband after only 2 years. The Felsenkirche (Church on the Rocks) is your next stop. This German Evangelical Lutheran Church, built in 1912 in an English Gothic style has a window kindly donated by the German Emperor. Enjoy an interior visit, although photography is not permitted inside.

Resplendent Gothic villas grace the town and a visit to the Museum will give you more information about the area before your return journey.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. Guides are not professionally trained, however their enthusiasm and charm will make up for any lack of experience. You will be given the opportunity at the end of the tour to remain in Luderitz and return under your own steam. Due to limited availability, early booking is recommended.

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