Luderitz is a strange city with an equally strange history: It was founded in 1883 after Heinrich Vogelsang had bought the bay previously called Angra Pequena and part of the surrounding land from the local Nama boss on behalf of the Bremen merchant Adolf Lüderitz.
One of the few natural harbours on the most inhospitable coast of Africa as a trading post, fishing port and guano port made its economic beginnings, but when diamonds were found in the neighbouring Kolmanskop (Kolmannskoppe) in 1909, Luderitz experienced a sudden upswing.
After the diamond boom had passed almost as quickly as it arrived, Luderitz fell back into its secluded existence, a state that continues to this day.
Since the rocky underground did not permit the expansion of the port, modern ships could not call at the port of Luderitz until the construction of a new pier a few years ago.
The fact that little has changed here since the beginning of the 20th century makes Luderitz so attractive for tourists. Its historic buildings include the Deutsche Afrika Bank, the railway station, the Old Post Office, and the Felsenkirche. Like other representative buildings, the Goerke-Haus was built from the proceeds of the diamond industry.
However, the main attraction of the area is the Kolmanskop (Kolmannskoppe), a museum ghost town located a few kilometres southeast, whose ruins of buildings have been fighting in vain against the Namib dunes for decades and are gradually sinking into the sand.
The daily guided tours are as entertaining as they are informative, and afterwards the film-like backdrop is released for the collective photo shooting of the visitors.
Other rewarding destinations in the area are Halifax Island with its remarkable colony of African penguins and the notorious Shark Island with its dark past as a concentration camp.