The port town of Luderitz lies in the south west of Namibia on what is one of the continent’s least hospitable coastlines. Founded in 1883, it was in 1909 that diamonds were discovered in the region and a surge of popularity ensued, creating a boom town in the nearby Kolmanskop, where the diamond mining settlement burgeoned as German miners were attracted to the region. The village saw grand mansions spring up out of the desert, as well as facilities such as hospital, school, casino and theatre, reminiscent of a small German town in the middle of the desert, also with a rail link to Luderitz.
Following World War I the diamond field slowly diminished, and the town started heading into decline, and was ultimately abandoned in 1954, becoming one of Namibia’s most infamous ghost towns.
Luderitz itself has many charming German buildings such as Goerke House on top of Diamond Hill which has terrific views over the town. Diaz Point to the south of the town is where you will see a large stone cross commemorating the original Portuguese discovery of the area. If you are lucky you may also see cape fur seals and African penguins.
The constant force of the desert is such that many of the buildings nowadays are partly submerged in sand – a haunting but fascinating testimony to the boom and bust era and a photographer’s dream.