Lüderitz is chock-a-block with colonial buildings, and every view reveals something interesting. The curiously intriguing architecture, which mixes German imperial and art nouveau styles, makes this bizarre little town appear even more other-worldly.
The Lüderitz Peninsula, much of which lies outside the Sperrgebiet, makes an interesting half-day excursion from town.
Agate Bay, just north of Lüderitz, is made of tailings from the diamond workings. There aren’t many agates these days, but you’ll find fine sand partially consisting of tiny grey mica chips.
A picturesque and relatively calm bay, Sturmvogelbucht is a pleasant place for a braai (barbecue), though the water temperature would be amenable only to a penguin or polar bear. The rusty ruin in the bay is the remains of a 1914 Norwegian whaling station; the salty pan just inland attracts flamingos and merits a quick stop.
At Diaz Point, 22km by road from Lüderitz, is a classic lighthouse and a replica of the cross erected in July 1488 by Portuguese navigator Bartolomeu Dias on his return from the Cape of Good Hope. Portions of the original have been dispersed as far as Lisbon, Berlin and Cape Town. From the point, there’s a view of a nearby seal colony and you can also see cormorants, flamingos, wading birds and even the occasional pod of dolphins.
Also at the point is a coffee shop serving hot/cold drinks, toasties, oysters, beer and great chocolate cake. It’s possible to camp (campsite N$95, per person N$55) out here as well on rocky, flat ground roped off between the lighthouse and water. There are decent amenities although the site is more exposed to the wind than Shark Island.
Halifax Island, a short distance offshore south of Diaz Point, is home to Namibia’s best-known jackass-penguin colony. Jackass or Cape penguins live in colonies on rocky offshore islets off the Atlantic Coast. With binoculars, you can often see them gathering on the sandy beach opposite the car park.
Grosse Bucht (Big Bay), at the southern end of Lüderitz Peninsula, is a wild and scenic beach favoured by flocks of flamingos, which feed in the tidal pools. It’s also the site of a small but picturesque shipwreck on the beach.
Just a few kilometres up the coast is Klein Bogenfels, a small rock arch beside the sea. When the wind isn’t blowing a gale, it makes a pleasant picnic spot.