Built upon a windswept, rocky precipice overlooking the Diamond Coast of Namibia, the harbor town of Luderitz is home to approximately 20,000 citizens. Discovered by the Portuguese and settled originally by the Germans, Luderitz still exhibits influences in architecture and culture from the early colonial days. Lutheran churches, delicatessens, coffee shops and buildings reflecting the German and Bavarian styles make this town appear as if time has passed it by.
The maritime climate of Luderitz echoes the roughness of its craggy location perched above the cold waters of the Benguela current of the South Atlantic Ocean. High winds, heavy sea fog and blowing dust from the nearby Namib Desert make life in Luderitz challenging at times. Because of the weather conditions, low rainfall and a foundation of granite rocks, the town has a relatively barren landscape with very few trees.
With a rocky shoreline and a natural harbor, fishing has become a major industry in the town. The cold, clean waters of the South Atlantic provide a home to a variety of fish and seafood, including oysters and lobsters. Processing plants and canneries allow transfer of the abundant catch to the markets of South Africa. The tourism and diamond mining industries provide additional means of employment in Luderitz.
Wildlife abounds in the area with the vast majority of the Namibian population of the endangered African penguins living on various islands offshore. Cape fur seals inhabit these rough waters, while flamingos and ostriches reside on the islands off the coastline.
Abundant wind in the area has given rise to an annual event called the Luderitz Speed Challenge. Filling the town with visitors during the last part of the year, this month-long event began in 2007. Kiteboarding has gained a top ranking in speed sailing with the aid of innovations over the years that have made the Luderitz location the fastest kiteboarding course in the world.
While Luderitz has extreme conditions owing to its bleak and isolated location, several wonderful hotels or guest houses provide comfortable lodging for visitors who come to enjoy the spectacular views of the peninsula, islands and harbor.