Sailing north from Cape Town, a line on a map is crossed, where Namibia – land of the oldest desert and the driest regions on the planet – has the next tenable harbor on the inhospitable and aptly named Skeleton Coast.
This collection of photos is spread over seven pages. Boaters inspired by the following photo journal should recognize that this is not a cruising guide nor navigational aid.
Lüderitz and Kolmanskop
Furthering her safari, Kiwi Roa coast-hopped north from South Africa over the border and along the Skeleton Coast to the old German diamond-mining town of Lüderitz. This well preserved old German colonial town was birthed in the old diamond industry, along with its desert satellite of Kolmanskop which is now accessible as a ghostly open museum.
Landfall at Lüderitz means rounding the peninsula which protects the harbour.
Lüderitz Harbor is well sheltered for the prevailing southerlies, but little room is available close to shore for anchoring amongst local moorings and the restricted maneuvering area for the commercial wharf. Local moorings are not to be relied upon and we preferred sitting further out on our reliable Rocna, which in weather from the west to the north makes the anchorage uncomfortable but not untenable.
The place is a living but preserved historic town from German colonial days...
...built on rock and sand.
Much is connected to the diamond industry.
Kolmanskop is a deserted ghost town, once company management accommodation and now preserved as a heritage museum. This early 1900’s era township is 30 km inland from Lüderitz, slowly losing its battle with the encroaching sands.
In its time it was mostly self-sufficient on the wealth of its miners, with even an ice-making plant from which each house would be allocated blocks based on occupancy. Based here, young men hunted their fortune, trekking into the desert prospecting for themselves or working the company ‘stakes’.
North of Lüderitz, various bays offer a getaway by boat.