Holidays to Lüderitz, Namibia
Lüderitz, on the southern Namibian coast, is probably one of the most incongruous places in Africa. Sandwiched between the wind-beaten South Atlantic coast and the arid Namib desert, the town's late 19th century German architecture stands as a relic to times to gone by.
Indeed, with its bakeries, coffee shops, and churches, Lüderitz can easily feel like it has gone through a time warp from Bavaria in the 1880s and dropped on today's African coastline. Taking a stroll around the town, you'll see sights like the Goerke Haus, impressively blended into a mountain face, and the Felsenkirche, an Evangelical Lutheran church that's perched way above the town on Diamond Hill.
Despite the town's quirkiness, it's the natural surroundings where this part of Namibia truly comes to life. The rocky coastline of the peninsula is home to flocks of flamingos and colonies of penguins. Those wanting to see these stunning feathered hordes can take a catamaran tour to nearby Halifax or Penguin Islands, where the birds come in their thousands.
Nearby Sperrgebiet National Park is well worth a visit. Until recently all 26,000 square kilometres were closed to all but the mining industry. As a consequence, Namibia's newest national park is still underdeveloped. This can be a positive or a negative, depending on your perspective. Visitors here should brace themselves for strong winds, flying sands, fluctuating temperatures... and an unforgettable journey taking in colossal stone arches, a ghost mining town, and the 'Fairytale Valley', where diamonds were so plentiful, they could be scooped up in shovelfuls. The park is home to several species of birds and animals, but it's the plant life that truly captures the imagination, with some of the succulents growing as tall as trees and creating stunningly bright floral displays following the winter rains.