Luderitz Cruise

Art Nouveau architecture
Penguin Islands
Eerie Kolmanskop

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The colourful houses of the early 20th century

During your MSC cruise to Southern Africa, you will be surprised to discover the city of Lüderitz, along the Namibian coast. It will seem like someone had teleported a typical German town from early 20th century Europe to Africa.

The view of the barren profile of the Huns Mountains behind the town’s brightly or delicately coloured houses and the large amounts of sand on its streets produces a strange feeling. Once disembarked from your cruise ship, the obvious point from which to begin a land tour is the small Felsenkirche (1912), a Lutheran house of worship located close to the imposing Goerke Haus, a prestigious residence dating to 1910 designed by the architect Otto Ertl.

Today, it belongs to a mining company. German colonists were drawn to Namibia for its diamonds, which are also responsible for the city’s a railway station (now closed), a post office complete with a clock tower and commercial buildings such as the Krabbenhoft und Lampe. In Lüderitz, you will be able to visit the town and linger in the seaside locales overlooking the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the fishing boats sheltering in the small port, or go on one of the excursion inland.

Just ten kilometres from Lüderitz, there is a ghost town: Kolmanskop. If Lüderitz seemed odd to you, nothing will surprise you more than this group of buildings reclaimed by the desert. Everything is surreal, starting with the sign bearing the name of this town without inhabitants. It is an ideal setting for dramatic photo shoots or apocalyptic films.

Before being abandoned over fifty years ago, this population centre, which was active during the Namibian diamond rush, was bigger than Lüderitz itself. The houses of Kolmanskop, now overrun by dunes, have become a tourist attraction that will make your MSC cruise unforgettable.

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    Exhilarating nature
    Exhilarating nature

    When returning from a holiday to Namibia it’s hard for travellers to be left cold – this striking, sparsely populated country has such charisma that it’s regularly voted one of the top adventure destinations in the world. Key to the appeal of a cruise to Namibia is the spacious drama of its desert landscapes, where oryx, the kind of antelope Picasso might have dreamed up, pick their way over towering, apricot-coloured dunes, ostriches dash through the shimmering haze and elephants lumber along richly textured gorges. At dusk, Namibia’s huge skies mould themselves into a dizzying dome of stars. Best of all, these splendours are accessible – while you might feel apprehensive about venturing into the trackless Sahara, Namibia’s great desert regions are loosely crisscrossed with decent gravel roads.

    With enough mineral wealth to make it one of Africa’s more prosperous countries, Namibia, though somewhat troubled by land reform issues, is largely a model of peace, stability and inter-ethnic respect. It’s also a leader in community-based conservation: rural Namibia is dotted with conservancies, wilderness regions whose residents have been granted the right to profit from sustainable tourism and are therefore motivated to care for their environment and its flora and fauna.