A week in Luderitz, Namibia

1 papa bunny

The weather always wins: we planned on just a couple of days in Lüderitz. We didn’t want to make Ty, crew arriving in the next port north- Walvis Bay- sitting around waiting for us to get there. But we also wanted favorable conditions, and ended up Lüderitz for nearly a week. We spent a couple of days exploring, then were happy to head north when weather allowed.

2 waterfront

It’s a little town of about 12,000, where you rarely see more than a couple of cars on the road at a time (four is a traffic jam).

3 walking in town

The German colonial influence seen in many of the town’s buildings. Not surprising considering the history as a part of German South-West Africa, but that ended after WWI; what was suprising was how much that German presence was still felt. We heard German on the street. There was a corner of the upmarket grocery store dedicated entirely to imported German foods. We had dinner one night in a lower-level pub that that might as well have been one of the rathskellars of Hamburg.

4 colonial buildings

Lüderitz today is a very minor port (it can’t take the big ships that go to the only other Namibian port, Walvis bay) but fishing boats shuttled in and out daily. Local crayfish and oysters a specialty: we feasted on crays on night. Diaz café had the sweetest oysters I’ve ever eaten: fifty cents each, washed down with South African white wine (US$0.85 for a generous pour).

5 oysters

Signs the harbor is full of life, beyond the catch of the fishing fleet: cormorants and seals cutting through the water, something wiggly that looked like juvenile crayfish all over a mooring line we picked up (eewww, slimy!) and the zillions of shrimpy-krill-critters that tackled a watermaker filter we hung overboard for cleaning. It turned out to be a bad idea to run the watermaker in the harbor: filters clogged in as little as an hour from all the biomass. Check this out: those splotches in the pic below? Jellyfish. Crimson jellyfish. And Niall was stung one day, lifting a mooring line to help another yachtie, by… a box jelly. Not toxic like the Pacific box, but still, yikes.

6 jellies

Fish boats share the harbor with diamond dredges. They’re not big operations but we hear they still pick up a shocking amount of carat weight offshore.

7 diamond dredges


Staying longer meant we patronized a few more local businesses. We got out to the ghost town of Kolmanskop. We visited the friendly little safari/tourist information outlet a number of times. We don’t do “souvenirs” so much—on a boat, there’s no room!—but it’s really nice when we can add a functional item to Totem that’s a reminder of places we visit. Our aft head could benefit from a cloth drape in front of open shelves and I’m hoping to find something in Africa. I never could decide on a batik and ultimately left without one.

9 kilmansop

Lingering in Luderitz gave us a chance to catch up again with another cruising family also circumnavigating on a Stevens 47 like Totem. The Windarra crew is road tripping in southern Africa for a few weeks before returning to their boat. We only had a few hours, I felt like talking at 200mph to catch up on everything! Our circles will likely cross again in the US later this year, and maybe even a couple of times between as well.

10 Windarra and Totem crews in Namibia

There’s always something to maintain or repair on a boat. Jamie noticed one of the batten pockets showing wear. He stitched them up, with help from a drill to get through all the sail cloth.

11 jamie drilling

It turned out to be more than a sail repair. The location had chafed on rigging, and the fiberglass batten inside was splintering. Working with what we have- electrical tape, some epoxy, a little fiberglass, Jamie hopes to have it fixed. There’s a spare batten on board if the fix doesn’t hold.

12 fix

The wind down, a few provisions added, and we’re northbound to Walvis Bay.

13 Luderitz harboru

This post is syndicated on Sailfeed.

7 Responses

  1. We were in Namibia a couple of years ago and LOVED every second, I’m sure you will too. We drove down the skeleton coast and went 4 hours without seeing another car. Etosha was unbelievable, sooo many gorgeous animals. Enjoy! Love your blog via FB, so great you are doing this as a family.

  2. Hi Behan and Jamie,

    Greetings from John and Athol, we spent a wonderful evening chatting at Barrels in Luderitz!

    I have been telling all my friends and family about you guys and how you are following your dreams! Truly inspirational.
    I will be following your travels from now on and will definitely be thinking of you every time we embark on a “voyage” on our Windrider 16, around our local lake!

    All the best and travel safely!

    1. John and Athol, it was great meeting you two – good fun and great to learn more about the diamond business in Namibia. Lake or ocean or puddle, it’s always good just to be on the water!

  3. Is Windarra’s owner named Carl? If so, we saw them at Middle Percy Island in Queensland in July last year. They have moved fast if it is them.

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