Luderitz , a small busy town perched between the desert and the ocean. It has a long history with diamonds, and the fading grande old Germanic buildings are a testament to that. The grandeur is long gone but diamonds still remain and an industry is built around it.
Fishing is big with the Benguela current offshore but I suspect it is mineral ore exports that are the real driver of the busy port. Apparently it is uranium being shipped from here but there is little outward sign other than security.
I am camped out on shark island, a peninsula jutting out into the Atlantic. Quite a change from the desert interior. Nice to hear the crashing of the waves metres from my tent. Shark island is infamous as a camp in the early 1900’s where the German colonialists improsoned many hundreds of Nama insurgents and heir families. Hundreds died from disease on this barren rock. It is regarded now as a period of genocide by the Nama and Demara, where the Germans sided with the Herero to clear the local inhabitants from their land. The Nama fought back with a few rifles, mostly bow and arrows, spears and slingshots! A heap of Bravery. So Shark Island bears a memorial to Adolf Luderitz , the founder of the town , but more importantly there is a memorial to the hundreds of Nama who perished here including their leader Cornelius Fredericks.
I may have a connection here. I know my grandfather arrived here as a fresh faced young German soldier to assist the quelling of the rebellion. Family history says that by the time he got down here to Luderitz, it was all over, but he did live here for a spell, working on the construction of the desert railway, and my mother still has some inheireted diamond jewellery from this time.
So I feel I have some peace to settle at this memorial, make an offering as a token of recognition of the suffering the locals endured.
I would love to get some rough diamond , but I was warned not to ask about as people would mistakenly think I had money which could be a problem. It will be all super tightly controlled, with a mine to the south and a ship offshore sifting ocean floor sand. The diamonds are now mined by a mix of Namibian government ownership and De Beers, the S.A/Dutch mega crop who control the worlds diamond market.
The Nama and Demara still are the vast majority here, but it is obvious that the wealth is elsewhere. Sad considering these were some of the richest diamond fields ever discovered. Fairtrade diamonds not sure!
It is raining and camping in my tent gets challenging in the rain. I didn't really gear up for rain! A few small leaks !! I didn't even bring a raincoat. We are heading back into the Namib desert, so am sure I can dry out a bit. It never rains in Namibia !!
One last thing about this town. Every where I go people are so friendly, always saying hello. Guess I am just a tourist but the hospitality is great. :) and so are the fresh oysters!! $10/doz.