5th March – Arrival at Luderitz
A long, dusty 6 hour drive brings us to Luderitz. Our accommodation is a nice apartment in the Sand Rose Hotel on Bismark Strasse. Luderitz is a Germanic town, on the west coast of Namibia and has much charm and character. I’m informed it’s normally very windy but today (and the rest of our stay) is uncharacteristically calm.
It’s lunch a the Desert Deli, where we also pick up our photographer’s permits for Kolmanskop the following day. That allows me in before dawn, before the hordes arrive.
Evening dinner was a delicious seafood Bouillabaisse at the Portuguese Fisherman, run by the very friendly Joel. A very entertaining host, happy to spend copious time with us. He’s a wise, well travelled man that I found very interesting. About his choice of life in Luderitz, he said…. “You may not appreciate the beauty of this place at first, what’s most appealing is what we don’t have!”. That resonates with me – thanks Joel.
6th March – Kolmanskop
We left around 5.30 a.m. and arrived in the dark. The timing for the first light of dawn was perfect.
Kolmanskop is an old deserted German diamond mining town. It has been, and is still being, claimed back by the desert. The ground floor rooms of many houses are testimony to the sand filled encroachment of the desert. Parts, such as the old Ballroom have been restored, but the fascination for me was the effects of nature and time on what was once a wealthy, flourishing town.
It’s really quite surreal and dreamlike; like something out of Alice In Wonderland, in fact……..if the Mad Hatter had been sitting in one of those rooms, offering me an early morning cuppa, I would not have bat an eyelid!
We climbed the sand dunes and started to explore – not knowing which houses or buildings were the right ones to photograph. I’d researched the place and had an idea of what to expect but finding the individual rooms was quite a mission.
It is very much a “ghost town” although I didn’t feel any eerie vibes or taps on the shoulder. But it is quite surreal, like stepping inside the Tardis and being transported to some parallel universe in a different dimension.
However, I did lose Emma – or vice versa. After 30 mins of searching for her, I was starting to panic. I even borrowed a loud hailer from one of the curators to blast her name all over the place! We’d headed off in opposite directions as it turned out……of course, I’d gone the “wrong” way!