Historical Sites In Namibia

Namib Naukluft

Covering nearly 50,000 sq. km, this is the fourth largest conservation area in the world. There are five distinct areas-the Namib, Sandwich Harbour, Naukluft, Sersriem and Sossusvlei.

The Namib area contains one of the oldest deserts on the planet. The central section is characterized by apricot-coloured sand dunes as high as 300 meters. The dunes end suddenly at the Kuiseb River and beyond lies a region of immense, grayish-white gravel plains and isolated rocky hills. Here the tentacles of the strange prehistoric plant, the Welwitschia mirabilis, spread from the desert floor.


Situated a few kilometres southeast of Luderitz is the old ghost town of Kolmanskop. This was once a prosperous centre, home to workers in the nearby diamond mine. But World War I and a slump in diamond sales led to the slow death of the town, which was finally abandoned in 1956. The once elegant buildings are now crumbling as the desert encroaches on them, creating an eerie atmosphere.


Here is the first German settlement, founded by Bremen tobacco merchant Adolf Luderitz in 1884. Located in the Namib region, it was once a busy port, but now it is more important as a holiday resort. The old, colonial German buildings are evidence of its former glory.


Main centre and focal point of the scenic and historic attractions in the south is Keetmanshoop. Founded in 1860 by the Rhenish Mission Society, the town still retains vestiges of its original German buildings, as well as a number bearing witness to the arrival of the first Europeans, who trekked across the Orange River to trade, hunt and explore the land. The first of these expeditions was in 1791 and was led by Hendrik Hop, who reached Hainabis on the Lowen River, about 12 km from the Keetmanshoop of today.

In 1866 preacher John Schroder of the German Missionary Society built a canvas shelter at Keetmanshoop from which to operate. It is said that the two trees he used to support the shelter are still alive. Schroder approached the rich industrialist, Johan Keetman, chairman of the society, for funds to build a church and dwelling for himself and his family. Keetman donates 2,000 German marks for the church, and was rewarded for his generosity by having the settlement named after him, although he never saw the town himself. The first version of the Rhenish Mission Church built by Johan Schroder was swept away in 1890 by floodwaters of the Swartmodder River. It was then rebuilt on higher ground completed in 1895, and used until 1930. It is now a museum with displays depicting the region's colourful past.

Last Updated on Tuesday 8th December 2009