In July, we spent four days in the Namibian coastal town of Lüderitz, an interesting mix of old colonial German architecture and a more modern port that is used mostly for mining transportation. One of the highlights was a boat tour to a nearby island where a colony of African penguins is now recovering from past guano-mining and human encroachment. It is a good success story for conservation efforts in Namibia. In the early 1900’s the penguins were nearly wiped out during extraction of their nutrient-rich guano which was shipped off for use as fertilizer. Unfortunately, this layer of guano on the cold and wind-swept island had acted as a safe place for the penguins to burrow and lay their eggs. Once the several meters of guano were removed, the population of penguins crashed. Recent conservation efforts have improved the penguin numbers to several thousand.
Other highlights included a drive along the coast to Diaz Point, one of the windiest places I have ever been! The seascape is craggy, with exposed rocks and some short sandy beaches. Flamingos and other waterbirds make their home along this stretch of coast, including the rare African Black Oystercatcher.
While in Lüderitz, we enjoyed the company of fellow Peace Corps Namibia Volunteer Janet who lives in town. She showed us around and joined us for the boat tour. Thanks, Janet!