Compares to SE Asia it definitely is boring. The lack of population and large distances to travel can be an acquired taste without doubt. But then it's a personal thing and this is what appeals to me. There are many things to do and see but it takes time to get there. The sheer emptiness, the scenery, the wildness, the remoteness add to it for me. The desert camps, unlimited sky, rock formations, sand dunes, changing colours, climate changes, history and the activities available especially in Swakopmund (I always avoid Walvis Bay, it can be a bit seedy), the Himba, the San, even the space of Etosha and the Kalahari, and unexpected animal encounters all make it for me my favourite country.
I've been there more times than I can count (though somewhere around twenty or so) and I went there on the expeditions I did plus my annual three week holiday away from the family.
How long will it take for the desert to completely cover this town? Until when was it inhabitated?
Where did the miners go? To another mine?
The town was eventually abandoned in the early 50's. It'll probably still take many decades for it to be covered completely, if ever. The wind blows the sand in and out so you can go from one year to the next and see things you didn't see before, or not see things you did, if you know what I mean.
It was running down for many years, the diamond miners moved on gradually, some to other mines, some stayed in Luderitz and never worked again. The usual story really.
I agree about endless desert drives being an acquired taste, Mark. Mine have been somewhat tamer, limited to driving across places like Nevada and Utah, but I find it hypnotic to drive on an empty road through empty land for hours and see a grand total of maybe two other vehicles. You can be heading towards mountains that you see on the horizon, but they never get bigger and you never arrive (actually you do arrive, but about 4 or 5 hours later than you thought).
Nevada and Utah are quite flat, no? Never been there. I get the impression though that you'd drive a lot further without any change in the scenery. There are long flat roads in Namibia but they tend to just be for half an hour or so. Then, if you are on one of the numerous gravel roads, you miss the bend as you're going too fast and have misjudged it, try and turn into it, slide on the gravel, fall off to the side of the road and overturn the car. That's what normally happens to lots of Italians every year it seems.