About Dias Cross
The Dias Cross is one of longest standing Namibian attractions and marks the spot where Portuguese explorers first set foot on the coast near Lüderitz in 1488. Their landing took place just a year after Diogo Cão erected a similar structure at Cape Cross.
Lüderitz is the closest port of call to the Dias Cross, located almost 700km from Windhoek and 800km from Swakopmund.
Bartolomeu Dias travelled under instructions from King John II of Portugal to sail to the southern end of Africa. He was blown off course to land initially at the Cape of Good Hope. On his return, he stopped off at what is known today as Lüderitz Bay.
As was traditional in his day, he erected a stone padrão to mark Portugal’s presence in the area, on 25 July 1488. This landmark withstood the harsh conditions of the coast for over 300 years. In 1825 the crew of the HMS Barracouta noted that they had seen what remained of the uprooted and broken cross and 30 years later, it’s remains were taken to the South African Museum in Cape Town.
In 1953, Dr Exel Erikson, attempted to reconstruct the cross from these pieces as well as those that could be unearthed on site. He passed away before his vision came to fruition and the National Monuments Council’s Regional Committee for SWA decided to take up the task in 1988.
After much debate and rummaging around in the history books, a replica of the original padrão was constructed, carved from local dolerite and unveiled on 25 July 1988. Today, the site of the original cross is a National Monument, and well worth a visit during your stay in Lüderitz.
You will find accommodation close by in guest houses, hotels, campsites and self-catering establishments dotted throughout Luderitz, about 25 minutes’ drive away.
Activities at Dias Point
Apart from the cross, visitors to Dias Point can admire the red and white lighthouse in the area which was built in 1915, as well as glorious views over the tumultuous Atlantic Ocean.
Lüderitz is close to the fascinating ghost town, Kolmanskop and has a few other interesting places to explore. These include:
- Tours to the Bogenfels Rock Arch
- Sperregebiet National Park
- Grosse Bucht, Sturmvogelbucht and Agate Beach
- Goerke Haus
- Boat Cruises around the harbour
- Lüderitz Museum
German influence is well established in Lüderitz and you’ll see many examples of colonial architecture such as the Krabbenhöft & Lampe building, the Station Building and historic street view of The Deutsche Afrika Bank on historic Bismarck Street.
Lüderitz is also a top spot for kite surfing and is the venue for the annual Speed Challenge in October every year. The Crayfish Festival held during May is another ‘don’t miss’ event.
In Luderitz, you’ll do well to try out some of the seafood restaurants serving up delicious crayfish, butterfish, hake, calamari, abalone and mussels. Meat lovers can tuck into an Eisbein or juicy steak at one of the German-inspired eateries in town and you’ll find no shortage of coffee shops selling lighter eats.
Fauna and Flora
Dias Cross is surrounded by the typical arid, rocky environment of Namibia’s coastline. Look out for the pretty Bushman’s candle with its bright pink flowers and the Hottentots buttocks, an oddly-shaped dwarf succulent.
Birds are plentiful, including flamingos and cormorants and springbok, jackal and hyena are also seen in the area.
What to Bring
Campers and self-caterers should bring all the usual necessities. Pack warm clothing for chilly nights and don’t forget sun protection during day trips in the area. A camera, binoculars and all the relevant chargers will help you get the most out of your visit.
From Swakopmund: Take the C14 to Aus and then proceed on the B4 to Lüderitz. The turn off to Dias Point is clearly signposted just before you reach the town.
From Windhoek: Depart along the C28 and merge onto the B1. Take the C21 at Kalkrand and turn right onto the C19 towards Maltahohe. Take the C14 and continue onto the C13/M35 at Helmeringhausen. Take the B4 towards Aus and proceed to Lüderitz. You will see the signpost for Dias Point just before you enter town.
By Air – Commercial flights depart twice weekly Windhoek to Lüderitz and charter flights are available from most airstrips in Namibia.
Transfers – Car hire, taxis and shuttle services are available in Lüderitz for transfers from the airport.
Get in touch via our contact us page for more information or to book your trip to Lüderitz’s Dias Cross.
Please Note: The details shared herein were correct at the time of publishing. However, with time some of this information may change. We recommend confirming information with suppliers prior to making final travel arrangements. If you do happen to find an issue with any information we’ve shared here, please feel free to contact us so that we can make the relevant changes.