On one of our recent tours to Namibia (Voetspore Safaris) we decided to visit the abandoned “Ghost Town” of Kolmanskop.
A little history on this forsaken and quite eerie town….
Kolmanskop is a ghost town in the Namib Desert in southern Namibia, 10 kilometres inland from the port town of Lüderitz.
It was named after a transport driver named Johnny Coleman who, during a sand storm, abandoned his ox wagon on a small incline opposite the settlement.
In 1908, the worker Zacharias Lewala found a diamond while working in this area and showed it to his supervisor, the German railway inspector August Stauch. Clearly this area was rich in diamonds so the German miners began settlement, and soon after the German government declared a large area as a "Prohibited Area" starting to exploit the diamond field.
Driven by the enormous wealth of the first diamond miners, the residents built the village in the architectural style of a German town, with amenities and institutions including, (images attached by Blanche B Photography) a hospital, power station, school, theatre, casino, ice factory and the first x-ray-station in the southern hemisphere.
The town started to decline after World War I when the diamond-field slowly started to deplete. By the early-’30s, the area was in decline. Hastening the town’s demise was the discovery in 1928 of the richest diamond-bearing deposits ever known. These were on the beach terraces 270km south of Kolmanskop, near the Orange River.
Many of the town’s inhabitants joined the rush to the south, leaving their homes and possessions behind. The town was ultimately abandoned in 1954. The geological forces of the desert mean that tourists now walk through houses knee-deep in sand.
1. "Kolmanskop". Namibia Travel Companion 2013. Namibia Travel Companion. Retrieved 11 November 2013.