Kolmanskop – Namibia’s Own Ghost Town!
Kolmanskop Ghost Town – Namibia’s most popular Ghost Town.
Kolmanskop is Namibia’s very own ghost town in the Namib Desert in Southern Namibia. It is situated approximately 10 kilometers inland from the town of Lüderitz. Kolmanskop Ghost Town tours are available and recommended for everyone. Kolmanskop was a very small but very rich mining town. The town is named after Johnny Coleman, a transport driver who, during a sand storm, abandoned his ox wagon opposite the settlement on a small incline.
It all started in 1908 when the first diamond was found in the area by Zacharias Lewala and German miners settled in the area soon after. The diamond rush was a frantic one and caused many opportunists and those seeking fortune to descend on Kolmanskop. Kolmanskop grew into a very rich mining village albeit a small one.
The new residents built the village in German architectural style and the village included a hospital, power station, school, ballroom, and many more amenities including the first tram in Africa – which went into Lüderitz. This small mining town also boasted a skittle-alley, theatre and sport-hall, casino, ice factory and the first x-ray-station in the southern hemisphere. Life was made as comfortable as possible for the German inhabitants and their families. The town was soon a bustling little town. The town development reached its peak by the 1920’s with many German families as well as some 800 Owambo contract workers living in the town during the height of the diamond rush. Kolmanskop thrived for about 40 years and then sadly went into decline after World War 1.
By the end of World War 1 the diamond fields were exhausted. Diamond prices crashed and richer diamond deposits were discovered south in Oranjemund. In 1928 the discovery of the richest diamond-bearing deposits on the beaches near the Orange River meant that many of the inhabitants of Kolmanskop joined in this new rush and left their homes and possessions behind. By 1954 Kolmanskop was completely abandoned and it turned into a ghost town.
Due to the strong desert winds, most of the homes have been demolished and are slowly being taken over by sand dunes. While a number of the buildings have been restored and a museum was established in 1980, tourists now walk through the houses buried knee-deep in sand and the little town has become a popular tourist attraction in the area. The abandoned buildings and surrounding area is very popular with photographers.
Kolmanskop Ghost Town has also been the scene of a few movies over the years. Most notably ‘Dust Devils’ in 1993 and ‘The King is Alive’ in 2000.
As the town is located in a restricted are of the desert – “Sperrgebiet”, tourists do need to acquire a permit in order to enter the town. A Kolmanskop Tour is included in the permit cost and you can learn about the detailed history of the former mining town and the diamond industry – past, and present.
Whether you are on a self-drive tour to Namibia or if you’ve booked an organised safari to visit Lüderitz, a tour of Kolmanskop Ghost Town is recommended. Your accommodation establishment in Lüderitz will assist you in making the necessary booking and arrangements. If you are staying in the nearby village of Aus then one can easily do a day trip to Kolmanskop.
For other things to do we suggest going for a Luderitz boat tour to Halifax Island.
Kolmanskop Ghost Town Tour Times:
Monday – Saturday at 09:30 am and 11:00 am.
Sunday and Public Holidays at 10:00 am.
Tours are between 45 minutes and 1 hour long and are conducted in German and English.
Featured image photo credit: Roland Graf
Post photo credit: Wilfried Trumper
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