Kolmanskop signboard

Mining town Kolmanskop in Namibia.

The ghost town in Namibia was once a flourishing and pulsating with life center for diamond mining. But people abandoned this place and since then for more than half a century the sands of the Namib Desert were covering it. At present, Kolmanskop is one of the main attractions of Namibia. Thousands of tourists from all over the world come to enjoy its atmosphere, especially photographers. After all, only at this place you can see how the sand dunes devour the town one centimeter after another.

Discovery of the mines

Let us list several facts you should know about this sight:

  • The ghost town Kolmanskop is located just 10 km south from Luderitz, a major port city with 20,000 inhabitants.
  • Its history began in 1908 when Namibia was in the fire of a diamond fever. People were obsessed with the desire for quick and easy enrichment. The amount of diamonds in the desert supported this obsession and gave hope for a secure future.
  • A usual railroad employee accidentally discovered a small diamond barely covered with desert sand. He showed an unusual find to the foreman of his working group. He asked about the location of the find and quickly understood the situation.
  • Acting cautiously and without attracting unnecessary attention, this man explored the indicated working territory and managed to find several more diamonds.
  • As it turned out, a small river washed them away to the ocean. During the tides jewels were thrown ashore. Then the small diamonds were carried around by the strong wind along with the sand.
  • For several years, the foreman became a multimillionaire.

Rapid development of the town

Kolmanskop’s popularity increased. Beautiful houses, a hospital with modern equipment, an educational institution and a sports stadium appeared here. The town flourished and its inhabitants rejoiced new promising finds. A diamond fever broke out with new power in the Namib Desert.

At that time, the entire ocean coast of Namibia belonged to the German Reich. Therefore, the newborn epicenter of mining was built in German style. Nothing except sand and heat reminded Africa.

A magnificent settlement has rapidly grown. A hospital, a power station, a dance hall, a theater, a casino, as well as the first X-ray laboratory in the southern hemisphere were opened.

But there’s no water here. It was brought in cisterns via 100 km way from Cape Town. Every day a special train delivered ice briquettes to each house. Despite all the difficulties, local people lived in an atmosphere of luxury and wealth until diamonds were mined.

The period of oblivion

It is said that the immense greed of people angered the gods and the precious stones on the surface suddenly disappeared. Fierce excavations of the Namibian Desert made it clear that the hot sands do not hide treasures anymore. Some people talked about the irony of fate, others blamed the curse.

At the end of the First World War the glory of Kolmanskop came to an end. In 1926, even richer mines were found in the south while local reserves were already depleted. The entire population moved to new deposits. The town without water and diamonds turned into a ghost in 1954.

The life of a small percentage of the remained people became unbearable: reduced funding, unemployment, sandstorms and lack of drinking water. The despair became more distinct when town faced the wave of unknown diseases. In the end people had to leave their home.

Present days

Now the dilapidated houses are completely or half covered with sand and the empty Kolmanskop is visited only by curious tourists. All these years the buildings were protected by arid desert, lack of plants and animals.

Since 1980, company De Beers owning this land has restored a number of houses and began to conduct excursions. A lot of people wished to look at the once-rich diamond mine where precious stones could be gathered just from the sand.

You can also travel to this place and feel its unusual atmosphere. Hope that the above information was interesting for you. We wish our readers a pleasant rest full of fascinating adventures!



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