Nestled in Namibia’s far south-western corner, the once bustling town of Kolmanskop, once the richest town in Southern Africa, lies semi buried in the sands of the Namib Desert.
Back in 1908 a single diamond was found lying in the sand along the railway at Gratsplatz and this sparked 40 years of diamond mining in the area by the then German empire who were ruling at the time. The discovery of diamonds brought immense wealth to the small settlement and Namibia’s diamond boom began.
With the addition of modern amenities such as a hospital complete with an X-ray machine (the first in the southern hemisphere), ballroom, a skittle alley and a power station all built in traditional German architecture, it’s no wonder that this now abandoned ghost town draws much attention by all that visit Namibia.
In the mid 1950’s as the diamond fields around Kolmanskop were depleted, the Germans moved further south to new and abundant mining areas leaving their luxury homes abandoned. Some 70 years later, Kolmanskop is now a major historical site and tourist attraction as the sands of the Namib have completely encroached the town, including the homes and shops and the luxury that once was, is barely recognisable. Tours of the town are a must as a local guide shows you through the once prosperous town, and regales stories of the wealthy residents as well as those miners who attempted to smuggle diamonds out of the mines.
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