Exploring Kolmanskop Ghost Town
Diving into the history of diamond mining in Namibia
A famous ghost town of Namibia called ‘Kolmanskop’ lies in the country’s far southwestern stretch near the Harbour town of Lüderitz.
The settlement is the most popular tourist attraction in the area as it is filled with history roaming in stunning ruins of german architecture.
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Directions to Kolmanskop
Kolmanskop is located 12kilometres before the town of Lüderitz on the left side of the road when approaching town from the Aus side via the B4 tarred road.
The road is accessible by all vehicle types and doesn’t require a 4×4 vehicle.
A permit is required to enter the Kolmanskop area which can be purchased at the entrance gate.
Entrance between 09 AM to 1 PM. A tour of the facilities is included in the price.
Following the discovery of a diamond by a railway worker in 1908 between Aus and Lüderitz, the Germans who were colonizing Namibia at the time found rich diamond deposits in the area known as Kolmanskop today.
Thereafter German miners began settling in the area and constructed a town with the infrastructure required for extensive diamond mining. Diamonds were mined at a tremendous rate which would soon start to deplete the resources.
In 1928 the richest diamond deposit in the world was discovered near the Orange River which led to the migration of miners from the settlement. Mining operations at Kolmanskop were halted in the 1950s before the settlement was ultimately left deserted by 1956.
The name Kolmanskop has originated from Johnny Coleman who transported goods from Keetmanshoop to Luderitz with his ox wagon. During a heavy sandstorm, Johnny abandoned his wagon on a hillock near the settlement which was later named Kolmanskop which is Afrikaans and roughly translates to ‘Colemans Hill’.
What to see
Kolmanskop had a very extraordinary infrastructure back in the day:
A hospital with the first x-ray-station in the southern hemisphere in addition to a school, theatre, sports hall, casino, ice factory, butchery, and more.
All buildings were designed and constructed in the architectural style of a German village.
What to expect
A ghost town!
After the diamond resources were depleted, Kolmanskop was left in the harsh weather conditions of the Lüderitz area with heavy sandstorms and cold temperatures.
Whilst some buildings remain to be in a good state today, other buildings are partially destroyed and filled up with dune sand from the wind.
Nevertheless, Kolmanskop remains a beautiful attraction to dive into the history of diamond mining in Namibia.
If you love historic sightseeing, Kolmanskop should be on your list of destinations to explore in Namibia! It’s a fascinating experience to travel back in time and get a glimpse of life as a diamond miner in the 1900’s.
The settlement offers remarkable scenes for photos with the desert sands decorating the ruins of German architecture in spectacular fashion.