Namibia was once a German colony from 1884 to 1915, and when diamonds were found in 1908, many German miners migrated and built a fully-functional town of their own in the desert. This town was Kolmanskop, and it was equipped with many luxurious Western amenities and designed with the distinct German architectural style.
For many years, Kolmanskop thrived with the wealth from the rich diamond mine. It had the first-ever tram in Africa which served as a convenient transport to the next town, as well as many buildings such as a theater, casino, school, bowling alley, ballroom and sport-hall, power station, and ice factory. Its state-of-the-art hospital even housed the very first x-ray-station in the southern hemisphere. Plus, its residents enjoyed free housing complete with house-keeping services (including sand-removal).
After the first World War, the town began to decline as the diamonds were slowly being exhausted. The miners left one by one, and by 1954 Kolmanskop was completely abandoned to be the ghost town that it is today.
If you visit Kolmanskop today, you will find the town overrun by the desert sands. The dunes have reclaimed so much of the town that many of the deteriorating buildings are already below several feet of sand. Exploring the ghost town requires a permit, while guided tours are available through the NamDeb company.
When On Earth Magazine is for people who love travel. We provide informative travel guides, tips, ideas and advice regarding places to see, things to do, what to taste, and much more for world travelers seeking their next dream vacation destination.