Desert Ghost Town

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Kolmanskop is an abandoned ghost town gradually being swallowed by the unforgiving Namib. The centre of the German diamond mining industry after their discovery in the early 20th century, a thriving village was established as chancers and professionals moved in, driven by avarice and ambition. The erstwhile wealth and decadence is still apparent in the grand colonial buildings, with a hospital, ballroom, school, theatre, casino and even an ice factory all constructed. Some have been restored for tourism, such as the concert hall, but most are exactly as they were left in 1954, when the supply of diamonds finally ran out.

It is fascinating to witness how time and the elements are gradually wearing the buildings down, and enjoyable to plough knee deep in sand through some of the more consumed buildings. Overall, the effect is frequently eerie, particularly the black and white photography adorning some of the walls, offering a potted history of German colonialism in Namibia. There are stunning photo opportunities, with the early morning desert shades contrasting vividly with pastel coloured buildings.

Please bear in mind that you need a pre-booked permit to enter Kolmanskop, but we can either secure this for you in advance, or you should be able to procure it through your accommodation. It is possible to explore under your own steam with a permit, but there are two guided tours per day on Monday to Saturday and one on a Sunday. The site closes after 1pm, so get your sightseeing done early!

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