In my previous post, I mentioned that we popped by Kolmanskop in Namibia and that is was so cool and impressive that I would do a whole other post about it. This is that post. I am getting so excited about this gem of a place (pun absolutely intended. fyi, this is a diamond mining town) as I am writing it. I will have to control myself that I don’t make a whole documentary of the place.
In my short life, I have been very lucky to have seen some pretty cool things. But this little ghost town blew my mind. Not only is it one of the sickest locations, a photographer’s dream, but the history around this town was just mind blowing. It was the first time that my family actually went in to Kolmanskop although we have driven past it and admired it from a distance.
The ghost town is fenced as it is still part of the Sperrgebiet (meaning Restricted Area in german) and you pay a mere R40 entrance at the gate which is totally worth it. There are (free) guided tours every day and although I am not normally a toury type of person, I normally just figure shit our for myself, I would seriously recommend going there when the tours are on. You literally just walk through a part of the town while the guide blows your mind about every 2 minutes.
I am not exaggerating. Seriously.
Okay, so bear in mind that this is a small town in the middle of the desert that just came about as a result of diamonds being discovered in the area. Kolmanskop had everything a sophisticated city in Europe would have. Even more. They just made it happen!
This little town had electricity in 1907 when 92% of Germany did not even have electricity yet! They had the first X-Ray in the whole Southern Hemisphere in their medical centre (apart from the normal uses of an X-Ray, they also used it to check that no-one was swallowing or stealing diamonds). They had a ballroom, casino, bowling alley which works to this day and theatre where they would get famous performers and opera singers to come and entertain them. The richest lady in town was the shopkeeper as she could get anyone anything. Having a cocktail party next month? She gets you French Champagne and caviar. These people lived in an isolated town in the desert and lived like kings.
There’s a whole lot of interesting facts about this incredible place, but obviously, you can’t miss the fact that they lived in mansions and that these mansions have slowly but surely been swallowed by the desert. Many of the houses are actually only standing because the dunes inside keep them upright.
There’s something hauntingly beautiful about such a grand place being deserted and slowly being reclaimed by nature.
If you are ever in Namibia and driving somewhere in the South and you are getting kind of close to Luderitz or Aus, do yourself and Instagram the favour. Visit Kolmanskop.
You will love it.
And you will want to become a diamond miner.
That’s all from me reminiscing about my December holiday. I should really start getting back to reality.
Until next time xxx Andy B