Kolmanskop is Namibia's most famous ghost town and is situated in the Sperrgebiet, or ‘forbidden territory’. In 1908, a railway worker found a sparkling stone amongst the sand he was shoveling away from the railway line, and when this was confirmed as a raw diamond the news spread like wildfire, sparking a huge, frantic diamond rush and causing fortune hunters to converge in droves on Kolmanskop. The town developed rapidly, becoming a busy, wealthy, mining town in the middle of the harsh environment of the Namib Desert. Large, elegant houses were built and it soon resembled a contemporary German town, complete with an impressive array of amenities including; a hospital (with the first x-ray facilities in the southern hemisphere), ballroom, power station, school, theatre and sports hall, casino, and ice factory. Unfortunately for Kolmanskop and it's inhabitants, richer diamond deposits were discovered further south, and operations were moved to Oranjemund. Within a span of 40 years Kolmanskop lived, flourished and died. Today the ghost town's crumbling ruins bear little resemblance to its former glory. The stately homes have been nearly demolished by the wind, and are gradually becoming enveloped by encroaching sand dunes. We obtained permits to enter the site and photograph the eerie, deserted buildings, that were once so grand. We hope you enjoy the images.
© Robin Williams Photography