Kolmanskop Ghost Town in Namibia
The ghost town of Kolmanskop, also known as Coleman’s Hill, was not always the lifeless little town that it is today. In the early decades of the 1900s, Kolmanskop was actually a base for a highly profitable and successful diamond mining operation that was ran by Germans. In 1908, a worker named Zacharias Lewala found a diamond that he presented to his supervisor August Stauch who soon realized the fact that the entire area was teeming with precious stones.
Consequently, many German miners soon moved to the area and started working in the mines, while the German government declared the town a Sperrgebiet, which means “prohibited area”. As the mining operation thrived, the working miners needed some decent accommodation options, and so they started building a small village following the design cues of a German town. This village featured all the necessary facilities and amenities that one could find in any ordinary modern city, including a power station, a ballroom, a hospital, a school, a theatre, a casino, a sports-hall, an ice factory and even an x-ray-station, which was the first one to be built in the southern hemisphere at the time. Furthermore, the miners also constructed the first tram in Africa, its railway being connected to the nearby harbor town of Lüderitz.
As far as its name is concerned, the town is called Kolmanskop after a transport driver named Johnny Coleman, who apparently abandoned his ox wagon near the town’s borders during a fierce sand storm.
Just after World War I, the diamond reserves slowly began to run out, which eventually lead to the abandonment of the settlement in 1954. Nowadays, Kolmanskop is highly popular with tourists and photographers, but since the site is still a restricted area to this day, visitors require a special permit in order to enter the town.