See photographic memories of a famous ghost town
Kolmanskop, 10 km east of Lüderitz, is one of Namibia’s top photographic destinations. Charge your camera battery and lose yourself in this sand-covered slice of history.
In 1908, a labourer named Zacharias Lewala found a shiny stone near the Lüderitz railway. He showed it to his supervisor, August Stauch, who knew a diamond when he saw one. Stauch was soon a millionaire, and the new town of Kolmanskop boomed during the ensuing diamond rush.
During its heyday, Kolmanskop had beautiful homes, a theatre, a school, a hospital – and even a casino. It’s also where southern Africa’s very first X-ray machine was used. Not to check for broken bones, mind you. It was used to scan for smuggled diamonds!
When a bigger, much richer diamond field was discovered further south at Oranjemund, Kolmanskop’s flame was snuffed out.
These days, the ghost town is an incredible photographic destination. Where else can you take pictures of grand old homes half-filled with sand? It’s a unique place full of light and shadow, where photographers can express their creativity through endless compositions and textures.
Kolmanskop is a monument to mankind’s madness, but the empty door frames, quiet stairways, graffiti, cobwebs and peeling walls are also there to remind us of the real people who once called this place home.
It’s called a ghost town because it’s deserted, but it’s also a real ghost town. Don’t believe me? Just wait for a chilly, misty desert wind to grip you by the chest as you peek around a corner in one of the abandoned houses… Guided tours take place daily at 9.30 am and 11 am (Sundays 10 am). Cost: R60 per person for a permit, available at Lüderitz Safaris & Tours in Bismarck Street. If you’d like to photograph Kolmanskop at sunrise, you need a special photographer’s permit, which costs R220. GPS: S26.70172 E15.23209 Contact: 00 264 63 202 719; firstname.lastname@example.org
Bring on the ghosts