While many are digging out from under snow this season, there’s one town that could use a sand plow: Kolmanskop. During the diamond-rush days in the early 1900s, the town in the Namibian desert was the place to be. But by 1954, when the diamonds dried up, the town was abandoned and the tumbleweeds rolled in with the sand–lots and lots of sand. The desert’s relentless, unchecked reclamation of Kolmanskop has made the gritty ghost town popular with tourists and movie location scouts, who often cast it as a post-apocalyptic landscape. It has been featured many times on the large and small screen, including in the documentary series “Life After People.” Check out this eerie village of the sand below.
Nearly all the buildings that are still standing are filled to bursting from the unchecked march of the desert. Many others have already burst, collapsed, and faded into the sands. Image via WikiCommons
Perhaps fittingly, or prophetically, the town’s name is a by-product of wind-blown sand. Its name comes from Johnny Coleman, a transport driver who abandoned his ox team nearby during a bad sand storm. Image by Calipis96
At its peak in 1920, about 1,200 people lived at Kolmanskop, including about 700 families.
Image via WikiCommons
It’s hard to imagine now, but this town once boasted a tram, power station, hospital, school, theater, casino, ballroom, and ice factory. Image by Damien du Toit
Some building have been restored and there is a small museum and guided tours available at the site. Image via WikiCommons
The town is located inside a restricted diamond mining area, so all visitors much first obtain a permit. Image by Damien du Toit
The ghost town was the subject of an episode of the ghost hunting series “Destination Truth.” No ghosts were found, however. Image by Damien du Toit
There are two guided tours here each morning Monday through Saturday and one on Sundays. Image by Damien du Toit