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KOLMANSKOP GHOST TOWN NAMIBIA. Abandoned mining town at the edge of the Sperrgebiet about 10km east of Luderitz


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Kolmanskop Ghost Town Namibia

Abandoned mining town at the edge of the Sperrgebiet about 10km east of Luderitz



You'll drive past Kolmanskop  on your way to Luderitz. It lies about 10km inland on the South side of the road, nearly opposite the small Luderitz Airport. I strongly recommend you pay a visit as this is where an important part of Namibia's commercial history was played out, but first:


Coleman's Kop or Kolmanskop - What's in a name ?:

The road outside of Luderitz is, at certain times of the year, plagued with high winds and sandstorms. There are occasions when the road becomes unusable owing to the depth of sand coverage. The accumulated sand then has to be removed with large mechanized loading shovels. It was in 1905 that transport driver Johnny Coleman was caught in such a storm and had to abandon his oxen wagon near a rocky outcrop about 10km outside of Luderitz. The place was referred to as Coleman's kop Kolmanskop or Kolmanskuppe (Kop meaning a hill or rocky outcrop). Kolman being the German way of spelling Johnny's name.


Kolmanskop Ghost Town

Entrance gate to Ghost Town Tours

The desert site of the abandoned town

View of Ghost Town from the B4 road


Kolmanskop Ghost Town Tours:

Tours of the town can only be done with Ghost Town Tours and commence at 09:00 and 11:00 Mondays to Fridays. The muster point is at the mine's old Entertainment Centre Building, which now serves as the tour company offices where you buy your tour-ticket, plus coffee bar, curio shop and even a shop where you can buy diamonds. They tell me that they are cheaper here, but as I wasn't in the market for buying diamonds that particular day, I can't really pass a comment. In the 'good old days' this building housed a gymnasium, a theatre, a skittle alley, a casino etc. all adding to the quality of life for the miners and their families, but those days have long gone. I have to give credit to those old miners. Look at the springboard in the below gymnasium photo. It's powered by a couple of truck springs, for a guaranteed lift.
The old gymnasium

The gymnasium

Skittle Alley

Skittle Alley

OLd Entertainment Centre. Now Tour Office.

The 'Old Entertainment Centre'

General Location of Kolmanskop

Karas Region

26º42'S - 15º14'E

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Getting Here

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 No  Scheduled Air

 No  Scheduled Bus

 No  Scheduled Rail

What to See

Luderitz Map

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Diaz Cross

Kolmanskop Tour

Of Interest

Adolf Lüderitz

Bartholomew Diaz

Sports Fishing

Fishing Act 27

Tide Table

Services 4U







The old houses of Kolmanskop have long ago been abandoned to the desert ands stand as a silent testament to the grand lifestyle that the staff were accustomed to living in this remote, dry and wind-swept place. Life for the diamond diggers in the desert was made as comfortable as possible. One has to consider as to how many homes in Europe and America had 'refrigeration' facilities in those far off years. Each house came equipped with a 'cooler cabinet' for storing food. Narrow gauge rail mounted cars pulled by horses transported the people around the town and made daily deliveries of drinking water and ice to every house.

Warning sign "Entry of buildings it at own risk"



Sand 'devouring' a house Sand creeping into a room The old rail track Derelict House Derelict House 2


The lifespan of the town was miniscule in geological terms. The sand-sea of the South Namib Desert moves relentlessly Northwards and eventually will completely cover the site on which the town stood. Presently, it affords us an opportunity to snap some unusual and memorable photographs. But, and please take note of this warning - be careful where you walk. Some of the floors in the buildings are not too safe.


The Kolmanskop  Museum:  This will give you a fascinating history lesson on the diamond fields of the area during the early part of the last Century, and the diamond rush of 1908. There's a yard with a variety of equipment that was used by the early diggers for sorting the diamonds from the sands.

Warning:  If you wander across the fence into Diamond Area no 1 you are liable for prosecution.


Acknowledgements and further reading:  H3, H5, M4, P1     

Warning sign "Entry of buildings it at own risk"



Warning Sign "Sperrgebiet" Restricted Diamond Area


Restricted Area


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