Exploring the historical ghost town of Kolmanskop just outside of Luderitz in Namibia - a photographic mecca in the middle of the Namib Desert.
Imagine being able to walk out of your front door on a clear day, walk for a metre or two and simply bend down and pick up a few diamonds and then walk back into town and use these to pay for your ice, milk and daily groceries. This scene was once a reality at one of Namibia's most interesting attractions, the Kolmanskop Ghost Town.
Located just 12 kilometres (7.5 miles) outside of the town of Luderitz, [link to Luderitz article] almost opposite the Luderitz airport, one will find the incredible sight of Kolmanskop Ghost Town. Once home to over 1 200 people, around 700 families, Kolmanskop's story is one of incredible wealth, prosperity and sudden decline.
In just over 40 years, the town, complete with a ballroom, theatre, hospital, casino, school and bakery, was built, processed over 1 000 kilograms (2 204 pounds) of diamonds and was then deserted.
A visit to Kolmanskop provides an eerie understanding of how the desert slowly but surely reclaims all that is built in it. The sand creeps into every space, breaking down and absorbing bricks, metal and plaster, creeping across floors and through doorways, finding its way into every space as if it was liquid. The result is an incredible historical sight and an awesome photographic destination.
Visitors can take a guided tour about the ghost town or explore it on their own esteem. In order to visit you will need to purchase a permit in Luderitz and show this permit to the guard when you enter the gate.
Spend time walking through knee high sand learning about the miners and their families' way of life. Learn how the town governing structure worked and how each family received daily allowances of conveniences such as ice and soda water, all of which was delivered to each household by the tram.
Experience the prickle of hair standing up on end as you walk through a falling apart house and listen as the spooky tales of past inhabitants lives and deaths are told.
If you arrive early enough you will be able to see where the wild Brown Hyenas have wandered the night before, and tracks through the sand will indicate that the ghost town has many more creatures living in it than is apparent, including a variety of creepy crawlies and wriggling insects.
Kolmanskop is an incredible experience and is a highly recommended excursion when exploring southern Namibia. Plan to spend at least 2 - 3 hours here, especially if you are an avid photographer, as every turn and step reveals a new photographic opportunity.