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Kolmanskop takes the concept of being a Ghost Town to a whole new level, being an old abandoned mining settlement. Located within the heart of a highly dangerous desert; now harboring the spirits of those who once founded and eventually died within its boundaries.

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Kolmanskop | Namibian Ghost Town

A ghost town in the Namib desert located within southern Namibia. Which itself is located along the southwestern coast of Africa, just Northwest of South Africa. This ghost town is ten kilometers inland from the much larger port town of Lüderitz [Luder-itz].

The whole town of Kolmanskop received its name after a transport driver named Johnny Coleman. Who, during a sandstorm, abandoned his ox wagon on a small incline opposite the settlement. Once a small but very rich mining village, it is now a tourist destination run by the joint firm Namibia-De Beers, which is a diamond company of sorts.


Turn of the Century

The whole settlement really kicked off within the trade market in 1908. When worker Zacharias Lewala finds a diamond while working in this area; showing it to his supervisor, the German railway inspector August Stauch. This discovery is likely the reason for the diamond rush in the local area. German miners began to flood the settlement, and eventually, like much of the imperialist era, the German Empire soon declared a large area of the region as a “Sperrgebiet” [Sperr‧ge‧biet], meaning the Prohibited Area. After this, the German Empire began to exploit the region for its diamond field.

Due to all this attention and wealth that the mines were bringing, the small settlement eventually grew into something greater. Not the greatest conditions for the miners, but that’s not uncommon. The village was built up in the style of a German town, hosting a lot of new and updated amenities. Including a new hospital, ballroom, power station, school, theatre and sports hall, a casino, and an ice factory. The village even had the first x-ray-station within the whole southern hemisphere, as well as the first tramline within Africa. This railway is what actually linked the mining settlement to the port town of Lüderitz.


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World War II

During World War II, however, the whole settlement began to decline, particularly while the diamond mines began to dry up. By the early ’50s, the area was pretty much on its last leg. Many of the town’s inhabitants followed the diamonds, which slowly transitioned further south, leaving Kolmanskop behind. The town was ultimately disbanded in 1956. 


Kolmanskop Today

Kolmanskop is now popular with photographers for the setting of the desert sand retaking the once-thriving town. Due to this, if you visit today, you find buildings with rooms of knee-high sand. However, all of this being said, the location is still settled within the restricted area of the Namib desert; so if you happen to be visiting you’ll need a permit to enter the town proper.


Ghost Stories & Legends

Kolmanskop is a fairly dangerous environment. With extreme heat and natural hazards, several deaths had occurred both in the town and the mines. A lot of the accounts of the paranormal come from residents in nearby towns and settlements. With a few coming from those who visit the isolated ghost town. 

While visiting the town, an eerie sensation of those watching you tends to follow as you explore the town. More specifically, while you’re moving between the buildings as if someone is peeking from around the corner.

A young woman reported an encounter with a floating translucent spirit. She goes on to describe the figure as having European-like features; having fair skin and blonde hair. The sighting was a quick glimpse, as the woman turned back towards the figure, it was gone. 

Secondly, a woman detailing an experience shared with her son; occurring while visiting the town and exploring with a small group. Happening while in the butchery of the town. Where they report hearing the sounds of disembodied voices as if people were going about their day. They also described the smell of blood and meat. 

It is an unspoken law of the land that one does not visit Kolmanskop after dusk. Locals are terrified of the location and primarily avoid it together. This however did not stop some investigations into the ghost town. In fact, much of the paranormal activity mentioned in the podcast comes from a Destination Truth investigation. If you wish to watch the full investigation and experience it for yourself, please feel free to watch here.


Conclusion

 Nonetheless, Kolmanskop it’s an interesting location. It had a rich and fascinating past but would leave just as quickly as it came. Just like gold rush settlements here in the States. The town remains a desolate reminder of times past.




Resources

Kolmanskop – Wikipedia

Kolmanskop – Atlas Obscura

Town’s Main Website




Credits

EP 44 – Kolmanskop | Namibian Ghost Town. Produced by Shane Cummings; Audio Editing & Research by Shane Cummings.
Intro & Outro music “Creepy Regrets” by AnMo.


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