Kolmanskop, Namibia

I was wondering why I felt so at home in these buildings and then realized that they reminded me of where I live, the same carpentry work on the doors, similar wood panelling and hinges. The only difference being that one site is in south west Namibia and the other is in Gdansk, Poland.

a ghostly reminder of a time past

the sand has smothered much of the building

view from the window

Both places were built under Germanic influence, the former being a German colony at the time, and the latter still being in the German empire at the beginning of the 20th century.

Still, it is quite an uncanny experience to walk through rooms similar to the ones you live in at home, but with sand two thirds of the way up the walls and in a totally abandoned environment surrounded by quiet emptiness and arid heat.

ghost town

Kolmanskop was a diamond mining town for nearly fifty years after a diamond was discovered there by a local man in 1908 leading to a ‚diamond rush‘.

Soon after, a school, hospital , theatre, casino, ice factory were built and by the 1920’s hundreds of German families had moved to the colony to join in the diamond rush.

Fresh water, however (according to another blog “Off 2 Africa” I read) had to be transported all the way from Cape Town in South Africa and therefore cost more per lire than champagne….

Over time the fields became exhausted and the boom came to a slow end. By the mid 50’s the town was left to nature, which has been taking over ever since.

Gdansk banister...

Kolmanskop banister

recognize the similarity in the last two photos? the top one is in our building in Gansk, the other is in Kolmanskop.

you need to duck to get out

diamond rush if over..

old electric sockets

electric meter

I am sure if I looked in the basement of our building here I would find something like the last two appliances. After all this building dates back to the 1920’s.

I like that bathroom 🙂

The ‚ghost‘ town is now a photographer’s dream, though the sand is claiming it back, fast, so this is the time to visit. More than a few interior decorators could learn from some of the colours and patterns used on the walls here.



Filed under Namibia, Travel

2 responses to “Kolmanskop, Namibia

  1. ania Regan Olsen

    what a surrealistic experience !!! knew I recognized that bannister, incredible similarities. I didn’t know it had been a German colony. One learns everyday !!!

    • Yes, Namibia was known as German South-West Africa at the beginning of the 20th century (from 1884 till 1915 if I am not mistaken).
      It was then more or less occupied by South Africa until 1990, when Namibia finally gained full independence.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s