Once a thriving mining town, is now slowly being reclaimed by the Namib desert. A town with a short life span of barely 50 years, was home to a very wealthy population as diamonds could be found everywhere waiting to be picked. Feel close to the lives of the people who lived here a longtime ago, yet have left their mark fading in time.
Johnny Coleman abandoned his ox wagon on a small incline opposite the settlement during a sand storm and the place was named after him as Kolmannskuppe in German to mean Coleman's hill when translated.
Zacharias Lewala, in 1908 found a diamond while working in this area and showed it to his supervisor, the German railway inspector August Stauch. Realising the potential of the area, German miners began settlement. The German government helped the residents build a village in the architectural style of a German town. The town had amenities including a hospital, a ballroom, power station, theatre and sport-hall, casino, school, skittle-alley, ice factory and the first x-ray-station in the southern hemisphere including the first tram in Africa.
The town's decline started after the World War I, when the diamond-field slowly started to deplete. Discovery of the richest diamond-bearing deposits on the beach terraces 270km south of Kolmanskop, near the Orange River was the final blow to the decline of Kolmanskop. Many of the town’s inhabitants headed south to join the rush, leaving their homes and possessions behind. The town was finally abandoned in 1954.
Goerke Haus - A romantic love story, an unexpected jewel in the middle of the desert is a total contrast to the dry surroundings. The well maintained, and typically beautiful German architecture on exhibit is worth the visit and a highlight to the trip.
Diaz Point - Bartolomeu Dias reached the mouth of the Orange River, where a storm blew his ship to what is know today as the Cape of Good Hope in 1488, and raised a true Portuguese style padrao, which remained intact until the early 19th century. A replica was unveiled on the 25th July 1988 as part of the 500th anniversary of the Dias landing.
Felsenkirche - Standing proud on the Diamond hill, this prominent Evangelical Lutheran church has amazing views of the town and the waters beyond. The brilliant stained-glass panel positioned over the altar was donated by Kaiser Wilhelm II, while the Bible was a gift from his wife.
Bogenfels Rock Arch - Nestled in a restricted diamond-mining area, in the coastal Namib Desert is this breath-taking location noted for the natural rock formations.
The best time to visit Kolmanskop is from June to September, i.e. the winter months. Most days are bright and sunny.
The least popular time to visit is between the end of December and mid-February as there are some severe storms and ferocious winds.
Located just 12 kilometres (7.5 miles) outside of the town of Luderitz, almost opposite the Luderitz airport (10 kilometres inland from the port town) is the Kolmanskop Ghost Town.