Image: Kolmanskop –

In Namibia, Kolmanskop, a town formerly run by German settlers, has been abandoned since 1958. Today, tourists visit the deserted streets to discover its history.

In the south of the Namib Desert (Namibia), Kolmanskop, a ghost town, abandoned more than 60 years ago, is still standing. The last inhabitants left in 1958 and now only a few tourists venture into the town. “It’s amazing, seeing all the sand that has invaded the place,” assures one woman. “I thought there were ghosts here, I wanted to see this and know all the history of this place,” said a teenager.

Namibians killed and exploited during colonization

The town was founded in 1908 by diamond-hunting settlers. “It was the diamond capital, a boom town, run by the Germans. They collected diamonds for 50 years, then found bigger ones elsewhere,” says Janie Thompson, a guide in Kolmanskop for the past 10 years. This township was one of the richest in the world in the early 20th century. Namibians never enjoyed this luxury: thousands were killed and exploited during colonization. Diamond mines are still active in the area.