Kolmanskop ghost town, the remains of diamond fever, is being retaken by the desert

The Ghost Town Being Swallowed by Sand

The Ghost Town Being Swallowed by Sand

Atlas Obscura
Your Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
June 7 2013 12:00 PM

Kolmanskop Is Being Buried by the Desert

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People flocked to what became known as Kolmanskop, Namibia, after the discovery of diamonds in the area in 1908. As people arrived with high hopes, houses and other key buildings were built. The new town, which was German-influenced, saw the construction of ballrooms, casinos, theaters, ice factories, and hospitals, as well as the first X-ray station in the southern hemisphere.

Prior to World War I, over 2,000 pounds of diamonds were sifted from the sands of the Namib desert. During the war, however, the price of diamonds dropped considerably. On top of this, larger diamonds were later found south of Kolmanskop, in Oranjemund. People picked up and chased after the precious stones. By 1956, the town was completely abandoned.


Today, the eerie ghost town is a popular tourist destination. Guided tours take visitors around the town and through the houses which, today, are filled only with sand.

More photos of Kolmanskop can be seen on Atlas Obscura.

Disappearing under the desert: