Kolmanskop Ghost Town

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If you are one of those hardy souls willing to take on a trek across the barrenness of Africa's Namibian desert, you might come across the long abandoned town of Kolmanskop.

There's an intriguing history to this town. In 1908 diamonds were discovered in the area, some claimed they could even be found at night, sparkling in the moonlight amongst the grains of sand. When the news of this discovery broke, people (a lot of them being german miners) flocked to the area and began settling the town.

Numerous businesses sprang up; a power plant, bowling alley, an ice factory....Wait, what! an ice factory in the middle of the desert?! (I can see why the town needed a power plant). The town also had a hospital, which had acquired Africa's first x-ray machine. Normally x-ray machines are used for medical purposes. However, the primary role of this particular x-ray machine was to catch miners in the act of stealing diamonds, to see if they had swallowed them.

Swallowing diamonds? Ouch! That had to be painful going in and coming out. Not to mention what that might do to the insides. How desperate (or crazy) does a person have to be to resort to appropriating rough-edged stones via a human gastrointestinal tract?

At the height of the town's heyday, which had been reached before World War I, the amount of the diamonds mined from the sand was over 2,000 pounds. But when the price of diamonds dropped and the supplies were becoming scarce, one by one the miners packed up and moved away, presumably to greener pastures. By 1956 the town was abandoned and left to the elements.

Where there was once the sound of voices there is now the mournful howl of the wind and the faint hissing sound of the sand as the swirling wind current sifts it into every crack, crevice, or opening of those empty buildings. As the years pass by, the drifts of sand gain in size and it is predicted that someday the town will be completely buried.

So there may come the day when that hardy soul willing to brave the trek across the Namibian desert stumbles across an object sticking out of the sand. Further exploration might reveal first a rooftop and then, after much digging, an entire town that has been completely buried by the sands of time.

But today the abandoned town of Kolmanskop is still visible and able to give testimony to the force of the sand. With the wind giving it a push, the sand can creep in everywhere! Just be aware that any glittering stones spotted amongst those fine grains are not intended or recommended for human consumption.

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