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This early 20th century colonial town in Namibia is being swallowed up by sand dunes

Kolmanskop ghost town Namibia

As unlikely as it may sound, the relics of a German colonial town can still be found amongst the swirling winds and severe sandstorms of the Namibian desert.

Kolmanskop ghost town Namibia 2
Flickr: gaftels

Kolmanskop was founded in 1908 after a railway worker named Zacharias Lewala stumbled across a diamond in the rough while clearing sand away from the train tracks. After the authenticity of the precious stone was confirmed, the news spread quickly and within a few years, hundreds of German prospectors had set up camp in the area, building a school, hospital, theatre, bowling alley, ice factory and the first ever X-ray station to be constructed in the southern hemisphere.

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Kolmanskop ghost town Namibia
Flickr: Michiel Van Balen

However, the 1920s saw diamond prices fall in the wake of WWI and the Great Depression, while the discovery of more diamond-rich territory further south signalled the beginning of Kolmanskop’s demise. By 1954, the town had become completely abandoned and left to the whim of the unforgiving elements.

Kolmanskop ghost town Namibia
Flickr: Tee La Rosa

More than 50 years on, it currently bears little resemblance to its former glory, with sandstorms having ravaged the majority of the buildings. However, the desolation and eeriness of the locale has made it a popular tourist attraction in recent years.

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Kolmanskop ghost town Namibia
Flickr: Michiel Van Balen

For those wishing to see authentic German colonial architecture half-buried under mountainous sand dunes in the middle of a scorching desert, Kolmanskop represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

See more photos on page 2.

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