A surreal and picturesque experience
Kolmanskop in Namibia is an utterly fascinating place, devoid of human life but full of opportunities to marvel at the power of nature.
This once thriving mining town now lies abandoned to the relentless winds and sands of the Namib Desert, which have reigned here for over 55 million years.
Keep reading to find out what makes this lifeless destination such a spirited place to see during your stay in Lüderitz.
- Discover Namibian History
You will need to buy a permit to enter Kolmanskop, but these are easily attained at the Lüderitz Safari and Tours offices in Lüderitz or at the gate.
There are four types of ticket permits available and it’s worth noting that non-commercial photos can be taken using any of the four permits, while the photo permit allows for early/extended entrance:
- Photo Permit
This allows you to enjoy an extended stay at the site. You can enter the town just before sunrise and leave shortly after sunset. It includes a 9:30 am guided tour of the town.
- Adult Permit
With an adult pass, you can stay in the town between 9 am and 1 pm. The adult permit includes a guided tour which you can take at either 9:30 or 11 am.
- Child Permit
The only difference between the adult and child permit is the price.
- Special Permits
These permits allow you to book tours outside of the usual times. These additional tour times are 8 or 8:30 am, 2 pm and 3 pm and you must book them well in advance.
The reason for including a tour in each permit is that you can’t appreciate the full experience of Kolmanskop without knowing its incredible backstory.
The tour gives you insights into Kolmanskop that will enrich your experience beyond simply admiring the dramatic scenes before you, and expert tour guides can answer your questions about minute details and provide information that you won’t find anywhere else.
- Ponder the Passing of Time
Kolmanskop receives only around 35 000 visitors a year, which isn’t a great deal in the grand scheme of things. That means you’ll have plenty of opportunity to absorb solitude and reflection before or after your town tour.
Amid the vast dunes that engulf the town, you’re sure to find a secluded spot where you can take in the views in solitude and wonder about the people who have gone before you.
Let your imagination run wild trying to picture the bustle of a thriving town in its heyday, where wealthy individuals bided their time while destitute laborers toiled to unearth riches from the unforgiving clutches of the Namib.
You might wonder whether any of those who met their end under this merciless sun still inhabit the shadows of these ghostly spaces, or if the winds have swept all memory of them from this desolate place.
Kolmanskop is a good place to gain perspective on the magnitude of humanity in the scheme of things.
- Marvel at the Resilience of Mankind
As you walk among this once thriving town, the slow-moving might of the Namib is clearly apparent in the way it’s simply flowed over, through and around everything in its path, slowly eroding all traces of habitation.
You’ll surely spend a moment or two reflecting on how a simple thing like sand can have so much power.
You might also be struck by the innovative natures of those who once thrived in this desolate place, wanting for nothing in the barren wilderness.
At its peak, champagne flowed freely in Kolmanskop, the shops were packed with luxury goods, lawns sprouted from now barren gardens, and no resident lacked water, or ice to keep them cool under the desert sun.
Thanks to the now-abandoned railroad that once passed this way, every item necessary to maintain their lifestyles travelled from elsewhere. It’s hard to believe that this town, located where no town should be, once produced 11% of the world’s diamonds.
If it weren’t for the efforts of Kolmanskop’s custodians, there might be no trace of the town, abandoned in 1954, left at all.
Yet despite the advancement of time, the Namib has slowly claimed back the land that ultimately belongs to it. Now tiny desert creatures are the only things living their best life among the ruins of a once highly refined society.
- Capture the Essence of Abandonment
Regardless of your photographic skills, no trip to Kolmanskop is complete without taking as many photographs as possible and no two photographs captured here are the same.
The desert is an excellent place to shoot dramatic photographs, even without an abandoned town to emphasize the beauty of the sands, and you’ll surely want to look back to appreciate the stark beauty of this place long after you’ve left.
The soft light of dawn and dusk are perfect for capturing the play of shadow against the sand and flaxen walls of Kolmanskop’s buildings. At these times of day, there are fewer people around, allowing you free reign to fully capture the essence of abandonment in Kolmanskop.
Make the Most of Your Day at Kolmanskop in Namibia
You’ll spend most of your time walking around among the buildings during your visit to Kolmanskop, but you’ll also find opportunities for rest and refreshment.
The onsite coffee shop is open from 9 am to 1 pm to see to your needs. Here you can look forward to enjoying a simple menu of well-prepared breakfast and lunch dishes as well as delicious pastries and ice-cold soft drinks.
There’s also a museum on site where you’ll discover more insights into the life and times of Kolmanskop.
If you don’t want to spend all day at Kolmanskop, Lüderitz is a quick drive away, along the B4. Here you can enjoy boat tours, trips to see the wild horses of Aus, or dining in outstanding seafood restaurants.
Get Your Adventures Underway
Most trips to Namibia begin when you jet into Windhoek, ready for adventure. Get your trip off on the right foot by booking your accommodation at Arebbusch Travel Lodge, where you can enjoy fine hospitality, excellent fare, and tranquil surroundings.
Start planning your trip by browsing our travel guide and book your accommodation now.
Please Note: The details shared herein were correct at the time of publishing. However, with time some of this information may change. We recommend confirming information with suppliers prior to making final travel arrangements. If you do happen to find an issue with any information we’ve shared here, please feel free to contact us so that we can make the relevant changes.