Kolmanskop

About Kolmanskop

The name ‘’Kolmanskop’’ means ‘’Coleman’s Head’’ and although it has become synonymous with diamonds, the town is named after a far less glittering event. The area became known as Coleman’s head after a transport driver by the name of Johnny Coleman abandoned his wagon here during a sandstorm in the late-nineteenth-century.

Location

You’ll find Kolmanskop almost buried in the heart of the Sperregebiet, about 850km from Windhoek, and 10km from Lüderitz.

Brief History

Originally, a train line passed this way, joining Lüderitz with Keetmanshoop and then Windhoek, which is where the story of Kolmanskop begins.

In 1908, a railway worker by the name of Zacherias Lewala was shoveling sand from the tracks when some interesting stones caught his eye. He handed them to his supervisor August Stauch, an avid naturalist and then permanent-way inspector of the railway line.

Stauch took the stones to a mining engineer friend for an appraisal. They were confirmed to be diamonds, and despite Stauch’s attempts to keep his windfall a secret, the race was on. As fast as the rumors of this motherlode spread, prospectors packed up their wagons and headed to the site.

Before long, every available piece of land in the area had been pegged out.

Laborers where muffled up against the sand and sent out to crawl on all fours to scan the sands for more stones every day. They arrived back at their employers with jam jars packed to the brim with gems.

By 1912, Kolmanskop was responsible for over 11 percent of the world’s diamond production.

The prospectors had quickly made themselves at home in this inhospitable place. Grand houses with manicured lawns sprung up out of the desert. The town included a hospital, bowling alley, butcher, baker, post office, ice plant, pub and magnificent opera hall. There was no expense spared and it was rumored that champagne, which arrived by train from Cape Town once a week, was cheaper than water.

It couldn’t last forever. Soon the diamond supply started to dwindle and one by one the prospectors left for greener pastures. The last 3 families left Kolmanskop in 1956. As the people moved out, so the desert moved in. Today this once thriving town lies at the mercy of the sands which are slowly overwhelming it.

Kolmanskop Accommodation

The closest accommodation to Kolmanskop is found at Lüderitz. The town offers a variety of lodgings, from simple backpackers to plush hotels as well as camping facilities.

Lüderitz is a small coastal town that is well equipped to cater for visitors to the Sperregebiet and those who want to take advantage of ocean attractions. You will find ample opportunities for dining as well as picking up supplies, fuel and banking in the area.

Activities

Guided tours of Kolmanskop take place at 9am and 11am on week days and 10am on Sundays and can only be booked on arrival in Lüderitz or at the Kolmanskop entrance. You can join a tour group in town or drive out on your own to join a tour on site.

The guides are well-informed about the history of the town and the lifestyle of the folk who once lived there. It is fascinating to see how this once grand and prosperous town has succumbed to the shifting sands of the Namib.

What to Bring

Good walking shoes, sun protection and drinking water should always be on your packing list for Namibian adventures. Don’t forget your camera.

Getting there

Driving – You can proceed to Lüderitz from Windhoek along the B1. A normal sedan car is perfect for your trip, although you’ll need a 4×4 to venture on the gravel road to Kolmanskop.

By Air – Domestic commercial flights are available from Hosea Kutako Airport in Windhoek to Lüderitz and charter flights depart from Eros airport to land at Lüderitz.

Drop us a mail via our contact us page for more information or to book your trip to the heart of Sperregebiet in Namibia where you will discover the buried town of Kolmanskop.

Disclaimer

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.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Kolmanskop

Fat Bike Tours In Namibia

Fat bike tours in Namibia are a fun and novel way to explore the dunes. Find out where and how to enjoy this awesome activity.

Best Activities In Africa – Part 2

There are enough things to do in Africa to keep you busy for a lifetime. Discover more of these exciting pastimes in part 2 of our series on activities in Africa.

5 Reasons You’ll Always Remember Your Trip To Damaraland

There’s more to Damaraland than first meets the eye. Find out why this harsh environment is one of the most memorable places to visit in Namibia.

Best Activities In Africa – Part 1

The best activities in Africa include a broad variety of adventures and experiences that make the most of the continent’s natural beauty. Find out more here.

African Lions, Africa’s Most Iconic Species

African lions are always on the safari wish list when visiting Africa. Find out more about the King of Beasts & where to see them here.

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park – Classic Kalahari Experiences

The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is a vast and fascinating wilderness shared between Botswana and South Africa. Here’s why you need to visit this amazing area soon.

Reasons To Visit The Living Museum Of The Damara

Are you planning a trip to Twyfelfontein in Namibia? Here’s why you shouldn’t’ miss the Living Museum of the Damara while you’re there.

Welwitschia Plains Scenic Drive

Namibia abounds with unusually beautiful scenes. Here’s why you should make your way along the Welwitschia Plains Scenic Drive near Swakopmund for amazing views.

The Unique Perspective Of Living Museums In Africa

The living museums of the world offer a unique perspective on history and culture. Discover more about these fascinating places, here.

The Ultimate List Of Reasons To Visit The Fish River Canyon

Are you considering a trip to the Fish River Canyon? That’s a great idea! Find out why here.

Arebbusch Market

SOUVENIRS, BIRTHDAY OR ANNIVERSARY GIFTS & MORE!