Kolmanskop, Namibia

ghost town


Hot desert wind sweeps the sand in front of him. Get trapped in the shed, the gutted Wilhelminian mansions, the workers' houses. He crawls down the long corridor of the hospital, into the waiting room. A gust pushes up a blind window. It's over.

August is trackmaster at Grasplatz , a small station in the middle of the desert. Not much happens here: three years now the new railway line leads to the coast to Lüderitz, and for a year now he has been the director here. Above all, August and his employees have a job: shoveling the sand off the tracks. The damn sand. He is constantly blown back by the persistent wind. A shit job.

"That's what I imagined differently," he thinks every morning when he wakes up and looks at his track section. It sounded adventurous when he got the offer to go to Africa at home in Thuringia. The desert climate would also be good for his asthma. And that's not bad for the CV, they say. And now he's sitting here in the pampa, and the sand and the heat and boredom are wearing down his synapses.

Grasplatz, a railway station about 50 kilometers east of Lüderitz, Namibia . Photo of Anagoria

Zacharias, one of his co-workers, knocks. "Mr. Stauch, look what I found on the tracks." He hands August a small sparkling stone.

It is a diamond.

We write April 14, 1908, in German Southwest Africa . The beginning of a big diamond noise.

A few years later, the Kolmannskuppe diamond prospecting camp is the richest city in Africa after income per capita: the several hundred inhabitants have many amenities in the middle of the desert, such as a lemonade and ice cream factory, elementary school, police station and post office, a bowling alley and a Casino, gymnasium, dance hall and theater. And a patient with the first X-ray machine in southern Africa!

August Stauch is a rich man. For a long time now he is no longer a railway master but an entrepreneur. In the general store, the inhabitants pay with carats, not with marks.

Then the First World War breaks out. The Germans surrender. South African companies continue to mine, but the resources are soon exploited. The last inhabitants leave the desolate place that was once so alive.

Hot desert wind sweeps the sand in front of him. Get trapped in the shed, the gutted Wilhelminian mansions, the workers' houses. He crawls down the long corridor of the hospital, into the waiting room. A gust pushes up a blind window. It's over.

The sand has won.

Many thanks to Gondwana Collection for the invitation to Namibia. aus besichtigen. Kolmannskuppe is easy to visit from Lüderitz or from Aus .

  1. Fantastic! Photos, text, everything.

  2. Wolfgang Käseler via Facebook

    August is the foreman? Guess that's a providence ... uh ... an oversight! ;-)
    By the way, great photos! May I ask what they were used for?

  3. Wolfgang Käseler via Facebook

    Aha. Yes, the video is also very cool! ;-)

  4. A different kind of lost place, beautifully presented in textual style!

    Great photos and the video of the Kolmannskuppe is super cut and reworked!

  5. Nice text. Insanely many photos. On one you have even surprised a ghost. Funny that they wear star cloths in Namibia ...

  6. I did not know that there are still living Kolmannkopperinnen ...... .. and even so pretty ..
    I hope you took her right away ... ..
    Dusty place, the whole thing. When we were in Lüderitz 10 years ago, we found the place pronounced
    shabby and run-down. In addition, a nasty sandstorm blew the sand everywhere
    where you did not want him. The fish in the restaurant was also dry, bah. slept
    we also bad, and the breakfast was poplig. We were not on the road with Gondwana.
    But your photos are very beautiful, thank goodness you have omitted Lüderitz.
    Lovely wishes

    • Yes, I've plugged :) In Lüderitz we were too, but it was a terrible wind, and the food was not good ... so like you. : D

  7. Super nice photos and really great blog! I really enjoy browsing here! :)

  8. This brings back memories .... I spent my first 5 years in Kolmanskuppe. The houses were still almost all inhabited, we have still shopped in the shop and the mine was still in full swing ... Yes, there was still something going on here. There was a lot of dancing and dancing on the weekends, and there was a kid and a cone. As a transport driver my father was traveling a lot, to Oranjemund or Cape Town. A wonderful time! We slipped down the dunes, or played in the pool. When bowling, we children should put the cones back, and yes ... there are still the same cones .. because the mine was closed, shortly after we moved to Lüderitzbucht! Thank you for the beautiful photos!!

    • Hello dear Isa, that's great! Thank you for your comment. May I ask when you lived there?

      Greetings, Johannes

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  10. nice pictures, and have you also gebuddelt ??
    Greetings from Kenya

    • Johannes Klaus

      Since I'm never lucky, I'll leave the same;)

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  13. Insanely impressive pictures! I can not get enough of it. Wow!

  14. So great pictures! That was missing on my last trip through Namibia ... But hopefully there will be a next time.

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  16. Great pictures! I was inspired by myself a few days ago. The abandoned town has something! Have many similar photos shot. Great motives.

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