Kolmanskop Ghost Town

Namibia sits in southwestern Africa, with South Africa to its south and Angola to the north. Its western edge is entirely bordered by the Atlantic Ocean while its eastern edge is bordered by Botswana and parts of South Africa. Along its southern coast is the town of Lüdertiz, the only town of any consequence for hundreds of miles in any direction.

Just to its east is the ghost town of Kolmanskop, a diamond mining boomtown that has been vacant since the late 1950s. Today, it is owned by Namdeb, a joint business venture between the Namibian government and the De Beers company, established to benefit both entities from the mining of diamonds in Namibia.

The sands of the Namib Desert have been reclaiming Kolmanskop for the last half century. Those sands have found their way into many of the buildings through long-broken windows and doors where they’ve piled up in surreal formations. Visitors are allowed into Kolmanskop and I scrambled about its ruins one afternoon recently, hoping to capture the eerie strangeness with my camera.