The most advanced in the continent
The wealth from the diamonds brought with it many advances. An X-ray system was even sent from Germany to Kolmanskop, although not for medical purposes. It was a security measure to make sure that miners couldn’t steal the precious stones.
In a short time, this mining village became the richest town in Africa and had all modern comforts: a school, hospital, casino, dance hall, etc. Real German-style mansions were built for the over 700 families that lived there. Money was no obstacle. Until the First World War, Kolmanskop was where the South-Western Diamond Industry was based. The workers received high salaries and enjoyed social benefits. Every morning blocks of ice were delivered to keep the food and drinks cool, and the buildings were protected so that the strong winds wouldn’t ‘flood’ the area with sand.
It all ended in the mid-1950s, when the massive extraction finished off the supply of diamonds and all the inhabitants abandoned the town. The miners moved to Oranjemund, around 400 kilometres to the south, where they began new excavations. Since then, Kolmanskop has become a ghost town buried by sand. The desert has reclaimed the space that the large stone mansions used to occupy, and nowadays the dance halls are small indoor dunes. Today, Kolmanskop is owned by the company Namdeb and receives thousands of visits thanks to the fame that its houses buried in sand have acquired.