In the 1890’s a virus called ” rinderpest.”  infested southern Africa.

It killed more than 5.2 million cattle south of the Zambezi,[2] as well as domestic oxen, sheep, and goats, and wild populations of buffalogiraffe, and wildebeest. This led to starvation resulting in the death of an estimated third of the human population of Ethiopia and two-thirds of the Maasai people of Tanzania.

Namibia had been claimed by the German Empire as its colony. To prevent any diamond mining on Germany’s claimed land they decided to build a railroad from the port they claimed ” Swakopmund” onto their claim inland.

In 1908  Zacharias Lewala was overseeing the railroad for the German Empire when he discovered a diamond rather close to the surface – therefore easy for anyone to find. So the Germans surrounded the area with military persons and the mining town of  Kolmanskop Namibia was born.

The area was soon transformed into a fully functional German town with a hospital, a ballroom, power station, school, theatre, sport-hall, casino, ice factory, 4-lane bowling alley, more uniquely the town even had a furniture factory, swimming pool, butcher, bakery, the first x-ray station in the southern hemisphere as well as the first tram in Africa. This town was of course off limits to the Namibian people.

Abandoned in 1954 when the mines ran dry. The town was purchased by the De Beers Company, a UK owned company and the largest diamond mining company in the world, bought the town in 1980.

Now, for a fee, tourists can visit what has been labeled by the company as the best ghost town in Africa.

But is it? Let explore Africa’s ghost towns.

To see pictures of Kolmanskop click here