It is in the south of Namibia and its name is Kolmanskop. It is an old mining town from the German colonial era. What is special about it? It is the city that disappears under the sand. The Kalahari Desert is erasing it from the map. Only half a century has passed since the last of its inhabitants left there.
Kolmanskop was a diamond mine. At the beginning of the 20th century, diamond fever broke out in that German colony. Between 1908 and 1910, most of the luxurious houses were built for executives of the extraction company. The kitchen tiles were from Bremen; the ovens, from the Senking factory. The furniture came from the best European factories. By 1920, 300 whites and 800 black workers lived in Kolmanskop.
In 1927, geologists discovered new and larger diamond deposits about 250 kilometers to the south. It was near the border between Namibia and South Africa. Little by little, mining activity moved there and Kolmanskop began to languish. In 1956 the military hospital and the train station closed and the last inhabitants moved to Lüderitz.
Then the wind did its work without resistance. The dunes of the Kalahari now live where man once did. It is in the luxurious mansions of great businessmen. One and a half meters of sand on the buildings. Sand that seems to match the pastel tones of the original paint on the walls. The hospital seems designed by a cinematographer to film an appearance. In the building most photographed by tourists now, sand fills the rooms up to the ceiling,
In 1990 the place was opened as a tourist attraction, with the acquiescence of many descendants of the former employees. The Kolmanskop of his childhood, which was once “the richest city in the world,” was reborn from its ashes. And he had a new life again. Of course, with sand as the main inhabitant. In another 50 or 60 years this new owner will have buried forever the dream of the city that disappears under the sand… forever.