The name of the town, Kolmanskop, derives from a driver, Johnny Coleman who once abandoned his ox wagon next to the settlement. The name means “Coleman’s hill” in Afrikaans.
Before World War I, the mines near Kolmanskop produced more than 1,000 kilograms of diamonds.
In other terms, five million karats of diamonds were extracted in the first six years of mining here.
The maximum population the community reached was 1,300.
Despite being world-famous, the abandoned community of Kolmanskop is not very popular with tourists, probably because a special permit is needed for visiting it as well.
The town is part of a so-called “forbidden zone” or Sperrgebiet, an area of 26,000 square kilometers that is not possible to visit without permit. The area is operated jointly by De Beers and the Namibian government.
The whole Sperrgebiet is also a natural park, which puts it in a unique situation as it is one of the few natural parks in the world where access is severely restricted.
The town had the first X-ray machine in the southern hemisphere. But this machine was not only used to diagnose medical issues. It was also used to investigate and uncover any diamonds thefts.
Due to its relatively low population, for a short while, Kolmanskop was the town with the highest per capita wealth in the world.
The last family left the town in 1956.