Kolmanskop is a ghost town in the Namib desert in southern Namibia, a few kilometers inland from the port town of Lüderitz. It was named after a transport driver named Jani Kolman who, during a sand storm, abandoned his ox wagon on a small incline opposite the settlement. Once a small but very rich mining village, it is now a popular tourist destination run by the joint firm NamDeb (Namibia-De Beers), who arranges for permits with relative ease. Kolmanskop is the most popular excursion from Lüderitz and has been partially restored as a tourist attraction where the sights of decrepit buildings being invaded by dunes is simply too surreal to describe.
[Photo: National Geographic]
You are not required to arrive as part of an organized tour, though you need to purchase a permit (adult/child N$55/35 incl. tour) in advance through either the NWR office (in Bismarck Street) in Lüderitz or a local tour operator.
One-hour guided tours in English and German, at 9:30am and 11am, Monday to Friday and 10am Sunday, are included in the price of the permit, depart from the museum in Kolmanskop. Located only 15-minute drive from Lüderitz, just off the main B4 highway, this town can be wandered around on your own. Skip the organized tours.