Ashley Hefnawy is an editorial assistant and a content producer for Shutterstock’s blog. This post was originally published on the Shutterstock blog and has been adapted with permission.


Abandoned places that once bustled and thrived with people, ghost towns are remarkable because they provide a vision of what once existed. While there’s a historical background to any city, ghost towns possess especially interesting ones, since their histories are all that remains.

Kolmanskop, which means Coleman’s Hill in Afrikaans, is located in Namibia’s southern Namib Desert. It was settled by German miners after a diamond discovery in 1908. The inhabitants who took over built homes and local institutions heavily inspired by German architecture. After about 40 years, however, the town found itself on the decline when its diamond resources were exhausted, leading to its eventual abandonment.

According to rumors, the buildings and homes that remain standing in Kolmanskop are now inhabited by ghosts, and indeed possess a certain haunted eeriness. The interiors of these structures show how the desert has slowly but surely devoured the town after only about 100 years, which leads us to believe that the strange town, which is now a tourist attraction that requires a permit to enter, may not exist at all in another century.

Scroll to explore Kolmanskop through these stunning images.

static.squarespace 5 730x486 Explore an eerie African ghost town engulfed by the desertKolmanskuppe in German

static.squarespace 6 730x547 Explore an eerie African ghost town engulfed by the desertView from a distance

static.squarespace 7 730x483 Explore an eerie African ghost town engulfed by the desertAn abandoned house

kolmanskop4 730x358 Explore an eerie African ghost town engulfed by the desertAnother abandoned house

static.squarespace 8 730x759 Explore an eerie African ghost town engulfed by the desertA view from inside

static.squarespace 9 730x486 Explore an eerie African ghost town engulfed by the desertA darker view from indoors

kolmanskop6 730x547 Explore an eerie African ghost town engulfed by the desertThe sand takeover 

static.squarespace 10 730x973 Explore an eerie African ghost town engulfed by the desertMulti-colored layers

static.squarespace 11 730x486 Explore an eerie African ghost town engulfed by the desertRoom filled with sand

static.squarespace 12 730x486 Explore an eerie African ghost town engulfed by the desertRooms with different views