Namibia, ghost-towns and diamonds
51 images Created 29 Sep 2010
Diamonds are one of Namibia's significant natural resources and contribute approximately 10% of GDP. The diamond industry of today is different from that of 20 years ago. In recent years, the diamond industry and the Namibian Government have partnered to create local cutting and polishing industries. The history of Namibian diamonds began in 1908 when the black worker Zacharias Lewala found a diamond while working on the railroad not far from the port town of Lüderitz. In a few days, many German miners settled in this area, and soon after, the German Government declared a large extent as a "Sperrgebiet," starting to exploit the diamond fields. With this enormous wealth, the residents of the mining town Kolmanskop built a German town, including a hospital with the first x-ray-station in the southern hemisphere. The town declined after World War I when the diamond field slowly exhausted, and from 1954 is a fascinating ghost town where the desert sand is slowly overrunning the houses. Not far is Lüderitz, a harbour town founded in 1883 on one of the least hospitable coasts of Africa, in Southwestern Namibia. Lüderitz began as a German trading post until 1909 when the discovery of diamonds nearby enjoyed a sudden surge of prosperity. Today the diamond fields are far from Lüderitz, which has lost its economic importance, and today is a remote town between the desert and sea known for its German colonial architecture, including Art Nouveau buildings. At the extreme South, near South Africa's border, Fish River Canyon is one of the biggest in the world, 160 km long and 27 wide, an impressive canyon created by the river. It still shows the incredible landscape of geology that preserves traces of Gondwana, the supercontinent that first emerged on our planet. Nowhere in Africa exists something like this.