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Travelling through Diamond Area 1

Diamond Area 1

During our trip to Namibia we took a day trip into the Sperrgebiet, also known as Diamond Area 1. This is a diamond-rich area, to which access by unauthorized persons is strictly prohibited, except if you can organize a permit via a tour operator, which we did.

Heavy finesThe tour takes you all the way to Pomona, an old mining ghost town, and then to the Bogenfels, a 55 metre high rock arch close to the coast. It takes an entire day to get in, and out of this area and one is not permitted to stay in it over night. There is still active diamond mining going on at the moment, and security regulations are very tight.

Rusty skeleton

Pomona was an active mining town during the beginning of the century and is a complete mind warp. It is located smack bam in the middle of the rocky Namib Desert, now only accessible via 4×4 vehicles.

The valley of diamonds

Getting there was an unbelievable experience. We had to drive up and down countless dunes and rocky outcrops before reaching the valley where the Pomona mine is located. By the time we arrived we felt totally isolated from the world and a sense of eeriness overcome us.

Who used to live here?

All structures in Pomona are now partly occupied by the wondering dunes of the Namib Desert (they move up to 60m in one year) and, because of the extreme dry climate, still have most of their wooden facades and window paneling in tact. The views are breathtaking, as one can see the endless rough and rocky hills and sandy dunes when looking in-land, and a deep blue ocean on the horizon.

Rocks, sand, water

The place just doesn’t seem to make much sense, it’s exclusive location, the old Gothic / Wilhelminische architecture, the desert meeting the ocean, no people in the vicinity of a 150m2, and a somewhat blurred history or diamond mining and war… it’s all just bizarre!

To imagine living in this area seems completely nonsensical, but I guess the little shiny stones were worth it!

Hold on tight

This visually enticing trip was an absolute highlight and an unforgettable experience. Before the long drive back to Luderitz we stopped at the Bogenfels, which was yet another breathtaking encounter…

More pics here

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  1. Comment by IITQ on January 11, 2008 7:28 am

    When I was a kid there was a series on TV called the Mantis Project about an experiment where people from diverse backgrounds were left in a town like Pamona to see how they would coexist.

    Very spooky series.

  2. Comment by Mark on January 16, 2008 11:50 pm

    Hey Groogle,

    Great photos. Looks like you had an awesome time. I was in that exact same area about 10 years ago. We went into the Sperrgebiet with my uncle who works for De Beers. We went in quite a few 4X4s and camped in Pamona. I think. It was a ghost town at least. I remember an old bowling alley. Ring any bells? We also visited the magnificent Bogenfels and even crayfished in the cold sea. There are some big crayfish in those restricted diamond areas!

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