THE FORBIDDEN ZONE, or Prohibited Place, once contained so rich a supply of diamonds, they were discovered one evening, sitting on the surface, glittering in the moonlight.
German first, then South Africa’s De Beers, dug mega-millions of dollars out from the beautiful desert area near Luderitz. Machinery, workshops and villages sprang up, only to be left behind when the stones ran out. With a smaller operation still on site, don’t even think about going in for a look, without joining the one licenced tour.
Literally, "The Forbidden Zone", the Sperrgebeit is accessed by a monopoly tour operator in Luderitz.
An area of stunning landscapes.
Once home to one of the world's richest diamond "deposits".
Although in some areas, the "deposits" were just sitting on the surface....
....glittering in the moonlights....
...to be picked up like strawberries.
German occupiers took control of the 26,000km arae in 1906.
Remnants of the mining operation litter the landscape.
Diamond sifting machinery....
....rusted parts which once supplied the precious stones for Europe's elite.
In some areas, all surface material was stripped, right down to the rock strata.
Other areas barely show the touch of human hands.
Nowadays, only 5% of the land is used for mining.
The rest acts as a buffer zone, to keep thieves at bay.
Though rarely seen, the elusive brown hyena wanders undisturbed.
Its most prosperous days are decades past.
When the diamonds ran out, the people left...
One of the best preserved and largest buildings can be rented, for a hefty price.
The former governor's residence commands a high spot, overlooking the ghosts of riches past.
Pricey but well worth it, the tour ends by a high sea-side cliff, where the Atlantic waves pound the coast.
The views are endless, as they are throughout the park.
Far away buildings, a lifetime old, punctuate an earth millions of years older.
Wind and wave slowly wore away the earth to create Bofels Arch......
....and the elements will eat away at the last signs of man until they too yield to nature's will.