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In southwestern Namibia lies a vast area that’s been off-limits to visitors for more than a century. It stretches along the Namibian coast for a distance of 320 km starting from the South African border at Oranjemund to around 72 km north of Lüderitz. This region is known as Sperrgebiet, which is German for "Prohibited Area".

Sperrgebiet was created by the German Empire in the beginning of the 20th century during the German occupation of South-West Africa to allow the Deutsche Diamantengesellschaft, or German Diamond Company, unrestricted access to the vast diamond deposits in the area. After the Germans lost control of the territory to South Africa during World War 1, mining rights were taken over by DeBeers, who had control of the area until the 1990s, when the Namibian government purchased a fifty percent stake.

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A warning sign at Sperrgebiet. Photo credit: jbdodane/Flickr

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© Amusing Planet, 2016.


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