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OTAVI NAMIBIA

 

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Otavi Namibia

 

 

The town itself doesn't hold much attraction for tourists. Situated 62km south of Tsumeb at the crossroad junction of the main B1 North - South road; the B8 road to Grootfontein and the C39 road to Outjo. Otavi is at the south western tip of the Otavi Mountains. However, the nearby Otavi Mountainlands are both beautiful and have many interesting geological features, so Otavi and its surrounding attractions should not be overlooked.

 

Otavi Main Street

Main Street Otavi

Section of the Otavi Mountains

Section of the Otavi Mountains

 

It was in the Otavi Mountainlands where rich copper deposits were worked by the Bushmen and Damara before the coming of the white-man. The importance of the town's association with the copper find during the late 19th century gave name to the company known as O.M.E.G or the Otavi Minen-und-Eisenbahngesellschaft. The location of the Green-Hill at Tsumeb was the deciding factor that warranted the relocation of head-quarters of the mining company to that town. The histories of both towns are closely linked and for further information on the mining activities in the area please follow the link to Tsumeb.

 

Otavi is presently an important centre for the local farming community and has a large cereal milling plant in the town. There is a small hotel and several B&Bs, though many tourists enjoy a stay over at guest farms situated in the valleys of the Otavi Mountains, which are very picturesque.

 

Nearby attractions include the Khorab Memorial which lays just north of the town, the Gaub Cave being some 35km to the east, and a few kilometres further, the Hoba Meteorite.

 

  Road Distances from Otavi

Namutoni Ondangwa Oshikango Swakopmund Rundu Windhoek
162km 312km 377km 498km 289km 368km

Otavi location in Namibia

Otjozondjupa Region

1939'S - 1720'E

Population 2000

Map of Namibia

Getting Here

Map Directions

 No  Scheduled Air

Scheduled Bus

 No  Scheduled Rail

What to See

Otavi Map

Baobab Tree

Gaub Cave

Hoba Meteorite

Khorab Memorial

Lake Otjikoto

Services 4U

Accommodation
 
 

 

  Otavi / Grootfontein / Tsumeb Area Attractions

Guab Cave stalactites Gaub Cave located on the historical Farm Ghaub. The cave is not 'tourist friendly', however, the 'Cavies' amongst you will not want to miss this-one. Be prepared for an amount of rock-hopping, so good boots are a must. Not for the Claustrophobic. Guided Tours only and I recommend you make a booking in advance. Time budget 2-3hr
   
Hoba Meteorite Hoba Meteorite. It weighs-in at over 60 ton, is approximately 3 meters square and about 1 meter in depth. It contains about 82% iron and 16% nickel. It fell to earth about 80,000 years ago, and is the largest known-of metal meteorite in the world. When it came-in to land it didn't cause any crater to be formed, so it probably had a very low trajectory and 'bounced' to its final landing site on the Farm Hoba. National Heritage Site. Camping Available. Time budget 1hr

 


The Khorab Memorial:

A proclaimed National Monument of the place where the Imperial German Forces officially surrendered to General Louis Botha's Union of South Africa Army on 9 July 1915. OK.  The memorial carries a National Heritage Plaque that states,  Kilometre 500 Memorial " It was here that the German troops signed their capitulation to the troops of the Union of South Africa on 9 July 1915. The co-signatories of the treaty were General Louis Botha, Governor Seitz and the Oberstleutenant Franke. This marked the end of German rule in South West Africa." It's not very impressive, but it is a little piece of history that commemorates the culmination of a war that spread its insidious tentacles into our beautiful land so long ago, and soldiers died for their country's cause, so I suppose one should pause for a moment and remember them.

 

The signs at the entrance road can be misleading take time to check Khorab Memorial General. L Botha Greets Governor T Sietz at kilometer500 Signing of the Treaty of Khorab
Misleading Signs Khorab Memorial General. L Botha Greets Governor T Sietz Signing the Treaty

 

Finding the Monument: This exercise requires concentration, patience and an amount of determination. Firstly many of the streets in Otavi have no name plates, so follow these directions carefully and save yourself a lot of frustration and time. Enter the town from the B1 Road. You will drive along the above street until you arrive at a 4 way stop sign. Diagonally to your right will be a SPAR shop. Turn right onto this road and drive until you arrive at a traffic circle. Turn left. In this street you will see a PEP Store and a First National Bank. Drive along this street until you arrive at a T-Junction. The small Otavi Municipal Office is opposite. It is painted green. There is a sign 'Khorab Monument'. You drive over what appears to be waste land for about 70 meters. You then arrive at a fence shown below. The left hand sign states: "STRICTLY PRIVATE". The right hand sign that is obscured by overgrown bush indicates that this is the Farm Rentes. The road forks to the left and to the right. Take the left hand road passing the 'Strictly Private' sign. You then drive along a dirt road for 1.7km (1.1mile) and you arrive at the Khorab Monument. If you take the turn to the right you will end up driving along a sandy path alongside the rail track. The memorial is behind a farm fence and stands about 1.5m high.

The 1st of August 1914 witnessed the outbreak of World War 1, and it was on Christmas Day 1914 that General Louis Botha led the Union of South African troops ashore at Walvis Bay from where, in the Namibia mid-summer heat they began, what was referred to as the 'South West Africa Campaign' against the Imperial German Forces.

 

The war for the German troops soon presented difficulties owing to sea routes to the ports of Luderitz and Swakopmund being blockaded by the Royal Navy. The supply lines for much needed ammunition and the other needs of the German colonial army were strangled. The South African forces pursued the German Army relentlessly and further North by the day.

 

On 20 May 1915 the Germans sought a solution with the South Africans that would allow them to keep the northern area of the Territory. The South Africans, by this time had accumulated a force of some 35,000 troops within the Territory, refused and insisted on an unconditional surrender.

 

The South Africans responded by sending Brigadier Coen Brits with task force northwards and around the Germans to seal off attempts of escape to Angola; a country which also presented difficulties of refuge for the Germans owing to their strained relations with the Portuguese.

 

The last area of conflict in the South West Africa Campaign took place in the Otavi District. It was here that the Germans, outnumbered, tired and having depleted virtually all of the needs vital to a fighting force, and without the alternative of escaping across the border into Angola held meetings on the 4th, 5th and 6th of July regarding the terms of capitulation.

 

10h00 on 9th July 1915, as previously agreed upon and arranged, a train carrying the Governor of German South West Africa accompanied by Schutztruppe Major Victor Franke and several junior officers arrived at a point known as Kilometre 500 just North of the small town of Otavi. They were met and welcomed by General Botha, Colonel de Waal, Major Bok, Major Esselen and Major Leish, of the South African forces. The terms of surrender were signed on the wooden table set in a clearing in the bush alongside the rail track shown in the photograph above ended the hostilities.

 

The document became known as The Treaty of Khorab. However, the area and farm known as Khorab is south of Otavi town. It is at this place where the remainder of the German force of 3,467 men and 204 officers were camped at the time.

 

The South West Africa Campaign lasted 203 days, and ended just under 31 years of German colonial rule in Namibia.

Of Interest: Just before the German Army surrendered to the South African troops they dumped many of their field guns, ammunition and equipment into Lake Otjikoto.

 

See Also

Aus Schutztruppe POW Camp

Lake Otkikoto and the Kaiser's Xannina

 

Namibia Towns

Aus

Gobabis

Grootfontein

Henties-Bay

Karibib

Katima Mulilo

Keetmanshoop

Khorixas

Luderitz

Maltahohe

Mariental

Okahandja

Omaruru

Otavi

Otjiwarongo

Outjo

Rundu

Solitaire

Swakopmund

Tsumeb

Uis

Usakos

Walvis-Bay

Windhoek

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