Otjiwarongo, one of the fastest growing towns in Namibia, lies along the TransNamib railway north of Windhoek. Named by the Herero people who originally settled here, Otjiwarongo means “place of the fat cows.” The Herero tribesmen were ousted by the German military, giving rise to the German influence that still exists. Many citizens of this town of approximately 12,000 speak German or English with the majority of citizens capable of understanding and speaking Afrikaans.
Located in the Central Plateau area of Namibia, Otjiwarongo enjoys moderate rainfall making the area suitable for farming and ranching. Crops such as corn and cereal grains grow well in the fertile soil and pasture lands support cattle ranching. Otjiwarongo serves as the main town for farms in the surrounding area giving access to such amenities as the railway, marketplaces, banks, supermarkets and restaurants.
Nile crocodiles are bred and raised at a nearby ranch, making it one of only a few captive breeding programs in the world. Visitors to the ranch can learn more about these creatures and have the unique opportunity to photograph them at very close range. The crocodile meat is sold to local markets and restaurants, and the skins are sold as exports.
For those wishing to see African wildlife in their natural habitat, Otjiwarongo offers access to private game preserves and farms. Giraffes, elephants, rhinos and lions reside in this area along with about 20% of the world’s cheetah population. Accompanied by experienced guides, visitors may view local game from open safari jeeps or on foot. Okonjima and AfriCats Rehabilitation Nature Reserve provides rescue, homes and protection for the big cats of Africa. Visitors may stay at one of the various reserve lodges allowing them to enjoy a truly unparalleled experience. Mount Etjo Safari Lodge tops the list of luxurious lodges within the natural surroundings of the Okonjima Wildlife Sanctuary.
While still relatively small, Otjiwarongo offers spectacular natural beauty combined with a thriving town rich with German influence. The proximity of African wildlife in both the protected and natural state makes Otjiwarongo an exciting location to live or visit.