Friday, March 28, 2014

Omaruru - Namibia

Small town Omaruru is located 50 km from town Karibib and 230 km from Windhoek, the capital of the country. Set in the heart of game-farm area the town is surrounded by array of mountains with the most prominent, the Oruwe, located southeast of town. Kristall Kellerei, the only winery in the country, is located in Omaruru. The name Omaruru is derived from Herero omaere omaruru meaning "bitter curd" which is apparently how the cattle's milk tested after eating particular bush growing in the area around tow. The first European to reach the area was Hugo Hahn, the missionary who visited it in 1851. In 1868 Herero Chief Zeraua settled in Omaruru although "officially" the town was founded only in 1870 with an arrival of another missionary, Gottlieb Viehe. Famous explorer Charles Anderson, being attracted by plentiful game in the area, established a hunting camp on the banks of Omaruru River in 1858. In 1870, the hunter Axel Eriksson and brewer Anders Ohissen formed a partnership to exploit the game and by 1880 they had succeeded in wiping out all the elephant, rhino, lion and giraffe once living in the area. in 1880s Omaruru was repeatedly attacked in Herero-Nama wars before peace was secured in 1889. The German garrison was stationed here in 1894, the town began to grow since then. The first postal office was opened in 1895. The garrison moved to a new fort, today's magistrate's court. By the end of 1896 Omaruru had the largest population of European settlers in Namibia. The town was besieged in 1904 during the Herero uprising. The military commander at the time, Captain Franke, was away in the south helping to put down the Bondelswart uprising. He marched 900 km in 20 days and broke the siege by leading a cavalry charge and defeating Hereros. Franke's Tower was built in 1907 to commemorate the event. Omaruru received full municipal status in 1909.

Accommodation in this area: Omaruru Game Lodge, Epako Lodge, Hotel Staebe, Immenhof, Erongo Wilderness Lodge

Erongo Wilderness Lodge
Epako Lodge

Festivals: Every year on the last weekend before 10 October the Herero hold a march to and from the cemetery where a former leader Wilhelm Zeraua is buried.

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