“A place where you cannot Scratch”

Photo: Lloyd Zandberg

“A place where you cannot Scratch”

06 May 2019 | Tourism

In the not so distant past people would travel to “Ohopoho” in order to visit and explore the “Kaokoveld” which was a spectacular piece of land found in the north-western corner of Namibia and stretching up to southern Angola: Rugged, hard and unforgiving, yet so beautiful.

Nobody relied on finding fuel in Ohopoho, unless you had arranged so with the people, who lived in this administrative centre, to which only one main road led. The local Ovahimba people called this place, where a single spring was found amongst an otherwise rocky outcrop “Otjihinamaparero” - a place where you cannot scratch. Officially the settlement was named Opuwo in 1973, which is believed to be derived from the local vernacular, meaning “enough” or even “finished“.

Opuwo trade fair in May

Opuwo is the gateway to the Kaokoveld and found where the main tar road C41 intersects with the C43, which leads from Khowarib via Opuwo to Okongwati. It is the administrative capital of the Kunene Region with grocery stores, maintenance shops, filling stations, schools and houses. Amidst the bustle of clashing generations the visitor will appreciate it as perfect location for travellers to kit up one last time, before enduring the harsh Kaokoveld, which requires you to be fully self-sufficient right to the last drop of fuel.

Besides conventional offers, the Opuwo Town Council hosts the annual Opuwo Trade Fair, which was launched in 2012. The festival combines a modern business exhibition with cultural performances, live shows and entertainment. Opuwo Trade Fair takes place in the month of May.

The Namibia Community Skills Development Foundation (COSDEF) is the national umbrella body for the Community Skills Development Centres (COSDECs). It is a registered Trust, which in the early years of the current century also made its appearance in the capital of north-western Namibia.

Years ago COSDEC started out as a small centre in a village called Orumana (30 km south of Opuwo) with a few people, who attended courses like needlework, welding and fabricating, leatherwork and electrical installation. It moved to Opuwo in the year 2000 so as to be closer to the community. It was then able to introduce training courses for sheet metal works, hospitality, plumbing and pipe fitting, woodwork and maintenance.


Found atop a hillcrest on the western outskirts of the town, the best-known and most convenient overnight facility in town is the Opuwo Country Hotel, which offers high quality all-inclusive accommodation as well as pleasant camping sites.

Its location lends itself as the ideal gateway to explore the attractions in the immediate area and offer the traveller the opportunity to plan excursions to Epupa Falls, Ruacana Falls, Swartbooisdrif, Kunene River and numerous Ovahimba villages, giving you a glimpse into the lives of these fascinating, almost revered people. The Epupa Falls can be reached by following the main gravel road C43, leading northwards out of Opuwo. It is advisable to fill up fuel and restock water and food supplies in Opuwo before departing to Epupa or any other destination, as shopping opportunities thereafter are truly rare.

The Opuwo Country Hotel offers 21 luxury twins rooms, 1 luxury double room, 3 sets of twin inter-leading rooms and 12 standard twin rooms. All rooms are fixed with an en-suite bathroom and air conditioners. The Hotel prides itself in its wheelchair friendly environment.

Deck chairs and umbrellas set the scene for a relaxed day around the infinity pool, where you can cool off after a hard day's drive. The Hotel has an excellent bar, stocked with a wide range of local and international liqueurs and choice of alcohol, while guests and inhabitants of Opuwo can have an ice cold beer and enjoy mouth-watering meals in the popular restaurant. An appealing private lounge next to the wine cellar exudes a relaxed atmosphere and allows you to enjoy an evening in the company of friends or family.

The establishment also maintains 12 large campsites of superior quality. Situated approximately 400 meters from the hotel, all camping sites are kitted with 220v electrical connections (24/7) and feature barbeque-areas, while ablution and kitchen facilities with hot and cold water are found within close walking distance.

The entire property offers great 360° views of Opuwo and landscapes, and thus provides magic photographic opportunities of the magnificent sunset and sunrises.

Lloyd Zandberg

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