These are distinguished by the status of the Namibian government has given them and are places with a municipality.
Gobabis is the regional capital of the Omaheke Region in eastern Namibia. Gobabis is on the B6 highway, 200km down from Windhoek to Botswana. Because of its relatively close proximity to the Botswana border at the Buitepos border post, Gobabis is a vital link between Namibia and South Africa on the Trans-Kalahari Highway. When arriving in the town, visitors are greeted with a large Brahman Bull statue – an ode to Gobabis’ position in the heart of ‘Cattle Country’. This was traditionally the home of the Herero people and the town is on the edge of the Kalahari Desert.
Otjiwarongo is the capital of the Otjozondjupa Region in central-north Namibia and has a population of 20,000 people. Situated on the Trans-Namib
railway – linking to Windhoek, the Golden Triangle of Otavi, Tsumeb and Grootfontein, and Etosha National Park – Otjiwarongo is the biggest business centre in the region. It is a neat town with a peaceful environment, yet is also one of the fastest growing towns in the country. It has a number of excellent facilities such as supermarkets, banks, lodges and hotels, and a golf course. Many of the country’s most popular game farms and reserves can be found around Otjiwarongo. There is a large population of German speaking residents and the influence can be seen in the Germanic style of the architecture.
Swakopmund is the capital of Erongo on the coast of north-western Namibia and is 280km west of Windhoek on the Trans-Namib Highway. This is a seaside resort town which is a popular destination in the cooler summer months between December and January. There is a population of 42,000 inhabitants covering 193 sq km of land.
Swakopmund was established in 1892 as German South-West Africa’s main harbour, which is still evident in the large portion of German-speaking people and abundance of German colonial architecture.
It is home to Swakopmund Airport and includes attractions such as Swakopmund Museum, the National Marine Aquarium, a crystal gallery and the Rossmund Desert Golf Course just outside the city – one of only five all-grass desert golf courses in the world. The sand dunes nearby are one of the reasons why Swakopmund is known as the adventure capital of Namibia, with its vast array of extreme sports. Abandoned in the desert lies the 1896 steam train called the Martin Luther.
Tsumeb is the biggest town in Oshikoto in northern Namibia and has
a population of 15,000 people. It is most known for the Tsumeb mine which is world renowned. Tsumeb serves at the gateway to the north of Namibia and is Etosha National Park’s closest town. Lake Otjikoto and Lake Guinas are two large sinkholes near the town. The famous sinkholes were the focus of a pioneer documentary made in the early 1970s which followed exploratory scuba dives. The exact depths are unknown as the bottom seems to disappear into underground cave systems. Lake Guinas has even evolved a unique fish species, testament to its age old existence. On retreat of the South African invasion, the German forces discarded all their weapons into Lake Otjikoto in 1914. What could be recovered is now on display in museums. Harasib farm to the east of Tsumeb has one of the world’s deepest underground lakes and can only be reached by abseiling down the sheer dolomite wall. It is uncertain how deep the clear water goes as divers have only managed 80 metres. Near Tsumeb is the Hoba nickel-iron meteorite – the largest in the world weighing about 60 tonnes.
• Walvis Bay
Walvis Bay has a population of 85,000 people on 29 sq km of land in the Kuiseb River Delta. The natural deepwater harbour has protected numerous sea vessels from the extreme conditions of the South Atlantic Ocean and is the only natural harbour in the country, enclosed by the protective arm of Pelican Point. The name means “Whale Bay” named after the large numbers of whales attracted by the rich marine life. Since its discovery as a valuable point en route to the Cape of Good Hope, numerous powers have sought political control, seeing successive colonisers playing a role in its development. The town is at the end of the Trans-Namib Railway to Windhoek. Walvis Bay is the tourist
activity capital of Namibia, largely as a result of the beautiful bay, man-made Bird Island, and numerouss and dunes. There is a museum and Kuisebmund Stadium. An important arm of the local economy is the Walvis Bay Export Processing Zone.
• Windhoek The Capital City of Namibia
Windhoek is not only the capital, but also the largest city in Namibia, as well as the social, economic and cultural centre. It sits 1,700m above sea level on the Khomas Highland Plateau in central Namibia with a population of around 300,000. Almost all national enterprises are housed here as well as the University of Namibia and the national theatre. The headquarters of all ministry offices, media and financial groups are in Windhoek.
Other towns include:-
• Grootfontein: in the Otjozondjupa Region
• Henties Bay: main holiday destination
• Karasburg: sheep farming industry
• Keetmanshoop: on the Trans-Namib Railway
• Mariental: near Hardap Dam (largest reservoir in Namibia)
• Okahandja: Garden Town of Namibia founded by Herero and Nama
• Omaruru: annual Herero festival; winery; dinosaur footprints at Otjihenamaparero.
• Outjo: Gateway to Etosha National Park
• Usakos: longest horizon in the world and closest town to Spitzkoppe (“Matterhorn of Namibia”).