Okahandja is commonly referred to as the Garden town of Namibia
The town of Okahandja is located directly north of the capital city of Windhoek as is commonly referred to as the Garden town of Namibia. The word Okahandja stems from the local dialect of Otjiherero and means ‘the place where two rivers flow into each other to form one wide one’ or ‘short broad river’. The two rivers in question are the Okakango and the Okamita which are usually dry throughout most of the year and only flow during summer.
Okahandja’s history revolves mostly around the Herero and Nama people. Chiefs Tjamuaha and Kahitjene arrived in the town in around 1800 and established themselves there. Chief Tjamuaha was Chief Maherero’s father. The first white person arrived in Okahandja in 1827, Heinrich Schmelen was a German pastor and he called the place ‘Schmelenverwachtung. The Rhenish Mission sent Hugo Hahn and Heinrich Kleinshcmidt to the town in 1844 to do church work. In 1894 on June 25, Lentwein established a military station in the town and this date was later thought of as the official date the town was established. Soon after this in 1895, the first postal service was established with camels being used to transport the mail.
Okahandja definitely has that quaint small town feel to it and although it is a small town, there are a number of businesses that can be found including banks; pharmacies; clothing stores; hardware stores; supermarkets; vehicle repair facilities; tyre repair facilities; dry cleaners; Laundromats; hairdressers; stationary shops; shoe shops; computer shops; internet providers and many more. There is also a variety of accommodation that can be found in and around the area including the Elegant Farmstead; Gross Barmen Hot Springs; Okahandja Country Hotel; Oropoko Lodge and more.
The Elegant Farmstead is a sister establishment to the Elegant Guesthouse and the Elegant Bed & Breakfast which are both located in the capital city’s residential area of Klein Windhoek. The original name for the farm was ‘Otjisazu’ which means red oxen, the name was derived from the red cattle of an elderly Herero gentleman who used to live there. The farmstead is located on the turn off just before Okahandja. It is about 26km along the gravel road towards the Von Bach Dam. Facilities include a restaurant; swimming pool; laundry service; guest lounge with tea/coffee stations; secure parking and wireless internet in the main building. Guests’ valuables can be locked away in the safe in the reception area. Guests are offered choices of a continental or cooked English breakfast; light lunches and a three course dinner. Accommodation at the farmstead consists of 11 fully furnished rooms which are equipped with en-suite bathrooms and air-conditioning. All rooms at the farmstead are non-smoking zones and the Elegant Farmstead gives guests the option of adding extra beds for people sharing or travelling with children.
Gross Barmen Hot Springs Resort is set on the banks of a tributary of the Swakop River, about 100km from Windhoek and approximately 25km from Okahandja. It was originally the site of an early Rhenish Mission which was established in 1844 and who’s ruins can still be seen to this day. The main feature at the resort is the hot mineral spring water. The water is beneficial to visitors with rheumatic and other ailments. The resort also has a large indoor thermal bath; open-air swimming pool and private baths. Facilities at the resort include a restaurant; filling station and shop and a conference room that can accommodate up to 20 people. Accommodation includes five-bed luxury units and two-bed bungalows. All units are air-conditioned and are equipped with fridge; kettle; stove in the bigger units. Beddings are provided and cooking and eating utensils can be hired from reception. Each unit also has its own outdoor fireplace.
Okahandja Country Hotel is located about 2km north of Okahandja. The hotel serves delectable meals buffet style in the restaurant or in the outdoor dining area. There is also a wide selection of fine wines to choose from in the well stocked bar. Guests can relax in the beer garden or next to the swimming pool. Accommodation at the hotel includes double rooms and family units. There are 22 double rooms furnished with twin beds and are equipped with air-conditioning/heating; mosquito nets; television wit DSTV channels; beddings; towels; soap and a tea/coffee station. There are two family units which have similar features as the double rooms and can accommodate up to two adults and three children.
Oropoko Lodge was built in 1993 and is set on an 11 000 hectare farm. Oropoko is the Herero word for ‘beautiful place between mountains’. The main building and the Panorama Restaurant and bar have breathtaking views of the surrounding area. The waterhole is visited by rhino; oryx; ostrich and a host of other wildlife. There is also a reception area; conference room and TV room. The lodge’s swimming pool is built around a large granite rock and is the perfect place to do a spot of sunbathing. Accommodation includes rooms which are furnished with comfy beds; a seating corner; en-suite bathroom with shower, double bowl wash basin and separate toilet; air-conditioning/heating; wall safe; telephone; kettle and mini-bar. There are three luxury suites located within one bungalow and these are larger than the double rooms but have the same features.