North of Karibib, is another peaceful, charming and attractive Namibian town – Omaruru - the centre for the surrounding dairy farms and cattle ranches. Built on the river of the same name, and set amongst large camelthorn trees, it's location, (242km north-westerly from Windhoek and to the east of the Erongo Mountains) makes it a logical stopover when heading en-route to the Brandberg Mountains and to Khorixas. Interestingly enough for the Namibian tourist, all the major features of central Namibia lie within a 200km radius of Omaruru, including the Brandberg, Erongo Mountains, Spitzkoppe, Swakopmund, Usakos, Karibib, Otjimbingwe, Okahandja, Otjiwarongo and the Waterberg National Park.
In the Otjihereo language of the local Herero people the name Omaruru means 'bitter milk', probably because the cows in the area used to eat a local bush with gave their milk a slightly bitter taste.
Contact with the German colonialists was established in 1885, with the signing of a protection treaty between Manasse Tjiseseta and the representative of the German Empire, Dr. Heinrich Goering. A German military station was consequently established in 1894, featuring in the Herero war of 1904.
Omaruru developed (like so many other settlements) around a Rhenish mission, established in 1868. The Rhenish Mission House, (1871) serves as a reminder of those days, as it has been transformed into the town's museum. Another remnant from 19th Century Omaruru history, is the Rhenish Mission Church (1872). Displays in the museum include a selection of photographs of some of the earliest missionaries, old furniture and a collection of original farm implements. The town was originally inhabited by Damara people, but from 1870 onwards, it has been the traditional capital of the Zeraua house of the Herero people, of which a number of important headman lie buried in the old cemetery in the centre of the town.
Traditionally Omaruru has been an important centre for the Herero people and has also acted as a trading centre for the areas cattle & game farming industries. In the last decade Omaruru has become something of a haven for those of an artistic nature.
The Omaruru Museum is housed in the Rhenish Mission House on the main street. True to it's creative roots Omaruru produces several fine products including chocolate, cheese and wine.
On entering Omaruru (from the south) one can not fail to notice the massive artistic sculptures - this is the Tikoloshe root carving project. These talented artists create a variety of animals & birds from suitably shaped hard wood tree roots they find.
The Sand Dragon Restaurant is an art centre & restaurant located in a historic building on the main street. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served seven days a week either in the building or in the shaded garden.
The Kristall Kellerei is the only manufacturer of Namibian brandy and is one of four wine producers in the country. Production includes two red wines – Ruby Cabernet and Cabernet Sauvignon – and a white , Colmard. Interestingly they also produce a variety of schnapps from prickly pears, prosopis, lemons and, naturally, grapes.
Unlimited Home Industries produces a range of hand-made chocolates, they use original recipes and some vintage moulds dating back to the early fifties. In order to make a genuinely Namibian product they use local ingredients such as dates, rosella, kumquat, oranges, choc-mint and honey.
In the vicinity of Omaruru you can also visit the dinosaur tracks on the farm Otjihaenanamapaero - here in the sandstone you will see two distinctive sets of footprints one left by Ceratosaurus and the other set from a Syntasurs.
Close to the town is the Paula Cave, renowned for its rich variety of rock art. Farther north on the road to Otjiwarongo lies the village of Kalkfeld, the gateway to the Etjo Mountain where, 175million years ago, dinosaurs roamed the primeval land. Some of their footprints have been perfectly preserved in a 25m stretch of sandstone terrain.
There are a number of hotels and lodges offering accommodation in and around the area, many travellers head for the highly recommended Erongo Wilderness Lodge, nestled amongst, and surrounded by huge boulders and granite formations.
Nestled in a conservation area in the majestic Erongo Mountains this property contains a wide selection of rock art
a 24 room lodge in the Erongo region of central Namibia
One of our favourite lodges in Namibia - excellent accommodation, food and beautiful surroundings make for an enjoyable and relaxing stay.
A variety of activities are on offer at this lodge near Karibib
Situated at the foot of the Hohenstein mountain, this lodge offers many hiking and climbing opportunities. It is also well situated to visit the Spitzkoppe Mountain.
Accommodation in the small town of Omaruru.
Specialising in family holidays and horse riding, Okomitundu offers plenty of activities
A self catering villa in the heart of the charming town of Omaruru