Tsumeb is the capital city of the Oshikoto region in northern Namibia and is the closest town to Etosha National Park. The name Tsumeb is generally pronounced 'SOO-meb' and it is widely believed that the name comes from the joining of the San word tsoumsoub (to dig in loose ground and the Herero word otjisume (place of frogs.) Another meaning could be from the Nama 'place of the moss.' Although Tsumeb isn't noted for it's frog population, it's possible that the red, brown, green and grey streaks created by minerals, looked like the dried frog spawn that had been scooped out of a water hole and onto the rocks. This goes a long way to explaining the frogs and digging equipment that appear on the town's crest!
The towns modern history probably begins in 1893 when a prospector, Matthew Rodgers, reported on the site - "In the whole of my experience, I have never seen such a sight as was presented before my view at Soomep, and I very much doubt that I shall ever see another in any other locality." Shortly afterwards his company purchased the site from the local inhabitants and in 1890 mining activities commenced.
Recently mining activities have been scaled back at the town, but Tsumeb remains a pretty and friendly town. Sometimes called Namibia's garden town due to the beautiful jacaranda, flamboyant and bougainvillea trees which line the streets. The town acts as something of a tourist hub due to it's proximity to Etosha and the fact that it is the gateway to northern Namibia & Owamboland.
As one would expect their are banks, supermarkets and hotels in the town. There is also a privately owned museum which amongst other curiosities has a selection of first world war canons and ammunition recovered from the nearby Lake Otjikoto. The Tsumeb Arts and Crafts Centre is an educational trust promoting traditional arts & crafts - it also allows visitors to learn about the production of (and purchase) these crafts. Tsumeb's oldest building is St Barabara Catholic Church which was built in 1913.
Visitors to Tsumeb can stay in one of the towns two hotels or otherwise choose to stay in accommodation at a local guest house. There are also several country lodges in the Tsumeb area - some of which serve as bases to visit Etosha.
A short distance from Tsumeb is a well-established shooting range operated by the German shooting club, Schützenverein. Skydiving at the Tsumeb Flying Club, can also be arranged by appointment. For visitors with an interest in gemstones and minerals, there are a number of historic German mines not far from the town, namely Alt Bobos, Karavatu, Omeg II and Uris. They resemble trails 'in the footsteps of the diggers, ' who spent days in the relentless Namibian sunshine, exploring the possibilities of mining precious minerals.
On the outskirts of Tsumeb is an outdoor market where local craftsmen sell a wide variety of wares. Here you can expect to find wood carvings, clay pots and baskets as well as trinkets and jewelry.
Sight-seeing activities in the area include the Tsumeb Museum, Tsumeb Cultural Village, Tsumeb Arts and Crafts Centre, De Wet Shaft and the Tsumeb Upper Levels, Smelter and Mine. Otjikoto Lake, Guinas Lake, the Hoba Meteorite, Grootfontein Museum, African Baobab Trees, (Tsintsabis area) and not forgetting the most famous of them all, Etosha National Park.
Situated north-east of Grootfontein this serves as an gateway between the Caprivi and central Namibia
Around 80km north of Grootfontein this lodge offers an opportunity to meet San / Bushman community - and also acts as a gateway to Namibia's north east (the Kavango & Zambezi Region)
Ten kilometers outside of Otavi this lodge offers a relaxing environment and is ideal for walkers, wildlife enthusiasts and birders
Initially a christian mission station this property was converted into a lodge in 1999. The Ghaub caves nearby are well worth a visit
Horse riding, game and beautiful surroundings are just some of the reasons to stay at this lodge
A convenient stop close to Otavi
Large resort offering a restaurant, bar and olympic sized pool in Tsumeb
Situated near the centre of Tsumeb this is a popular hotel.
A courtyard atmosphere, traditional garden and German cuisine can be found at this Tsumeb hotel.
Close encounters of the wild side - experience the Namibian veld on foot with Bruno, an enigmatic & knowledgeable guide
10 peaceful chalets provide accommodation at this lodge just north of Otavi
a campsite in a rural setting 80km north of Grootfontein on the main road towards Rundu & the Zambezi Region
An eclectic lodge, allows for visits to a San community as well as offering reasonably priced overnight accommodation
Situated 20km west of Tsumeb
Between Otavi and Tsumeb.