Tsumeb is a city of 29,000 people (2011) in Oshikoto region of Namibia. It is close to Otavi and Grootfontein. Tsumeb is the "gateway to the north" of Namibia. It is the closest town to the Etosha National Park.
Tsumeb is a true garden town. Jacarandas, bougainvilleas and various flowering trees, shrubs and vines perfectly blend into the area. They make the streets shady and attractive. Especially spring in Tsumeb is an experience.
The town is the site of a deep mine (the lower workings now closed), that is called the Ongopolo Mine. It is noted for 243 valid minerals and is the type location for 56 types of mineral. Some of the germanium minerals are only found in this mine.
There are 105 commercial farms around Tsumeb. The area consists largely of rolling hills covered in thorn bush. Tsumeb falls under the dry woodland, savanna vegetation zone. The soil around Tsumeb varies in quality from very fertile red loam through black turf to chalky clay and loam. The district is thus suitable for intensified farming and crop production. There is an abundance of ground water and regular rainfall in the summer months. Irrigation makes the area even more productive. Farmers in the area grow citrus fruits with much success. The main crops grown are maize, sorghum and sunflowers. Cattle farming is also widespread.
Tsumeb is located at the intersection of the B1, heading northeast from Otjiwarongo and the C42.
Many minibuses go between Windhoek and Tsumeb N$220.
- 1 Tsumeb railway station. There are daily trains running between Tsumeb & Ondangwa. Departure from Tsumeb M-Sa at 08:50, Su at 11:20 Sundays, journey time 5 hr 30 min. Departure from Ondangwa (Nehale Lya Mpingana) M-Sa 11:20, Su at 13:20 Sundays, journey 5 hr 20 min.
Downtown is compact and easy to walk. However, to get to the cultural center at the entrance to the town, a car would be advisable. Parking is free. Voluntary carguards will look after your car.
The downtown is pleasant and functional. Do see the Tsumeb Arts and Crafts Centre. This is a joint project developed with support from Norway. There are reconstructed homes from various parts of Namibia. If the full plan is implemented, it will have typical homes from all major tribal groups in Namibia as well as people demonstrated the life of that group. Many of the prototypical homes have been constructed, but the place is often empty.
Near to the town are two large sinkhole lakes, Lake Otjikoto and Lake Guinas ("Gwee-nus"). Guinas, at about 500 m in diameter, is somewhat larger in area than Otjikoto. The depths of the lakes are unknown, because towards the bottom both lakes disappear into lateral cave systems, so it is not possible to use a weight to sound them. Otjikoto, which has poor visibility (owing to pollution from agricultural fertilizers used nearby), is at least 60 m deep. The water in Guinas is completely clear and well over 100 m deep. Guinas has been in existence for so long that a unique species of fish, Tilapia guinasana, has evolved in its waters.
Off the road to Grootfontein is a turn-off for the Hoba Meteorite. It lies in a field about 40 minutes' drive to the southeast of Tsumeb, at Hoba West. It is a nickel-iron meteorite of about 60 tonnes.
- 1 Tsumeb Museum, Ilse Schatz Rd, ☏ . M-F 09ː00-12ː00, 14ː00-17ː00; Sa 09ː00-12ː00, closed Su. A visit to the museum is a must, when travelling through Tsumeb.
- 1 Tsumeb Arts and Crafts Centre, 18 Presidents Avenue, ☏ . The prices of native crafts at the Tsumeb Cultural Center are extremely reasonable. The buyer can be sure that these crafts are authentic and from the tribes represented.
Tsumeb has a well developed downtown with most basic services such as ATMs, grocery stores, and a pharmacy.
- 1 Sonja's Kitchen, 841 6th Road/Sam Nujoma Dr ((georef approx)), ☏ . Oxtail and soup and other dishes and homemade desserts (also functions as a bakery).
- 2 Size N Nyama, ☏ . Big portions here, good place to go if you like meat.
- 1 Villa Africa Gueshouse & Tsumeb Backpackers, 1713, 13th Road,, Box 1287, ☏ . This is an amiable place with the owners' presence. There is a bathtub-like pool that a few people can squeeze into, and then there is a courtyard where pizza and kabobs can be thrown on the grill. N$566.