Tsumeb - City of Namibia
Tsumeb is the capital city of the Oshikoto region in northern Namibia. Tsumeb is seen as "gateway to the north" of Namibia. It is the closest town to the Etosha National Park.
NAMIBIA National Animal : Oryx (antelope)
The name Tsumeb is generally pronounced "SOO-meb". The name is not a derivative of German, Afrikaans, or English. It has been suggested that it comes from Nama and means either "Place of the moss" or "Place of the frog". Perhaps this old name had something to do with the huge natural hill of green, oxidized copper ore that existed there before it was destroyed by mining.
Tsumeb, since its founding, has been primarily a mining town. The mine was originally owned by the OMEG and later by TCL before its closure a few years ago, when the ore at depth ran out. The main shafts became flooded by ground water over a kilometre deep and the water was collected and pumped as far as the capital, Windhoek. The mine has since been opened up again by a group of local entrepreneurs . A fair amount of oxidized ore remains to be recovered in the old upper levels of the mine. It is highly unlikely, though, that the deepest levels will ever be reopened.
The other notable feature of the town is the metal smelter, also owned by Ongopolo Mining.
Near to the town are two large and famous sinkhole lakes, Lake Otjikoto and Lake Guinas. Guinas, at about 500 m in diameter, is somewhat larger in area than Otjikoto. A pioneering documentary movie about scuba diving in these lakes was made by Graham Ferreira in the early 1970s. 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, is at least 60 m deep. The water in Guinas is completely clear and well over 100 m deep. Divers who have performed bounce-dives in Guinas to 80 m have reported that there was nothing but powdery-blue water below them. Guinas has been in existence for so long that a unique species of fish, Tilapia guinasana, has evolved in its waters.
NAMIBIA National Bird : Crimson-breasted Shrike