Sited at the crossroads between the C33 – the short cut between Swakopmund and Otjiwarongo on the main road north – and the less frequented C36, which leads to the Brandberg, OMARURU, a small, somnolent town, makes a good stopover. It’s also within easy striking distance of the scenic Erongo Mountains. Established in 1868 by Wilhelm Zeraua, the first Herero White Flag chief, it later became a mission town – the old mission house is now a small, rather uninspiring museum – and was repeatedly the focus of battles between the Nama and Herero, then later the Herero and the German army. The distinctive, cylindrical Franke Tower memorial, which lies across the Omaruru River in a street parallel to the main drag, is a remnant of the latter. Over the weekend closest to October 10, Herero flock to the former township of Ozondje, to mark White Flag Day, in commemoration of those who died fighting colonialism.
These days, Omaruru is garnering a reputation as a centre for arts and crafts – check out the shops on the attractive, shady main street. In particular, don’t miss the Tikoloshe workshop and souvenir store at the western end, where you can watch the Kavango root-carving artists at work, and peruse the craft shop, which sells their work, as well as all kinds of crafts from all over Africa. If you’re in the area towards the end of September, look out for the increasingly popular annual arts and cultural festival, which involves exhibitions and workshops.