As you enter Otjiwarongo, the road broadens into a dual carriageway, punctuated by traffic lights, leading you to expect a town of some size. But blink and you’ll miss the town centre, and find yourself heading back into the bush. That said, the town is the regional capital of the Otjozondjupa Region, and when the jacaranda and flamboyants lining the main street are in bloom, the place exudes a cheery feel. First to settle here were the Herero – joined later by Nama, Ovambo and German settlers – and the name Otjiwarongo means “place where fat cattle graze” in Otjiherero, which for a cattle-loving society denotes a pleasant location. Cattle are still the mainstay of the town’s growing economy, which is aided by its excellent rail links with the coast, as well as road connections with Windhoek and Oshakati and Ondangwa, the main population centres in the north. For tourists bound for Etosha or Caprivi, Otjiwarongo is a natural pitstop, and it is within striking distance of both the Waterberg Plateau and Namibia’s premier cheetah research and education centre.

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