Surrounded by lush forest, overlooking the majestic Zambezi, tropical Katima Mulilo – usually shortened to Katima, and meaning “to quench the fire” in SiLozi, referring to some nearby rapids – has more in common with towns in Zambia and Zimbabwe than most of Namibia. Indeed, located 1200km away by road from Windhoek, Katima is nearer to the neighbouring capital cities of Lusaka and Harare than to its own, a view soon confirmed by a wander round the vibrant open market and the sandy short cuts between buildings, where women in chitenges crouch over makeshift stalls selling fruit, cloth, comics and sweets, and competing Sungura and Zed beat rhythms waft out onto the street.

The town centre, such as it is, primarily centres on Hage Geingob Street and its junction with Hospital Road, where there are several large supermarkets, banks and a seemingly never-ending collection of strip malls. While here, be sure to call in at the Zambezi Arts and Cultural Association to browse their excellent selection of crafts.

Should you find yourself anywhere near the suburb, and former township, of Ngweze, make sure you seek out the “toilet tree” outside the SWAPO office – a giant baobab, which has been hollowed out to accommodate said toilet.

Once the multi-million-dollar Zambezi Waterfront Park finally opens, Katima may finally make the most of its lovely waterside setting. For the moment, to fully experience the magic of the Zambezi, you need to head to the Protea Hotel Zambezi River Lodge, or stay at one of the lodges out of town.

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