Oranjemund, Namibia

Oranjemund, Namibia

The unique town of Oranjemund is located in the deep south of Namibia and has a population of about 4000 people. Located within the Sperrgebiet National Park and only 3 km’s from Alexander Bay and on the northern bank of the Orange River it has an interesting history. The name Oranjemund is Afrikaans for ‘at the mouth of the Orange River’. The mouth of the Orange River is a RAMSAR Site protecting the unique wetland. It can be accessed by car or via air from the Oranjemund Airport. Oranjemund has scooped “Small Town Year award” in 2018 and was chosen as the “Town of the Year” finalist in 2019.   One of the most intriguing things about this town is how they co-habitat with wildlife and it is common to spot Gemsbok lying dotted on open grassed areas within the actual town.

A good selection of accommodation is on offer in Oranjemund and there are lots of activities and day trips available. Visitors can hire an e-bike to explore their surroundings, take a boat ride or do a Trans Park tour. Tours to the famous Bogenfels arch can be undertaken. For the more adventurous hiking can be done in the Daberas Canyon. Birding enthusiasts will be pleased to know that there are 223 known bird species. Oranjemund also boasts a scenic wildlife golf course.

Oranjemund has a long association with diamonds. Oranjemund was first established as a settlement in 1936 due to rich deposits of diamonds being found on the northern bank of the orange River and the adjacent northern coastline. The entire area was proclaimed restricted (Sperrgebiet).

The town was run by Namdeb which is now a subsidiary of De Beers. Access to the town was limited to employees and their family only. You couldn’t just drive into the town as you would be denied access such was the security in place. In 2017 history was made and the doors to Oranjemund were opened – visitors no longer needed security clearances and permits to visit this interesting little town. The Oranjemund Municipality was established and took over the running and administration of the town.

The infrastructure was superior to other towns in the south of Namibia as the town was not dependent on income or cost recovery from the inhabitants. Later in the 20th century Oranjemund developed a large recreational complex with cinema , swimming pool and restaurants and bars. Namdeb went to great effort to ensure that it’s employees were happy.  Many of the houses and buildings date back to the 1940’s and 1950’s although there are a few modern structures that exist one cannot help but feel that one is stuck in a time capsule when visiting this unique town. Until 2016 electricity was provided for free and water is still provided to the community at no cost.

Popular attractions in the area include a visit to the Jasper Museum and the Hohenfels German Ruins. Visit our Tourist Information Centre when you arrive and we will be more than happy to assist you. For more on Oranjemund’s history, visit the Jasper House Heritage Centre and see how pioneering miners lived in years gone by. How they adapted to living & working in an arid & challenging Sperrgebiet. Tours are available every workday.

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