Grootfontein is a town in Namibia that is located in the North Eastern Part of the country with a not so big population that is mostly made up of Boers. These came from Angola after failing to connect with the then Portuguese colonialists who were creating havoc in Angola during the colonial times and ever since then, they have been staying in the city and have been joined by other inhabitants who live in Namibia. The word Grootfontein is in Afrikaans language and it means big mountain and before Namibia got her independence, it was used as a mining area by the German colonialists and part of the town was always off limits to the local community due to the fact that they used to carry out mining in the area and they did not want the locals smuggling off their gold.
Grootfontein was also a malaria infested town but in the year 1889 a doctor who was known by the names of Dr. Philaletes renovated the hospital which was in the area and introduced new measures of curbing Malaria and right now the Grootfontein town is Malaria free.
The main attraction in the area is the Hoba Meteorite which is believed to be a space stone that fell in Namibia from outer space many years ago.
- The Hoba Meteorite
The Hoba Meteorite which is Namibia’s precious jewels in Namibia is located next to the Gondwana town and visited by astronauts and tourists who just want to see a rock that does not belong to the face of the earth. Located in the town of Grootfontein, the Hoba Meteorite is believed to have dropped in the town over 80,000 years ago although no one can rightly tell the exact time when it dropped in Namibia. The stone has about 80% of iron composition and is believed to have a weight of about fifty tons and has been sitting in the town ever since it fell.
Even though the Hoba stone is the major tourist attraction In Grootfontein, there are other attractions and activities that you can do while in Grootfontein and these include the following:
- A trip to the Alte Fort museum
The Alte Fort museum was constructed by the Germans and this acted as their base during their colonial rule in Namibia. Located with Grootfontein, it is now a museum where you can go visit and enjoy a rich culture and history about the Germans and how their base used to be operated while they were still in the country. It also has other artefacts that you can see while in the museum and you will find a tour guide there who will explain all that you will see while at the Alte Forte museum.
- Visit the Mangetti National Park
The Mangetti national Park is located just a few kilometers away from Grootfontein town and one of the best National Parks to visit in Namibia. Although it is small as compared to the other Parks in the country, it is a home to a variety of wild life species and all these can be seen at any time of the day as long as you have a tour guide with you and booked in early. Some of the wild life species in the park include leopards, elands, the African wild dogs, the African wild cats, antelopes, brown hyenas, spotted hyenas, steenboks, blue wildebeest, duikers, leopards and te bird species include the lapped faced vultures, African harrier hawk, the African blue bird, flycatchers, Meyer’s parrot and many more others. You can also enjoy a trek through the park for as long as you have a tour guide with you.
- Enjoy a horse ride through Grootfontein
Grootfontein as a town has horse trails in specified places where tourists can go and enjoy a horse ride. Horse rides are mainly for those that have prior knowledge to riding and all you need is too follow the tour guide on the marked trails while enjoying your ride and for all those that are not so good at riding you can stay around and pet the domesticated horses that are found in the designated places.
- Visit the locals
The town at first was filled with Boer farmers but of recent they have been joined by both the San bush Men and the Herero people who live within the town. These have different customs that they follow and cultural practices that you might want to experience due to their uniqueness and the only way you can do this is by visiting the Grootfontein town to do all that.
The town is the second largest in the area and some of the activities that are carried out by the locals include cattle rearing but mostly farming and this is due to the fact that the climate that is experienced in the town is favorable for agricultural purposes.
The main minerals that have been mined in Grootfontein previously are lead and copper and all these were mined at Tsumeb however at the moment, the mining has been stopped. Tsumeb located next to the Grootfontein town is also worth a visit while you are there besides visiting the ole mining area, you can as well visit the following and enjoy carrying out the activities in those places.
- Explore the Tsumeb museum, this was constructed in the year 1975 and it is filled with old relics from the different tribes that are found within Namibia like the Bushmen crafts, the old ammunition that was picked from the Otjikoto Lake. This ammunition was dropped by the retreating Germans as they were being chased out of the country by the South African army.
- Get a ride on the Uncle Chris’s train, this is a local who everyone believes knows all the history of both Grootfontein and the Tsumeb town. He has an old tractor which he drives and this has carts tied to the back. He takes tourists around the town while telling them all about the stories and history of the town.
- Explore the Ghaub caves, these are considered to be the second largest underground caves in Namibia and a trip to the Grootfontein is a ticket to exploring these caves. The caves are cared for by a couple and when you get there, you will be taken around the caves but note that is you are scared of the dark and small enclosed places, then this is not the right place for you to be.
Grootfontein might not be as exciting as other towns that are found within Namibia but it is a good place for one to go and learn more about the history of the Namibian people before and after the colonial times. The good thing is that it still has some German traces still within and when you add that to the culture and traditions of the locals that live within the town.
The Grootfontein town is however not as clean as it used to be due to the congestion of people living there but the government is trying their level best to make sure that the sanitation within the town is restored. Therefore as you head out to Grootfontein, make sure that you go with enough personal essentials so as to avoid contracting diseases and do not to get all the necessary vaccines before you head out to Grootfontein for a safari with your family.