Loosely translated as a deep hole, Lake Otjikoto is located on your way to the Etosha national park and is one of the tourist highlights that you should not miss checking out while on a safari to Namibia. The Otjikoto Lake is believed to be about 145 meters deep and it also has a funny shape that is in form of an upside down mushroom making it more entertaining to visit by all the tourists who visit the area. There are several legends that surround the Otjikoto Lake and one of them is that the Lake has no definite depth and it keeps on going and whoever gets close to the Lake or tries to swim through the lake is swallowed up and they can never be seen again. Most of the local people actually fear the Lake and the San normally refer to it as the Gaisis which can loosely be translated as ugly.
A little bit of history about the Otjikoto Lake is that it is also known as an ammunition Lake because as the German colonialists were leaving Namibia, they threw all their ammunition into the Lake and this was to prevent the South African government from getting a hold of any of them. The lake Otjikoto is believed to still be having the arms and ammunitions that were dropped in by the Germans as they were retreating and some of the clubs that are located within the area have started removing some of these weapons and they are being displayed in the Tsumeb Museum.
One of the clubs around the Lake has opened up a museum that is considered to be an underground museum where you can also view some of the ammunitions that have been got from the bottom of the Lake and for a few times the Lake is open to all expert divers and what they find below the Lake is more impressive than what is found in the museums. There are also many accommodation facilities that are located around the nearby own near the Lake Otjikoto that you can use while there but you will need to book in advance.
There are not many activities that one can do but there are exciting things that you can get to see that are near the Lake Otjikoto and some of these include the Museum, the local people and taking a walk around the lake.
The Tsumeb museum
The Tsumeb museum was opened in the year 1975 and it is where most of the famous ammunition that was left behind by the Germans as they were retreating from the country are kept. It is a good place where tourists can learn more about the history of the area and the whole country as a whole. There are several ammunitions that were recovered from the Lake Otjikoto and these have been cleaned up and put into the different corners of the museum for all to see and get to admire these old weapons that were used to fight wars in the country. There is also a section where one can see all the Bushmen artifacts like spears, samples of their rock paintings and there are also paintings and regalia that tell the story of the different locals who live in the country like the Herero, the Himba and the Ovambo.
Take a drive to the baobab tree
The baobab tree that is locate just a few kilometers away from the Tsumeb town I one of the tourist attractions around the Lake Otjikoto. It is believed to be about 1000years old and the locals have many theories surrounding the tree which makes it more suspenseful. No one knows how it grew but it is said that it is a home to ancestral spirits of the locals. It is just a good place for botanists to visit and all those that want to see how an extremely old tree has managed to survive though the harsh weather conditions.
Enjoy a historical trip with a local
A local commonly known is Uncle Oom Chris is one of the locals who is known to be having a lot of information about the area and the Lake and he can be seen riding his truck around with tourists aboard as he tells them of all the funny and true stories of the area. His tractor has carts attached to them and he drives around the town telling you all you need to know and answering all your questions at a small price.
Check out the Arts and crafts Centre
This is located next to the Tsumeb museum and it has all the different art crafts from the different regions in the country that have been put on display. Many locals bring their handmade crafts here for sale making it the perfect place for you to get yourself some souvenirs at a cheap price and also support the local community.
Enjoy the Ghaub caves
The Ghaub caves are a few kilometers away from the Lake Otjikoto and are considered to be the largest underground caves in Namibia. These are catered for by a couple who offer tourists a chance to take a guided walk through the caves mostly for those that love the peace and quiet that they offer. A walk through the caves is not for the faint hearted but once you get used to them and the dark, you will enjoy yourself and you can also take some photos to remember your cave excursion experience. After checking out the farm, you might as well check out the many farms that are located within close proximity of the caves.
The Lake Otjikoto is a gem that is still undiscovered and a photo safari to the place is much needed as it will help you understand more about the Lake. The Otjikoto Lake is all about its history and formation and the activities that can be carried out around the Lake and the only way one can get to know about all this is by taking a trip to the Lake and finding out more about what they can offer. It is better for you to however first book for your trip to the Lake in advance with a tour operator that you trust so that you can get some of the best services. There is no best time for tourists to visit the Otjikoto Lake that is it can be visited all year round but you will need a good vehicle like a 4×4 car to get you around due to the bad roads around the Lake.