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Tsumeb Museum was opened on the 5th of April 1975 under the auspices of the S.W.A. Scientific Society, branch Otavi-Bergland. The Tsumeb Museum, with its comprehensive historical and geological displays, is a major tourist draw card, which attracts between 12 000 and 15 000 visitors annually orchestrated by the indefatigable Mrs Schatz as the museum's curator as well as its life and soul ever since.
The Museum is located in the old German Private School, which was established and built in 1915 and the buildings was declared a National Monument.
One of the museum's key displays is a comprehensive collection of the many and colourful minerals which occur in the area. Other interesting displays are original photographs and documentation recording the construction of the railway line between Tsumeb and Swakopmund, exhibitions on the San and Himba communities and arms and ammunition dating from the two world wars.
The Mineral Gallery is a joint venture between Tsumeb Specimen Mining (started by Mr Simon Brock in 2000) and Ongopolo. The Gallery is situated in the Main Street opposite Ongopolo Head Office and housed in an old building dating back to 1923. This is the property of Mr Peter Zoganas and was restored by Ongopolo in 2003.
Minerals from the Tsumeb mine, (now including Tsumeb West and Kombat) and private collections as well as gemstones (natural, cut and polished) are available for sale. Minerals for the Gallery are collected and prepared by Mr Vitek Urbanski who is also involved in the wholesale of minerals.
To provide something for non-mineral lovers, various other types of local curious (wood ornaments, San craft, Zambian art as well as Zimbabwean art), imported ornaments carved from various types of minerals from Dolphin Minerals in the UK have been included in their stock.
Second Director's House, Tsumeb
The First Director's House of the Otavi Minen und Eisenbahn Gesellschaft (OMEG, "Otavi Mining and Railway Company") in Tsumeb was completed in 1907. It was occupied by the company's first mining Director, Theodor Gathmann and his family. Unfortunately, two-thirds of this building was demolished and only the back part of it still exists together with the high staircases and the cellar. The rest of the building has been rebuilt in a different style. Before Namibia's independence, the South African Defence Force used the cellar as a pub.
The Second Director's House is situated near the OMEG-Minenbüro and the hospital. Tsumeb lies in the Oshikoto Region and was proclaimed a national monument on 15 February 1990.
Grootfontein hosts another four national monuments with the Hoba Meteorite on Farm Hoba West, as the largest single known meteorite, lying on the face of the earth, with a mass estimated at 60 metric tons - proclaimed as monument in 1979. The meteorite's age has been analyzed to be between 410 and 190 million years and apparently fell to earth less than 80,000 years ago.
Namibia is known for its Baobab Tree population, as find almost everywhere in tropical Africa. This magnificent tree, (Adansonia digitata) also known as "upside down tree" believed to receive its strength from heaven and many people in Africa express deep religious veneration for it. This national monument declared in 1951 can be found approximately 1,5km northeast of the homestead of the Keibeb Farm in the district of Grootfontein.
Axel Eriksson, 052a, active as hunter and trader of products such as ivory, ostrich feathers and skins in Namibia, prior to German colonization in 1884, came to Namibia as assistant to Charles John Anderson in the 1860s. As pioneer of South West Africa during the second half of the 19th century, he is remembered for the socio-political role he played in the support of the Dorsland trekkers. The Historical Monuments Commission decided in 1967 to restore his dilapidate graveside on the consolidated Rietfontein Farm that lies between Otavi and Grootfontein in the district of Grootfontein. His grave was proclaimed as national monument in 1974.
Upingtonia Street in Grootfontein is the address for the beautiful historical complex the Fort, built in 1896 and proclaimed as national monument in 1975. Used for a military and administrative post for the "Schutztruppe" and the native population, it symbolizes a concrete link with the history of Grootfontein and its surrounding areas.
District Grootfontein in the Otjozondjupa region is within an hours drive from !Uris Safari Lodge.
Otavi forms part of Namibia's cultural and natural heritage by means of two proclaimed national monuments namely Gaub Caves and Khorab Memorial, at Kilometre 500, Otavi. Both these monuments are approximately an hours drive from !Uris Safari Lodge.
The caves are situated on Farm Gaub; district Tsumeb approximately 50km by road from Otavi, in the middle of the Tsumeb-Otavi-Grootfontein triangle. The Gaub Caves reportedly contain the larges underground lake in Namibia and was proclaimed a national monument on 1 May 1967 in order to protect the interior rock formations containing passages, tunnels and a petrified waterfall.
The Khorab Memorial - erected in the 1930s to commemorate the article of capitulation that was signed at Khorab on 9 July 1915 between the German Imperial Troops and the armed forces of the Union of South Africa during WW1. This small monument can be found on the Rentes Farm next to the railway line about 3km northeast of Otavi. The Khorab Memorial was proclaimed a national monument on 28 September 1973.
The San people and Tsintsabis is synonym with the Ombili Foundation, which was founded in 1989. Approximately 65 000 San people live in Southern Africa of which 30 000 reside in Namibia - whereby 380 San people are cared for by this foundation. The non-aggressive San people were an easy target for fellow Africans whereby they lost most of their natural habitat. Their traditional handcrafts are exported and sold locally. This site is also within one hours drive from !Uris Safari Lodge.
The Tsumeb railway line was inaugurated on 21st November 1906.
Recently the old railway line was extended as far as Ongwediva and construction is still ongoing - on its way to our neighboring country Angola.
Proclaimed a national monument in 1972.
Lake Otjikoto is situated 20km north-west of Tsumeb, en-route to Oshakati, in the Oshikoto Region and 20 minutes drive from !Uris Safari Lodge. It is a large circular sinkhole with vertical cliffs of dolomite, approximately 700 million years old and was formed by the typical Karst process, where rock strata overlying underground cavern, collapsed. The water level remains virtually constant and it is presumably connected with other similar sinkholes and underground water sources in the vicinity. Two small fish species, the mouth-breeding dwarf bream, Pseudocrenolabrus philander diapersus and the nest-building bream, Tilapia guinasana, is evident of this phenomenon.
Historically at the beginning of the 18th century, Lake Otjikoto was utilized for ore trading. The first Europeans on an expedition through South West Africa, who "discovered" Lake Otjikoto in 1851 where the Swede Charles John Anderson and the Englishman Sir Francis Galton. With a depth of approximately 55meter and diameter of about 100m, Lake Otjikoto temperature is cold and likely to be the same throughout the year. Striking deepest sea-green water fascinates many a diver, who still visits this place today for the most rewarding diving and exploring experiences. The lake hosts a lot of post world war artillery. In June 1915, the German "Schutztruppe" were on the point of surrender to the Union troops of South Africa, when they dumped cannons as well as other weapons and ammunition into the lake. Those that could be retrieved, are visible at the Tsumeb museum and two small field cannons carrying numbers 16 and 18 were displayed in front of the Tintenpalast (the seat of government in Windhoek) for many years.
At its deepest point at the northern lakeside the Lake Guinas reaches down to 119 m. The Lake Guinas especially can be regarded as a particularly deep dolinen. Lateral dissolving of rock underneath the water surface makes the lake wider with an increasing depth into a funnel. Lake Guinas counts as the 12th largest underwater cave on earth. The expression "cave" for a surface lake is unheard of, but ultimately the lake represents nothing more than a cave with a collapsed roof. A characteristic of the lakes is their connection to the subsurface Karst groundwater system. The lake surfaces therefore have identical groundwater levels. Both the Lake Otjikoto and Lake Guinas demonstrate to the visitor the impressive force of water as a weathering agent, in which limestone is attacked. The lakes additionally show the vast volumes of water the presently so dry Namibia was endowed with in geological times not so long ago.
The lake is also home to the nest-building bream, Tilapia guinasana, which can often be seen near the surface, close to the near-vertical cliffs of the sinkhole. Owing to the depth of the lake, the Tilapia guinasana cannot build their nests on the lake floor and have adapted their breeding habits by building nests on narrow shelves on the walls of the sinkhole. Both parents vigorously defend nesting sites.
With a length of up to 14 cm, this cichlid occurs in a variety of colors, ranging from olive green with dark stripes and black to combinations of yellow, blue, white, grey and black. These bright colors are thought to have developed because of the initial absence of predators, making camouflage unnecessary.
The world renown Etosha National Park, proclaimed in 1907 by German Governor, F von Lindequist is situated about an hours drive from !Uris Safari Lodge on the B1 to the town of Oshakati. It covers an area of 22 912km2. "Etosha" meaning 'Great white place' - resembling the Etosha Pan, which covers some 4731 km2. According to some geologists, the Etosha pan was once an inland lake, about the same size as Lake Victoria, which was fed by the Kunene River. The Kunene River changed its course to flow into the sea, causing the pan to shrink to its present day size. It is mostly dry except after heavy rains when it floods mainly from the Ekuma and Oshigambo rivers in the north of Namibia. Due to the varied soil characteristics, there are nine major vegetation types in the Etosha National Park. Vegetation types ranging from grassland to woodland surround the barren pan. If good rains have fallen in the north, the pan fills with water and becomes breeding site for thousands of flamingos and other wetland birds. 325 bird species have been identified in the Etosha National Park. There are close to 114 species of mammals in the park. Another national monument, Fort Namutoni, officially proclaimed in 1950, serves as a tourist camp since 1957 and remains one of Namibia's biggest tourist attractions. The fort at Namutoni is one of the fortifications erected initially as cattle-disease control post after the outbreak of the Rinderpest in 1897.
Abenab, once the biggest vanadium producing mine in the world, is situated on the road between Tsumeb and Grootfontein, again little more than an hours drive from !Uris Safari Lodge. Although primarily a vanadium producer, lead and zinc were also excavated at Abenab. Vanadium was first discovered by chance in 1920 when a farmer picked up a curious looking rock with a crystalline formation on the farm Abenab. Tests determined this 'rock' to be the valuable vanadium ore. Based on the discovery of this ore, the Abenab open cast pit was established in 1924 at the location where the ore was originally found. Today none of the three Abenab pits is operating anymore.
As one approach the now dormant Karavatu mine, the gaping mouth of the underground tunnel meets the eye, calling one to take a closer step into the mine. Karavatu dates back to the turn of the century and there still is potential today for this mine where deposits of vanadium are still in existence waiting for the drills to begin to source perhaps unfound materials. An old Moringa Ovalifolia tree sits perched upon the entrance as a landmark. This tree is generally uncommon, but widespread in western Namibia and the pachycaul trade potentially threatens the existence of them. The Etosha tree population is being damaged by elephants to such an extent that a large population has been fenced-off for protection on a sandy plain west of Okaukuejo in the Etosha National Park. This tree amongst other rare trees as the Fockea Multiflora, forms part of the !Uris Tree Spotting activity, where trees are indicated by national tree number identification plates. Part of activities offered at !Uris Safari Lodge.
The ancient Alt Bobos mine is housed in an amazing rock formation. It is at Alt Bobos where in days gone by the German miner's hand-sorted minerals, which were then transported, to the coast by ox-wagon. The deposits of malachite and chalcocite still glisten in the mid-day sun. Part of activities offered at !Uris Safari Lodge.
Within walking distance from the lodge the, Uris mine can be found. Here one can still find old headgear and mine equipment of yesteryear. This and some old ruins make for picturesque photographs. Part of activities offered at !Uris Safari Lodge.
Recently mining operations has commenced at Tschudi mine after Weatherly International assumed management of Ongopolo Mining & Processing Ltd in April 2006. Ongopolo is the word for copper in Oshiwambo, one of the indigenous languages of Namibia.