Grootfontein

Namibias "big fountain"

The name Grootfontein is derived from the Afrikaans and means "big fountain". The town, which counts about 29000 inhabitants presently, originates from a settlement of about forty Boer families in 1885. These families had previously moved from South Africa to Angola during the years 1878/81, but were not able to come to terms with the Portuguese administration and thus left Angola again to settle here.

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Mining started under German supervision in the Otavi region during 1895. In 1896 a military post, the Old Fort, was built in Grootfontein and 25 men of the German “Schutztruppe” were stationed here. Today the Fort is a museum worth seeing.

The medical officer Dr. Philaletes Kuhn, who also acted as district officer from 1897 – 1899 in Grootfontein, rehabilitated the Malaria invested wetlands and thus the region became Malaria free.

In the years to follow Grootfontein was able to develop itself and became an important economic centre thanks to the nearby ore mines.

Today the town takes the second place regarding its size in the Otavi Triangle, just behind Tsumeb. Due to the favourable climate and for Namibian conditions sufficient rainfall land cultivation can take place in addition to cattle breeding.

The Hoba Meteorite is one of the tourist attractions in the area. It landed about 80,000 years ago and consists of 82% iron, has a volume of 9 m³ and weighs more than 50 tons. The meteorite can be visited on the farm Hoba, about 25 km from Grootfontein.

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