O wambo’s two main centres, Oshakati and Ondangwa, are in the Oshana Region. These two bustling towns have the same informality and happy-go-lucky character as urban centres throughout much of Africa.
Their main streets are lined with a haphazard arrangement of residential houses and shops, and the traffic varies from donkey carts to the latest in luxury four-wheel-drive vehicles.
The Oshakati Omatala (open market) is the largest in Namibia, and is a big tourist attraction in the north. The Tulipamwe Sewing Project in the main street of Oshakati – marked by the vibrant pink materials on display – is a great place to learn about traditional Oshiwambo attire and buy yourself some unique clothing.
The Ongwediva Trade Fair has been held annually since 1995. Apart from an array of local stands, it also hosts exhibitors from Botswana, South Africa, Ghana, Kenya and Zimbabwe.
Situated across the road from Ongwediva Medi Park, Bennie’s Entertainment Park and Lodge is a popular meeting place that provides leisure activities in many forms. Afrika Stadt Haus is another good place to enjoy a meal or a drink. The town hosts two modern shopping malls, which feature the most popular fast-food restaurants, including a Silver Wolf Spur, and an assortment of retail outlets.
Since independence, the Oshakati-Ongwediva-Ondangwa complex has experienced dramatic urban growth. The complex plays an increasingly important commercial role in the north and has considerable industrial potential.
The Ondangwa SME Start-Up and Tourist Information Centre is a good place for visitors to find their bearings and gain access to information on the surrounding area. Call the Ondangwa Town Council at 065 24 0101 to be transferred to the centre. In close proximity to the town, at Olukonda, is the oldest building in northern Namibia, the Nakambale Mission House.
A new concept for Namibia, the Ongula Village Homestead Lodge, allows visitors the opportunity to experience authentic village life at an Owambo homestead.
Situated in the Omusati Region, west of the Oshana, is the newly opened Uukwaluudhi Safari Lodge from which guests can further explore the Owambo culture through visits to the Uukwaluudhi Royal Homestead and Museum at Tsandi. Situated about 85 km from Opuwo, Uukwaluudhi Safari Lodge also offers the opportunity to learn more about the nomadic Himba people living in the area.
Air Namibia conducts flights to and from Ondangwa, twice daily, seven days a week.
Shops line the streets in town. Photo ©Paul van Schalkwyk
Traditional pink Oshiwambo attire. Photo ©Paul van Schalkwyk