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Compiled Sanet van Zijl | Main photo ©Seeheim Hotel
Looking at Seeheim today it’s hard to believe that it was once a larger and more well-known town than Keetmanshoop. This was mainly due to the railway that lead from there to the North, the coast and South Africa. The town boasted hotels, a post office and shops – you can still see the remains of many of these buildings where the town once stood proud.
At the start of the 20th century Seeheim was a bustling town, quite the opposite of what it is today. There are still trains that run along the railway line from south Africa and the south of Namibia. The railway that used to operate in front of the old Seeheim Hotel is no longer in use however.
The station used to be the centre of all activity in the town. Back then the train left Keetmanshoop every Wednesday at 6:00 and twelve hours later it arrived in Lüderitz. The Seeheim station was the only link between the North, the diamond area at Lüderitz and South Africa.
Passengers often had to wait around for hours whilst cargo was being loaded onto the train. While the train was in stop-over the passengers usually had to spend a night or two in Seeheim. Businessmen saw an opportunity and soon opened a shop, three hotels and a bar. A repair shop for the trains was set up as well. More people came to the town and started to build houses on the Seeheim hills.
Sadly, all that’s left today are ruins of old buildings and of the three hotels only one remains – the Seeheim Hotel. The Bellevue Hotel used to be situated on the hill to the right of the Seeheim Hotel, but today there is nothing left of it. Heavy rains caused what was left to collapse into a pile of rubble.
The Seeheim Hotel stood empty for 24 years before Marinda and Zirkie Kloppers bought it. Marinda compiled a brochure of the Seeheim history and the locations where the buildings used to be situated, so that visitors can share in the memories of the town.
Seeheim even had it’s own postage stamp. This shows how important this town used to be.
Today Seeheim can’t be referred to as a town, as only the hotel is left. For more information visit: www.seeheimhotel.com.