GrootfonteinGrootfontein lies on the B8, the Namibian National Road which leads from Windhoek to the Caprivi Strip in the north-eastern part of Namibia. The name of the town in the Otavi triangle is Afrikaans and means "big spring". In 1885, 40 boer families from the north-west of South Africa settled here. The "Dorstland Trekkers" had been headed for Angola to settle there, but when it became a Portuguese colony, they left and established the "Republic Upingtonia" in Grootfontein. 10 years later, mining operations started in the Otavi region. The Germans took control and established a military base to grant access to the Caprivi Strip.
Like all the towns in the fertile Otavi triangle, Grootfontein is very green and in springtime, the many Jacaranda trees can be seen flowering in purple splendour. The small town of about 10 000 inhabitants is an ideal overnight stop for travellers to the Caprivi and Bushmanland.
Worth a visit, is the old German Schutztruppe fortress. It was built in 1896, and today houses a museum on the local history.
Grootfontein has something very special to offer: On the farm "Hoba", 24 kilometres from town, lies one of the largest meteorites ever found. It is 3 metres long and one metre wide, weighs 50 tons, has a volume of 9 cubic metres. It hit the ground here some 80 000 years ago. The meteorite of Hoba consists of 82% iron, 16% Nickel, 1% Cobalt and various trace elements. Over the years, the Hoba Meteorite has been reduced in size because visitors broke pieces off to take home with them as souvenirs.
Left: The Hoba Meteorite near Grootfontein, Namibia. Right: Old Fort and Museum of Grootfontein.