In the far south west corner of Namibia you will find the odd little town of Oranjemund, a quaint town that is not exactly on the Namibia tour map.

Oranjemund, as the name implies, is at the mouth of the Orange River, just where is empties in the Atlantic Ocean.  Oranjemund has a total population of about 4000 residents and is closed to the general public and is not run by the local government but the Namibian Diamond Mining Company or Namdeb which is a subsidiary of De Beers. Therefore should you wish to visit you will need a permit.

The Town of Oranjemund

Oranjemund was founded in the 1930’s when the area was all but uninhibited to cater for the workers that were exploiting the lower Orange River for diamond deposits.  The town consists of one school, one supermarket, one roundabout, one hospital but surprisingly enough six churches!!  They do have a library and a small museum.  Most everything in this town is owned by Namdeb, which is to the town’s advantage as up until recently water, electricity and telephone services were all free.  Unlike most of Namibia this town has lush gardens, huge trees and beautiful lawns all thanks to the Orange River that is close to the town.  The mining operation, guarded by impenetrable security, is situated out of the town.

This town give you a sense of being stuck in a time capsule of the 1940’s and 50’s, as most of the buildings date back to that era.  Here and there you can find a few modern structures.  An overhead view of the town will show you just how compact this town is, surrounded on the one side by the ocean and the other by endless sand.  Early mornings frequently engulf the town in a thick fog giving the town an eerie appearance.  However the scenery in and around this quaint little town in the sunshine is breath taking.  The Orange River makes the area spectacular as is winds its way through the desert to the sea.  It is not unusual to find gemsbok, oryx or the occasional jackal wondering in the streets or finding a snacking someone garden.

A stone’s throw from Oranjemund, but inside the South African border you can see the town of Alexander Bay.  Today the two towns are linked by the Oppenheimer Bridge but in the past the only link was via Alexander bay, which is also a restricted area.  Another road has now also been constructed that leads to another one-company owned town known as Rosh Pinah.