By Kuvee Kangueehi GOBABIS the capital of the Omaheke Region, is located at 22 27 longitude, 19 05 latitude in Namibia. The town of Gobabis is situated 205 km (149 mile) east of Windhoek, approximately 110 km (68 miles) west of the Botswana border and 594 km (368 miles) from Walvis Bay Harbour. It was founded in 1895 and has since grown to become the main trading centre of Omaheke. During World War 11, on 1 January 1944, Gobabis was granted municipal status with Mr A.P. Olivier as the first mayor, but a mayoral chain was only introduced on 17 July 1965. Today, it is generally assumed that Gobabis is a Khoe-Khoe Gowab word meaning “drinking place of the elephants” or “elephant’s fountain”. Furthermore, oral tradition has it that the oldest name of the site is “Khoandabes – place where elephants come to lick” and that Gobabis is a whites corrupted version of the Khoe-Khoe Gowab words Khoa (elephants) and bis (place) = Khoandabes. The Hereros named the place “Epako”, “rozonyanda” derived from the Herero word ‘Epoko’ which has something to do with the geographic location of the place. Gobabis has a well-developed infrastructure and is conveniently situated on the newly built Trans-Kalahari Highway, connecting the industrial hub of South Africa with Namibia and Botswana and is conveniently linked with the manufacturing nucleus of South Africa. The town is ideally located to provide access to the interior of Namibia, her neighbouring countries and South Africa. It has available industrial land at inexpensive prices and offers a low-crime, growth environment for investors. Infrastructure and Services Gobabis is linked with Windhoek by means of a tarred road from where it is connected with the major centres in Namibia. Along the existing tarred route the distance between Gobabis and Johannesburg in South Africa is 1 195 km (743 miles), while Gobabis and Cape Town are 1 705 km (1 059 miles) apart. Trans Kalahari Highway The Trans-Kalahari Highway runs through Gobabis. This road provides a direct link between Gobabis and the industrial heart of South Africa, namely the Gauteng area. Gobabis is the entry point to Namibia for freight and traffic from this area, as no formal settlements are located on the road to the border with Botswana. The Trans-Kalahari Highway decreased transit time between Gobabis and Johannesburg to approximately 12 hours from the previous 20 hours. The road provides ready access to Gobabis from the interior of Botswana, thus expanding trade opportunities. Trans-Caprivi Highway Gobabis is presently linked with the north by way of gravel roads. Upon completion of the Trans-Caprivi Highway, Gobabis will be linked by surfaced road to Angola, Zimbabwe, Zambia and northern Botswana. All main roads in Gobabis itself are paved and there is an approved continuous programme of Council for tarring, paving and interlocking all streets on an annual basis. Water and Electricity Supply Gobabis receives its water supply from two catchment areas in the Omaheke Region served by the Otjivero, Daan and Tilda Viljoen dams. Otjivero Installations The Otjivero Silt Dam, situated in the White Nossob, an ephemeral river, constitutes the origin of Gobabis’ bulk water supply scheme. From the silt dam, water is fed to the Otjivero main storage dam, from where it is conveyed to Gobabis by pipeline and fed into the Viljoen Dam.
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