The Erongo region, named after the Erongo Moutains, is the area North West of the capital Windhoek. Typified by awesome Mountain massifs, including the Brandberg and Spitzkoppe, it also includes parts of the Namib Desert and the coastal towns of Swakopmund and Walvisbay.
The Erongo Region is one of the largest of the 13 regions found in Namibia and received its name for the majestic Erongo Massif that dominates the area around Karibib, Omaruru and Usakos. The region reaches up to the Atlantic Ocean and includes the coastal towns of Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, its northern boundary ending at the Ugab River where the Skeleton Coast National Park begins its stretch to Angola. The Erongo Region is the most active when it comes to mining, a phenomenon that dates back to the geological processes that shaped the area millions of years ago. It is the area in Namibia where the evidence of volcanic activity (now dormant) is most distinct, something visitors will notice when traveling past extinct volcanic skeletons such as the Erongo and the Brandberg. Age old mountains such as the “Virgin” or the “Coffin Lid” are made up purely of the petrified volcanic ash of the Erongo volcano (visible from the B2 when traveling towards Karibib from Okahandja). The area around Karibib itself is the location of Namibia’s only Gold mine (Navachab Gold mine) and also Namibia’s only marble industry. The geological triangle, made up of the Brandberg (Namibia’s highest Mountain), the Erongo massif (one of the world’s largest volcanic skeletons) and the Spitzkoppe (southern Africa’s largest granite Inselberg) is the mining Mecca for hundreds of indigenous small-scale mineral miners that dig up and sell a vast variety of mineral rock such as Quartz, black mountain quartz, Aquamarines, Tiger eyes, Chordite and many more. These miners sell their minerals along the road, the biggest market being found at the entrance road to the Spitzkoppe mountain. The area surrounding the moonlandscape and the Rössing Mountain is the site for Uranium mines that make Namibia the third largest exporter of Uranium. Uis, a small town close to the foot of the Brandberg, is located on the earth’s largest Tin deposit. Although the availability is extremely significant, the mining process of this tin is extremely cumbersome and it is not economically viable to extract this metal. When in Uis, visitors can see enormous white mountains that remind of the times when the mine was in full operation, but actual tin mining has seized some time ago. Many of the mineral sellers are actually ex-employees of the Uis tin mine and who now had to find alternative income. Besides the income the Erongo region generates for the Namibian economy from mining, it is also the location for Walvis Bay, Namibia’s only deep sea harbor and the second largest income generator for the economy – the fishing industry. Most of the fish caught in Namibian waters (one of the richest coastlines when it comes to marine resources) are exported to countries such as Spain, Portugal and China and only a very small amount is actually used for local distribution. The Omaruru, Karibib, and Okombahe/Uis/Tsubeses areas are all situated in a semi-arid farming region and have a homogenous farming pattern, which mostly consists of stock-raising on private farmland, but also combines communal farming with commercial farming. The needs for production and marketing are therefore very similar and the farming community has a distinct mutual interest which distinguishes their area from the Okahandja or the Otjiwarongo areas whose needs are more centred around industrial farming. The Erongo region, with its link to the coast of Namibia, is one of the more well developed areas of Namibia. Facilities such as schools, hospitals and clinics, the supply of electricity and telecommunication services are, with a few exceptions, well established and of high quality.