Ombalantu Baobab Tree, Uutapi (Namibia)

9 May

Uutapi (also Outapi) is an old base of the South African army. The town is well-known for the Omukwa Baobab Tree, which has had a very important role as Post Office, Chapel and even prison. Currently it is home to ‘Ombalantu Baobab Tree’, a quiet and welcoming camping site owned and managed by the Ombalantu Baobab Tree Heritage Centre & Camp Site local community. The community has 20 members, of which 19 are women and it creates employment in the area. We met the manager Lidwine Shiningayamne, which explained to us the story of the tree and the village:

Click to see the video

Uutapi is very close to the border with Angola. Nearby attractions include the Uukwalauuishi Royal Homestead, where the local King Josia Shikongo Taapopi lives. The King now lives in a modern house, but the old residence complex has been kept and it is possible to visit it to learn more about the history of the region. We tried to see the King, but it is absolutely impossible to have an audience in the same day, it needs to be requested well in advance.

Back to Ombalantu, the rest camp is great. The ablution block is nice and well-kept, with showers, toilets and dishwashing area. There are four camping sites, all around the tree and receiving its generous shade during the day. There is craft shop by the tree and the staff is more than happy to help you.

The Baobab itself is interesting for the many uses it has had. We learned that it was carved in the inside (it still is) and had a hole at the top. As a kind of static ‘Troy horse’, it could keep groups of warriors hidden inside, ready to surprise the enemy.

This Campsite was initially funded by Nacobta a Namibian organization for tourism and development.

Contact: Lidwine Shiningayamwe

Post: Manager
Address:
P.O. Box 15
Outapi
Ombalantu, Namibia
Tel/fax: +26465251005
Mobile: +264813549901
Web: http://www.natron.net/nacobta/ombalantu/main.html and   http://www.namibweb.com/ombalantubaobab.htm

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3 Responses to “Ombalantu Baobab Tree, Uutapi (Namibia)”

  1. Brian Austen December 6, 2011 at 10:00 am #

    I was a S.A. soldier in S.W.A. in 1983 and spent almost three months at Ombalanto. The base was built around the tree and he tree served as a small knid of a chapel. A pulpit and a couple of small benches were placed inside and a large Log Book/Visitors book was left on the pulpit wherein myself and many others recorded our names, some with further comments. I am simply curious to know what happened to the book and if it is possibly still inside the tree?

  2. Jan December 7, 2012 at 11:17 am #

    I was also a SA soldier stationed at Ombalanto, but that was way back in 1978 – indeed my first ‘tour’ to the border. I’ll never forget, I was still too young to drink beer, I had not even turned 18, but was carrying a R1 ifle and live ammo. Strange times indeed.

  3. Andre April 3, 2013 at 3:09 am #

    Same here. Did my JL’s at Infantry school in 1981. Went back to Ladysmith(5SAI) to train the new intake. After that it was up to Ombalantu for some border duty. That tree is an amazing sight. Out tents were pitched about 20mtrs from it. Koevoet’s base was right next to ours.

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