The little village of O’okiep gets its name from the Nama word “U-gieb”. There are variuos meanings to this word, namely:
the great brackish spring,
the place of the big tree &
the little fountain.
O’okiep is situated, Namaqualand, 8 km north of Springbok and 120 km south of the Namibian border. We are 560 km north of Cape Town, 950 km south of Windhoek, 380 km west of Upington and have the sea as our western border (100 km).
O’okiep is the oldest mining town in South Africa where copper was first discovered and mined in 1855. It used to be the centre of South African copper mining. The large copper resources had been discovered in 1855 already and Okiep experienced an immediate boom. A railway line from Okiep to Port Nolloth was built in 1866 for shipping of the copper. Because there was not enough water for the steam engines, the Namaqualand Mule Train was pulled by mules until 1890. In 1918 the Okiep copper mines ceased operating and the place almost became a ghost town. In springtime, Okiep is - like the whole of Namaqualand - very rich in blossoming wildflowers.
The tourist centre of Okiep is the excellent Okiep Country Hotel. The hotel houses a very popular restaurant and bar. Also offered are 4x4 tours into the surrounding areas, including the visit to a diamond mine at the coast and to the Richtersveld National Park. Okiep is the right address to appreciate the beauty of Namaqualand.