By Namibian standards, this is a large sprawling town and is typical of the region. There are no tourist attractions here, but the town acts as the centre for several government departments.
Oshakati has all the major services that you might need. For car spares there is the large California Auto-spares dealer (tel: 065 221240), a branch of Cymot (tel: 065 220916), and many small garages. Towards the east of town, Phoenix Motors is the Nissan depot. There are lots of fuel stations, including Mobil and BP 24-hour stations. For food shopping, the market, on Main Street, has a fairly extensive range of supplies, and there's also a branch of Checkers, which is more basic than most, a Europa Wholesale (behind the First National Bank), and the Continental just east of town.
For money, there are major branches of Standard, First National and Commercial banks, both with hole-in-the-wall automatic cash dispensers. Don't expect credit cards from overseas to work.
If you need medicine there are several pharmacies including Oshakati Apteek (tel: 065 220964) on the main road which have good basic supplies. In an emergency
, the police are reached on tel: 065 210111, the ambulance on 065 200211, and the fire service on 065 221258. The hospital is on 065 220211.
Where to stay
The hotels in the area aim at business people, mostly aid-workers and visiting government employees. They are generally efficient, but don't expect to meet many other tourists here.International Guest House
PO Box 542, Oshakati; tel: 065 220175; fax: 065 221189
To reach this turn left at the Engen garage, and continue past the Yetu shopping centre until you reach the big white water-tower on your left. Turn left there. After a further 150m of tar, turn right on to a gravel road. After a further 250m take a left, and the guesthouse is right there. The last few turnings should be signposted with 'Coke' signboards for the guesthouse. Its rooms have en-suite bathroom, air conditioning, TV and telephone, and there's a swimming pool and tennis court outside. It has improved since independence, and is as good a place to stay as anywhere in the region. Santorini Inn
P Bag 5569, Oshakati; telfax: 065 220457/220506/221803; email: email@example.com
Right on Main Road, on the right if arriving from Tsumeb, Santorini Inn has a pool, an à la carte restaurant, a squash court, a sports bar, and several different types of rooms. All have air conditioning and a telephone as well as DSTV. Despite its location, it feels very detached from the town.Oshandira Lodge
PO Box 958, Oshakati; tel: 065 220443/221171; fax: 065 221189; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To reach this, follow the directions to the International Guest House, above. Then ask for Oshandira and someone will guide you to it. This has air-conditioned rooms with en-suite bathroom, a TV and a telephone. Elsewhere there's a sportsmen's bar with large-screen TV. Outside is a pool and the popular Garden Restaurant which is probably the best place to eat in town, so often gets busy; it also includes traditional Ovambo food on its menu. Oshandira Lodge has secure parking within a short walk of the airstrip.Okave Club
(8 bungalows) PO Box 1483, Oshakati; tel/fax: 065 220892
In the same part of town as the Santorini Inn, this is reached by turning left after the Engen station, then left again after the Bank of Namibia (on to a gravel road), and next right. The Okave Club started in 1990 and has eight bungalows with air conditioning, TV and telephone, as well as a pool, restaurant and bar.Continental Hotel and Restaurant
(19 rooms) PO Box 6, Oshakati; tel: 065 220170; fax: 065 221233. Slightly west, out of town, the 'Continental number one' (as it's known) is run by Frans Indongo and has the widest range of rooms around. All are still clean, with en-suite bathrooms, and some are air conditioned.
Rooms are numbered 1–19, and generally the higher the number, the better the room. They are graded into three price brackets; rooms 1–5 are the smallest and most basic. These stand near the small casino, sharing toilets and showers. Rooms 8–13, 15 and 17 all have their own toilets and showers, as well as a TV and a telephone. The most expensive, 14, 16 and 19 (by far the largest) have all this plus air conditioning.
There's a busy beer garden in the centre of the hotel, and a simple restaurant for breakfast. It's not the plushest place in town, but it's fine for a night.Oshakati Country Lodge
(50 rooms) PO Box 15200, Oshakati; tel: 064 500001; fax 064 500724; email: email@example.com; web: www.namibialodges.com. Central reservations tel: 061 240375; fax: 061 256598.
Oshakati Country Lodge was built by Namibia Country Lodges, who also own De Duine at Henties Bay and Aoub Lodge. It opened in 1999 and its main building has a large thatched structure under which you'll find a substantial public bar (with electronic gaming machines), as well as an à la carte restaurant and a conference centre that can accommodate 250 people.
All the rooms have air conditioning, TVs, telephones and a minibar/fridge, and there's also a decent swimming pool here.
Where to eat and drink
There is no shortage of places to eat which serve simple fare. There's a popular Kentucky Fried Chicken in the Yetu shopping centre, and Jotty's Fish & Chips take-away on the main road is a favourite. Club Oshandira (see above) probably has the best food in town, or at least the most pleasant surroundings in which to eat it.
For an evening out, Oshakati can be excellent – provided that you enjoy joining in with the locals and don't demand anything too posh. Club Fantasy (billed as 'Your Party Place') is perhaps the best place in town and has been going for years. Other contenders include Club Yellow Star and Moby Jack's, the Let's Push Bar, the Moonlight Bar, and the small Country Club – but don't take these names too literally.