Established originally by the British in 1935, Katima is the regional capital of the eastern Caprivi. It replaced the old German centre of Schuckmannsburg, which now consists of just a police post, a clinic and a few huts. Collectors of trivia note that the taking of Schuckmannsburg, on September 22 1914, was the first allied occupation of German territory during World War I.
Katima is a large town with good facilities, beautifully placed on the banks of the Zambezi. There is an open central square, dotted with trees and lined with useful places like the Katima Supermarket, the Ngwezi bottle stall, and the Ngwezi post office.
Recently, as western Zambia has started to open up, Katima has taken on the role of frontier town: a base for supplies and communication for the new camps on the Upper Zambezi River in Zambia. It has just a little of the wild-west air that Maun used to have a decade ago, when it was remote and the hub of the Okavango's safari industry.
For those needing car repairs
, Katima Toyota is next to the Caltex garage, just off the square. Just behind the square you will find the Air Namibia office
, and the Butchy-Butchy bakery which sells good fresh bread.
The Windhoek Bank
here even has an auto teller, but don't expect foreign credit cards to work. Note that none of the banks in Katima are good at dealing with Zambian currency; they usually refuse to either buy or sell kwacha. For this you will usually need to cross the border and exchange currency with local traders on the Zambian side.