This small, pleasant town is found at the northern end of the central plateau, amidst rich farmland. For the visitor, Grootfontein has few intrinsic attractions but is the gateway to both Bushmanland and the Caprivi Strip. If you are heading to either, then resting here for a night will allow you to tackle the long drive ahead in the cool of the morning.
Intercape Mainliner's services between Windhoek and Victoria Falls stop at Maroela Motors. En route to Victoria Falls, these stop on Mon and Fri at 01.10. Southbound they return on Wed and Sun at 21.25.
Hitching from Grootfontein is relatively easy, as most traffic passes through town. However, you will need a clear sign to hitch with. Alternatively, talk to drivers at the fuel stations or walk out of town to get a good lift.
Grootfontein is a good stop for supplies. There's a Standard, a First National and a Bank of Windhoek, several garages, a tyre centre, and a well-stocked Sentra supermarket all in the centre of town.
The post office is just behind the municipal centre, between the main Okavango Road and Rathbone Street. One block away, next to Le Club on Bernhard Street, Heinke Relling has a limited selection of cameras and film.In an emergency
, the police are reached on tel: 067 10111, the ambulance on 067 242141, the hospital on 067 242041/ 242141, and the fire service on 067 243101 or 242321.
Changes of road names
In the last few years, the local council have changed many of Grootfontein's street names, though many of the old names are still found on maps. The main changes are:
Kaiser Wilhelm St has become Hage Geingob St
Goethe St has become Sam Nujoma Drive
Schiller St has become Dr Ngarikutuke Tjiriange St
Bernhardt St has become Hidipo Hamutenya St
Upingtonia St has become Dr Nickey Iyamba St
Bismarck St has become Dr Toivi Ya Toivo St
Tourist information office
If you have the time, then the small but helpful tourist information centre inside the municipal offices is a good place to visit. It is just off the main Okavango road, two blocks east of Hage Geingob Street (Kaiser Wilhelm Street).
What to see and do
There's not much to do here. The museum is the only real attraction during the day, and in the evenings things are even more limited. The bars at the Nord and Meteor hotels open all week, except Sunday, but are not inspiring.
During the summer (October to May) the outdoor pool by the restcamp is open every day until 18.00.
Old Fort Museum
Also near the restcamp is Old Fort Museum (signposted as Das Alte Feste). This small, privately run museum is a few kilometres from the centre of town, past the Total service station and opposite the rugby stadium, on your left en route to Rundu. It centres on the original forge of a local blacksmith, and opens Tuesday and Friday 16.00–18.00, and Wednesday 09.00–11.00. At other times, phone 067 242456 to see it. Admission is free.