For over 90 years, this small town on the railway line from Windhoek to Swakopmund, 112km from Okahandja on the B2, has been known mainly for the very hard, very high-quality marble which comes from the Marmorwerke quarry nearby. This produces about 100 tonnes of finished stone per month – mainly kitchen/bathroom tiles and tombstones.
More recently, in the late 1980s, South Africa's Anglo-American Corporation opened the open-cast Navachab Gold Mine on the south side of town, to mine low-grade ore.
There's a lot of small-scale mining in the area, especially for gemstones. Amethyst, tourmaline, aquamarine, quartz, silver topaz, citrine and garnets are just some of the minerals found in the region around here. See the tumbled stones on the floor display of the Namib i centre (see Henckert Tourist Centre, below) for an idea of what is around – they all come from the local area.
Getting organisedIn an emergency
, the police are reached on tel: 064 10111, whilst the ambulance and fire service are on 064 550016 – or 550126 after hours. The small private clinic behind the First National Bank is tel: 064 550073 or 550329.
What to see and do
Your first stop here should be the Henckert Tourist Centre and shop
, but if you have more time then the town is dotted with several historic buildings
dating from the early 1900s. Then Karibib was an important overnight stop on the railway between Windhoek and Swakopmund, as well as a trade centre. Ask at the information centre for their brief guide to the town.
There is a small shooting range
and a few hiking trails
into the rolling landscapes south of town, behind the country club. In town itself, the Club Western Gambling and Entertainment Centre, and its adjacent Club Western Restaurant, seem to be the focus of local excitement, although as an alternative, the town's cemetery is beautifully lit at night!
The local branch of the Wildlife Society has a 'vulture restaurant'
with twice-weekly feedings, and the gold mine
has occasional site tours. Horseriding trips may also be available. For any of these, enquire at the information centre (in advance, if possible), which is the main stop for visitors passing through.Henckert Tourist Centre
PO Box 85, Karibib; tel: 064 550028/64; fax: 064 550230
On the main street, this is a landmark – a first-class curio shop that doubles as a Namib i
information centre. This fascinating shop began as a small gem shop in 1969. Now it has a very large range of carvings and curios, one of the country's best selections of Namibian semi-precious stones and gemstones, a facility to change money if necessary, and a generous line in tea and coffee. There's even a children's corner with eye-catching stones.
There is also a weaving centre, employing about 25 people in making craftwork, about 70% of which is bought by visitors. This demonstrates the importance of tourism here, and the vital role that you play in the local economy when you spend money in Namibia.
Where to stay and eat
In town there are just two hotels, both with small restaurants where you can stop for a snack, a steak house (on the main road) and a country club.
(15 rooms) PO Box 67, Park St, Karibib; tel: 064 550009
Situated on Park Street, most of the Erongoblick's rooms have en-suite facilities, and there's off-street parking at the back of the hotel. It also has a squash court, a pool and sauna – and is the better of the two town hotels.
Rates: N$160 single, N$270 per person sharing, including breakfast.
(11 rooms) PO Box 164, 310 Main St, Karibib; tel: 064 550081; fax: 064 550240
With only some of its rooms having en-suite facilities, this basic hotel has some simple rooms as well as dormitory-style accommodation for backpackers.Rates: double N$230 per person, single N$370, triple N$460 per room, including breakfast. Dormitory accommodation is N$95 per person.
Tel: 081 1248760
Near the mountainous outcrop known as Klippeneberg, this is signposted on the main road. It has tennis courts, squash, a swimming pool, a small golf course and a bar/restaurant that is popular with some of Karibib's residents. It's not really geared to tourists, but is hospitable enough if you drop by.