Pronounced 'Keet-mans-verp', which is often shortened in slang to just 'Keetmans', Keetmanshoop lies about 480km south of Windhoek at an altitude of 1,000m. The tar roads from Lüderitz, South Africa and Windhoek meet here, making it the hub of southern Namibia's road network, as well as the administrative centre of this region.
Originally there was a Nama settlement on the banks of the seasonal Swartmodder River here, also known as Swartmodder. Then, in 1866, the Rhenish Missionary Society sent Johan Schröder here from their established station at Berseba. He organised the building of a church and named it Keetmanshoop (which means 'Keetman's hope'), after Johan Keetman, one of the rich benefactors who had paid for the building.
In 1890 that church was swept away by a freak flood, but a new one, built on higher ground, was completed five years later. This was disused for years, but restored and declared a monument in 1978. Now it shelters the town's museum, so at least visit this, even if you see nothing else here.
Keetmanshoop's small airport is found by following Kaiser Street west and north through town, past the caravan park, and out the other side. There are currently no scheduled flights, although it is possible for charters to land here. In case the situation should change, it is worth checking with Air Namibia
Keetmanshoop is situated at the hub of the road network in southern Namibia, linked to Windhoek, South Africa and Lüderitz by good tar roads.
Intercape Mainliner run a good service linking Windhoek and Cape Town, which stops at Keetmanshoop, at the BP Du Toit station on 5th Avenue, at 22.35 on Sun, Mon, Wed and Fri heading south, and then at midnight Tue, Thu, Fri and Sun going north. It costs N$320 from Cape Town and N$240 from Windhoek, and must be booked in advance, either at the local office at the Engen garage on 5th Avenue (tel: 063 223063) or through another agent.
Keetmanshoop is also at the hub of several Starline bus services, connecting the town with, among others, Bethanie, Helmeringhausen, Aus, Lüderitz and Oranjemund – but note that unauthorised visitors may not visit Oranjemund as it lies within the Sperrgebiet. Lüderitz buses leave the town at 07.30 on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with the return journey arriving back in Keetmanshoop at 13.00 on the same days. Buses for Bethanie and Helmeringhausen depart from Keetmanshoop on Tuesday at 08.10, arriving back at 18.00. Those for Goageb, Bethanie, Aus and Lüderitz run daily except Sunday, leaving at 07.30, with the return trip arriving back every day except Saturday at 17.30 (16.30 on Sunday). For details, phone TransNamib in Keetmanshoop on tel: 063 292202.
Keetmanshoop is linked by train services to Windhoek and also to Ariamsvlei, on the South African border, and through to Upington. Trains run between Keetmanshoop and Windhoek every day except Saturday, arriving at 06.30 and departing at 18.25. On two days per week, Wed and Sat, trains depart for Ariamsvlei at 08.50, arriving back the following day at 16.30.