Monday 19 April 2021
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Bottomless and Beautiful – Lake Otjikoto

Africa holds some of the largest lakes in the world and in Namibia; we have the bottomless and forever beautiful Lake Otjikoto. Situated 20 km on route to Oshivelo rests the emerald green water and the effervescent light filtering through the vegetation on its rim.

Unlike other natural beauties with a flowing narrative behind their establishments, Lake Otjikoto exudes a rather mystical quality that lives up to its natural creation.

From a geology explanation, the lake used to be a karst cave of which the ceiling collapsed thus releasing the lake to the daylight discovered in 1851.

On paper, Otjikoto Lake is a lake that covers a surface area of 0.01 km2, has an average depth of 45 meters (148 feet), and reaches a maximum depth of 58 meters (191 feet). The lake, which sits at an elevation of 1,204 meters (3,951 feet). However, guides at the lake still say the depth is undetermined because the lake tapers into a lateral cave system making it impossible to determine its exact depth.

After an entrance to the rare beauty, you are greeted by the forever green grass and goats that grace in the vicinity. The lake has been a popular tourist attraction since its discovery and Namibians too are now starting to love the creation.

On a visit to the lake, we are greeted by the display of the historic background of the place. The lake’s reputation of being bottomless led to the dumping of a considerable supply of artillery and ammunition into its murky depths. And yes, a number of guns are still under the water.

A board at the lake displays the number of guns that were extracted while others like automatic machine guns, cannons, revolver guns, mountain guns and mysterious contents unknown are yet to be extracted.

The guides say many operations have failed to extract the weapons as some are stuck on rocks and the depth is a challenge for the divers. Weapons recovered are open for display at the Tsumeb Museum.

It is believed that the lake was a dumping ground for German Schutztruppe during World War I and  in June 1915 German troops dumped war materials in the lake before surrendering to stop the South African and British troops from using them.

A strangely beautiful scene for the eye and photogenic background outside the ordinary, the lake has become today more of a drive through. Partly abandoned, besides the obvious lake and history of the guns still in the waters, there is nothing more to do.

The Young Achievers Empowerment Project visited the beauty over the weekend for sightseeing and this is what they had to say! “It’s my first time here and I should say it is a unique beauty. It is not something you see every day and the history is just so rich. We are only taught some of these things at school so it was nice to see it with my own eyes,” said young Ndilipunye.

“I think this country is beautiful and we just have to travel to see the best of this country. This is a spot many of us just drive past so it was worth the stop,” said Lowbousky.

“I have been here for the second time now. I think the place deserves a bit of renovation to attract more people. Besides the lake, there is nothing else to enjoy. So the management should think of adding something for visitors to enjoy the place even more,” said HelenaFrom a distance, it is quite tempting to swim, but management has advised visitors not to even attempt. The waters are perilous to swim in, as there are strong undercurrents, and that the two lakes are linked by subterranean passages.

Despite evidence to the contrary, people prefer to believe that the sinkhole is an enigmatic phenomena. Next time you drive up north, make sure to stop by.

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