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Ghanzi

The Kalahari capital

The town with its 15,000 inhabitants is situated only 70 km away from Namibia’s border. The town is the administrative seat of the Ghanzi District, which stretches from the west inland and covers an area of 118000 km². The eastern part mainly consists of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, whilst the western part borders Namibia.

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Ghanzi is situated along the Trans Kalahari Highway (A2 and A3) and thus forms an important base for supplies on the route from Namibia to the most important towns of Botswana and the Okavango Delta.

The San were the first inhabitants of the Ghanzi area. Only in 1874 the first white settlers with their infamous leader Hendrik van Zyl arrived here. Today numerous groups live here, like descendants of the original San, Baherero, Batawana and Afrikaner.

The landscape around Ghanzi is flat and sandy, covered with grass and thorn bushes. The economic base of the inhabitants is stock farming.  Whilst in 1936 40 cattle farms where found here the number has grown to more than 200 today, profiting from the good grazing lands.  This is more than 6% of the national cattle stock.  Most probably this is where the name Ghanzi is derived from, which in the Naro language means “swollen behind”, once referring to the many antelopes.  

In Ghanzi in the Main Street a centre for San artists called “Ghanzicraft” is found. Here leather articles, San arrows and bows, products made from ostrich egg shells and much more is offered at lower prices than in Maun or Gaborone.

Numerous Lodges and accommodation facilities are found in and around Ghanzi.