Namibian diamond town opens gates to the public

A diamond-mining town in Namibia that previously restricted visitors has opened to the public in hopes of boosting tourism and diversifying its economy.

The remote town of Oranjemund, which lies in a diamond-mining area called the Sperrgebiet, or “prohibited area” in German, held celebrations this month to declare an end to its isolation from the rest of the country.

The Namibia Press Agency said a new road has opened between the Namibian town of Rosh Pinah and Oranjemund, ending a decades-long system whereby travellers had to get security clearance before entering the Sperrgebiet.

Namdeb, a joint venture between Namibia and the De Beers company, operates in the Oranjemund area. Diamond-mining on land is expected to wind down in coming years, while more focus is being placed on offshore mining operations.

The town’s council came up with OMD 2030, which aims to ‘remodel and reshape Oranjemund from a privately owned, one-dimensional economy to a multi-faceted, publicly owned sustainable and thriving town’ by the year 2030.