The name of this town has been derived from the Nama word “u-gieb” which means “ the great brackish spring”. Okiep used to be the richest copper mine in the world until it closed down in 1929.

History and Architecture

Anglo-Boer War sites: Okiep was one of the battlefields upon which the Anglo-Boer war was fought and several sites in town date back to this time. The remains of the Crows Nest blockhouse is on a hill north-east of town and many soldiers had their final resting place in the Okiep cemetery.

Cornish Pump House: Built in 1882, the pumphouse is the only remaining one of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. It was used to pump water from the mine.

Smokestack: This ventilation shaft was built by the Cape Copper Company in 1880.

Fort Shelton: Only the remnants of stone walls mark the Anglo-Boer War site that was the main fortification of the British Home Guard during the siege of Okiep in May 1902. Nine hundred defenders built nine blockhouses to keep General Smuts’ forces at bay.

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