The small but growing town of Opuwo is the capital of the Kunene Region in north-western Namibia and lies 720 km north-northwest from the capital city of Windhoek. Although the town was only officially declared in November 2000, it has been home to people since the 1920s when headman Hijangombo Mupia gave Commissioner Carl Hugo Hahn some land in the area to set up an office. That land is now known as Opuwo. Hahn, who was based in Ondangwa at the time, gave the land the name Opuwo, which means enough in Otjiherero - referring to the land he was given. The local residents of Opuwo called it Otjihinamaparero at the time, and some still use that name despite the official change in 1974 due to orthographic reform.
In those early years mail between Opuwo and Ondangwa was delivered by a runner and trip took two days. Road and telephone communication with the rest of Namibia was established but for many years the inhabitants had to use the old manual exchange telephones and post was delivered once a week. A visit to the bank was a 600 kilometer round trip to Oshakati but the 1990's saw the introduction of FM radio, television and an automatic telephone system. Today the capital of the Kunene Region has a modern communications system, commercial banks, shops and a tar road that connects it to the rest of Namibia. It also has an airstrip and a special filtration plant that ensures good quality drinking water.
Opuwo is connected to Kamanjab and Windhoek via an excellent tarred road, and the town proudly promotes itself as the gateway to the friendly and very interesting Himba People, the Epupa Waterfalls, the Marienfluss, Desert Elephants, Van Zyl's pass (where you need a good 4x4), Traditional villages of the Himba, Herero and Dhimba people, plus much much more. A move towards building a tourism industry in the town encourages visitors to spend a night or two in Opuwo and walk around in one of the most interesting towns in Africa and experience its diverse people, sights and smells.