About 13 kilometres north-east of Keetmanshoop lies the spectacular and much photographed Kokerboom or quiver tree forest on the farm Gariganus, which was declared a National Monument.
The quiver tree or "Kokerboom" is indigenous to the hot and dry southern part of Namibia. The plants are succulents and can reach a height of up to 9 metres. They have adapted to the extreme environmental conditions by storing water in their trunks. The tree blossoms for the first time after 20 to 30 years and can reach 300 years of age. The wood is very light and spongy inside. As the trunk and branches can be easily hollowed out, they were used as quivers by the bushmen (San people) who formerly roamed this area.
Top left: old fountain at the Keetmanshoop museum. Top right: Popular motive: Quiver trees in the evening light. Left: Quiver trees can be found throughout the south of Namibia. On Gariganus they are particularly numerous.
Keetmanshoop is the traffic junction and the economic centre for the whole south of Namibia. The town was founded as a mission station in 1866 and named after the German trader Johann Keetman who supported the mission financially. There is a museum in the old church where the history of Keetmanshoop is on display. The small town hardly counts 15,000 inhabitants today and is a nice place for a stop-over, as there are some comfortable hotels and a caravan park.