Derived from the Nama word ‘U-gieb’, meaning ‘the great, brackish spring’, Okiep was, until production ceased in 1918, the world’s richest copper mine. Okiep is the oldest mining town in South Africa where copper was first discovered and mined in 1855.
Eight kilometres north of Springbok, it echoes copper’s boom years. Nine-hundred defenders, mostly Cape Copper Company employees, built nine blockhouses and repulsed General Jan Smuts’s forces’ concerted efforts to take the town. Today, on a hillock, only the remnants of stone walls remain.