Rooms are neat with comfortable beds and small en suite bathrooms, tea and coffee, a telly and that oh-so-important essential in this arid region: air conditioning. Built around a lawned courtyard, the rooms face inwards away from the heat. A bar, popular with locals, serves ice cold Namibian beer at its best and the restaurant, though no award-winning eatery, serves up a typically Namibian range of meats and cheese-covered dishes.
A swimming pool rounds off the list of essential items for a stopover after a long, hot drive and the cool green lawn and palm trees add to the effect. The staff, given a little encouragement, are generally friendly and helpful.
Look at a map and you will see the reason for Keetmanshoop: the town is about two hours' drive to the Fish River Canyon viewpoint and start of the multi-day hike through the canyon; four hours' drive from Lüderitz; six hours to Windhoek and about four hours from the Namibia-South Africa border at Vioolsdrift. Keetmans is also the gateway to the Kalahari north and east of here and as a convenient stop if you're driving up from South Africa towards Sossusvlei.
This region is the transition zone between the Nama-Karoo biome (rocky succulents and hardy shrubs) and the Kalahari (sandy grassland). The landscape is desolate, unique and utterly isolated from the rest of Namibia let alone the world.
Most likely you will arrive late and leave early - hence the simple functionality of the place - but in case you have a spare day, the Quivertree Forest, Giants' Playground, Fossil Trail and Fish River Canyon are all a good day's outing. The Keetmanshoop Museum offers a charming slice of local history and Naute Dam, about 50km away, is a good birding spot.
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