Tsumeb Urban Eco-Village

At the Lithon Group, we are passionate about new venture creation through greenfield deal-making and development services. To illustrate this, we’re introducing an initiative of our own – and it’s not only a first for Namibia, it’s also quickly become Lithon Holdings CEO Adriaan Grobler’s all-time favourite project. This is none other than the Tsumeb Urban Village, an agricultural and tourism eco-village we’re developing on 500 hectares of farmland south of Tsumeb, in partnership with several co-sponsors.

For Adriaan, the impact of this project has the potential to extend far beyond Namibia’s borders. “Tsumeb could become a model for sustainable urban-agricultural villages, one that Lithon could roll out to the rest of Africa,” he says. “All we’d need is access to the right land, and we’d do everything else – from conducting the initial studies through to finding investors and, eventually, stimulating local economies.”

We caught up with him to find out more.

What sparked the dream?

I’ve always loved the idea of ruralisation, of drawing people away from cities and back to rural areas. It’s a concept that’s been successfully implemented at the Crossways Farm Village in South Africa, a development designed by CMAI Architects. When one of our partners approached us with the opportunity to buy farmland in Tsumeb, I immediately saw the potential to bring this concept to Namibia. And we’ve brought CMAI Architects on board to be the urban designers for the Tsumeb Urban Village.

Why Tsumeb? 

Tsumeb is a small mining town brimming with potential. It falls within Namibia’s fertile Maize Triangle, an area encompassing Tsumeb, Otavi and Grootfontein. The Triangle has an economic forum that aims to turn the area into a metropole and economic hub over the next three decades. Tsumeb is also strategically located on Namibia’s main transport corridors, with road and rail connections to neighbouring countries and the deep sea port at Walvis Bay. And it’s a tourism gateway to the Etosha National Park and other important heritage sites.

What made you decide to go ahead with the project?

Our first step was to conduct a study on the local housing market. This confirmed an existing need for 350 houses, forecast to grow to 1000 houses over the next decade at the current economic status quo. With the knowledge that our initial investment would be covered, we purchased the land with the vision of developing an urban-agricultural village based on a work, live, learn, and play approach – and building a sustainable economy around the agricultural and tourism sectors.

What is your vision for the village?

Our aim is for the Tsumeb Urban Village to be independent, privately funded, and self-sufficient in terms of water, power, and sewerage so that it places no service burden on the Tsumeb Municipality. Our current plan, which is dynamic and in development, is that the village will include:

  • Walkable mixed-use neighbourhoods with a range of housing options, including inclusive housing.
  • Working farms (with processing and packaging facilities) that provide fresh produce for the local community and for export.
  • Opportunities for businesses to grow and flourish in the agriculture, tourism, and education sectors.
  • Conservation areas where residents and visitors can soak in the spectacular natural surroundings.

Where are you in bringing the village to life?

We’ve recently entered the feasibility phase, where we’re doing detailed planning, costing and more to create a comprehensive business plan for potential investors. Driving the project is an expert team that includes agricultural specialists, urban designers, town planners, development economists, Lithon engineers, and a designated project manager. And we’re engaging with relevant stakeholders in Tsumeb, including the council and local business people, to present our findings and receive feedback and input. The project will be developed in phases, with the first phase set for completion in 2024.

Watch this space

We’ll be posting regular progress reports as the Tsumeb Urban Village development unfolds, so keep an eye on our website for updates. For more information on housing and investment opportunities, please get in touch with Adriaan Grobler on adriaan.grobler@lithon.com today.