Namibia Basic Facts:Namibia is a desert country of stark beauty with one of the world's wildest coastlines. Namibia may be sparsely populated but it has a wide variety of proud, and culturally diverse tribes. It's a country rich in diamonds, wilderness and wildlife.
Location: Namibia lies in Southern Africa, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Angola and South Africa; click here for a map.
Area: Namibia covers 825,418 sq km, about the same size as France and Germany combined or slightly more than half the size of Alaska..
Capital City: Windhoek
Population: Just over 2 million people live in Namibia.
Language: English (official language but the first language of only 7 % of the population). Afrikaans is actually the most common language spoken by Namibians, including about 60% of the white population. German is spoken by 32% of the population. Indigenous languages include Oshivambo, Herero and Nama.
Religion: Christian 80% to 90% (mostly Lutheran) and indigenous beliefs 10% to 20%.
Climate: Namibia has a desert climate, it is hot, dry and rainfall is very sparse and erratic. The coolest temperatures are found along the coast. The hottest months are December to March. Rainfall (if there is any) usually falls between October - April.
When to Go: The best time to travel in Namibia is from May to October when the weather is a little cooler.
Currency: Namibian Dollar, click here for currency converter. The South African Rand is also legal tender.
- Etosha National Park -- Etosha is Namibia's top wildlife destination, home to Africa's tallest elephants, the endangered black rhino, and 91 other species of mammal. Etosha is especially popular with photographers in the dry season who flock to the waterholes (along with the wildlife).
- Skeleton Coast -- Shipwrecks dot this wild coastline and elephants wander through the sand dunes that plunge directly into the freezing Atlantic ocean. A desolate place that's extremely rewarding for the adventurous traveler.
- Fish River Canyon -- one of the largest canyons in the world, thought to have formed about 500 million years ago. You can hike the canyon but only during the cooler months between May and September. The hike takes 5 days and there are no hotels along the way.
- Cultural Safaris -- The San Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert and the Himba are just two of the fascinating traditional tribes that visitors can visit and learn about.
Travel to NamibiaNamibia's International Airport: Hosea Kutako International Airport lies 28 miles (45 km) east of Namibia's capital, Windhoek (airport code: WDH).
Getting to Namibia: Most of Namibia's visitors arrive by air via Europe or South Africa (Air Namibia, Lufthansa, South African Airways and Air Berlin have regularly scheduled flights). You can also reach Namibia by land with luxury buses traveling to Jo'burg and Cape Town in South Africa. Buses are also available from Botswana and Zambia.
Namibia's Embassies/Visas: Most tourists do not need to get a visa to visit Namibia as long as they don;t stay onger than 90 days. For more information contact a Namibian Embassy close to you.
Namibia's Tourism Board: Tel: +264 61 290 6000, E-mail: email@example.com, Web Site: www.namibiatourism.com.na
Namibia's Economy and PoliticsEconomy: The economy is heavily dependent on the extraction and processing of minerals for export. Mining accounts for 8% of GDP, but provides more than 50% of foreign exchange earnings. Rich alluvial diamond deposits make Namibia a primary source for gem-quality diamonds. Namibia is the fourth-largest exporter of nonfuel minerals in Africa, the world's fifth-largest producer of uranium, and the producer of large quantities of lead, zinc, tin, silver, and tungsten. The mining sector employs only about 3% of the population while about half of the population depends on subsistence agriculture for its livelihood. Namibia normally imports about 50% of its cereal requirements; in drought years food shortages are a major problem in rural areas. A high per capita GDP, relative to the region, hides one of the world's most unequal income distributions. The Namibian economy is closely linked to South Africa with the Namibian dollar pegged one-to-one to the South African rand.
Brief History and Politics: South Africa occupied the German colony of South-West Africa during World War I and administered it as a mandate until after World War II, when it annexed the territory. In 1966 the Marxist South-West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) guerrilla group launched a war of independence for the area that became Namibia, but it was not until 1988 that South Africa agreed to end its administration in accordance with a UN peace plan for the entire region. Namibia has been governed by SWAPO since the country won independence in 1990. Hifikepunye Pohamba was elected president in November 2004 in a landslide victory replacing Sam Nujoma who led the country during its first 14 years of self rule.
More About Namibia and SourcesNamibia Map and Basic Facts
Photos of Namibia
Namibia Family Safaris
CIA Factbook on Namibia
The San Bushmen