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Namibia Travel Guide - Travel S Helper

Namibia

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Namibia, formally the Republic of Namibia, is a republic in southern Africa with the Atlantic Ocean as its western boundary. It is bordered to the north by Zambia and Angola, to the east by Botswana, and to the south and east by South Africa. Although it does not border Zimbabwe, it is separated from that nation by less than 200 metres of the Zambezi River (basically a tiny bulge in Botswana to establish a Botswana/Zambia micro-border). Following the Namibian War of Independence, Namibia won independence from South Africa on March 21, 1990. Windhoek serves as the country’s capital and largest city, and it is a member of the United Nations (UN), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU), and the Commonwealth of Nations.

The San, Damara, and Nama peoples have lived in Namibia’s arid plains since ancient times. Immigranting Bantu peoples arrived in the 14th century as part of the Bantu expansion. Since then, the Bantu groups collectively known as the Ovambo people have dominated the country’s population, constituting a substantial majority since the late nineteenth century.

During European colonization in the late nineteenth century, the German Empire imposed protectorate authority over much of the area in 1884. It started developing infrastructure and agricultural and kept this German colony going until 1915, when South African forces destroyed its soldiers. Following the end of World War I, the League of Nations assigned the country to the United Kingdom, with South Africa in charge of administration. It enacted its laws, which included racial classifications and restrictions. With the National Party voted to power in 1948, South Africa implemented apartheid in what was known as South West Africa. The Cape Colony seized the port of Walvis Bay and the outlying Penguin Islands in 1878; they became a member of the new Union of South Africa when it was formed in 1910.

Uprisings and demands for political representation by local African political activists seeking independence in the late twentieth century culminated in the UN acquiring direct responsibility for the area in 1966, although South Africa retained de facto authority. The South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO) was recognized by the UN in 1973 as the official representation of the Namibian people; the party is led by the Ovambo, who form a substantial majority in the region. In 1985, South Africa created an interim administration in Namibia as a result of ongoing guerrilla conflict. In 1990, Namibia gained complete independence from South Africa. However, South Africa retained sovereignty of Walvis Bay and the Penguin Islands until 1994.

Namibia has a 2.1 million-person population and a robust multi-party parliamentary democracy. Agriculture, herding, tourism, and the mining sector – including mining for gem diamonds, uranium, gold, silver, and base metals – are the foundation of the country’s economy. Because of the vast, dry Namib Desert, Namibia is one of the world’s least densely inhabited countries. Namibia has a high level of political, economic, and social stability.

Namibia | Introduction

Namibia, once a German colony, was governed by South Africa under a League of Nations mandate after WWI, then annexed as a province of South Africa following WWII. The South-West African People’s Organization (SWAPO) declared independence in 1990 after launching a guerilla struggle for freedom in 1966. Namibia is quite similar to South Africa in many respects. Namibia shares many of the issues associated with apartheid since it was governed under that system.

It is essential to understand that race is a frequent topic of conversation in Namibia. That is, Namibians will refer to other people’s races more often than visitors from countries where race is not usually an issue would anticipate. Race is a problem in many aspects of life as a result of apartheid, therefore it comes up often. Despite this, the different ethnicities get along well in Namibia, and racial conflicts are very rare.

Namibia is comparable to South Africa, and if you’ve traveled in one, you’ll find it simple to travel in the other. There are several minor distinctions. In South Africa, for example, a non-white person may choose to speak English rather than Afrikaans (as a political choice), whereas Afrikaans is a proud part of the culture of Namibia’s mixed-race population (who call themselves ‘colored’ in both Namibia and South Africa), and many people still speak German. These distinctions aren’t likely to cause offense, but they are useful to be aware of.

Tourism

Tourism contributes significantly (14.5 percent) to Namibia’s GDP, directly or indirectly supporting tens of thousands of jobs (18.2 percent of total employment), and serving over a million visitors each year. The country is a popular tourist destination in Africa, and it is well-known for ecotourism, which highlights Namibia’s diverse wildlife.

There are many hotels and parks that cater to eco-tourists. Sport hunting is also a significant and increasing component of the Namibian economy, accounting for 14% of total tourism in 2000, or $19.6 million US dollars, with Namibia home to many species sought after by foreign sport hunters. Furthermore, extreme activities like as sandboarding, skydiving, and 4x4ing have grown in popularity, and many towns now provide tours. Windhoek, the Caprivi Strip, the Fish River Canyon, Sossusvlei, the Skeleton Coast Park, Sesriem, Etosha Pan, and the coastal cities of Swakopmund, Walvis Bay, and Lüderitz are among the most popular destinations.

Windhoek, Namibia’s capital city, is vital to the country’s tourist industry owing to its central position and closeness to Hosea Kutako International Airport. According to the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s Namibia Tourism Exit Survey for the Namibian Directorate of Tourism, 56 percent of all visitors visiting Namibia between 2012 and 2013 visited Windhoek. Many tourism-related parastatals and regulatory organizations in Namibia, including Namibia Wildlife Resorts, Air Namibia, and the Namibia Tourism Board, as well as tourism-related trade groups such as the Hospitality Association of Namibia, are based in Windhoek. There are also a number of noteworthy hotels in Windhoek, such as Windhoek Country Club Resort, and several international hotel brands, such as Avani Hotels and Resorts and Hilton Hotels and Resorts, operate in Windhoek.

The Namibia Tourism Board (NTB), Namibia’s main tourism-related regulating body, was created by an Act of Parliament: the Namibia Tourism Board Act, 2000. (Act 21 of 2000). Its main goals are to govern the tourism sector and to promote Namibia as a tourist destination. The Federation of Namibia Tourism Associations (the umbrella body for all tourism associations in Namibia), the Hospitality Association of Namibia, the Association of Namibian Travel Agents, the Car Rental Association of Namibia, and the Tour and Safari Association of Namibia are also trade associations that represent the tourism sector in Namibia.

Demographics

Namibia, behind Mongolia, has the second-lowest population density of any sovereign nation. The majority of Namibians are of Bantu-speaking ancestry – largely of the Ovambo ethnicity, which accounts for about half of the population – and live mostly in the country’s north, but many are now residents in cities across Namibia. Other ethnic groups include the Herero and Himba, who speak a language related to the Nama, and the Damara, who speak the same “click” language as the Nama.

In addition to the Bantu majority, there are significant populations of Khoisan (such as Nama and San), who are descendants of Southern Africa’s original inhabitants. There are also descendants of Angolan refugees in the nation. There are also two minor groups of individuals of mixed racial ancestry, known as “Coloureds” and “Basters,” who account for 8.0 percent of the population (with the Coloureds outnumbering the Basters two to one). Namibia has a sizable Chinese community.

Whites (mostly of Afrikaner, German, British, and Portuguese ancestry) account for between 4.0 and 7.0 percent of the population. Despite the fact that their population proportion is declining owing to emigration and decreased birth rates, they still constitute the second-largest community of European descent in Sub-Saharan Africa, both in terms of percentage and actual numbers (after South Africa). The majority of white Namibians, as well as almost all mixed-race Namibians, speak Afrikaans and have comparable roots, culture, and religion to the white and colored people of South Africa. A sizable white minority (about 30,000 people) may trace their ancestors back to the German immigrants who colonized Namibia prior to the British seizure of German territories during World War One, and they support German cultural and educational organizations. Almost all Portuguese immigrants came from the former Portuguese province of Angola. In what was then South-West Africa, the 1960 census counted 526,004 people, including 73,464 whites (14 percent ).

Every 10 years, Namibia conducts a census. The first Population and Housing Census was conducted after independence in 1991, with further rounds in 2001 and 2011. The data collecting technique is to count everyone who lives in Namibia on the census reference night, no matter where they are. This is known as the de factomethod. The nation is divided into 4,042 enumeration zones for census purposes. To get accurate statistics for election reasons, these regions must not overlap with constituency borders.

Namibia had a population of 2,113,077 people according to the 2011 Population and Housing Census. Annual population increase was 1.4 percent between 2001 and 2011, down from 2.6 percent in the preceding ten–year period.

Religion

Namibia’s Christian community accounts for 80 percent to 90 percent of the population, with at least 75 percent Protestant and at least 50 percent Lutheran. It is the country’s biggest religious denomination, owing to German and Finnish missionary activity during the country’s colonial period. Indigenous beliefs are held by 10%–20% of the population.

Many Namibians converted to Christianity as a consequence of missionary efforts in the second part of the nineteenth century. The majority of Christians now are Lutherans, although there are also Roman Catholics, Methodists, Anglicans, African Methodist Episcopalians, Dutch Reformed, and Mormons (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints).

Namibia has a tiny Jewish community of approximately 100 people.

Geography

Namibia is the world’s thirty-fourth biggest nation, with an area of 825,615 km2 (318,772 sq mi) (after Venezuela). It is mainly located between latitudes 17° and 29° South (with a tiny region north of 17°) and longitudes 11° and 26° East.

Namibia has the least rainfall of any nation in Sub-Saharan Africa due to its location between the Namib and Kalahari deserts.

The Namibian landscape is divided into five geographical regions, each having distinct abiotic conditions and flora, with considerable variation and overlap within and between them: the Central Plateau, the Namib Desert, the Great Escarpment, the Bushveld, and the Kalahari Desert.

The Central Plateau extends from north to south, bounded to the northwest by the Skeleton Coast, to the southwest by the Namib Desert and its coastal plains, to the south by the Orange River, and to the east by the Kalahari Desert. The Central Plateau has Namibia’s highest peak, Königstein (2,606 meters) (8,550 ft).

The Namib Desert is a vast area of hyper-arid gravel plains and dunes that runs the length of Namibia’s coastline. Its breadth ranges from 100 to hundreds of kilometers. The Namib includes the Skeleton Coast and the Kaokoveldin in the north, as well as the vast Namib Sand Sea along the middle coast.

The Great Escarpment climbs quickly to nearly 2,000 meters (6,562 ft). Average temperatures and temperature ranges rise farther inland from the chilly Atlantic seas, while coastal fogs gradually dissipate. Despite its rocky terrain and poorly developed soils, the region is much more productive than the Namib Desert. Moisture is removed as precipitation when summer winds push their way over the Escarpment.

The Bushveld may be found in northern Namibia, near the Angolan border, and in the Caprivi Strip. The region gets considerably more precipitation than the rest of the nation, with an annual average of approximately 400 mm (15.7 in). The terrain is mostly flat, and the soils are sandy, which limits their capacity to hold water and sustain agriculture.

One of Namibia’s most well-known physical characteristics is the Kalahari Desert, an arid area that stretches into South Africa and Botswana. While the Kalahari is often referred to be a desert, it has a range of localized ecosystems, including some lush and technically non-desert regions. The Succulent Karoo is home to about 5,000 plant species, almost half of which are indigenous; the Karoo contains roughly 10% of the world’s succulents. The relatively constant nature of precipitation may explain this high productivity and endemism.

Namibia’s Coastal Desert is one of the world’s oldest deserts. It has the tallest sand dunes in the world, which are caused by strong onshore winds. Because of the position of the coastline, at the point where the cool Atlantic ocean meets Africa’s hot heat, very thick fog often develops along the coast. There are places along the shore where the dunes are overgrown with hammocks. Namibia offers a wealth of coastal and marine resources that are mostly untapped.

Climate

Namibia stretches from 17°S to 25°S, corresponding to the climatic range of the subtropical High Pressure Belt. Its overall climate is arid, descending from Sub-Humid (mean rain above 500 mm) to Semi-Arid between 300 and 500 mm (encompassing most of the waterless Kalahari) and Arid between 150 and 300 mm (all three regions are inland from the western escarpment) to Hyper-Arid coastal plain with less than 100 mm mean. Temperature maxima are constrained by the general height of the region: only in the extreme south, such as Warmbad, are mid-40 °C maxima recorded.

With regular bright skies, the sub-Tropical High Pressure Belt often offers more than 300 days of sunlight each year. It is located on the southern border of the tropics, with the Tropic of Capricorn cutting the nation in two. Winter (June–August) is often dry. The short rainy season occurs between September and November, while the large rainy season occurs between February and April. The humidity level is low, and average rainfall ranges from almost nothing in the coastal desert to more than 600 mm in the Caprivi Strip. Droughts are frequent, and rainfall is extremely unpredictable. The previous poor rainy season with significantly below-average rainfall occurred in summer 2006/07.

The cold, north-flowing Benguela current of the Atlantic Ocean dominates weather and climate in the coastal region, accounting for extremely low precipitation (50 mm per year or less), frequent thick fog, and generally lower temperatures than the rest of the nation. In the winter, a hot dry wind flowing from the interior to the shore is known as Bergwind (German for mountain breeze) or Oosweer (Afrikaans for east weather). Because the region behind the shore is desert, these winds may become sand storms, depositing sand in the Atlantic Ocean that can be seen on satellite photos.

Temperatures in the Central Plateau and Kalahari may vary by up to 30 degrees Celsius throughout the day.

Efundja, the yearly seasonal flooding of the country’s northern regions, often causes not only infrastructural damage but also loss of life. The rains that produce these floods begin in Angola and pour into Namibia’s Cuvelai basin, where they fill the oshanas (Oshiwambo: flood plains). The greatest floods in recorded history happened in March 2011, displacing 21,000 people.

Water sources

Namibia is the driest nation in Sub-Saharan Africa, and it is heavily reliant on groundwater. The greatest rainfall occurs in the Caprivi in the northeast (approximately 600 mm per year) and falls in a westerly and southwesterly direction to as low as 50 mm or less per annum near the coast, with an average rainfall of around 350 mm per annum. In the Caprivi, the only perennial rivers are located on the national borders with South Africa, Angola, Zambia, and a brief border with Botswana. Surface water is only accessible in the interior of the nation during the summer months, when rivers flood due to heavy rains. Otherwise, surface water is limited to a few huge storage dams that hold and dam seasonal floods and runoff. People who do not live near perennial rivers or who do not utilize storage dams rely on groundwater. Even remote settlements and economic activity far from excellent surface water supplies, such as mining, agriculture, and tourism, may be supplied by groundwater throughout almost 80% of the nation.

Over the last century, more than 100,000 boreholes have been dug in Namibia. One-third of these boreholes were dry drilled.

Economy

Because of their common history, Namibia’s economy is inextricably linked to South Africa’s. Mining (10.4 percent of GDP in 2009), agriculture (5.0 percent), manufacturing (13.5 percent), and tourism are the main economic sectors.

Namibia’s financial industry is well developed, with contemporary facilities such as internet banking and mobile banking. The Bank of Namibia (BoN) is Namibia’s central bank, responsible for all other duties normally undertaken by a central bank. Bank Windhoek, First National Bank, Nedbank, and Standard Bank are the four BoN-authorised commercial banks in Namibia.

According to the Namibia Statistics Agency’s Namibia Labour Force Survey Report 2012, the country’s unemployment rate is 27.4 percent. “Strict unemployment” (those actively looking for full-time work) was 20.2 percent in 2000, 21.9 percent in 2004, and 29.4 percent in 2008. Unemployment increased to 36.7 percent in 2004 using a wider definition (which includes individuals who have given up looking for work). This estimate includes individuals who work in the informal economy. Immanuel Ngatjizeko, Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, hailed the 2008 research as “much better in breadth and quality to any that has previously been accessible,” although its methodology has also been criticized.

A labor legislation was enacted in 2004 to safeguard individuals from employment discrimination based on pregnancy or HIV/AIDS status. The Government Tender Board stated in early 2010 that “henceforth, 100% of all unskilled and semi-skilled labor must be supplied, without exception, from inside Namibia.”

Bloomberg, a worldwide business and financial news source, rated Namibia the greatest emerging market economy in Africa and the 13th best in the world in 2013. In the March 2013 edition of Bloomberg Markets magazine, Namibia was ranked ahead of Morocco (19th), South Africa (15th), and Zambia (14th). Namibia also performed better than Hungary, Brazil, and Mexico on a global scale. Bloomberg Markets magazine determined the top 20 based on a variety of factors. Bloomberg’s own financial-market figures, IMF projections, and World Bank data were used. The nations were also evaluated in areas of special importance to foreign investors, such as ease of doing business, perceived corruption, and economic freedom. To encourage international investment, the government has made strides in eliminating red tape caused by excessive government rules, making the country one of the least bureaucratic locations in the area to conduct business. However, customs may request facilitation fees on rare occasions owing to time-consuming and expensive customs processes. The World Bank classifies Namibia as an Upper Middle Income nation, and it ranks 87th out of 185 countries in terms of ease of doing business.

Because most commodities, especially grains, must be imported, the cost of life in Namibia is quite expensive. Monopoly in certain industries leads to greater profit bookings and additional price increases. Windhoek, the country’s capital, is presently rated as the 150th most expensive location in the world for expats to reside.

Personal income tax is levied on an individual’s entire taxable income in Namibia, and all people are taxed at progressive marginal rates across a range of income categories. The value added tax (VAT) is levied on the majority of goods and services.

Despite the fact that most of Namibia is isolated, it has seaports, airports, roads, and trains (narrow-gauge). The nation aspires to be a regional transportation center; it has an important seaport as well as many landlocked neighbors. The Central Plateau already serves as a transit route between Namibia’s more densely populated north to South Africa, which supplies four-fifths of the country’s imports.

Things To Know Before Traveling To Namibia

Internet, Communication

The country code for Namibia is 264. A two-digit area code is assigned to each city or region. Prefix the area code with a ‘0’ when dialing long distance inside Namibia. Mobile phones are widely available and operate on the GSM network, which uses the same frequency as Europe and the rest of Africa. All large cities offer Internet cafés, and hostels often have connection as well.

Festivals & Events

The public holidays in Namibia are:

  • January 1. New Year’s Day 
  • March 21. Independence Day 
  • Easter weekend. (“Good Friday”, “Easter Saturday”, “Easter Sunday” and “Easter Monday”): a four day long weekend in March or April set according to the Western Christian dates. 
  • May 1. Workers Day 
  • May 4. Cassinga Day 
  • May 25. Africa Day 
  • August 26. Heroes’ Day 
  • December 10. Human Rights Day 
  • December 25. Christmas Day 
  • December 26. Day of Goodwill (Family Day) 

How To Travel To Namibia

By planeThe primary entrance point for air traffic is Hosea Kutako International Airport, situated 45 minutes east of Windhoek. Flights are available from Frankfurt, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Victoria Falls, Maun, Harare, Lusaka, and Luanda. Flights to and from South Africa are operated by South African Airways, British Airways, Airlink,...

How To Travel Around Namibia

By carDespite the enormous distances in Namibia, most people travel by ground rather than air. If you hire a vehicle, make sure you have enough cash on hand to fill the tank with petrol. Typically, gas stations do not take any form of payment other than cash. A modest...

Visa & Passport Requirements for Namibia

Tourists are permitted to stay in Namibia for up to 90 days.Foreign citizens from the countries/territories listed below do not need a visa to visit Namibia: Angola, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg,...

Destinations in Namibia

Regions in NamibiaCaprivi is a panhandle in the country's north-east. The Caprivi is one of Namibia's few water-rich regions, with two main rivers.Northern Namibia - from the mouth of the Ugab River to the Angolan border.Central Namibia is located between the Tropic of Capricorn and the mouth of the...

Things To See in Namibia

Namibia has a lot of natural beauty. To really enjoy the nation, take a trip or hire a vehicle and go around the countryside, taking in the deserts, mountains, towns, and everything that Namibia has to offer.The Namib Desert, which extends for over 1000 kilometers along the Atlantic coast,...

Food & Drinks in Namibia

Namibians consume an enormous amount of meat.Windhoek's numerous different restaurants and cafés provide both local and foreign food. Almost everything you desire may be found here.Apples, oranges, onions, tomatoes, potatoes, and spinach are among the fruits and vegetables available in Namibia. Peanuts, beans, rice, millet, maize, bread, and pasta...

Money & Shopping in Namibia

Namibia (together with Lesotho, South Africa, and Swaziland) is a member of the Southern African Common Monetary Area, and the Namibian Dollar (NAD) is linked to the South African Rand at a 1:1 ratio (ZAR). In Namibia, both the Namibian Dollar and the South African Rand are legal currency,...

Traditions & Customs in Namibia

Namibians are very proud of their homeland. It is a developed country (albeit yet a developing country) with all contemporary conveniences and technology. Namibians have been exposed to a remarkably diverse range of peoples as a result of the United Nations' oversight of the elections, as well as different...

Language & Phrasebook in Namibia

Oshiwambo, Herrero, Nama, Damara, different San languages, and Silozi are among the most important Indigenous languages.The official language is English, which is widely spoken. However, since the majority of older Namibians (those educated before to independence) know English solely as a third language, the quality is very low. Because...

History of Namibia

The country's name is taken from the Namib Desert, which is said to be the world's oldest desert. Prior to its independence in 1990, the region was known as German South-West Africa (Deutsch-Südwestafrika), then as South-West Africa, to reflect the colonial occupation by the Germans and South Africans (technically...

Stay Safe & Healthy in Namibia

Stay Safe in NamibiaNamibia is a peaceful nation that has never been engaged in a conflict. The Angolan civil war ended in May 2002, and the violence that spilled over into northern Namibia is no longer a concern.Namibia, on the other hand, has a comparatively high crime rate. Keep...

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