Republic of Namibia
824,290 sq km
86% African (50% Owambo, 9% Kavango, 7% Herero, 7% Damara, 5% Nama, 4% Caprivian, 3% San, 2% Baster, 0.5% Tswana), 7.4% mixed, 6.6% white
English, Afrikaans, German, Oshivambo, Herero, Nama
It's hard to imagine how the German colonizers of Namibia coped with the
unlimited elbow room, vast deserts and annual quota of 300 days of sunshine.
But that's exactly what today draws travelers to one of Africa's most intriguing destinations.
Namibia is on Africa's south-west coast, bordering South Africa in the south, Botswana in the east, and Angola in the north. The skinny eastern appendage, the Caprivi Strip, connects Namibia to Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The country is largely arid, but encompasses broad geographical variations and is usually divided into four regions: the Namib Desert and Coastal Plains along the coast; the scrubby, eastward-sloping Central Plateau; the Kalahari sands along the Botswana and South African borders; and the dense bushveld (woodland) of the north-eastern Kavango and Caprivi regions.
The northern border is flush with rivers that provide water to most of Namibia.
The Namib Desert, the world's oldest arid region, has been around for over 80 million years. It extends along Namibia's entire Atlantic coast.
Namibia has some of Africa's most diverse natural habitats. Even in the desert you'll find elephants, giraffes and zebras; lions once came down to the sea, but have been pushed out of the dunes by poachers. Flocks of flamingos live in Etosha National Park in the north. The Cape Cross Seal Reserve on the central coast is home to 100,000 Cape fur seals.
Most people come to Namibia to go to the game parks and wildlife reserves
to view African animals in their habitat. The wide-open areas and variable
landscapes present great opportunities for walking and hiking.
Permits to do multi-day walks at the Waterberg Plateau, Naukluft Mountains, the Ugab River and the Fish River Canyon are strictly limited and one should book as far in advance as possible. Within the parks and reserves travelers enjoy camping and the great outdoors.
There are opportunities to go river rafting and canoeing along some of the mighty inland waterways, including the Orange River. Horse riding is popular and multi-day horse treks are offered from various places.