the history, geography, wildlife and people of Namibia
Namibia is a country in south western Africa. On it's southern border is South Africa, to the east is Botswana & in the north Angola, other neighbouring countries include Zimbabwe & Zambia. Since independence in 1991 Namibia has become a major African tourist destination - popular due to it's vast distances and tiny populations. Travelers enjoy the desert vistas of the Namib Desert and some of the best game viewing in the world at Etosha National Park.
Some basic facts about the country:
- Area: 824,269 km2.
- Population: 2 184 091 people (2011)
- Capital of Namibia: Windhoek
- Official Language: English
- Other Languages: Oshiwambo, Afrikaans, Nama, Damara, Otjiherero, German, Rukwangali, Setswana, and others.
- Major Ethnic Groups: Owambo, Kwangali, Damara, Herero, Nama, San, Afrikaner, German, and others.
- Anton Lubowski - a Namibian freedom fighter
- Frankie Frederiks - a speedy Namibian
- Hendrik Witbooi - a freedom fighter - and the man on Namibia's bank notes
- Hifikepunye Pohamba - President of the Republic of Namibia
- Jonker Afrikaner - the founder of Windhoek
- Mandume - a Namibian King
- Sam Nujoma - father of the Namibian nation
- Samuel Maherero - a leader of the herero people
- There are some 620 species of birds in Namibia. The national bird used to be the Crimson breasted shrike (now known as the Crimson breasted boubou) as it's colours matched those of the Imperial German flag. However, as that is no longer politically correct the African fish eagle has now been named as national bird of Namibia.
- Feral Horses of the Namib Desert
- The wild horses of the Namib Desert can be seen near Aus in southern Namibia.
- Freshwater Fish
- Although it is a very arid country, dominated by large tracts of desert, the country still boasts an array of freshwater fish.
- Namibia's 26 parks and reserves makes it's abundant wildlife one of its greatest tourist assets. The most famous of these parks is Etosha National Park which harbours 114 mammal species. There are 8 mammal species endemic to Namibia, including the Black faced Impala, several mice, gerbils and bats. This is a wildlife enthusiasts dream come true. Wildlife of Namibia
- Marine Life
- The cold benguela current which flows in the Atlantic Ocean off the Namibian coast has a very high level of marine life. Along with numerous fish species visitors can expect to see whales, dolphins, sharks & seals.
- Snakes, turtles, crocodiles & tortoises all thrive in the local conditions. Learn more about the fascinating reptiles of Namibia.
This is an incredibly varied country, it is home to two deserts, the Namib (the oldest desert in the world) and the Kalahari. As one travels towards the north and east the desert landscapes give way to tropical vegetation and the large Kavango, Kwando & Zambezi rivers.
The Atlantic ocean and the cold Benguela current border Namibia on the west, this is a rugged coastline and became known as the Skeleton Coast due to the high number of ship wrecks and the even higher mortality rate amongst the survivors. Find out more about the Geography of Namibia or learn about Namibian mountains and rivers.
The country is well known for minerals & gems - with the mining & export of diamonds, urnaium, gold & many other rocks & minerals playing a leading role in the economy.
Before Europeans ever set foot in Namibia, the territory was buzzing with activity. Unfortunately only little is known about these times, due to the fact that the Europeans were the first ones who ever sat down and wrote about what was happening. Traces of the events of this time can however still be found in the rich oral traditions that circulate in local communities. When the first Europeans settled in Namibia in the early decades of the 1800's, they found societies with complex social and cultural traditions.
Just over 2 million people share the vast spaces of Namibia, the country has one of the lowest population densities in the world with 2.1 people per square kilometre. It isthought that 35% of the population live in urban areas, and 65% in rural, although this figure is certainly increasing as growing numbers of unemployed people leave their villages and farms.
The population of Namibia can be divided into 11 different ethnic groups.