Namibia is one of the most fascinating countries in Africa. It has a variety of eco-zones ranging from the deserts of the Namib (the oldest in the world) and Kalahari, to stark mountains, coastal beaches, floodplains and the tropical savannah woodlands of the northern rivers, the Kavango, Zambezi and Chobe. There is also the Fish River Canyon, the second largest in the world after the USA’s Grand Canyon. Within these widely differing habitats there are many forms of wildlife especially small mammals and reptiles that are adapted to survive in the exceptionally hot dunes of the Namib Desert. The northern desert areas of Kaokeland and Damaraland are specially known for their desert-dwelling elephant, rhino and giraffe. For other excellent wildlife viewing there is the Etosha National Park and various smaller sanctuaries in the northern areas of the Caprivi Strip. One of the most memorable aspects of Namibia is the beauty of its vistas, its golden grasses and red sand dunes offset against black mountains and blue skies.
Windhoek, the capital, and Ludevitz and Swakopmund, are centers of sophistication with strong traces of German culture including architecture that are a reminder of the country’s colonial past.
Namibia, which gained it’s independence from South Africa in 1990 is twice the size of California but is inhabited over than 2 million people of 10 ethnic groups. The largest group is the Ovambo who compose half of the country’s population. About 12% of the population is white, mostly born in Namibia of German or Afrikaaner descent. English is the official language although German and Afrikaans are widely spoken.
The economy is based primarily on mining (especially its rich diamond deposits), agriculture, cattle-ranching, marine fisheries and tourism are also important.
Most Namibians are very friendly and charming and are only too happy to converse with tourists about their respective countries.