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Worth Knowing

Namibia Worth Knowing


General

Namibia has an area of about 825’000 km² and its capital city is Windhoek. On 21st March 1990 Namibia gained its independence from South Africa. Since then the political system has been a democracy, ruled by the SWAPO party (South West African People’s Organisation) and its current president Hage G. Geingob.


Population

2.5 million people live in Namibia. 90% are Christians. There are 16 languages and dialects spoken by 13 ethnic cultures. English is the official language of Namibia, but Afrikaans and German are also widely spoken. The small population of Namibia is extraordinarily diverse in language and culture.


Native Languages

Oshiwambo, Herero, Nama, Damara, Khoekhoe, Kwangali etc.


Windhoek – the Capital City

Windhoek lies in the heart of Namibia. Since Independence in 1990, tourism has increased greatly and Windhoek now offers many world-class restaurants, coffee shops, guest houses, b&bs and hotels. With the two airports, Hosea Kutako International Airport and Eros Airport, it is a good starting point for all types of tours and safaris.


Neighbouring Countries

There is Angola (to the north), Zambia (to the north-east), Botswana (to the east) and South Africa (to the south). Moreover, the coastline to the west lies on the Atlantic Ocean.


Climate

The country is situated between the Namib Desert in the west and the Kalahari Desert in the east. It is one of the driest countries south of the Sahara. 70% of the country’s rainfall occurs between December and March. Temperatures in summer (October – April) can reach 38°C and in winter (May – September) are warm during the day but can go below 0°C at night.


Flora, Fauna and Rivers

Namibia is home to approximately 4,350 species and subspecies of vascular plants, of which 17% are endemic. Six hundred and seventy-six bird species have been recorded, of which over 90 are endemic to Southern Africa and 13 to Namibia. Furthermore, 217 species of mammals are found in Namibia, 26 of which are endemic, including unique desert-dwelling rhino and elephants. This high level of endemism gives Namibia's conservation of biodiversity a global significance.

Namibia is well-known for its extraordinary variety of wildlife. The so called "The Big 5" can be seen and consist of: Lion, Leopard, Buffalo, Elephant and Rhino.

Perennial rivers are: Orange River (south), Kunene (north), Okavango, Zambezi and Kwando (north east).
Ephemeral rivers include: Fish River (south), Kuiseb (west), Swakop (west) and Ugab (north west) etc..


Money

The currency is the Namibian Dollar (NAD or N$), which is fixed to the value of the South African Rand (ZAR). The ZAR can also be used in Namibia but not the other way round. All major credit cards are accepted.

Tourism Levy: All accommodation establishments are obliged by law to charge a tourism levy of either 1% (all inclusive) or 2% (bed or bed and breakfast).


Health

The north of Namibia is endemic to malaria and travellers are advised to use insect repellents and prophylactic medicine to be safe when travelling through this area. The main concern is to sleep under a net, wear long-sleeved tops, trousers and socks to prevent mosquito bites.


Traffic and Gravel Roads

In Namibia you drive on the left side of the road. A safe speed on gravel roads is 60-80 km/h. If you follow this advice you will most likely be able to control your vehicle in any possibly dangerous situation.
Always ensure you have a thorough check done on your entire vehicle – tyres, brakes, spare wheels etc.
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