Namibia is not called the "land of contrasts" for nothing. Situated on a high plateau at 1,000 to 1,200 m above sea level, the country slopes down to the Atlantic Ocean. The highest elevations - Brandberg 2,579 m, Spitzkoppe 1,728 m and 1,584 m, Moltkeblick 2,480 m and Gamsberg 2,349 m rise from this plateau. It is crossed by rivers, some of which are border rivers with neighboring countries and carry water constantly, such as Orange, Kunene, Okavango, Zambezi and Kwando/Linyanti/Chobe and periodically flowing rivers depending on the amount of rainfall in the rainy season such as Fish River, Kuiseb, Swakop, Ugab to name a few. The country is very sparsely populated with 2.2 inhabitants per square kilometer, because the mass of the population lives in the capital Windhoek and other larger places like Swakopmund, Walvis Bay, Okahandja, Lüderitz, Keetmanshoop, Otjiwarongo, Tsumeb etc.. Intense colors, a diverse species and flora as well as the extraordinary mixture of African culture and European influences make a trip to Namibia unforgettable. It is not without reason that the economic sector "tourism" has the biggest growth. On the page "Tourism" you can learn more about the country and its attractions.
Area: 824,268 sq. km.
Capital: Windhoek (400,000 inhabitants)
Population: 2.2 million
Language: English, 13 ethnic groups, 16 languages and dialects
Road network: 5,450 km tarred road, 37,000 km gravel road, left-hand traffic
Airports: Hosea Kutako International Airport Eros Airport (Windhoek City) and smaller airports/runways throughout the country
Rail network: 2,382 km
Main sectors: Mining, fishing, tourism and agriculture (largest employer) Mining: diamonds, uranium, copper, lead, zinc, gold, silver, magnesium, cadmium, arsenic lithium minerals, rocks such as granite,
marble blue sodalite and many semi-precious stones.
Flora: 14 vegetation zones, 120 tree species, 200 plants native only in Namibia, 100 lichen species
Fauna: 20 antelope species, 240 mammal species, 250 reptile species, 50 frog species and +/- 630 bird species
The Bushmen or San are considered the indigenous people of southern Africa. After many thousands of years of living their traditional way of life as hunter-gatherers, their habitat was increasingly restricted by the immigration of African tribes and later by white settlers. The designation of nature reserves, which also prohibited the San from using natural resources, further restricted their habitat. Today, about 40,000 Bushmen are said to still live in Namibia, but only 10% of them continue to adhere to the traditional nomadic way of life.
The Nama people originally lived as cattle-raising nomads north and south of the Orange River, before they later moved further north and got into warlike conflicts with the Herero. The Boers gave them the name "Hottentots", which today has negative connotations and is therefore not in use. The Nama call themselves "Khoi-Khoi" - the true people. Well-known historical leaders of the Nama were Jonker Afrikaaner and Hendrik Witbooi.
Along with the San, the Damara are considered the oldest people in Namibia. For a long time they suffered from displacement and oppression by the later immigrated Herero and Nama, whose language they also adopted later. They proudly call themselves "Nu-khoin" - black people.
The Hereros are originally a nation of cattle breeders. Wealth and prestige are determined by the number of cattle. The striking traditional dress of the Herero women dates from the German colonial period (Wilhelminian costume). During the Herero uprising, a large part of their people have died and the rest were mostly expelled to what is now Botswana. Today, about 100,000 Hereros live in Namibia again. The towns of Okahandja and Okakarara are Herero strongholds.
The traditionally nomadic pastoralist people of the Himba or Ovahimba still live in a very original way in Kaokoland. Originally they belonged to the Hereros and in contrast to them they have largely preserved their traditions. The Himbas appear particularly exotic and striking because of their different hair splendor, their skin rubbed with red earth and fat, and their jewelry.
With a share of about 50%, the Owambos are by far the largest population group in Namibia. Their traditional settlement area is the central water-rich north on the border to Angola above the Etosha National Park. Today they can be found all over Namibia.
In the northeast of Namibia on the banks of the Okavango, which partly forms the northern border to Angola, the Kavango, closely related to the Owambo, are at home. In this rather remote area, many have still been able to preserve the traditional way of life with cattle herding, farming and fishing in village communities.
More closely related to the people of neighboring Zambia, Caprivians inhabit the elongated, extremely fertile strip between Angola and Botswana.
Only about 400 members of the total of 3,000 Topnaar still live in the Namib. The history and culture of this desert people is closely connected with the Nara melon, from whose seeds a very nutritious edible oil can be obtained. Recently, attempts are being made to give the Topnaar people a better economic future by cultivating the plant and thus preserving their traditional way of life.
The Tswana, who live in the eastern part of the country, are a small minority within the population of Namibia. They are related to their neighbors in Botswana, whose country they gave the name to.
The Basters, most of whom live in Rehoboth south of Windhoek, migrated from the Cape Province in the last century. They resulted from the union of Dutch immigrants with native Nama women. The Afrikaans-speaking "Baster" ("bastards") have retained their name at their own request and wear it with pride.
Even after independence, whites (6% of the population) continue to play a central role in Namibia's economy. English is the official language, but Afrikaans is spoken by many whites and German by about one-third.