Part of the allure of Namibia is that it’s four countries in one. Four different landscapes, each with its own characteristics and attractions. The most definitive is the Namib, a long coastal desert that runs the length of the country and is highlighted with migrating dune belts, dry riverbeds and canyons. The central plateau is home the majority of Namibia towns and villages and is divided between rugged mountain ranges and sand-filled valleys. Next is the vast Kalahari Desert with its ancient red sand and sparse vegetation. Finally, Kavango and Caprivi, blessed with generous amounts of rain and typified by tropical forests, perennial rivers and woodland savannahs.
Travel east from Etosha or Windhoek, some four hours by car, and you’ll find Bushmanland to the North and the Kalahari to the south. This is remote country, even by Namibian standards. Here within scattered small villages live the San Bushmen, famous for their survival skills. Visit Khaudum National Park with its amazing herds of game, and the beginnings of the Kalahari Dessert, which stretches across eight different countries rewarding visitors with its silence and solitude.
The south of Namibia is wide-open and arid, but it’s this very austerity that makes the region so fascinating. Arguably the country’s most spectacular geological phenomenon, the Fish River Canyon cuts an impressive 161 km long gorge into an otherwise flat landscape. From here, attractions are spread across great distances, the reward being the land’s peace and quiet. To the north, you’ll find the Kokerboom Forest with its quiver trees. To the south, the hot springs of !Ai-!Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, and to the west, the Sperrgebiet, an immense restricted access area rich in gem quality diamonds. Luderitz, the area’s biggest town, is situated on a forbidding and varied stretch of coast and is famous for fresh crayfish and oysters depending on the season.
This large nation of riverine people has often been described as one of the
friendliest in Africa. The Kavango people comprise five distinct tribal groups, of whom nearly all live along the Kavango River from Katwitwe in the west to Bagani in the east.
The Kavango people practice agriculture on the narrow strip of fertile soil along the Kavango River, from which they harvest large numbers of fish. The men do the hard work of clearing and preparing the lands each year. The women do the planting and weeding and the men take over again to harvest and do the threshing. The Kavango men are also eager wood carvers and their works are sold all over Namibia. They carve dolfwood, which grows in the Kalahari sandveld and produce a variety of ceremonial drums, musical instruments and household items. Ornaments, pot-plant stands, wall decorations, masks, kitchen utensils, tables and chairs and dugout canoes are standard items. The women weave baskets and make clay pots and ornaments, which they eagerly sell to visitors.
A number of new agricultural projects are being undertaken in the region, with a view to increase employment opportunities. These include the growing of sugar cane, man-made forests and grapes.
The Central Region is dominated by Windhoek, Namibia’s capital city. It rests on a gravely inland plateau with dotted areas of acacia and scrub grass surrounded by two desserts, the Namib Desert to the west and the Kalahari to the east. Just outside of the city are many wildlife reserves, perfect for relaxing and viewing game. The Khomas Hochland represents the highest point of the plateau, its peaks no more spectacular than Namibia’s fourth highest mountain, the Gamsberg, a table-topped mountain rising some 500 meters above the surrounding landscape. For a change of pace, the Cross Barmen Hot Springs highlight the areas many wellness opportunities, where one can relax in baths of steaming spring water.
Red dunes, vast plains and rugged mountains make up the serene landscape between the inhospitable Namib Desert and the escarpment of the interior plateau. The majority of this region is occupied by the Namib-Naukluft Park, totaling 50,000 square km and home to both Sossusvlei and Deadvlei. With warm tints of apricot, orange, red and maroon, these dunes offer abstract beauty unseen anywhere else in the world. Further north, Swakopmund & Walvis Bay both possess a resort town atmosphere attracting both tourists and locals, offering plenty of opportunities to play in the surrounding dunes and ocean.
The central north region of Namibia is a mix of flat gravel plains and grasslands, rolling wooded hills and rugged mountains. Here you’ll find Etosha National Park, one of Africa’s premier wildlife sanctuaries and home to dazzling display of wildlife including the endangered cheetah and black rhino. In contrasting form, Waterberg Plateau Park to the southeast owns a slightly higher geography and therefore more rain and vegetation. The resulting attractions include Lake Otjikoto, once considered bottomless until forays into its depths revealed armaments discarded by retreating German forces, and the famous Hoba Meteorite, the largest known meteorite in the world.
Namibia’s north-western region extends from the Kunene River on the Angola border down to the Ugab River, the southern border of the Skeleton Coast Park. The park is a massive wilderness reserve known for its untouched and diverse landscape, much of which is inaccessible, saved for fly-in safaris. Other attractions in this region include the desert-adapted elephants of Kaokoland, quaint Himba settlements, Epupa Falls, the rock engravings of Twyfelfontein, the Petrified Forest and much more. The entire region is vastly scenic, a huge, untamed, ruggedly beautiful country that offers a more adventurous challenge.
The Caprivi is a narrow strip of land, 450 km long and up to about 100 km wide.
It’s a mosaic of woodlands, rivertine forests, swamps and rivers. Nearly 200 kinds of flora, shrubs, trees and fruits, complement the amazing geography. Huge game reserves, like the KAZA TFCA, which straddles five different countries, allow herds of buffalo and elephant to move freely across the borders. The water rich landscape is also the ideal place for angling enthusiasts, canoeing and white water rafting. For those interested in more cultural pursuits, the Caprivi people are renowned for their traditional crafts, and many festivals and markets take place throughout the year. Other off-the-beaten track destinations include the Zambezi Waterfront, the town of Katima Mulilo, and the eastern most tip of Namibia, Impalila Island.
Geography: Source http://www.namibiatourism.com.na/pages/Geography