The name of the country is derived from the Namib Desert, considered to be the oldest desert in the world. Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia, is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. Although it does not border with Zimbabwe, less than 200 metres of riverbed (essentially the Zambia/Botswana border) separates them at their closest points. Area: 824,292 km² (318,260 sq. mi.) It gained independence from South Africa on 21 March 1990, following the Namibian War of Independence. Its capital and largest city is Windhoek. Namibia is a member state of the United Nations (UN), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU), and the Commonwealth of Nations.[su_accordion] [su_spoiler title=”Population”] Slightly more than 2.2 million.
The current literacy rate in Namibia is about 83%, one of the highest in Africa. [/su_spoiler] [su_spoiler title=”History”]
The dry lands of Namibia were inhabited since early times by Bushmen, Damara, and Namaqua, and since about the 14th century AD by immigrating Bantu who came with the Bantu expansion. Most of the territory became a German Imperial protectorate in 1884 and remained a German colony until the end of World War I. In 1920, the League of Nations mandated the country to South Africa, which imposed its laws and, from 1948, its apartheid policy. The port of Walvis Bay and the offshore Penguin Islands had been annexed by the Cape Colony under the British crown by 1878 and had become an integral part of the new Union of South Africa at its creation in 1910.
Uprisings and demands by African leaders led the UN to assume direct responsibility over the territory. It recognized the South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO) as the official representative of the Namibian people in 1973. Namibia, however, remained under South African administration during this time as South-West Africa. Following internal violence, South Africa installed an interim administration in Namibia in 1985. Namibia obtained full independence from South Africa in 1990, with the exception of Walvis Bay and the Penguin Islands, which remained under South African control until 1994.
Swakopmund is a launch pad for trips to the desert and to the Skeleton Coast. Namibia’s holiday town was founded in 1892 and boasts the Europa Hof, an Alpine ski chalet.
Herero women owe their colourful – and Victorian-style – national dress, to German missionaries. Offended by the Herero women’s nakedness, they introduced the dress with petticoats, high necklines and leg o’mutton sleeves.
Duwisib Castle was built in 1909 by Baron von Wolf, a former German captain, for his American wife. The huge sandstone fortress rises out of the desert with turrets, tower and a courtyard. The castle is not the only lasting memory of the German captain. There is a theory that the wild horses of the Namib are descendants of Baron von Wolf’s stud.
International currencies are accepted at banks and bureau de changes, and at some hotels / activity providers – check prior to travel. Credit cards are generally widely accepted – however ascertain this with the service provider, and your bank, prior to travel. You will be required to produce your passport for credit card transactions, and to change money. [/su_spoiler] [su_spoiler title=”Language”] English (official; 7%); Afrikaans (lingua franca), German.
Indigenous languages: Setswana, Lozi, Oshiwambo, Otjiherero, Rukwangali, Damara. [/su_spoiler] [su_spoiler title=”Religion”] The Christian community makes up 80%–90% of the population of Namibia, with at least 50% of these Lutheran. 10%–20% of the population hold indigenous beliefs.
Missionary work during the 1800s drew many Namibians to Christianity. While most Namibian Christians are Lutheran, there also are Roman Catholic, Methodist, Anglican, African Methodist Episcopal, Dutch Reformed, Rhenish Christians, and Mormons (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). There are some Jewish people. [/su_spoiler] [su_spoiler title=”Public Holidays”]
- 21 March Independence Day
- Varies : Good Friday
- Varies : Easter Monday
- 1 May Workers’ Day
- 4 May Cassinga Day
- 25 May Africa Day
- Varies : Ascension Day
- 26 August Heroes’ Day
- 10 December International Human Rights Day
- 25 December Christmas Day
- 26 December Family Day
Visitors from the following countries do not require visas for stays of up to 90 days:Angola
- New Zealand
- the Scandinavian countries
- South Africa
For visitors from other countries, please check with your nearest Namibian Consulate about obtaining a visa.[/su_spoiler] [su_spoiler title=”Main Exports”] Gem diamonds, uranium, gold, silver, base metals, tourism [/su_spoiler] [/su_accordion]