Brief history of Namibia
Like most southern African countries, Namibia’s story begins with the San Bushmen who once roamed here. Over time, the Nama, Herero and Damara people joined them, as well as a few other African tribes. Then came the farmers and traders from South Africa and Europe, wars and colonialism. For decades Namibia was governed by foreigners – First by Germany, then by South Africa on behalf of Britain.
In 1990, Namibia gained independence from its southern neighbor and established a multiparty democracy.
Namibia is a modern and technologically advanced country with a solid infrastructure. Tourism and hospitality are the most important economic sectors in the country followed by mining, retail and agriculture. Major roads are tarred, while those leading to destinations further afield are mainly gravel.
The main airport in Namibia is Hosea Kutako Airport found just outside Windhoek. There are many private airstrips servicing game reserves and tourist attractions as well as smaller airports dotted around the country.
The demographics of Namibia are diverse. After Mongolia, the country has the second-lowest population of 2,479,713 million local inhabitants.
Currency in Namibia is the Namibian Dollar and the country has an established, modern banking system with foreign exchange available at all the major airports and banks in the cities.
Medical services are good, but centered in the major cities. Small clinics service the needs of rural communities.
The Natural World of Namibia
Namibian fauna and flora have flourished under the countries rich conservation heritage. Here you will come across lions and elephants in vast spaces where you least expect them. You will see plants that have lived for thousands of years and you will be amazed at the endemic lifeforms that thrive here.
Geography and Geology
Namibia is filled with unique landscapes in the form of lush forests, towering granite massifs, rolling savannahs, stark salt pans and 2 different kinds of desert.
Animals and Birds
There are 217 species of mammal in Namibia and 626 different kinds of birds.
Namibia’s floral diversity is the stuff of legends. Here you will find masses of shrubs, trees and grasses where none should be, and some plants that just don’t seem real. There are over 600 species of vascular plants found nowhere else but here in Namibia, such as the Namib Coral-tree, the Lüderitz Living Stone and the Namibian Grape.
- Welwitschia that live for 1000s of years
- Halfmens plants turned wistfully towards home
- Quiver trees that do their own pruning
- Baobabs and their usefulness to man
- The Dead Vlei acacias, which dared to thrive and paid the price
Conservation has been entrenched in Namibia’s constitution since 1990. Over 40% of the country is dedicated to preserving Namibia’s incredible natural diversity. Here, species are brought back from the brink of extinction as a matter of course. Every natural element has its place and the 12 national parks, 8 protected areas and 70 registered conservancies plan to keep it that way.
Every site worth exploring offers its own brand of warm Namibian hospitality to lure travelers from all walks of life in an enormous range of both self-catering and full-board accommodation to suit any budget.
From ultimate all-frills luxury, to camping under the stars with only what you can carry for comfort, you will find somewhere suitable to lay your head in Namibia. Find your perfect place here.
The biggest question you will face when it comes to Namibia is where to start. From border to border, the country is chock a block with things to see.
Don’t miss out on:
- The Skeleton Coast
- The Namib Desert
- Sossusvlei and Sesriem
- Etosha National Park
- Kalahari Trans-frontier National Park
- Namib-Naukluft National Park
- Caprivi Strip
- The Waterberg
- The Fish River Canyon
Each of these offers its own special attractions, exhilarating activities and fascinating history to go along with it.
Namibia will grab your attention with a host of indoor and outdoor diversions to amuse and amaze.
Don’t miss the chance to:
- Go hot air ballooning or take a Cessna Flip
- Hike walk and bike wherever you go
- Ride camels, quad bikes and horses
- Go dune boarding skydiving or cave diving
- Take a self-drive or guided game drive or walk
- Go for a Dolphin Cruise
- Abseil climb and boulder to your hearts content
- Relax with the sounds of nature all around you
- Play a game of golf in the desert
- Fish, water-ski or swim in rivers and dams
- Join in the local good cheer and fabulous fare at pubs and restaurants
- Sample Windhoek Lager, the world’s purest beer
- Visit wine farms
- Eat world-famous apple pie at Solitaire
See our activities listings and start planning, or share your adventures with us.
Namibia’s people are just as diverse as the wildlife. The population of Namibia comprises 2,479,713 million people and 10 different ethnic groups. These are:
- Mixed race
- White Namibians
- Caprivian (Lozi)
You can get to grips with these different cultures on tours and visits to local villages all over the country.
Although not widely spoken, the home language of Namibia is English. Most of the population speaks German and Afrikaans and you will hear, Portuguese, French and Spanish. There are more than 20 languages that are indigenous to Namibia and you will find that many people speak at least two or three of these. The main indigenous languages are Oshiwambo, Nama/Damara, Kavango and Otjiherero.
The many different conservation areas and sanctuaries found throughout Namibia are excellent places to spend some time during a trip to this southern African country. The overarching conservation authority in Namibia is NWR (Namibian Wildlife Resorts) but there are many others flying the flag of conservation.
You may want to look up the following, while researching your trip:
- Namibia Nature Foundation
- Namibia Wildlife Conservation Trust
- Cheetah Conservation Fund
- N/a’an ku sê Lodge and Sanctuary
- Earth Organization Namibia
Namibia is a traveler’s delight. You can fly or self-drive to get there or take a guided tour. A car is essential for exploring the country to its fullest unless you are taking a guided tour. The distances are vast between attractions and there are few organized shuttle services.
While the roads are in good order, they are not as clearly marked as the roads in Europe and the US. During periods of high rainfall, some roads may become unusable.
It is imperative that you plan your route carefully, leaving extra time for cautious speeds due to wildlife and livestock on the roads as well as unexpected stops at interesting spots. Always call your accommodation provider beforehand to check the condition of the roads. If you are embarking on a guided safari, your tour organizer will take care of all these details for you. Keep plenty of bottled water on hand in case of a break-down or unexpected delays while travelling.
Visa and Vaccination requirements
Tourist visas to visit Namibia are not required for citizens of most countries but you do require a passport with a blank page and 6 months’ validity. If you hail from Eastern Europe, South Korea, China or Greece you will need a visa. You can check at VisaHQ if you are unsure.
A yellow fever vaccination is required to travel to Namibia from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission.
What to Pack
It is a good idea to bring your own medications along on holiday with you as well as consult your GP with regard to malaria protection. Sunscreen and a hat are important as well as insect repellent although these are readily available in Windhoek. A camera is absolutely essential. Remember to bring all the related paraphernalia along such as memory cards, chargers and so on.
A list of important telephone numbers should always be within easy reach and a mobile phone is a good idea when traveling in Namibia.
For more information or to book your trip to Namibia, pop African Travel Guide a message via our contact us page, and we will gladly assist you.
Please Note: The details shared herein were correct at the time of publishing. However, with time some of this information may change. We recommend confirming information with suppliers prior to making final travel arrangements. If you do happen to find an issue with any information we’ve shared here, please feel free to contact us so that we can make the relevant changes.