Travel Namibia | Quick facts
Destination Namibia the land of the brave. “One Namibia – one nation” is the name given to Namibia after independence. Indeed, people in the country today feel primarily as Namibians and only secondly as members of a certain ethnic group.
Nevertheless, Namibia is a multinational community. Each of the – a total of 11 ethnic groups has its own history, language and culture and, as a result of South African apartheid politics, also a homeland, although legally everyone can live wherever they want. However, especially in the rural regions, the population still lives in an almost traditional way in village communities in the tribe and clan association. Namibia has a total of only around 2.2 million inhabitants. Over half, Ovambos, Kavangos and Caprivians, live in rural African regions in the north. Around 30% of the Namibians, especially Hereros and Damara, and the majority of white people live in Central Namibia. Most of them live in the capital, Windhoek, and in the cities of Walvis Bay and Swakopmund.
The arid south is the most sparsely populated. Only 7% of the total population live here, especially Namas and farmers of Buri or German origin. A large part lives in the cities of Keetmanshoop, Mariental and Lüderitz. As in South Africa and other African countries, Namibia has a high birth rate and significant population growth. The main problems here are poverty, lack of training and AIDS.
Climate and Travel Time
With an average of 310 days of sunshine annually, Namibia is a very sunny country. Precipitation in the form of violent thunderstorms can be expected almost exclusively in the summer months (November to March). The dry rivers, called “Riviere” in Namibia, can then turn into torrents for a short time. The parched land begins to turn green within a few days. Although you can travel to Namibia all year round, the optimal travel time is between March and June. The daytime temperatures are around 25 degrees and the sky is always bright blue. It cools down comfortably at night.
The desert country of Namibia is also easy to travel in the dry winter months (July to September). Daytime temperatures rarely drop below 20 degrees. In the inland highlands, in the Namib Desert in the west and in the Kalahari Basin in the east, however, frost can occur at night.
It gets hot in the summer months. Namibians then like to travel to the cool coastal towns, especially to Swakopmund. Frequent sea mist must be expected here, but it usually dissolves around noon. Windhoek can also be tolerated fairly well in summer due to its high altitude (1650 m). The Namib, on the other hand, should be enjoyed with caution in summer, because the temperatures often climb above 40 degrees. The tropical-humid northeast of the country should also be avoided in high summer.
Namibia is one of the richest game countries in Africa. At the beginning of the last century, the protection of wildlife was given importance and wildlife protection areas such as the – 22,000 square kilometers – Etosha National Park were created. Today there are a total of around 120,000 square kilometers of nature reserve, around 15% of the total area of Namibia.
In addition, many farmers – also due to increasing visitor numbers – have switched from livestock farming to “wild farming” and converted their mostly huge farms into private game reserves. The biggest problem is the bushes, which are widespread in Namibia, as a result of overgrazing by cattle, sheep and goats. The African savannah animals such as elephant, giraffe, rhinoceros, zebra, blue wildebeest, spotted hyena, cheetah, leopard, wild dog and numerous antelope species are found mainly in the northern part of Namibia, which also includes the Etosha National Park. In the wetter north-east, especially in the Caprivi, there are also buffalos and hippos and crocodiles along the rivers and swamps.
In the dry, desert and semi-desert south, the variety is much less. Dominating here are the Oryx antelopes, which are well adapted to the climate, but also springboks, kudu, ostriches, baboons, mountain zebras and leopards. In the northwestern part of Namibia, in Kaokoveld and Damaraland up to the Skeleton Coast, there are desert elephants and occasionally lions that have adapted to the drought in a special way.
So far 620 species of birds have been listed in Namibia, most of which also breed in the country. Some species are endemic, so they only occur in the southwestern part of Africa. Some species of reptiles, such as the transparent palmatogecko, are also endemic. In addition, many types of snakes, including poisonous ones such as the puff adder, the black mamba, the green tree snake as well as cape cobras and spitting cobras.
Due to the large climatic differences, there are different types of vegetation in Namibia and a wide variety of species, from desert and semi-desert vegetation to evergreen subtropical vegetation. Around 70% of the total area of Namibia is dry savannah. In central Namibia, thornbush savannas, extensive grass plains dominated by various types of acacia dominate.
There are occasional large trees, mostly camel thorn trees (Acacia Erioloba) and other types of acacia, and they are often close to dry river beds. Towards the northeast – where the rainfall is somewhat more abundant – the thorn bush savannah gradually turns into a mopane savannah and the tree population increases. A light tree savannah can be found in the rainy Caprivi. Occasionally you can also see baobabs, wild fig trees and Makalani palm trees. There is little grass in southern Namibia, where there is little rainfall. Trees are also rarely found. Succulents, water-storing plants, on the other hand, are seen more frequently. The Kokerboom or Quiver Tree (Aloe Dichotoma), which is endemic in Namibia and Namaqualand, is very interesting. It grows up to 9 meters high and is particularly common in the Keetmanshoop region, where there is even a “quiver tree forest”. The overall rainfall in Namibia is very low. Only during the short rainy season from December to February and in the following months are grass areas and bushes green. Even in the otherwise almost vegetation-free deserts in the south, you can often see a delicate green grass down and a sea of wildflowers.