Country Profiles:
Namibia

Namibia is located on the southwestern coast of the continent. It is bordered by Angola to the north, Zambia to the northeast, Botswana to the east, South Africa to the southeast and south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. It ranges from arid in the north to desert on the coast and in the east. The landscape is spectacular, but the desert, mountains, canyons, and savannas are perhaps better to see than to occupy. Its capital and largest city is Windhoek

Diogo Cao, from Portugal, became the first European to set foot on Namibian soil in 1485, with Bartholomeu Dias the second; however, due to the inhospitable Namib Desert neither went too far inland, according to World Atlas. In the 19th century, the German trader Adolf Luderitz bought a portion of the region for 10,000 marks and 260 guns. Relations between the natives and German settlers deteriorated as the new government encouraged the settlers to take land from the natives. In 1904 the rebellion escalated into the Herero and Namaqua Wars. Under the leadership of chief Samuel Maharero, the Hereros had the upper hand, and had little problem with defending themselves due to their knowledge of the terrain. In response, Germany sent 14,000 additional troops to subdue the situation, and at the Battle of Waterberg the Hereros were issued an ultimatum to leave the country or be killed.

UNESCO Heritage sites in Namibia include:

1. Twyfelfontein
Twyfelfontein (Afrikaans: uncertain spring), officially known as ǀUi-ǁAis (Damara/Nama: jumping waterhole), is a site of ancient rock engravings in the Kunene Region of north-western Namibia. It consists of a spring in a valley flanked by the slopes of a sandstone table mountain that receives very little rainfall and has a wide range of diurnal temperatures. The site has been inhabited for 6,000 years, first by hunter-gatherers and later by Khoikhoi herders. Both ethnic groups used it as a place of worship and a site to conduct shamanist rituals. In the process of these rituals at least 2,500 items of rock carvings have been created, as well as a few rock paintings. Displaying one of the largest concentrations of rock petroglyphs in Africa, UNESCO approved Twyfelfontein as Namibia’s first World Heritage Site in 2007.

Namibia has abundant natural resources with Mining as central to the economy; accounting for just under 30 percent of the GDP, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.

Diamonds, uranium oxide, and base metals dominate mining; however, gold and natural gas are increasingly significant, and oil production (offshore and in the Etosha basin) is potentially so. Namibia supplies about 30 percent of the world diamond output. The Namibian diamond industry is valued at over $1 billion, and its diamonds are valued at around $600 per carat meaning it has the highest value per carat diamonds in the world. Most of Namibia’s diamonds come from the ocean. Significant resources go into mining these diamonds. Other important minerals include tin, lithium, lead, cadmium, zinc, copper, tungsten, and silver. In 2013, global business and financial news provider, Bloomberg, named Namibia the top emerging market economy in Africa and the 13th best in the world. Only four African countries made the Top 20 Emerging Markets list in the March 2013 issue of Bloomberg Markets magazine, and Namibia was rated ahead of Morocco (19th), South Africa (15th) and Zambia (14th). Worldwide, Namibia also fared better than Hungary, Brazil and Mexico. Bloomberg Markets magazine ranked the top 20 based on more than a dozen criteria. The data came from Bloomberg’s own financial-market statistics, IMF forecasts and the World Bank. The countries were also rated on areas of particular interest to foreign investors: the ease of doing business, the perceived level of corruption and economic freedom. In order to attract foreign investment, the government has made improvement in reducing red tape resulted from excessive government regulations making the country one of the least bureaucratic places to do business in the region. However, facilitation payments are occasionally demanded by customs due to cumbersome and costly customs procedures. Namibia is also classified as an Upper Middle Income country by the World Bank, and ranks 87th out of 185 economies in terms of ease of doing business

The nomadic San people were the only inhabitants of Namibia until around 2,000 years ago, then, over the centuries many ethnic groups began to settle the land. Namibia has the second-lowest population density of any sovereign country, after Mongolia. The majority of the Namibian population is of Bantu-speaking origin – mostly of the Ovambo ethnicity, which forms about half of the population. Other ethnic groups are the Herero and Himba people, who speak a similar language, and the Damara, who speak the same “click” language as the Nama. There are also two smaller groups of people with mixed racial origins, called “Coloureds” and “Basters.” Up to 1990, English, German and Afrikaans were official languages. Currently, English is  the only  official language and the Ovambo languages are spoken by more than 80% of the population. Travelers journey here to tour the barren red-sand deserts, and the highest sand dunes in the world in Namib National Park.

What followed was the Herero and Namaqua Genocide, as Hereros escaped into the waterless Omaheke region in the Kalahari Desert where many died of thirst, and the rest were at the mercy of German forces whose orders were to shoot any male Herero on sight. An estimated 50-70% of the total Herero population, and approximately 50% of the Nama population perished. On October 7, 2007, descendants of Lothar von Trotha, the General who led the German attacks on the Hereros and Namas, issued an apology for the actions of their ancestors. South Africa occupied the German colony of South-West Africa during World War I and administered it as a mandate until after World War II, when it annexed the territory. The South-West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) guerrilla group launched a war of independence in 1966 for the area that was soon named Namibia, but it was not until 1988 that South Africa agreed to end its administration in accordance with a UN peace plan for the entire region. Namibia gained independence from South Africa on March 21st 1990. Hifikepunye Pohamba was elected president in November 2004 in a landslide victory replacing Sam Nujoma who led the country during its first 14 years of self-rule. Pohamba was re-elected in the 2009 elections by an overwhelming vote.

Cuisine in Namibia is influenced by two primary cultural strands: Cookery practiced by indigenous people of Namibia such as the Himba, Herero and San groups. Settler cookery introduced during the colonial period by people of German, Afrikaner and British descent. The traditional dishes  such as braaivleis (meat barbeque) is a tasty meal, as is potjiekos, a spicy stew of meat, chicken and fish. Traditional German-style confectionery including classics such as; Schwarzwälder, Kirschtorte, and Apfelstrudel as well as the renowned Springer chocolates produced in Windhoek.

Music in Namibia has a number of folk styles, as well as pop, rock, reggae, jazz, house and hip hop. Traditional Namibian dance occurs at events such as weddings and at traditional festivals such as the Caprivi Arts Festival. Folk music accompanies storytelling or dancing. The Namaqua use various strings, flutes and drums while the Bantu use xylophones, gourds and horn trumpets.

Your journey to
Africa begins here!

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive exclusive travel tips, postcards, inspiring stories and stay up to date with our latest specials on flights & travel deals. Never miss a beat!

P.S. Before you go check out our most read and popular
newsletter!

Your journey to
Africa begins here!

Thank you, click the button to download your pdf.

African Homecoming

This page is only available for participants. Please login to continue.

Call Now Button