Namibia is situated along the south-western coast of the African continent. It is a land of remarkable contrasts! It has a land surface of 824,269 square km – nearly four times the size of the UK. The landscape is dominated by the oldest desert in the world - the Namib (after which the country is named), and its sea of red sand lies along the Atlantic coastline. In the eastern interior lies the Kalahari, a vast and sparsely vegetated savannah that sprawls across the border into neighbouring countries. The surrounding safari areas are dry and visually impressive, with fascinating flora and interesting geological formations to be seen. Namibia is bordered by Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south.
Namibia is a land of clear blue skies and pleasant climate. Summer months are hot with temperatures of 35˚C or higher. Winter days are pleasant although can drop to below freezing in mid-winter.
Image courtesy of Jenman African Safaris
History & Background
Despite its size, Namibia is one of the most sparsely populated countries in Africa. It has an estimated population of 2.2million people. The small population is largely due to the fact that Namibia is the most arid country south of the Sahara.
Colonised by Germany in 1884, Namibia was administered by South Africa from 1917 to 1990. Namibia became independent on 21 March 1990, and Walvis Bay enclave was re-integrated on 1March 1994.
Namibia’s people are diverse. The Himba are probably the best known ethnic group in Namibia. The Himba men are tall in stature - somehow resembling the Masai of East Africa, while the women cover their bodies in red ochre. However, this tribe makes up just one per cent of Namibia’s culturally diverse population.
A large proportion of the population are the Owambo, followed by a smaller proportion of Kavango, Damara, Herero, San Bushmen, Topnaar and Tswana.
Around 12.5% of the population are White Namibians or mixed race, mostly of Afrikaaner or German descent.
All the cultural influences through history have added to the unique atmosphere of Namibia, with Germany, Great Britain and South Africa all having governed the territory, but it was with the eventual independence of Namibia that the country was able to develop its multi-cultural character and reinvent itself. There is a colourful and uniquely rich African vigour that now freely blends in with European influences transcending through to architecture, food, customs and art - all merging to create a distinctive Namibian character.
The history of Namibia has proved to be of popular interest for many travellers to Africa, attracting many tourists to this expansive country to experience some of the great history Namibia has to offer with its magnificent landscapes.
Image courtesy of Jenman African Safaris
Safari Attractions in Namibia
‘The Namib’ which is also known as the Namib-Naukluft Desert has the world's highest sand dunes at Sossusvlei, making Namibian safaris in the Namib a firm favourite. The Namib-Naukluft National Park is an incredibly diverse conservation area and there is nowhere on earth quite like it. It is one of the largest national parks in Africa, covering much of the central Namib Desert and the Naukluft Mountain. The Namib-Naukluft Desert has become a popular Namibia safari destination as travellers love the golden and magical sand dunes.
This Desert covers almost 50,000 square km and is ranked as the 4th largest area in the world (the largest nature conservation area in Namibia) with landscapes boasting an impressive mountain massif, high sand dunes, desert plains, deep gorges and an estuarine lagoon…. making for magnificent photo opportunities!
The Namib-Naukluft Desert is home to some of the rarest animal and plant species in the world; sightings of this flora and fauna on a Namibian safari are a must. The animals of this harsh landscape include the Springbok, Oryx and Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra. A must see is the Welwitschia mirabilis - an odd-looking desert shrub large in size and is a protected specimen, estimated at over 1,500 years old!
The Namib-Naukluft National Park is a combination of the Namib Desert Park and the Naukluft Mountain Zebra Park as well as sections of the Namibian Diamond Area. There are four sections in the Namib-Naukluft National Park: Sossusvlei and Sessriem, the Naukluft, the Namib section and the Sandwich Harbour.
The Sossusvlei, Namibia's famous highlight in the heart of the Namib Desert, is a huge clay pan, enclosed by giant sand dunes. Some of the spectacular hills of sand are, at an incredible height of 300 metres, the highest in the world. The colours, shapes and contrast of the dunes against the clear blue sky constantly change from sunrise to sunset.
These beautiful, expansive dunes can give visitors an intense feeling of solitude while climbing up them! We offer many Namibia safaris that will take you to these dunes in Sossusvlei…
The Etosha National Park is the third largest in Africa, owing its unique landscape to the Etosha Pan - a vast shallow depression of approximately 5,000km². The name Etosha means 'huge white area' or 'place of dry water'. A series of waterholes along the southern edge of the pan guarantee rewarding and often spectacular game viewing.
During the rainy season, this vast arid land transforms abundantly and attracts thousands of birds and other wildlife. Wildlife to view include huge herds of elephant, wildebeest, zebra, eland, springbok, rhinoceros, hyena, black-faced impala, lion, jackal, curly-horned kudu, Oryx and an incredible array of bird life, including yellow-billed hornbill, vultures, eagles, flamingos and lilac-breasted rollers.
The Skeleton Coast is so named for all the eerie shipwrecks that are beached on these isolated and inaccessible white shores of Northern Namibia. Seals in their many thousands colonise lonely beachheads along the coastline. This 2 million hectare park is one of the most inhospitable and least visited place on earth and is best accessed by a fly-in safari.
The attraction to the Skeleton Coast is its mysterious and untouched barren beauty, swept by cold sea breezes which are often enveloped in a dense fog. It is this very fog that had caused so many shipwrecks in the past - leaving the remains and mysteries of mariners from lifetimes past - a Namibia holiday to the Skeleton Coast can be spent discovering the wrecks and experiencing the mysteries.
Damaraland is arguably one of the most scenic areas in Namibia, a huge, untamed, ruggedly beautiful region. The name Damaraland refers to the north-central part of Namibia, once inhabited by the Herero people who were then referred to as the ‘Damaras’.
Damaraland is surrounded by Windhoek, the Kalahari Desert, the Namib Desert and Ovamboland. Here the prehistoric waters course through with open plains and grassland, massive granite koppies and deep gorges. Towards the west, the landscape changes dramatically with endless sandy wastes, that incredibly sustain small, but wide-ranging, populations of desert-adapted elephant, black rhino, giraffe, ostrich and springbok. These animals have adapted their lifestyles to survive the harshness of the sun-blistered, almost waterless desert spaces. Elephant move through euphorbia bush country, and can travel up to 70km in a day in search of food and water and unusually, do not destroy trees in their quest for food.
Namibia has astonishing contrasts everywhere for the visitor to savour, enjoy and photograph.
Namibia is one of the most diverse safari destinations in Southern Africa. Africabound Adventures can tailor–make a private Namibia safari to meet your departure date, time period, group size and budget. A great option for you to consider is to join one of our mobile Namibia safaris that run through Namibia and the neighbouring country of Botswana...
Image courtesy of Jenman African Safaris
We have other Namibia Attractions that you might want to visit on your Namibia Safari. Please contact us for further details.