Country Facts

Although not as well known as some of its African neighbors, Namibia is a gem for those in search of the unexplored and wilderness. Namibia is a large country with one of the lowest population densities in the world and bizarre desert scenery on Africa's south-west coast, which has enjoyed more than a decade of stability since achieving Independence on 21 March 1990. Namibia is a peaceful country which is economically prosperous as a result of its productive mining, fishing, tourism and agricultural industries.

Namibia is a desert country, offering breathtaking landscapes such as the Namib Desert which is said to be the oldest in the world, with its high dunes and inspiring sense of space. The central plateau with its typical African thorn bush savannah and rugged mountains rising abruptly from the plains giving way to the majestic Fish River Canyon in the south. The northern landscapes range from dense bush and open plains of the great Etosha Pan, to woodland, savannah, flood plains and lush vegetation. The people of Namibia are diverse and interesting. They include one of the oldest cultures on earth: the San or "Bushman" people.

The history of Namibia has resulted in a peculiar cultural mix. Parts of the country still have a German colonial atmosphere and culture with a fascinating mix of indigenous cultures and modern livestyle. Namibia boasts a proud record of uninterrupted peace and stability has a remarkable infrastructure which includes an expanding road network, public railway system, public and private airfields, modern medical facilities with efficient emergency response units. An international telecommunication network allows constant contact and information exchange with the rest of the world. 

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Facts and Figures

FACTS AND FIGURES

Population: 2 million (UN estimate 2005)

Population density: 2.43 persons per square km

Population growth: 1.19%

Religion: Christian 90%, Indigenous and other beliefs 10%

Literacy: 65% of total population

Language: English is the official language

Capital: Windhoek, population 223,364

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Politics and history

Namibia was proclaimed a German protectorate in 1884, then called South West Africa it was later administrated by South Africa under a 1920 League of Nations mandate, until the implementation of United Nations Resolution 435 resulted in Namibia’s independence on March 21, 1990. Namibia is ruled by a Multiparty Parliament and has a democratic Constitution that is highly regarded by the international community. The Government's policy of national reconciliation and unity embraces the concepts of tolerance, respect for differing political views, and racial and ethnic harmony, freedom of religion and press

Government type:

Republic, secular state

Executive:

Chief of State: President Hage G. Geingob

Head of Government: President Hage G. Geingob

Cabinet: Appointed from the members of the National Assembly

Legislative:

Bicameral legislature consists of the National Council and the National Assembly

Judicial:

Supreme Court

Nature

Flora

Namibia has about 200 endemic plant species, 4,300 higher plant species and 422 grass species within its 14 vegetation zones, ranging from desert vegetation to semi-desert, variation of leaf tree, mountain, thorn bush, highland, dwarf shrub, camel thorn and mixed tree savannahs and the forest savannahs and woodlands of the north east. Mopane, Marula, Giant Figs, Baobabs, Aloe and Species of the Leadwood tree are some of the species found in Namibia. Other plants like the Devil’s Claw and Hoodia are making medicinal break-through in the health industry.

Fauna

The country has an abundance of animal species. Some of these species are rare to sight, given either their nature or limited population. Black Face Impala are only found in the North Western region of country. Other unique species to sight include Honey Badgers, Wild Dogs, Sable Antelope, Pangolins and desert dwelling moles. Some species are not rare, although through adaptations they are unique in their own right. Some of these include desert-adapted elephants and giraffe. Big game such as elephant, lion, rhino, buffalo, cheetah, leopard, giraffe and 20 species of antelopes can be found in Namibia.

National reserves

Namibia boasts over 17 national reserves and game parks that are owned by Government. The Etosha National Park is the third largest in Africa and offers contrasts in itself and to the other popular parks like the Namib Naukluft Park with the majestic sand dunes at Sossusvlei or the awe-inspiring arid Fish river Canyon.

The private sector has become increasingly involved in wildlife conservation and there has been a rapid growth in the number and size of private conservation areas. Most parks offer accommodation in well-equipped rest camps and lodges.

Economy

GDP: US$5.5 billion (2004) Main exports: Minerals, beef and fish Main imports: Foodstuffs, construction material and manufactured goods Main trading partners: South Africa, UK, Spain, Japan and USA The pillars of the Namibian economy are mining, fishing, tourism and agriculture. The largest single contributor to employment in Namibia is government, followed by the agricultural and fishing sectors.

Manufacturing in Namibia is mainly limited to the processing of raw materials and agricultural produce. Most of the country's trade is with South Africa, essentially involving the exchange of raw materials for manufactured goods. Recent economic policy has seen many former state enterprises transferred to the private sector. The economy has performed reasonably well during the last decade. Annual growth in 2004 was 5.7% and inflation was 4.1%. However, unemployment hovers at around 35%.

Climate

Namibia has the perfect weather conditions for filmmakers. It is the second most arid country in Africa, along the coast and in the south west of the country annual rainfall ranges between only 0 – 10 mm per year, almost exclusively in the summer months from November to April. Since Namibia is scarcely populated and vast, there is virtually no pollution or smog and during the dry season the sun shines undisturbed from clear blue skies, making sunsets and sunrises an unforgettable experience.

With 300 days of sunshine on average per year, Namibia is truly a sunny place. During the summer months the usually dry riverbeds become saturated with torrents of muddy water in a very short time. It is during this time that the sun-scorched land comes to life and develops a colourful horizon to horizon floral carpet within a few days. Majestic clouds with colourful sunsets and sunrises add dramatic backdrops to the beautiful landscapes of Namibia. For up to date weather info visit: www.weatheronline.de.

Infrastructure

Namibia can easily be reached by plane with direct flights from Europe or connecting flights from South Africa. Major international airlines connect Southern Africa to the hubs of the world within short travel times. Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA) is situated 45 km east of Windhoek, the capital city of Namibia, and can be reached within 24 hours or less from most American, Australian and Asian cities, from Europe in even under 10 Hours.

The airport at Walvis Bay  continues to be upgraded aiming to elevate the status of the airport as Namibia’s second international airport. This airport also services international flights from South Africa with more destinations being planned in the near future. The vast network of roads, paved and gravel, is constantly expanding and allows swift and safe travel to all destinations within the country and to Namibia’s neighbours. A well established local aviation industry offers the possibility to get around fast and comfortably. Through the ever growing tourism industry in Namibia, comfortable and efficient transport, accommodation and a high standard restaurant network can be found around Namibia.

All the major towns have supermarkets and shops offering groceries of European standard. Accommodation is as varied as the scenery - modern hotels, comfortable B&B establishments or exclusive lodges in the African bush, which serve exquisite local delicacies prepared with international inspirations to accommodate any discerning palate. All the major Banks are linked to international financial institutions and foreign exchange is easily accommodated. Transfers to Banks in Namibia are swift and guaranteed. The Namibia Dollar (1N$ = 100 Cent), Credit Cards and some foreign currencies are accepted throughout Namibia. For more info visit the Bank of Namibia website.

Electricity is available throughout the country either by national supplier or own generation - 220Volt AC, 50Hz. Adaptors to most international plugs are available. Telecommunication networks are available throughout the country. Landlines, mobile and satellite providers cover 100% of the country and serve 90% of the population. Data, fax and voice connections are possible to and from all countries.

Time zones and more

GMT +2 Summer Time (September to April) GMT +1 Winter Time (April to September) Internationally trained medical personnel are available in modern medical facilities. Basic medical treatment can be received in most rural communities. Efficient emergency response units with all terrain vehicles, modern ambulances and air support are available.

A great number of vehicle rentals provide you with all your 2x4 and 4x4 needs and engineering and artisan workshops which offer repair services of any kind are available in all major towns.