Namibia

Quick Facts

Region: Africa

Population:
2,108,665

Religion:

Approximately 75% of Namibia’s population profess Christianity and German Lutheranism is the dominant sect in most of the country. There is a small minority of Roman Catholics in the central and northern areas. Non-Christian Namibians live mainly in the north and continue to follow animistic traditions and participate in ancestor-veneration.

Language:

As a first language, most Namibians speak either Owambo, a Bantu dialect, or one of the several Khoisan languages. Of the European languages, Afrikaans (technically a Dutch dialect), German and English are spoken, but not to any great degree.

Area (sq. km):
825,418 square meters

Time:

GMT +2

When To Travel

The climate is generally hot and dry. Average temperature extremes in Windhoek, on the central plateau, are 17° to 29°C in summer (December) and 6° to 20°C in winter (July). Daily temperatures on the central plateau and in the Kalahari desert may differ by as much as 30ºc in the summer. The coast is cooled somewhat by the Benguela Current. Average temperature extremes in coastal Swakopmund are 15° to 23°C in January during the summer and 8° to 21°C in July. The average annual rainfall in the Namib Desert along the coast is about 50 mm. Inland, annual rainfall increases from 150 mm in the south to about 560 mm in the north. What little rain occurs falls from February through May. Most precipitation occurs from October through April. The meagre and highly variable precipitation is not very effective in watering the land because of a high rate of evaporation. As a result the territory suffers from prolonged periodic droughts.

Useful Travel Facts

Airports:

Windhoek’s Chief Hosea Kutako International Airport is located 42 kilometres east of the city centre. A taxi between the airport and the city centre should set you back about US$20.00.

Telephone:

The international dialling code for Namibia is +264. Telephone calls, especially international ones, can be expensive when made from a hotel. We suggest you check the price first. If you have a mobile phone it should be a relatively simple procedure to arrange ‘global roaming’ with your service provider; however, charges are generally very high so be sure to check this option thoroughly. You should also check with your service provider to see if your mobile phone is compatible with the networks used in Africa. Phone calls made from public telephone offices are generally your cheapest option.

Electricity:

The electricity supply in Africa is rated at 220 volts/50 cycles, and appliances requiring 240 volts will work normally. If you bring electrical appliances you should also bring an international adaptor. Round three pin plugs are the most common types in southern Africa.

Shopping:

Namibia isn't especially known for being a shopper's paradise, however, there are some interesting curios available for purchase. Native handicrafts include colourful Herero dolls, attractive baskets and ostrich eggshell jewellery. Diamonds and other semiprecious stones such as malachite, amethyst, aquamarine, jasper and rose quartz are also available - be sure to buy from a reputable dealer in either raw form or cut and polished. You can also pick up genuine famous brand surf clothing from sports stores, such as Quiksilver and Insight for prices much cheaper than at home.

Visa: Australians, Americans, Canadians, British and New Zealanders do not currently require a visa for Namibia. For all other nationalities please reconfirm your visa requirements with your travel agent. For those nationalities that do require a visa these need to be obtained prior to arrival in Namibia.

Useful Words & Phrases

Further Reading

Lonely Planet Namibia

The Struggle for Liberation-Alfred T Moleah

The Burning Shore-Wilbur Smith