Joggie Briedenhann is a born, bred and very proud Namibian.
Herewith some interesting fast facts about his motherland.
Situated on the southwestern coast of Africa, Namibia borders Angola and Zambia in the north, South Africa in the south and Botswana in the east.
View Larger Map
Slightly more than 2.2 million
Namibians are of diverse ethnic origins. The principal groups are the Ovambo, Kavango, Herero/Himba, Damara, Colored (including Rehoboth Baster), White (Afrikaner, German, English, and Portuguese), Nama, Caprivian, San, and Tswana.
Namibia covers 824,292 sq km (318,259 sq mi). Immense, even by African Standards! Namibia is the world's thirty-fourth largest country (after Venezuela). It lies mostly between latitudes 17° and 29°S (a small area is north of 17°), and longitudes 11° and 26°E. Lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m. Highest point: Konigstein 2,606 m.
- Language: English, German, Afrikaans, Bantu and Khoisan.
- Literacy: The current literacy rate in Namibia is about 83%, one of the highest in Africa.
- Religion: Freedom of religion was adopted through Namibia's Bill of Fundamental Rights. About 90% of the population is Christian.
|The Namibian Flag|
- Official Name: Republic of Namibia
- Date of Independence: 21 March 1990
- System of Government: Multi-party Democracy
- Head of State: President Hifikepunye Pohamba since 2005
- Prime Minister: Nahas Angula since 2005
- Stable multi-party parliamentary democracy
Unity, Liberty, Justice
"Namibia, Land of the Brave"
Rugged, beautiful landscapes of every kind with an amazing wealth of wildlife. The history of this land can be found carved into rock paintings found to the south and in Twyfelfontein, some dating back to 26,000 B.C.
|Black-faced Impala and Sable - both on Hartebeestloop|
Part of the allure of Namibia is that it’s four countries in one. Four different landscapes, each with its own characteristics and attractions.
- The most definitive is the Namib, a long coastal desert that runs the length of the country and is highlighted with migrating dune belts, dry riverbeds and canyons.
- The central plateau is home to the majority of Namibia's towns and villages and is divided between rugged mountain ranges and sand-filled valleys.
- Next is the vast Kalahari Desert with its ancient red sand and sparse vegetation.
- Finally, Kavango and Caprivi, blessed with generous amounts of rain and typified by tropical forests, perennial rivers and woodland savannahs.
Namibia is famous for its wildlife. There are many National Parks, reserves and conservancies. Hundreds of mammal species roam freely there. The ruggedness of the Namibian landscape has obviously done nothing to deter both flora and fauna from adapting and thriving here. The shear abundance and variety of wildlife of all sizes is staggering. From big game such as lion, elephant, giraffe, cheetah and rhino, to a wealth of small game and even many endemic species like the black-faced impala – the quest to see it up close is easily the nation’s top tourist pursuit.
The Kalahari Desert is perhaps Namibia’s best known geographical feature. Shared with South Africa and Botswana, it has a variety of localized environments ranging from hyper-arid sandy desert, to areas that seem to defy the common definition of desert.
One of these areas, known as the Succulent Karoo, is home to over 5,000 species of plants, nearly half of them endemic; fully one third of the world’s succulents are found in the Karoo. The reason behind this high productivity and endemism may be the relatively stable nature of precipitation. The Karoo apparently does not experience drought on a regular basis, so even though the area is technically desert, regular winter rains provide enough moisture to support the region’s interesting plant community.
Another feature of the Kalahari, indeed many parts of Namibia, are inselbergs, isolated mountains that create microclimates and habitat for organisms not adapted to life in the surrounding desert.
Namibia's climate is generally very dry and pleasant.
The cold Benguela current keeps the coast cool, damp and free of rain for most of the year. Inland, all the rain falls in summer (November to April).
January and February are hot, when daytime temperatures in the interior can exceed 40°C (104°F), but nights are usually cool. Winter nights can be fairly cold, but days are generally warm and quite nice. Namibia has more than 300 days of sunshine per year.
Namibia is situated at the southern edge of the tropics; the Tropic of Capricorn cuts the country about in half.
The winter (June – August) is generally dry, both rainy seasons occur in summer, the small rainy season between September and November, the big one between February and April.
Humidity is low, and average rainfall varies from almost zero in the coastal desert to more than 600 mm in the Caprivi Strip. Rainfall is however highly variable, and droughts are common. The last bad rainy season with rainfall far below the annual average occurred in summer 2006/07.
Weather and climate in the coastal area are dominated by the cold, north-flowing Benguela current of the Atlantic Ocean which accounts for very low precipitation (50 mm per year or less), frequent dense fog, and overall lower temperatures than in the rest of the country.
In Winter, occasionally a condition known as Bergwind or Oosweer (Afrikaans for East weather) occurs - a hot dry wind blowing from the inland to the coast. As the area behind the coast is a desert, these winds can develop into sand storms with sand deposits in the Atlantic Ocean visible on satellite images.
The Central Plateau and Kalahari areas have wide diurnal temperature ranges of up to 30°C.
Tourism is a major contributor (14.5%) to Namibia's Economy.
There are many lodges and reserves to accommodate eco-tourists. Sport Hunting is also a large and growing component of the Namibian economy, accounting for 14% of total tourism in the year 2000, or $19.6 million US dollars. The reason is that Namibia boasts numerous species sought after by international sport hunters.
In addition, extreme sports such as sandboarding and 4x4-ing have become popular, and many cities have companies that provide tours.
The most visited places include the Caprivi Strip, Fish River Canyon, Sossusvlei, the Skeleton Coast Park, Sesriem, Etosha Pan and the coastal towns of Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and Lüderitz.
- Natural resources: Diamonds, uranium, zinc, gold, copper, lead, tin, fluorspar, salt, fisheries, and wildlife.
- Agriculture (5.1% of GDP, 2009): Products-livestock and meat products, crop farming and forestry. (Namibia Central Bureau of Statistics).
- Mining (10% of GDP, 2009): Gem-quality diamonds, uranium, zinc, copper, other. (Namibia Central Bureau of Statistics).
- Fishing and fish processing on board (3.6% of GDP, 2009): Hake, horse mackerel, lobster, other. (Namibia Central Bureau of Statistics).
- Trade: Exports (2010-$5.71 billion): diamonds, uranium, zinc, copper, lead, beef, cattle, fish, karakul pelts, grapes.
- Imports (2010-$5.14 billion): foodstuffs, construction material, manufactured goods. Major partners - South Africa, Angola, European Union (EU), U.S., Canada, China, India. (World Trade Organization).
- Currency: The Namibia Dollar (N$)
- The Namibia Dollar and South African Rand are the only legal tender in Namibia and can be used freely to purchase goods and services.
- Time Zones:
- Summer time - GMT + 2 hours from the 1st Sunday in September to the 1st Sunday in April.
- Winter time - GMT + 1 hour from the 1st Sunday in April to the 1st Sunday in September.
- Electricity: 220 volts AC, 50hz. Outlets are of the round three-pin type.
- Agriculture, herding, tourism and the mining industry – including mining for gem diamonds, uranium, gold, silver, and base metals – form the backbone of Namibia's economy.
- After Mongolia it is the second least densely populated country in the world.