Summer, rainy and high humidity. Great for bird and botanical safaris.
Rains, high humidity, great for photo and botanical safari.
Coming out of raining season, great for photo and botanical safaris.
Pleasant temperature, little rainfall and green landscape
Pleasant temperature, little rainfall and green landscape
Winter, low temperatures at night, good for wildlife viewing
Winter, low temperatures, warm clothes for morning and light drives, good for wildlife viewing
Winter, low temperatures at night, pleasant during the day, good for wildlife viewing
Winter, low temperatures at night, warmer during the day, good for wildlife viewing
Driest month. The green landscape starts to fade. Great for photo safaris.
Summer. Hot, but still low humidity. Great bird and photo safaris.
Arrival of first rains & nature comes back to life. Great for bird and photo safaris.
English became the official language of the country in 1990, when it gained its independence from South Africa. The new government of the country allowed only the English language as the official language and mentioned the same in the constitution of the country. The language is now used in the government administration of the country and is the medium of instruction in schools and universities. It is however spoken by only 3% of the population as a home language. Before independence, during the apartheid regime in South Africa, the 3 official languages of the country were English, German and Afrikaans.
Oshiwambo is the most widely spoken indigenous language in Namibia. This language arrived in the country with the Bantu immigrants, who have now become the major inhabitants of Namibia. 49% of the population speaks Oshivambo. Other languages spoken are Nama/Damara language by 11%, Kavango language by 9% and Herero by 9%. Afrikaans is spoken by 10% of the population. It is the most widely understood national language, spoken by 60% of the white community, German by 32%, English by 7% and Portuguese by 4–5%.
All these languages in one of the most underpopulated countries of the world, make Namibia a land of rich linguistic diversity.
Christianity is the most widespread religion in Namibia; however, the largest Christian division is the Lutheran church. About 80 or 90 percent of the population in Namibia are Christians, of which 50% are Lutheran. Other denominations include Roman Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Dutch Reformed and Mormon. Between 10 and 20% hold indigenous beliefs.
Namibia's population can be divided into (at least) 11 ethnic groups, the biggest group of which is the Owambo people. Each of the cultural groups has its own rich heritage and traditions. From the Bantu-speaking Ovambo and Herero tribes (the latter of which are admired for their colourful Victorian dress) to the Damara minorities and nomadic San Bushmen, the culture of Namibia is an amazing diversity rich in traditions and values. And this can be seen in the dress, language, art, music, sport, food and religion of the country. There exists a beautiful medley, but first and foremost, Namibians are proud to be Namibian.
As early as 25 000 B.C., the first humans lived in the Huns Mountains in the South of Namibia.
1485: The first European to set foot on Namibian soil was the Portuguese Diogo Cão.
1793: The Dutch authority in the Cape decided to take control of Walvis Bay, since it was the only good deep-water harbour along the Skeleton Coast.
1797: The United Kingdom took control of the Cape Colony and Walvis Bay.
1805: The London Missionary Society began working in Namibia, moving north from the Cape Colony.
1840: The German Rhenish Mission Society started working in Namibia and co-operating with the London Missionary Society.
1884: German South West Africa was established as a colony (Deutsch-Südwestafrika in German).
1920: South Africa undertook administration of South West Africa under the terms of Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations. The Class C mandate, supposed to be used for the least developed territories, gave South Africa full power of administration and legislation over the territory, but required that South Africa promote the material and moral well-being and social progress of the people.
1990: Independence Day on 21 March 1990
The current population of Namibia is 2,640,409 as of June 2019, based on the latest United Nations estimates. The population density is 3 per Km2 (8 people per mi2), showing how sparsely populated is the country. 48.9% of the population live in Windhoek, making it the most populated city. The next most populated cities are Rundu and Walvis Bay. The median age in Namibia is 21.2 years, with a life expectancy of 64 years old. The fertility rate as at 2018 is 3.29 children per woman with a maternal mean age of 21.5 years at the time of first birth. This makes Namibia a very young population.
Most Namibian people are of Bantu-speaking origin. The largest ethnic group is the Ovambo (49.8%), who live mostly in the north of the country and in towns throughout Namibia. Other ethnic groups include Kavango (9.3%), Damara (7.5%), Herero (7.5%), white (6.4%), Nama (4.8%) Caprivian (3.7%), San (2.9%), and Basters (2.5%). The Khoisan (including the San and Nama) are descended from original inhabitants of Southern Africa. Namibia also has many descendants of Angolan refugees. There are two groups of mixed race people in Namibia: "Coloureds" (4.1%) and "Basters." Namibia also has a large Chinese minority. Whites (Portuguese, British, German and Afrikaner) account for 6.4% of the population and make up the second-largest group of European ancestry in Sub-Saharan Africa. Most Namibian whites and most of the people of mixed race speak Afrikaans. A small amount of whites in the country are descendants of German colonial settlers.
The cuisine of Namibia is very varied due to its history. A combination of traditional and European makes the food typical and different.
The traditional Namibian food consists of staples, made from millet, unlike many other African countries. And this is normally served with vegetables or oshiwambo, an interesting combination of spinach and beef. Outdoor cooking is part of the Namibian way of life. The traditional braaivleis (meat barbeque) is a tasty meal, as is potjiekos, a spicy stew of meat, chicken and fish cooked in a cast iron, three-legged pot over an open fire, often served in lodges and camps.
In restaurants in Windhoek, Luderitz or Swakopmund, you are likely to find more European type of foods such as Italian or French. Local specialties worth tasting are Swakopmund green asparagus (September to April), Luderitz oysters (all year round), Kalahari truffles (May and June if they appear), and Omajowa, the large fleshy mushrooms that appear for a brief period after the rains in February.
On the sweeter side, German influence is very present and in Swakopmund, Luderitz and Windhoek you can indulge in traditional German-style confectionery including Schwarzwälder, Kirschtorte, and Apfelstrudel as well as the renowned Springer chocolates produced in Windhoek.
Drink is of course Namibian beer!
Capital city of Namibia and also departure point for most safaris travelling through Namibia. It is known to be a very clean and safe city, characterized by a number of German style buildings, reminiscent of the country’s colonial history. The city has a western touch, making it a place to discover be it for its cultural sights, variety of restaurants, accommodation level or for its African city buzz. Ensure to make a plan to start or end your trip in Windhoek.
The Namib desert is the oldest desert in the world. It is some 43 million years, with its present state dating 2 million years. The Namib stretches over 1500km from the Atlantic Ocean into Angola and South Africa, offering a wide range of landscapes from gravel, to rocky mountains to huge dunes in varying colours of sand. It is also home to a diverse number of plants and animals, some of which are found nowhere else in the world. More surprisingly, there has even been evidence of humans living in the Namib that extends back to the early stone age era.
Situated in the Namib-Naukluft National Park in the southern corner of Namibia, Sossusvlei is one of Namibia's most spectacular landmarks, characterized by its high red sand dunes. It is a place of endless sand dunes, with some of the highest dunes in the world reaching 400m. Sossusvlei literally translates to “dead-end marsh”, as it is the place where the dunes come together preventing the Tsauchab River to flow any further. Sossusvlei offers a range of activities and attractions such as Sesriem Canyon, Dune 45, Hiddenvlei, Big Daddy and Deadvlei , making it a place to visit.
Etosha National Park is the greatest wildlife sanctuary in Namibia, and gateway to Northern Namibia and Ovamboland. The game viewing is unique with the opportunity to see lions, elephants, leopards, giraffes, cheetah, hyenas, springboks, two kinds of zebras, and much more! Etosha means the ”great white area” because of the dried pan in the middle of the Etosha, which is an impressive sight because it’s the biggest salt pan in Africa. When it rains, the pan attracts hundreds of thousands of flamingos! Etosha is a unique experience, a must visit.
The Canyon forms part of the state-run Ais-Ais Richtersveld Transfontier Park. It is the largest canyon of Africa and second largest in the world after the USA’s Grand Canyon. The canyon measures 160km in length, up to 27km in width and the deepest canyon reaches 550m. The enormousness of the canyon can only be fully understood by doing hiking trips into the canyon and it is for obvious reasons one of the most popular hiking trails in Southern Africa. The Fish river is the longest interior river in Namibia and eventually flows into the Orange River in South Africa.
Twyfelfontein was declared World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 2007. The site, situated in the north western Namibia, displays one of the largest concentrations of rock engravings in Africa. Specifications about the age of the engravings fluctuate and a period of 1000 – 10000 years is stated. The motives of the rock engravings are on the one hand hunting scenes, in which the hunters are pictured with bow and arrow. On the other hand many animal engravings (antelopes, zebras, giraffes, lions, etc.) are depicted, the rhino engraving being the most popular one.
Because of the varied ethnic groups, it is difficult to pin out one favourite dish. But the food most enjoyed by locals is undoubtedly meat and pap, only enjoyed at a local’s place. Otherwise a braii is highly enjoyed, potjiekos which is a meat and vegetable stew cooked traditionally, billtongs, kapana (flame-grilled meat), kabeljou (a large fish) and omajowa (a giant wild mushroom) are enjoyed.
Beer! The beers of Namibia have won many International awards. From the draught beer that is light and refreshing to various stronger brews, beer is enjoyed with all meals. The flagship beer of Namibia is Windhoek Lager.
Do not rush, take your time and enjoy. When in Namibia, behave like a Namibian. Sometimes things tend to move slower, so shape yourself and enjoy this different culture. On holidays, it can be relaxing not to worry about time.
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