“When you first arrive in Namibia, it’s all about space. Deserts stretch out in golden waves before the eye. The blacktop highway runs on forever and disappears over a far horizon. The Fish River Canyon winds along into stony eternity, shipwrecks appear like ghosts in the mists of the Skeleton Coast. An old German fort shimmers like a forgotten memory in the heat mirage of the Etosha, and you’re just a little human speck in the midst of this natural vastness”
-Chris Marais and Julienne du Toit – from Namibia Space Namibia straddles two great deserts: the Namib and the Kalahari. The Namib is the planet’s oldest desert and its sea of red sand lies along the Atlantic coastline, while the Kalahari lies in the eastern interior – a vast and sparsely vegetated savannah so vast that it spreads over into neighbouring countries. Germany, Great Britain and South Africa have all governed this land at some time until independence in 1990. It was then that the country truly developed its own unique Namibian character. The many national parks and reserves boast a huge variety of wildlife in a kaleidoscope of differing environments: desert elephants tread dry river beds, giraffes amble across the blinding white saltpans of Etosha National Park, gemsbok plunge headlong up steep red dunes at Sossusvlei, and thousands of seals make desolate beachheads along the Skeleton Coast their home. Astonishing contrasts are everywhere. For those who have the time to drive the vast distances, roads are navigable in 4×4 vehicles. When time is limited, light aircraft flights over the dunes, deserts and coastline are an adventure and provide a bird’s eye view of the vast landscapes. There are more than 2 000 ancient rock engravings at Twyvelfontein – proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007. There is archaeological evidence of human habitation here for at least the past 6 000 years. All the rock engravings and paintings within the core area are the authentic work of San hunter-gatherers who lived in the region long before the influx of Damara herders and European colonists. In this great land, your experiences are almost endless. One can meet some of the last semi-nomadic peoples left on earth called the Himba. Experience a hot air balloon flight over the red dunes of Sossusvlei, watch pelagic birds, seals and dolphins from a boat off the coast of Swakopmund, track predators or rhino in Etosha National Park or quad bike carefully over the dunes and river banks of the remote Kunene River, while enjoying luxurious canvas or thatched accommodations in classic or premier camps and lodges in the very best locations. In total, Namibia only has about 1,8 million inhabitants. More than half of the population (the Ovambos, Kavangos, Himba and Caprivians), live in the rural regions of the north. About 30% of the Namibians live in central Namibia, most of them in Windhoek and the towns of Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. These are mainly Herero and Damara and the majority of the white population. The least populated part is the dry south, where only 7% of the population live, mainly Nama and farmers of Afrikaans or German origin. Most of them live in the towns of Keetmanshoop and Lüderitz. One Namibia – one Nation” is the Namibian government’s motto since Independence was granted. And today there is a feeling of solidarity amongst the Namibian people despite the variety of ethnic groups and the fact that Namibia is a multicultural nation. Each of the eleven national groups has its own history, language and culture. English is the official language, but Afrikaans, German and the many ethnic dialects are widely spoken.
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