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Author and copyright: Heidi van Eck, Sunbird Tours Namibia

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General Information about Namibia

(Deutscher Text)

The country’s name derived from the Namib Desert, which stretches from the Oranje River north along the Atlantic Ocean right into Angola.

Although it is the oldest desert in the world it is far from being lifeless and barren. The long costal desert features an unusual variety of desert-adapted fauna and flora, which includes a large number of endemic plants, reptiles, insects, and bird species.

Main tourist attractions like the Sossusvlei, Sandwich Harbour and Skeleton Coast Park are within the Namib Desert.

Windhoek is Namibia’s capital with a multicultural population of 170 000 people.

The abundance of wildlife, scenic beauty, the bountiful sunshine and the diversity of geological phenomena make Namibia a sought-after tourist destination. The friendliness and cultural diversity add to this.
With a size of 824 268km² it is a vast country with ever changing sceneries, offering a well-developed infrastructure.
Namibia borders on Botswana in the east, South Africa in the south, the Atlantic Ocean in the west and Angola, Zambia and Zimbabwe in the north.

Namibia can be divided into four distinct topographical regions - the Namib Desert, the Central Plateau, the Kalahari Desert and the tropical forest and woodland savannah of the Kavango and the Caprivi.

All five perennial rivers lie on the borders of Namibia. These are the Oranje River, Kunene, Okavango, Zambezi  and Kwando/Linyanti/Chobe.

Noteworthy seasonal rivers are the Fish and Nossob in the South, Kuiseb, Swakop, Omaruru, Hoarusib, Hoanib, Ugab and Khumib in the west, as well as the Cuvelai, as the source to the Etosha Pan, coming from southern Angola. 


In 1805 the first white missionaries came into the country.  
Fürst Bismark proclaimed the country a German protectorate in 1884. The conquest of German South West Africa by South African forces during World War I resulted in its administration by South Africa under a 1920 League of Nations mandate.
In 1966 the liberation movement between the occupying South African forces and the SWAPO (South West African People’s Organisation) started.
In 1989 the implementation of the United Nations Resolution 435 for free and fair elections resulted in SWAPO coming to power with independence on 21 March 1990.
Dr Sam Nujma become Namibia’s first president and  served three terms. He was followed by Mr.  Hifikepunye Pohamba in March 2005.
Namibia is ruled by a multiparty parliament and has a democratic constitution.  The Government’s policy of national reconciliation and unity embraces the concepts of tolerance, respect for different political views, and racial and ethnic harmony.



According the last census in 2001 Namibia had a population of 1,8 million. This means a population density of less than two people per square metre, which is one of the lowest in the world.
The population consists of 86% Black, 6.6%White and 7,4% Half-breds. The black population could be divided as follows: 50% Ovambo, 9% Kavangos, 9% Herero, 7% Damara, 5% Nama, 4% Caperivians, 3% Busmen 2% Bastards and 0,5 Tswana.

The annual growth rates is ±2,6%.
English is the official language, but many native languages are spoken (Owambo, Herero, Damara, Nama, etc) as well as Afrikaans and German.
Religion: 80% of the population are Christians.


As Namibia is a semi-desert country it has a dry climate where droughts occur regularly. This phenomenon is greatly influenced by the cold Benguela current in the Atlantic Ocean.
Days are mostly warm to very hot, while nights are generally cool.
In summer (October to April) the average temperatures range from 20°C to 34°C during the day.
In winter nigh - time temperatures can drop below freezing point and ground frosts do occur. The day - time temperatures in the interior range from 18°C - 25°C
The rainy season is from October to May, but mostly it rains from January to March.
Rainfall is usually caused by convection thunderstorms, which are normally of a short duration.
The average rainfall figures vary from less than 50mm along the coast to 350 mm in the central and 700mm in the far north - eastern regions.
Winter rains do occur in the far south - westerly regions.
Often the coast is covered by thick mist.


Namibia has several national parks as well as a few private parks.

In the north of Namibia we find the world-famous Etosha National Park, with a size of 22 270km² it is one of the largest game parks in Africa.

Etosha owes its unique landscape to the Etosha Pan, a vast shallow depression of approximately 5 000km². A series of waterholes along the southern edge of the pan guarantees rewarding and often spectacular game viewing. Several of the 114 mammal species found in the park are rare and/or endangered, including the black rhino and black-faced impala. Over 340 bird species have been recorded at Etosha.

The Skeleton Coast Park was proclaimed in its present form in 1973. It extends from the Ugab River in the south to the Kunene River in the North.

The attraction of this remote area lies mainly in the colour changing moods and untouched profile of its landscape, ranging from sweeping vistas of windswept dunes to rugged canyons with walls of richly coloured volcanic rock and extensive mountain ranges.

Its aura of mystery and impenetrability is due to the many shipwrecks, the dense coastal fog and rough sea-swell.

The Namib - Naukluft Park in the south - western part of the country is Namibia’s mist versatile conservation area comprising an area of almost 50 000km².  This includes key features like the Sossusvlei, Sesriem Canyon, Sandwich Harbour, the Naukluft mountains and the Kuiseb Canyon.

In the north - east of the country, in the Caprivi,  we find the Mahango and the Mudumu National Park. Both parks boast with a variety of game, like elephant, buffalo, hippos, letchwe and the sable antelope.

These areas are a birdwatcher’s paradise, with over 400 species.

The Waterberg Plateau Park in the central of the country, rises 200m above the surrounding area, with flamboyant brick-red sandstone formations and lush green vegetation.

This park is home to some 25 game and over 200 bird species, and hosts a great variety of vegetation, like fern and an impressive range of flowering plants.

Some of the private nature parks are the NamibRand Nature Reserve, situated south of Sesriem, the Gondwana Cañon Park at the Fish River Canyon and the Huab Private Nature Park near Kamanjab.

Namibia’s economy is based mainly on mining, fishing, tourism and agriculture. Of this tourism is the fasted growing industry, while agriculture is the largest provider of employment.

The Namibian Dollar and the South African Rand are the excepted currencies in Namibia.

Foreign currency and traveler’s cheques can be exchanged at all commercial banks in major towns.

Credit Cards – International Visa and MasterCard credit cards are widely accepted.

The country has a well-established road network, mainly gravel roads, providing access to the majority of towns, parks, nature reserves and tourist attractions.

Rail links to the major towns are provided.
Namibia has two harbours, Walvis Bay and Lüderitz.
Next to Hosea Kutako International Airport, Namibia has several other well equipped airports.

Large parts of the country are covered by network of telephone lines. Cellphone coverage is proved to all major towns in Namibia as well as along some of the national highways.

Medical care is provided by state-run hospitals in all major centers. Some towns have privately run hospitals with good medical care.

Entry requirements:
Foreign visitors to Namibia require a passport, which is valid for at least six months after the date of entry, and if required a valid visa.

As regulations change all the time it is on the traveler to ensure that he/she is in the possession of the necessary travel documents, and SUNBIRD TOURS cannot be held responsible for any faulty documents.

Health requirements:
No vaccinations are required, but the northern parts of Namibia, including the Etosha National Park are malaria-endemic areas. Please consult your doctor for the correct prophylactics.

What to pack:
Cotton rather than synthetic clothing is recommended for Namibian summers.

Winters are usually mild to warm, which calls for light clothing in the middle of the day, and a sweater or jacket for the evenings and early mornings when it can become quite cold. It can be quite cold and windy at the coast, for which warm clothing, including a windbreaker, is necessary. An important item is comfortable walking shoes. Swimsuits are required for public beaches or swimming pools.

When packing, remember to include binoculars, a sun-hat, sunglasses, sun block, bathing towel, moisturizer, lip-ice and mosquito repellents.

Bring enough film material.

Electricity (250VAC) is available at most accommodations.


Information about the author:

Heidi van Eck founded Sunbird Tours, a Namibian tour operator, in October 1997.
SUNBIRD TOURS is a small company specializing in individual and personalized tours for fly-in safaris, guided and self-drive tours. 
Heidi van Eck, a born Namibian, has been working in the tourism industry since 1976. She has traveled the country extensively. With her well-experienced team of consultants we will craft your vacation into real and practical itineraries, enabling you to relax and enjoy your holiday.
We arrange tailor-made Fly-in Safaris, Individual Tours and Group Tours; book your accommodation, rented car, luxury train, day tours and visits to extraordinary destinations in Namibia, Botswana and Zambia.
The fly-in safaris are conducted in well-maintained aircraft and qualified commercial pilots. 
Extensive tours or add-ons to Botswana and Zambia can be arranged.
For our guided groups we use air-conditioned busses, with knowledgeable guides. Tours for specialized groups, e.g. Birder's, fishing or incentive groups can be arranged.

Experience the vastness and beauty of the Namib Desert, the prolific game and bird life in the Etosha National Park and the unspoiled Okavango Delta.
Explore the relative unknown game parks of Zambia, for a real African experience and visit the awesome Victoria Falls.

We will introduce you to Namibia's cultural spectrum and the remarkable tradition of the Himba in the Kaokoland and the earliest known inhabitants of Namibia - 
the Bushmen (San).

Cross the path of the "Big 5" in the African wilderness of Namibia, Botswana and Zambia.
Combine an unmatched contrast of the endless vastness of the Namib Desert and the profusion of wild life in the Okavango Delta.


Let us show you the essence of Africa, a treasure chest waiting to be discovered, 
with endless possibilities.
Take home memories that will last forever.


For more information please visit our website

Sunbird Tours Namibia

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