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Namibia Travel Guide

The Republic of Namibia has nearly 2 million people living off its land, all of whom have one kind of a religion or another, with the main ones being Christian, Lutheran and native beliefs. The area, of over 825,000 square kilometres, has mainly African, mixed and white inhabitants, speaking English, Afrikaans, Bantu, German or Herero.

How this country gained its independence all started during World War I, when South Africa took over the German settlement of South-West Africa and managed the area until after World War II, when a decision was made to seize the region. In 1966 though, the Marxist South-West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) guerrilla group started a war of independence for the state that was shortly to be named Namibia. It was only in 1988 that South Africa eventually consented to terminate its management in agreement with a UN peace arrangement for the whole of the country. Independence arrived, at last, in 1990 following multi-party voting and the set-up of an instrument of government. Today, President Nujoma is president and is in his third successful term.

Nearly everyday in this country is hot and sunny, one of the main things that draw travellers to the area. The other main attractions though, are Namibia’s wildlife reserves and parks, where travellers can camp out overnight, and the endless amount of hiking possibilities around the country’s vast landscape. There are many interesting treks throughout the area, ranging from one day to a few days but visitors wanting to go on multi-day walks, need to abide by certain safety rules, which are that hikers need to be in a group of 3, carry permits and hold an approved doctor’s medical certificate. Other activities to enjoy are canoeing or rafting along the inland waterways and horse riding, with multi -day horse treks available in certain regions.

The capital, Windhoek, is located in the centre of the country and is the country’s hub for business and commerce and home to Namibia’s International Airport. The city sits in the hills at a height of 5,444 feet, with ever-changing weather including plenty of rain! The wet conditions though, provide an abundance of lush vegetation with beautiful flowers and gardens being seen throughout Windhoek. Around 160,000 folk live in the capital, all of different descents, which is depicted by the various buildings found within the city from the neo-Gothic and Art Nouveau-designed German Lutheran church to the 1912 Cape Dutch-style railway station. Visitors will also see the parliament building, Tintenpalast and an old fort, Alte Feste, which is now a museum. There’s also a scenic, meandering walk within the city, the Hofmeyer Walk, where visitors will see the Klein Windhoek Valley providing a 360 degree view of Windhoek. There is also a very fascinating sight within the town centre, where 33 meteorites, a total of 21 tonnes of alien rocks, are displayed. The meteorites landed in southern Namibia in 1837 in the area of Gibeon and were later transported to Windhoek…definitely worth a look and a click of the camera!

Flying is a good way to get around Namibia but also a very expensive route. A cheaper way to travel is by bus, of which there are 2 kinds, the coach and the local bus. The coaches are very plush but also very limited, taking visitors from the capital to places like Johannesburg or Cape Town. The local buses are much more frequent though and travel all around the B1 from Oshakati to Keetmanshoop. There is also a railway service, which connects with most of the main towns, a slow form of transport but scenic! Best way to get about though is to drive and with all the well-developed roads throughout Namibia, safety levels are at there highest. To actually get into Namibia, there are flights available from Europe, Australia and the US to the capital of Windhoek using any major airline, these flights are limited though and visitors may find it cheaper to fly into South Africa then carry on by plane, bus or train into the country, with Air Namibia and South African Airways operating flights everyday from Cape Town and Johannesburg to Hosea Kutako International Airport, near Windhoek.

The most pleasant time to be in Namibia is from May to October, when the heat is tolerable and the weather is dry. Times to avoid are the hotter months of December and March and the busy African school holidays, which during the dry season are from May to early June and late August to the middle of September.

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