Best of namibia vol 1

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Best of Namibia
BRANDING A NATION, A CITY AND ITS PEOPLE
Promoting Trade, Development, Tourism and Cultural Relations across the world

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Best of namibia vol 1

  1. 1. V o l u m e 1
  2. 2. Best of Namibia | 1International Group Publisher Sven BoermeesterAfrica Group Publisher Thapelo LetsholoNamibia Partners Saress Investments Four Wilhencia UirasProject Manager Gia BischofbergerEditor Rebecca EbProduction GVPedia Communications ccCreative Direction iMedi8 CreativeWebmaster Liam DobellPrinting Creda PressDisclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure theaccuracy of the information in The ‘Best of Namibia” Vol.1.Neither ‘Best of Namibia’, GVPedia Communications cc norSaress Investments Four assume any responsibility for errorsor omissions. The editor reserves the right to amend and altercopy and visual material as deemed necessary.All rights reserved: No part of this publication shall bereproduced, copied, transmitted, adapted or modified in anyform or by any means. This publication shall not be stored inwhole or in part in any form in any retrieval system.Contact details:GVPedia Communications ccTel: +27 11 705 2097Fax: +27 86 586 1999Email: info@gvpedia.comwww.GVPedia.comwww.ProudlyAfrican.infoIn Partnership with:Saress Investments FourCell: +264 81 124 0247Email: wuiras@gmail.comNamibian team:Vanessa UirasDandago UirasNdeyapo JasonKahoo KandjozeBest of Namibia Volume 1We are proud to announce Best of Namibia as the latest in ourcollection of prestigious books. Namibia has continuously proveditself to be more than worthy of warranting a compilation such asthis. Not only is it one of the most peaceful countries in Africa,which enjoyed a smooth transition into democracy, but it’s also oneof the most enchanting.We have tried to capture as much of this enchantment in the pages that follow. This countryof stark contrasts has produced some magnificent imagery, which seems to tell the story of itsage-old mysticism. Namibia’s land is beautiful and fascinating and it has also yielded some ofthe most astounding diamonds in the world. Beneath the surface of her soils, lie many spoilsawaiting discovery. However, the practicality of the government is such that there is a currentongoing diversification of the economy.Tourism is held in high regard for obvious reasons, so are land cultivation, transport andshipping. The latter makes the most of the ideal situation of the country – being on the traderoute to the Cape of Good Hope, as well as having a prime linkage to South Africa, Botswana,Zimbabwe, Zambia and Angola. As a result, Namibia has always strived to ensure goodrelations with their SADC counterparts and has many important foreign policies. That said,although the government highly values the vital relationships they have forged, there is aconcerted effort to ensure more economic independence instead of relying heavily on imports.The political and economic stability, coupled with the peaceful nature of the Namibian people,has resulted in the creation of a trading climate conducive to investment. In the Best of Namibiawe showcase not only the places, but the people, companies and organisations that haveearned their success. We put Namibia on show here for the world to see as a celebration for allthat the country has achieved.This ancient land is home to the world’s oldest tribe – the San. Their centuries old practices ofpreserving nature and unique mutually beneficial relationship with the flora and fauna aroundthem helped them adapt and survive in extremely harsh conditions. This relationship has leftan indelible mark on the Namibian people and all economic practices are sought in line withthe preservation of Namibia’s natural heritage – from eco-quad biking to strict regulations andrestrictions in environmental interaction. There is still work to be done but the Namibian peopleunderstand that the benefits of preserving their land will be long-lasting.We look forward to seeing the current policies and plans come to fruition in the years to comeand believe that there will be even more to celebrate in the near future.For now, enjoy the spectacular showcase – and remember that the images here are even betterup close.Thapelo Letsholo Sven Boermeester Gia Bischofberger Wilhencia UirasProudly AfricanBoosting inter-trade & culturalrelations across the continentwww.ProudlyAfrican.info
  3. 3. 2 | Best of Namibia
  4. 4. Best of Namibia | 3It gives me great pleasureto introduce this beautifulproduction – Best of Namibia,a magnificent publicationwhich showcases the best intravel, lifestyle and business inNamibia.Given its geographical location in manyrespects, especially its transportationinfrastructure and integration with regionalmarkets, Namibia is undoubtedly a strategicgateway to the fast developing marketsof southern Africa – let alone its politicalstability, which is the hallmark of its socio-economic development.All industry in Namibia has been proudlybuilt with bricks of democracy, and itslaunch-pad is thus, credited to our policy ofinclusivity in ensuring that the functioningmechanisms of democracy remained well-oiled – a mantra greatly valued and highlyguarded by Namibians and acknowledgedby many others.This first edition of Best of Namibia certainlycreates a proud moment for Namibia – tosee its successes profiled in a legacyproject, as part of the globally renownedBest of series.We continue to earn our place on this globalplatform as very few others can boast of thevast natural beauty and resources whichNamibia is endowed with and is famous for.The visual showcase presented here issecond only to viewing the real spectacle ofthe country in person. The stable investmentclimate is highly favourable, owing to ourproud position as a peaceful country.It is my hope that this publication will give itsreaders what Namibia and its people haveto offer in order to better understand thewide range of opportunities that exist in thisland of wide open spaces and contrast –Namibia, the boutique country.I am therefore, delighted to be associatedwith Best of Namibia, as this publication isputting our country on show in a way thathas never been done before, with eachsector being accounted for and the playersin each industry captured through movingimagery and their personal story.I am thus, excited to introduce the first evercompilation of this kind in our country andhope that Best of Namibia will become agood ambassador of Namibia.Enjoy!Foreword by HON. DR HAGE G. GEINGOB,Minister of Trade and Industry
  5. 5. Investment and Future VisionsTraining and EducationBanking and InsuranceTravel, Tours and LeisureMedia, Marketing and FilmFinance and InvestmentChapter1 66Chapter3 96Chapter5 120Chapter2 80Chapter4 106Chapter6 128CHAPTERS4 | Best of Namibia
  6. 6. EnergyTransport and LogisticsEntrepreneurshipOil, Gas, Mining and MineralsTelecommunications and IndustryChapter7 140Chapter9 164Chapter11 183Chapter8 152Chapter10 172 Best of Namibia | 5
  7. 7. Over twenty years of Namibian independenceLittle-known Namibia, one of Africa’s mostsparsely populated nations, is also one ofthe continent’s most stable. In late March2010, Namibia’s ambassador, PatrickNandago, held a reception in Washingtonto celebrate “20 years of independence,freedom, democracy and the rule of law inour beautiful country.”Several hundred people gathered at theOmni Shoreham to help Nandago mark theoccasion – singing both “Namibia, Land ofthe Brave” and “The Star-Spangled Banner”as colour photos depicting the country’sflora and fauna flashed on large screens.Among the guests Nandago singled outfor special recognition were Susan Page,the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of statefor African affairs at the time, and ChesterCrocker, who served as U.S. assistantsecretary of state for African affairs from1981 to 1989.“In the heat of the armed liberationstruggle in Namibia, and the civil war inAngola,” said the ambassador, “Dr Crockerwas the man who developed the strategythat produced the treaties signed by Angola,Cuba and South Africa which culminated inthe ceasefire between South Africa’s UNITA(National Union for the Total Independenceof Angola) rebels and SWAPO (the South-West Africa People’s Organisation), leadingto the first democratic elections in Namibia.”South Africa’s former colony finallyobtained independence on March 21st1990, after 106 years of foreign occupation.“Since then, Namibia has held free, fairand peaceful elections every five years,with the most recent one held in November2009,” he said. “Over the years, we havewitnessed successful transfers of power,and our country is known to be one of themost democratic on the African continent.Our economic and political stability makes itan attractive location for investors.”Turning the evening into a sales pitch forhis country, Nandago explained that the fourpillars of Namibia’s economy are agriculture,mining, fishing and tourism. With only justover two-million people in a country whoseland covers 825,418 sq km, Namibia shouldbe quite wealthy. And in fact, its exports ofdiamonds, uranium, copper, gold and zincare legendary.“Namibia is faced with many challenges,including the availability of portable water,access to quality healthcare, housingand education, and the challenges ofBy Larry Luxner6 | Best of Namibia
  8. 8. unemployment, HIV-AIDS, tuberculosisand malaria,” said Nandago. “Namibia didnot escape the brunt of climate change,and for the last four years, the country haswitnessed severe drought and devastatingfloods.”Nor, he said, did the global economiccrisis spare Namibia. “But we remainhopeful that things will turn around.”As part of its strategy, the governmenthas set up the Namibia InvestmentCentre and has signed agreements withneighbouring Botswana and Zimbabweto acquire dry-port facilities in Walvis Bay,Namibia’s deep-water port on the AtlanticOcean. Angola, Zambia and the DemocraticRepublic of Congo are negotiating for similararrangements.Page, speaking on behalf of her superiorJohnnie Carson, assistant secretary of statefor African affairs, said Namibia had a lot tocelebrate on its 20th anniversary.“Since its separation from apartheid SouthAfrica in 1990, Namibia has pursued a pathof democracy and free-market economy. Ithas distinguished itself from other Africanstates by having held 10 national, regionaland local elections,” she said, noting thatNamibia is one of the 15 “focus countries”under the President’s Emergency Plan forAIDS Relief (PEPFAR). That entitles it tomore than US$100-million annually to helpNamibia “mitigate the suffering of HIV-AIDSpatients.”In September 2009, the U.S. government’sMillennium Challenge Corp. signed aUS$304.5-million compact with Namibiaaimed, among other things, at boostingthe quality of education and rectifying thecountry’s unequal distribution of income.“Now that President Hifkepunye Pohambahas been sworn in for a second term, wehope he will continue to take a strongstand against corruption and gender-based violence,” Page told the assembledguests. “The United States is seeking tobuild mutual trust in addressing the manychallenges Namibia faces, including the fightagainst HIV-AIDS and tuberculosis, and theneed to create jobs and reduce poverty.”Updated version as publishedwith permission of Larry Luxner inDiplomat Africa Volume 1 Best of Namibia | 7
  9. 9. Namibia at a GlanceSafe and hospitable, Namibia is a land of mystery and intrigue which captures theimagination with the beauty and diversity of its age-old landscape.8 | Best of Namibia
  10. 10. A geologist’s paradise, Namibia is scatteredwith fossils and unique minerals, givingone the feeling of stepping back in time,to the moment of creation. Namibia wasfirst inhabited by the ancient Khoi-Sanhunter-gatherer clan, who are the oldestdescendents of the first Homo sapiens.Their early lives are forever capturedin Africa’s largest collection of rock artpaintings in Twyfelfontein. The harshlybeautiful terrain has meant that all creationshave had to adapt and as a result, the floraand fauna are capable of withstanding harshand varying climates. The surreal landscapeof endless ochre coloured sand dunes whichtower over scattered trees and wildlife,contrasted against the crisp blue huesof the South Atlantic Ocean – make thisdreamlike country a must on every travellerslist; but more recently finding itself on thelists of international traders and investorsas a result of stringent growth plans tosustainably utilise its vast resources.Full Name: Republic of NamibiaCapital: WindhoekMotto: Unity, Liberty, JusticeNationalAnthem:Namibia, Land of the BravePresident: Hifikepunye PohambaPrime Minister: Nahas AngulaArea: 825,418km2(318,696 sq mi)Regions: Caprivi, Erongo, Hardap, Karas,Khomas, Kunene, Ohangwena,Okavango, Omaheke, Omusati,Oshana, Oshikoto, Otjozondjupa.Population: 2,108,665 (2009 estimate)Main Languagespoken:EnglishRecognisedNationalLanguages:Herero, Rukwangali, Silozi,Setswana, Damara/Nama,Afrikaans, German, OshiwamboMain Religions: Christianity 90%, Indigenous10%Main exports: Diamonds, uranium, zinc, copper,lead, beef, cattle, fish, karakulpelts, grapesNaturalResources:Diamonds, uranium, zinc, gold,copper, lead, tin, fluorspar, salt,fisheries, and wildlifeMonetary unit: Namibian Dollar (NAD)The Republic of Namibia is a southernAfrican country on the South Atlantic Oceanwhich shares borders with Angola, Zambia,Botswana and South Africa. A formercolony of both Britain and Germany andlater under the control of South Africa, theNamibian War of Independence welcomedan Independent Namibia born on 21 March1990. Best of Namibia | 9
  11. 11. Namibia has relations with many countriesas part of its foreign policy as a memberstate of the UN, SADC, the AU and theCommonwealth of Nations.The ancient lands are some of the oldestinhabited lands on earth as they were hometo tribes of San hunter-gatherers.Namibia has a population of 2.1-millionpeople and a stable multi-partyparliamentary democracy. Agriculture,herding, tourism and the mining industry– including mining for gems, diamonds,uranium, gold, silver, and base metals – formthe backbone of Namibia’s economy. It isthe second least densely populated countryin the world following Mongolia.HISTORYAlthough the written history of Namibia isrelatively recent, the land itself is steepedin ancient significance. Considering thatapproximately three-quarters of globalhuman history is unaccounted for, Namibia’slands have preserved numerous accounts ofancients times – through fossils, the PetrifiedForest site, and most notably, through itsfamed rock art. Namibia’s archaeologicalevidence stretches from about 3-millionyears ago and is one of the longestsequences recognised. As a result, themajority of Namibian history is unaccountedfor in written works considering that humanshave inhabited these lands for hundreds ofcenturies; leaving archaeologists attempting10 | Best of Namibia
  12. 12. to document as much as possible.Rock art is possibly the most visible relicof prehistoric times – specifically in southernAfrica. The art of the Apollo 11 cave in theKaras region is considered as some of theearliest art found in Africa, dated to between25,500 – 23,500 BC. Situated in the HunsMountains of south-western Namibia, thesecaves were home to seven slabs of rockdepicting animal figures. The spectacularBrandberg mountain, rising to 1900m abovethe surrounding dunes, houses one of thelargest collections of rock art in the worldwith over 43,000 paintings at over 1000sites. Rock art is a major tourist attraction inNamibia, resulting in the famed Twyfelfonteinsite, a UNESCO World Heritage Site,receiving over 30,000 visitors a year.The name of the country is derived fromthe Namib Desert, considered to be theoldest desert in the world. The area wasfirst known as German South-West Africa(Deutsch-Südwestafrika), then as South-West Africa, which highlighted the colonialoccupation of Germany and South Africa –the latter as a dominion state of the BritishEmpire – before Namibia’s independence in1990.In 1884, the country became a GermanImperial protectorate and remained aGerman colony until after World War One.The League of Nations mandated thecountry to South Africa in 1920 and imposedits laws as well as South Africa’s apartheidpolicy from 1948. Best of Namibia | 11
  13. 13. 12 | Best of Namibia
  14. 14. The UN took direct responsibility overSouth-West Africa in 1966 after uprisingsand resistance from African leaders. TheSouth West Africa People’s Organisation(SWAPO) was recognised as the officialrepresentative of the Namibian peoplein 1973 but stayed under South Africanadministration. After internal resistanceintensified, South Africa introduced aninterim administration in Namibia in1985, which lasted until Namibia gainedindependence from South Africa in 1990.Pre-colonial eraThe dry lands of Namibia were inhabitedin early times by San hunter-gatherers,Damara, Nama, and since about the 14thcentury AD, by immigrating Bantu whocame with the Bantu expansion from centralAfrica. The San are widely considered tohave been the first inhabitants of this land.In 1485, the first European disembarkedand explored the region, namely Portuguesenavigator Diogo Cão. Bartolomeu Diasfollowed in 1486 but yet the Portuguese didnot claim the region.For centuries the barrier of the NamibDesert had kept other explorers andcolonisers out, until the late 18th centuryonwards when Orlam clans from the CapeColony crossed the Orange River andmoved into the area that today is southernNamibia. Encounters with the nomadicNama tribes were mostly peaceful and themissionaries accompanying the Orlams werewell-received. The right to use waterholesand grazing lands was granted for an annualpayment. In 1878, the United Kingdomannexed Walvis Bay on behalf of CapeColony. Further northwards however, theOrlams came across the more resistantclans of the Herero (Windhoek), Gobabis andOkahandja. The Nama-Herero War broke outin 1880 and only ended with the deploymentof troops from Imperial Germany. Whatensued in the early 1900s after the discoveryof diamonds was an atrocious genocide,wiping out the majority of the Herero clan –pre-emanating the antics of Nazi Germany.It should be noted that Germany is now oneof the biggest donors of aid to Namibia, whohave sought to make amends for their forebearers’ cruelty.Namibia remained mostly unexploredby Europeans until the 19th century whentraders and settlers arrived from Germanyand Sweden. The late 19th century broughtDorsland trekkers who crossed the area ontheir way from the Transvaal in South Africato Angola. Some of the trekkers settled inNamibia instead of continuing their journeywhile more returned to the South-WestAfrican territory after the Portuguese inAngola tried to convert them to Catholicism,forbidding their language from being taught.Adolf Luderitz was a German traderwho claimed the rest of the coastalregion in 1883 following negotiationswith a local chief. The southern area wasincorporated into the Cape of Good Hopein 1884. Negotiations between the UnitedKingdom and Germany brought about the Best of Namibia | 13
  15. 15. annexation of Germany’s coastal region,excluding Walvis Bay. In 1885, recognitionof Germany’s sphere of influence for theeastern areas was given by the UnitedKingdom. In 1890, the region that wouldlater become known as the Caprivi Strip wasmerged into South West Africa followingan agreement between Germany and theUnited Kingdom. This strip provided accessto the Zambezi River – a crucial access pointto the East African German colonies. Theexchange was that the Germans grantedthe British the islands of Zanzibar andHeligoland.The fight for independenceSouth Africa took over the colony whenGermany was defeated in 1915 duringWorld War One and then administered itas a League of Nations mandate territoryin 1919. In the 1960s, during the time ofEuropean powers granting independenceto colonies and territories across Africa,South Africa was pressurised to do so withNamibia. In response to the 1966 rulingby the International Court of Justice whichdismissed a complaint against South Africa’spresence in Namibia, SWAPO military wingand guerrilla group People’s Liberation Armyof Namibia began their armed struggle forindependence, but it was not until 1988that South Africa agreed to withdrawand demobilise its forces thus ending itsoccupation of Namibia, in accordance with aUN peace plan for the entire region.The President His Excellency Hifikepunye Pohamba14 | Best of Namibia
  16. 16. With the military withdrawals, came thereturn of SWAPO exiles and in October1989, the first-ever one-person one-voteelections were held for a constituentassembly. This was won by SWAPOalthough it did not gain the two-thirdsmajority it had hoped for – the DemocraticTurnhalle Alliance (DTA) became the officialopposition.Sam Nujoma was sworn in as the firstPresident when Namibia became officiallyindependent on 21 March 1990 whichsaw newly released Nelson Mandela as anobserver, along with representatives from147 countries including 20 heads of state.Walvis Bay was ceded to Namibia in 1994upon the end of Apartheid in South Africa.Post independenceNamibia successfully transitioned fromthe apartheid rule of a white minority toa parliamentary democracy. Regionaland National elections are regularly heldand thus multiparty democracy has beenmaintained. There are several registeredpolitical parties active and represented in theNational Assembly. Since independence, theSWAPO Party has won every election whichhas seen a smooth transition from SamNujoma’s 15-year rule to the succession ofPresident Hifikepunye Pohamba in 2005.Namibian government has endorsednational reconciliation policy which issuedamnesty to those who fought on either sideduring the war of liberation. Best of Namibia | 15
  17. 17. GOVERNMENTNamibia is a presidential representativedemocratic republic, with the presidentbeing elected to a five-year term as both thehead of state and the head of government.Executive power lies with the Cabinetwhile the legislative rests with Parliament,which is bicameral, the National Assemblyand the National Council. The judiciary isindependent. Constant scrutiny is given toNamibia’s management of the rule of lawand the observance of basic human rights.Branches:Executive President, Prime MinisterLegislative:BicameralParliament:National Assembly and National CouncilJudicial:Supreme Court, the High Court, and lower courtsSub-divisions:13 administrative regionsRegistered political parties:SWAPO, Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA),United Democratic Front of Namibia (UDF),Congress of Democrats (COD), Republican Party(RP),National Unity Democratic Organisation (NUDO),Monitor Action Group (MAG), Rally for Democracyand Progress (RDP), South West African NationalUnion (SWANU), All People’s Party (APP),Democratic Party of Namibia (DPN), NamibiaDemocratic Movement for Change (NDMC)Suffrage:Universal adultThe CapitalWindhoek lies in a basin between theKhomas Highland, Auas and Eros Mountainsat 1,680 metres above sea level, 650kmnorth of the Orange River and 360km fromthe Atlantic seaboard. The City is perfectlysituated at the epicentre of Namibia,making it the ideal capital with obvioustrade and administration benefits due toits accessibility. The effect on tourism isalso notable as it is the focal point for thebeginning of any journey and the main entrypoint to exploring the country by air or road. Windhoek has a population of about300,000 which makes it a very small capitalby worldwide standards. The city centre isastonishingly clean and generally safe.Windhoek is home to Namibia’s brewingindustry, and it isn’t difficult to find a coldbeer. There are also a number of privatehospitals, a state-run hospital, doctors’surgeries, banks, (with 24hr ATMs)pharmacies, supermarkets, bakeries, andclothing stores. Maerua Mall is a largeshopping centre which has a gym andindoor swimming pool. There is also thesmaller Post Street Mall at the Town Squareas well as at Wernhill Park. There are alsotwo industrial areas: Northern and Southern.Namibia’s progress since Independence isevident in Windhoek through the presenceof new offices and expanding building andcommerce industries.Windhoek is the social, economic, andcultural centre of the country. Most nationalenterprises have their headquarters inWindhoek, as well as The University ofNamibia and the Polytechnic of Namibia,the country’s only theatre, all ministry headoffices, and all major media and financialentities.THE LANDAt 825,418 km2 (318,696 sq mi), Namibia isthe world’s thirty-fourth largest country (afterVenezuela). It lies mostly between latitudes17° and 29°S (a small area is north of 17°),and longitudes 11° and 26°E.Administrative divisionNamibia is divided into 13 regions andsub-divided into 107 constituencies. Theadministrative division of Namibia is tabledby Delimitation Commissions and acceptedor declined by the National Assembly.Since state foundation three DelimitationCommissions have been formed, the last16 | Best of Namibia
  18. 18. one in 2002 under the chairmanship ofJudge Peter Shivute. Regional councillorsare directly elected through secret ballots(regional elections) by the inhabitants of theirconstituencies.Geographical areasThe Namibian landscape consists generallyof five geographical areas, each withcharacteristic abiotic conditions andvegetation with some variation within andoverlap between them: the Central Plateau,the Namib Desert, the Great Escarpment,the Bushveld, and the Kalahari Desert. WithNamibia’s tiny population, statistically onecould only come across two people everysquare kilometre. The dramatic physicalfeatures of this astounding country drawvisitors from all over the globe. Below aresome of the most notable:Central PlateauThe wide and flat Central Plateau ishome to Namibia’s highest point, theKönigstein elevation at 2,606 metres,which runs from north to south and isbordered by the Skeleton Coast to thenorthwest, the Namib Desert and its coastalplains to the southwest, the Orange Riverto the south, and the Kalahari Desert tothe east. The Central Plateau holds mostof Namibia’s population and economy asWindhoek and the most arable land arelocated here. Best of Namibia | 17
  19. 19. 18 | Best of Namibia
  20. 20. Namib DesertConsidered to be the oldest desert in theworld, the Namib Desert consists of anexpanse of hyper-arid gravel plains anddunes that stretch along the entire coastlineof Namibia. Due to its constant shapeshiftingnature, the size of the desert varies between100 to several hundred kilometres in width.Notable areas include the Skeleton Coastand the Kaokoveld in the north and theextensive Namib Sand Sea along the centralcoast. The sand sea is made up fromprocesses of erosion that take place in theOrange River valley and areas further to thesouth. Masses of sand are carried by riversto the Atlantic where strong currents depositthem along the shore. The sands are pickedup by a prevailing south west wind and re-deposited into massive dunes forming thewidespread sand sea, which becomes thehighest sand dunes in the world.In other areas, strong winds pummel theland to form large gravel plains in placeof the sand. There is little vegetation inmost areas of the Namib Desert apart fromlichens in places where plants can reachunderground water such as in the gravelplains and dry river beds.Known as the living fossil, the Weltwischiaplant is only found in the Namib desert, withsome individual plants said to be nearly2000 years old.Coastal DesertThe coastal desert of Namibia is one of theoldest and highest in the world. As part ofthe sand sea, its sand dunes are created bythe strong onshore winds. The Namib Desertand the Namib-Naukluft National Park arelocated here. It is also one of the richestsources of diamonds in the world and ismade up of the Skeleton Coast in the northand the Diamond Coast in the south. Thereis often thick fog, as a result of the situationon the point where the Atlantic’s cold waterreaches Africa. Namibia has rich coastaland marine resources that remain largelyunexplored.Great EscarpmentThe Great Escarpment rises swiftly to over2,000 metres and sees temperature rangesincreasing further inland from the coldAtlantic waters with the prevalence of thecoastal fogs diminishing slowly inwards. Thearea is rocky and although it has poor soils,it is greatly more productive than the NamibDesert.Moisture is extracted from the summerwinds which push over the Escarpment.This unique precipitation together withthe varying topography, are responsiblefor the microhabitats of a wide range ofendemic organisms. The varying vegetationranges from dense woodland to shrubs andscattered trees.BushveldThe Bushveld lies in north eastern Namibiaalong the Angolan border and in the narrowcorridor of the Caprivi Strip which hasaccess to the Zambezi River, and is part of Best of Namibia | 19
  21. 21. the KAZA Transfrontier Conservation area.The area receives much more precipitationthan the rest of the country, with an averageof 400mm per year. It is also cooler withapproximate seasonal variations of between10 and 30 °C. The area is mostly flat withsandy soils, which limits their water retainingability.The Etosha Pan in north-central Namibialies adjacent to the Bushveld and is oneof the most spectacular natural features.The Pan transforms from a dry-wastelandto a shallow lake which covers over 6,000square kilometres in the wet season. It is anecologically important area as it is vital tolarge numbers of birds and animals whichgather from the surrounding savannah.The Bushveld area is demarcated as partof the Angolan Mopane woodlands eco-region.Kalahari DesertThe Kalahari Desert, shared with SouthAfrica and Botswana, is widely regarded asNamibia’s best known geographical feature.Its environments range from hyper-aridsandy desert to areas which are outside ofthe definition of a common desert, such asthe Succulent Karoo which is home to over5,000 species of plants. Almost half of these20 | Best of Namibia
  22. 22. succulents are endemic; and one third ofthe succulents in the world are found in theKaroo.The productivity of this desert is as aresult of its stable precipitation and thereforedoes not receive droughts regularly. Thearea is technically a desert but it receivesregular winter rains which provide sufficientmoisture. Some of the main features ofthe Kalahari are inselbergs, or isolatedmountains, which house organisms whicharen’t adapted to life in the surroundingdesert system.Weather and climateNamibia has over 300 days of sunshineper year as a result of being situated at thesouthern edge of the tropics – the Tropic ofCapricorn cuts directly through the middleof the country. Winter is from June to Augustand is mostly dry while the rainy season isin summer (the small rains occur betweenSeptember and November, and the big onebetween February and April). There is lowhumidity and the average rainfall rangesfrom nearly zero in the coastal desert to over600mm in the Caprivi Strip, although rainfallis variable with regular droughts.The coastal area is dominated by the Best of Namibia | 21
  23. 23. cold, north-flowing Benguela current ofthe Atlantic Ocean, accounting for thelow precipitation of less than 50mm peryear, frequent thick fog, as well as lowertemperatures than in the rest of the countryoverall. Sometimes winter brings a conditioncalled Bergwind or Oosweer (Afrikaans:East weather) which is a hot dry wind whichblows from inland coastward. These windscan form sand storms due to the locality ofthe coastal desert. Sand is deposited intothe Atlantic Ocean and these deposits canbe seen by satellite.The Central Plateau and Kalahari areashave high temperature ranges of up to 30°C. THE PEOPLECultureNamibia is a rich and diverse melting pot ofdifferent cultures, which speak of its varyinghistory. The country has the second-lowestpopulation density of any sovereign country,after Mongolia, with the majority being blackAfrican – mostly of the Ovambo ethnicity.Ovambo people form about half of the totalpopulation. Most reside in the north of thecountry, although many are now movingto towns throughout Namibia in a periodof urbanisation. The Herero and Himbapeople, who speak a similar language, andthe Damara, who speak the same “click”language as the Nama, are other ethnicBantu groups of Namibia.There are also large groups ofKhoisan, including the Nama, who are22 | Best of Namibia
  24. 24. descendants of the original inhabitants ofsouthern Africa. The country is also home todescendants of refugees from Angola. Thereare two smaller groups of people with mixedracial origins, who together make up 6.5%.The population is made up of 7% of whitepeople of Portuguese, Dutch, German,British and French ancestry, and most speakAfrikaans.Around 9% of the population is made upof the Kavango ethnic group. Other ethnicgroups are: Herero 7%, Damara 7%, Nama5%, Caprivian 4%, San 3%, Baster 2%, andTswana 0.5%.LanguagesNamibia’s official language is English anduntil 1990, German and Afrikaans were alsoofficial languages. However, SWAPO haddecided that Namibia should be monolingualbefore independence, in direct contrast toSouth Africa.Some of the other languages receivedsemi-official recognition and as a result areallowed as medium of instruction in primaryschools.Half of all Namibians speak Oshiwamboas their first language, whereas the mostwidely understood language is Afrikaans.The transition is evident in the youngergeneration who understand English morewidely and both Afrikaans and Englishare used as a second language in publiccommunication.The majority of the white population speakGerman or Afrikaans. Best of Namibia | 23
  25. 25. ReligionChristianity is practiced by more than90% of the population in Namibia as aresult of the missionary work of the 1800s.Indigenous beliefs make up the remainder.Most Namibian Christians are Lutheran,but there are also Roman Catholic,Methodist, Anglican, African MethodistEpiscopal, Dutch Reformed Christians andMormon (Latter-Day Saints) represented, aswell as some Jewish people.EducationThe education system in Namibia iscommendable. The country has compulsoryfree education for 10 years per childbetween the ages of six and 16. Primarylevel is from Grades 1–7 and Secondarylevel is from grades 8–12. Increasingnumbers of children are attending schools;however there has been a shortage ofteachers. The pupil-teacher ratio in 1999was estimated at 32:1, with about 8% of theGDP being spent on education. Accordingto UNICEF, Primary school attendance was89% between the years 2005 and 2009 andthe adult literacy rate was 88% between theyears 2005 and 2008.Most schools in Namibia are state-run,but there are also a few private schools onthe country’s education system (St. Paul’sCollege, Windhoek Afrikaanse Privaatskool,Deutsche Höhere Privatschule, WindhoekInternational School and WindhoekGymnasium). The National Institute forEducational Development (NIED) based24 | Best of Namibia
  26. 26. in Okahandja, now organises curriculumdevelopment, educational research, and theprofessional development of teachers.The problem of teacher shortage isbeing dealt with through the introductionof four teacher training colleges. There arealso three agricultural colleges, a policetraining college, Polytechnic, and a NationalUniversity.ECONOMYThe Namibian economy has a modernmarket sector (which creates the majority ofthe country’s wealth) as well as a traditionalsubsistence sector. The economy is closelylinked to South Africa’s as a result of theirshared past. The largest economic sectorsare mining, agriculture, manufacturing, andtourism.The banking sector is highly developedand boasts modern infrastructure, includingOnline Banking and Cell phone Banking. Thecentral bank is The Bank of Namibia(BoN). There are four commercial banksauthorised by BoN: Bank Windhoek, FirstNational Bank, Nedbank and StandardBank.There are several legislative policies inplace to alleviate poverty and the highunemployment rate. Such as the labouract which protects employees from jobdiscrimination arising from pregnancyand HIV/AIDS. The Government tenderboard announced in 2010 that 100% of allunskilled and semi-skilled labour would besourced locally.Namibia’s formal economy issophisticated in that it is highly capital-intensive and farming focused. It relies onexport profits in sectors such as minerals,livestock, and fish. The majority of thecountry’s imports come from South Africa.A free-market economy has beenactively pursued by the government sinceindependence. The hope is that theseprinciples will aid job creation and commercegrowth and thus allow Namibians accessto the mainstream economy. This has beendone through the courting of foreign donorsand investors with a nudge from the liberalForeign Investment Act of 1990.The economy is actively integrated inthe region and is supported through anumber of trade partnerships. As part of theCommon Monetary Area (CMA), Namibiais partnered with Lesotho, Swaziland, andSouth Africa. As a result, the South Africanrand and the Namibian dollar are legaltender in NamibiaConsidering the minimal domesticmarket, Namibia is located favourably inthe region as a transport base. Togetherwith the strong communications base,Namibia is at the forefront of advocatingeconomic regional integration. Otherpartnerships include membership in theSouthern African Development Community(SADC), and the Southern African CustomsUnion (SACU) with South Africa, Botswana,Lesotho, and Swaziland – and allows fortariff free movement of goods. Located inWindhoek, SACU has a Trade, Investmentand Development Co-operation Agreement(TIDCA) with the United States, and alsois negotiating free trade agreements withChina, India, Kenya, and Nigeria.Namibia aims to move away from itsreliance on South Africa and to diversifyimports and trade. Namibia supplies a largeportion of fish and meat to Europe, andhas also purchased mining machines andequipment in concessions from the UK,Germany, Italy, the US, as well as Canada.Economic breakdown:-• GDP (2009): $9.4-billion (World Bank);• Annual growth rate (2009): 1% (WorldBank);• Per capita GNI (2009): $4,338 (WorldBank);• Average annual inflation rate (2010): 4.5%(Namibia Central Bureau of Statistics);• Natural resources: Diamonds, uranium,zinc, gold, copper, lead, tin, fluorspar, salt,fisheries, and wildlife;• Agriculture (2009): 5.1% of GDP (livestockand meat products, crop farming andforestry – Namibia Central Bureau ofStatistics);• Mining (2009): 10% of GDP (Gem-qualitydiamonds, uranium, zinc, copper, other –Namibia Central Bureau of Statistics);• Fishing and fish processing on board(2009): 3.6% of GDP (Hake, horsemackerel, lobster, other – Namibia CentralBureau of Statistics);• Trade: Major partners are South Africa, Best of Namibia | 25
  27. 27. Angola, European Union (EU), U.S,Canada, China, and India (WTO);• Exports (2010): $5.71-billion (diamonds,uranium, zinc, copper, lead, beef, cattle,fish, karakul pelts, and grapes);• Imports (2010): $5.14-billion (foodstuffs,construction material, manufacturedgoods).MiningMining provides Namibia with 35% of itsrevenue and is the biggest economicalcontributor. The country is also the fourthlargest exporter of non-fuel minerals inAfrica. Namibia is renowned as a primarysource of gem-quality diamonds from itsrich alluvial deposits, which gave birth toNamdeb (jointly owned by the Namibiangovernment and De Beers who haverecently sold to ANGLO American). The dipin Diamond mining pre-2010 has rebounded,with nearly 1.5-million carats beingrecovered in 2010.Namibia holds around 10% of uraniumoxide production world-wide and as aresult is the world’s fourth-largest producerof uranium with two uranium mines inoperation. There are plans to open twoor three new uranium mines in the nextfive years, which would essentially doubleproduction, putting it on track to becomethe largest exporter by 2015.The other main mineral resources arezinc, copper, lead, gold, fluorspar, salt,manganese, tungsten, tin, granite and26 | Best of Namibia
  28. 28. marble, with semiprecious stones mined ona smaller scale. Extraction of offshore gasdeposits in the Atlantic Ocean is planned inthe future.Electricity generation mainly comes fromthermal and hydroelectric plants, as well asa small mix of non-conventional methods.The country plans to build the first nuclearpower station by 2018 as a result of the richuranium deposits with uranium enrichmentplanned to happen locally.In 1974, natural gas was discoverednear the mouth of the Orange Riverand is thought to hold over 1.3trillion cubicfeet in reserves. Known as the Kudu Fields,the government changed the ownershipstructure in 2009. Namibia leased largeareas for oil prospecting in the years afterindependence. These areas includedonshore and offshore. There are currentlyaround eight companies searching for oiland gas in Namibia. With a well-developedframework and legislature in place, Namibiawill be able to continue governing the oilbusiness accordingly.AgricultureHalf of the Namibian population isdependent on agriculture for employmentand subsistence for their livelihood, eventhough only 1% of Namibian land is arable.Some of the food produced is still imported,such as meat and fish products. The GDPper capita is five times that of the poorestcountries in Africa but most Namibianslive in rural areas and live on subsistencefarming, mostly in the communal landsof the north. This has resulted in Namibiahaving a very high income inequality rate asthe urban economy contrasts directly withan almost cash-less rural economy.Several enterprises are to be privatisedin coming years in the hope that interestedforeign investment will be generated.Wildlife conservation is one of the fastestgrowing areas of economic development inNamibia and is vital for the unemployed ruralpopulation in particular.Livestock ranching is the primaryagricultural sector in Namibia includingcattle, karakul sheep and goat farming.Main crops include millet, sorghum, corn,and peanuts. Table grapes are a crop ofgrowing importance as they have becomecommercially viable and provide seasonallabour.FishingNamibia’s coastline is met by the SouthAtlantic Sea and as a result of its cleanand cold waters is one of the mostabundant fishing grounds in the world.The potential sustainable yields are up to1.5-million metric tons per year. Sardines,anchovy, hake, and horse mackerel arethe main species but there are also smallernumbers of sole, squid, deep-sea crab,rock lobster, and tuna. The NamibianGovernment is pursuing a conservativeresource management policy along with an Best of Namibia | 27
  29. 29. aggressive fisheries enforcement campaign,which has seen an increase in fish stocks.Namibia is a signatory of the Convention onConservation and Management of FisheriesResources in the South-East Atlantic (SeafoConvention) and part of the BenguelaCurrent Large Marine Ecosystem (BCLME)program, which sustainably manages theshared marine resources of Namibia, Angolaand South Africa.Trade and InvestmentNamibia may seem to be a remote country,but has seaports, airports, highways, andrailways. The country aims to become aregional transportation hub as it is perfectlypositioned with a key seaport and severallandlocked neighbours. The Central Plateauis a major transportation corridor to SouthAfrica.TOURISMOne of Namibia’s major contributors to GDPis tourism (14.5%) and in turn, it accountsfor 18.2% of all employment through servingover one-million tourists a year. As oneof Africa’s prime destinations, Namibia isrenowned for its ecotourism and extensivewildlife.There are a number of lodges andreserves which accommodate eco-tourists;while the sport of hunting is a growingpart of the economy. Extreme sports havegained popularity, such as sand boardingand 4x4 trails. The most popular tourist28 | Best of Namibia
  30. 30. destinations include the Caprivi Strip, FishRiver Canyon, Sossusvlei, the SkeletonCoast Park, Sesriem, Etosha Pan and thecoastal towns of Swakopmund, Walvis Bayand Lüderitz.Wildlife and ConservationNamibia is at the forefront of conservationand specifically protects its naturalresources in its constitution, which is aimedat: “maintenance of ecosystems, essentialecological processes, and biologicaldiversity of Namibia, and utilisation of livingnatural resources on a sustainable basis forthe benefit of all Namibians, both presentand future.”Directly after independence, the UnitedStates Agency for International Development(USAID) granted funds to the newly formedgovernment of Namibia through the Livingin a Finite Environment (LIFE) Project.The Ministry of Environment and Tourism,Endangered Wildlife Trust, WWF, andCanadian Ambassador’s Fund, togetherform a Community Based Natural ResourceManagement (CBNRM) support structure,whose goal is to promote sustainable naturalresource management through empoweringlocal communities with wildlife managementand tourism.The Skeleton CoastEven the name of the Namibian desertcoastline stirs feelings of adventure –it’s an extremely remote and formidable Best of Namibia | 29
  31. 31. place. The Namib Desert is one of theworld’s most arid and inhospitable places.What makes the Skeleton Coast unique isthe vast sand dunes which at times engulfthe coastline, wreaking havoc with theshipping lanes.The shifting dunes advance to the oceanand to the human eye, they appear tofind their resting place at the edge of thesea. This however, is not the case, as thedunes continue underwater. This underseatopography is the cause of the numerousship wrecks which litter the coastline. Thedunes form hidden shallow sand-bankswhich prove deadly to ships – the hauntingreminder is seen in their corpses. Thesurrealism of this vast graveyard is alsonoted in the wrecks of ships that wouldonce have settled in shallow water, only tonow be surrounded by an ocean of sandfar from shore. Many more remain unseenindefinitely.There was very seldom light at the endof the tunnel for wrecked ships, as evenafter surviving the wreck, crews would bemet with the ominous image of the endlessdesert. This coastline has been given manynames over the centuries. Some locals referto it as “the land God made in anger”, whilePortuguese sailors called it “As Areias doInferno” which means Sands of Hell.The best way for visitors to explore theSkeleton Coast is by air. Not only is thebirds’-eye-view the only way to get theentire picture of this vast expanse, but there30 | Best of Namibia
  32. 32. are also very few roads. There are smallplanes available to do the job and a numberof isolated landing strips dotted all the waydown the coastline.SossusvleiThe sand dunes of Namibia are one of itsgreatest attractions, and Sossusvlei is theplace to view them. Their endless colourseems unreal. Namibia is one of the mostancient and dry ecosystems on the planet.Its remote appeal gives one the feeling ofbeing the only person on earth – the first andfinal frontier.The ‘bizarre’ factor is enhanced by themysterious song of the dunes, which seemto whistle in the wind. When climbing dunes,the view can be breathtaking – a landscapeof curving sand from horizon-to-horizon. Themesmerising fluidity of the dunes in the windgives the impression that the desert is alive.Fish River CanyonThe Fish River carves a magnificent canyonthrough the Namibian landscape and is inactual fact the second largest canyon in theworld and the largest in Africa, at 160kmlong, 550m deep and up to 27km wide. Ithas a lunar-like appearance which cannot bewitnessed anywhere else in Africa and as aresult, is the second most visited attractionin Namibia. Formed around 500-millionyears ago, the canyon lies on a fault linewhich has added to its formation (along withthe erosion of the winding waters of the FishRiver) through movements in the earth’scrust causing the collapse of the bottom ofthe valley.LuderitzLuderitz is one of the main towns in Namibiabut is isolated on the southern coastline –with a vast expanse of the skeleton coaston either side. German colonial architecturedominates the town creating a curiouscontrast as the charming and quaint Germanhouses seem as if they have been misplacedalong the seemingly inhabitable coastline.KolmanskopKolmanskop is a few kilometres outside ofLuderitz on the remote coast. This ghosttown was once home to a small diamond-mining community of Germans. As aresult, it was built in 1908 to resemble aGerman village. After the diamond bustof the 1950s, the town was abandoned.The town is slowly being swallowed up bythe encroaching sand and will somedaydisappear altogether – for that reason alone,it is well worth the visit.Etosha National ParkEtosha National Park is one of the largestand greatest savannah conservation areas inAfrica. It covers a massive area and currentlyprotects 114 mammal species and over 340bird species. The vast majority of Etoshais one large saltpan that forms a shallowlake during the rainy season. As a result, it Best of Namibia | 31
  33. 33. becomes a haven for animals that travel fromfar and wide to quench their thirst after thelong dry months.Mesosaurus tenuidens fossilsThese fossils, discovered at the SpitzkoppeFarm in Namibia in 1988, cemented thetheory of continental drift and highlightedthe fact that Namibia was once joined toBrazil as part of the ‘super continent’. Thiscollection of fossils of the shore-dwellingancient lizards is the most beautifullypreserved in the world. However, theirshoreline was not that of the South AtlanticOcean as it is today, but rather an ancientsuper lake known as Lake Gai-As. As partof Gondwana land, this great lake was aninland lake separating today’s Namibia fromwhat would become Brazil; signifying thatthe sea of sand of the Namib Desert wasonce a massive body of water surroundedby sub-tropical climate species. Similarlyfascinating fossils can be found throughoutNamibia at various locations, and togetherwith its bounty of gemstones, semi-preciousstones, and intriguing rock formations –Namibia is truly a geologist’s paradise.Fast facts Namibia• ‘The White Lady’ is Namibia’s, andpossibly Africa’s, most famous rock artpainting. Found at Brandberg Mountain,it actually depicts a male hunter-gathererwearing the white paint of a San Shamanor ‘medicine man’. Guided walks areoffered to visit the site, as well as the32 | Best of Namibia
  34. 34. Schlangenhöle site which houses theimpressive ancient painting of a sevenmetre long snake.• Keetmanshoop, in the Karas region ofNamibia, is officially the sunniest townin the world and is home to the popularQuiver Tree forests.• The mysterious Wild Horses of the easternfringe of the Namib Desert have longbeen the subject of debate and intrigue.Although it is agreed that these feralhorses have domesticated ancestors,it is unclear how they broke free andwhere they came from. Theories includethe wrecking of a ship of cargo horseson the Skeleton Coast in the late 1800s,horse studs neglected in the war, horsesabandoned during the depression orduring the increase of the automobileindustry, and retreating Germans forced toabandon their cavalry. The large numberof the horses indicates that it was likely acombination of several theories. Whateverthe case these fascinating creatures havemanaged to adapt and survive extremelyharsh terrain and are a beautiful sight.• The unique desert elephants of Namibiaare a conservation priority. Found in theKunene Region in the north-west whichencompasses 115,154km² of semi-aridsandy desert, rocky mountains andgravel plains. They have a smaller bodymass, longer legs and larger feet than thesavannah elephants, which has helpedthem adapt to their dry environment.These smaller physical attributes helpthem cross the miles of sand in search ofwater. There is only one other populationof desert elephants in the world.• The ‘Forbidden Zone’ along the SkeletonCoast was once blocked to visitorsas a result of the numerous diamondsscattered across the sand. The hiddentreasure under the sand has beenrigorously protected since early 1908,when a railway worker picked up the firstdiamond. Known as Diamond Zone 1,or Sperrgebiet – German for ‘ForbiddenZone’, this 26,000 square kilometre miningzone has only had around 10% of thearea sufficiently mined and 1.3-millioncarats are mined annually – with the restroped off to any civilian. However in 2008,the Sperrgebiet was declared a nationalpark by the Namibian government with itsterrain covering 17 offshore ‘islands’. Asa result of the immense preservation, theunique and endemic flora and fauna hasremained untouched.Sources:en.wikipedia.orgwww.state.govwww.namibiatourism.com.za Best of Namibia | 33
  35. 35. Namibian InfrastructureNamibia’s infrastructure is some of the best on the African continent and is also currentlyseeing a number of upgrades and expansions to its harbours, airports, railways androads.34 | Best of Namibia
  36. 36. Once complete, the Namibian governmenthopes to make the country an economichub in Africa with facilitating trade betweenthe continent and Europe. It is foreseen thatan increased mutual flow of trade betweenSADC countries and Namibia will take rootin the years to come. The developmentof Namibian infrastructure is vital to thecountry’s trade status. Namibia also boastshighly developed energy and water networkinfrastructure as well as advanced postaland telecommunications systems.ShippingThe main export outlet, Walvis Bay port,one of two in Namibia and the only deep-water port, has seen a great increase intrade recently and is packed to capacity asa result. It handles over five-million tonnesof cargo per year and over 20 percent ofthat is containerised. One mitigating factorwas the closure of Luanda’s port in Angola,which began repairs. Walvis Bay is one ofthe preferred entries in the SADC region dueto its accessibility to neighbouring countriesand lowered transport time. From port entry,containers are transported by the threearteries, Namibia’s Trans-Kalahari, Trans-Caprivi and Trans-Kunene Highways, toBotswana and South Africa. Walvis Bay alsohas the main concentration of the country’sfishing infrastructure.Walvis Bay port is currently under expansionafter Namport announced in 2009 thatthey would be spending N$3-billion on theupgrade. The plan is to deepen the harbourfrom 12.8m to 14.5m in order to increasecapacity. A new quay is also under way witha capacity to handle 500,000 containers(TEU), as well as a waterfront with shoppingmalls and allocation for private beachfrontproperties. The project is expected to becomplete in 2016.Landlocked SADC countries such asZambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia,have been given the opportunity to leaseland at Walvis Bay for their own dry-portfacilities, which allows for cargo transportand increased trade throughout the region.This falls in line with the ideals of a SADCcommon market and the free trade area.Zambia and Botswana have seen the valuein trans-shipment from Namibia as it’sfar shorter. Branches of The Walvis BayCorridor Group (WBCG) have opened inJohannesburg and Lusaka. These marketthe regional Trans-Kalahari, Trans-Capriviand Trans-Kunene corridors for transportand logistics.Lüderitz is Namibia’s second port and hasalso seen increased activity as a result ofthe rise in the fishing industry. The extensiveupgrade of Lüderitz began after an N$85-million investment from government, aspart of the Namibian Port Authority four-year modernisation plan for the two portswhich had a collective budget allocation ofUS$77-million. This included the addition ofquays for larger ships and cruise ships, aswell as the modernisation of cargo handlingfacilities. There is a third harbour planned forMowe Bay, which is north of Walvis Bay, andwould serve the fishing fleet.This major infrastructure expansion is a result of a growing economy due to an influx oftrade in the country. Best of Namibia | 35
  37. 37. Air transportAir transport is vital to Namibia’s economyand the country boasts world-class civilaviation facilities, with Air Namibia, a Trans-Namib subsidiary, as the national carrier.There are over 135 airports and 22 havetarred runways. The international airportis just outside of Windhoek. Coupled withthe upgrade of Walvis Bay, is the upgradeof Walvis Bay Airport which included thelengthening and widening of the runway, aswell as the upgrade of air traffic systems andinstrumentation. This provides for large cargoairplanes as well as commercial airplanes upto the B737-200 series. Walvis Bay Airport isone of only a handful of airports in the regionto have specialised landing instrumentationtechnology which allow movements inany weather. There are now direct flightsbetween Johannesburg, Cape Town andWalvis Bay on Air Namibia and SA Express.Major airports also include Lüderitz andKeetmanshoop which are both equippedfor wide-bodied aircraft. Air Namibia hasdomestic scheduled flights to Lüderitz,Mpacha, Ondangwa, Oranjemund,Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and Windhoek.International destinations include CapeTown, Frankfurt, Johannesburg, Luanda,Maun and Victoria Falls. There is now also adirect flight between Windhoek and LondonGatwick, connecting in Cape Town andJohannesburg.Road transportNamibia boasts an extensive roadtransportation network which is wellmaintained. The vast network reachesover 64,800km. A tarred highway systemof 4,600km connects the majority of thecountry’s economic hubs with the SADCneighbours. The main arteries are the Trans-Caprivi, Trans-Kalahari and Trans-KuneneHighways which were long-haul projectsfinished at the end of the 1990s and runthrough to Botswana and South Africa.These two roads have elevated Namibia’sposition as a seaport country which is ableto provide sea access to its landlockedneighbours.Rail transportTrans-Namib operates the railways inNamibia. There has been a recentextension project of the northern railwayfrom Tsumeb to the Angolan border. TheGerman colonial rule established the2,382km rail network which saw an urgentupgrade from the middle of the 1990s. Railin Namibia transports millions of tonnesof freight every year and over 100,000passengers and recent years have seenmore investment and improved services. Thenational railway network links throughoutNamibia and to South Africa. There is animprovement in a new link between Aus andLüderitz.36 | Best of Namibia
  38. 38. EnergyNational energy supplier NamPower isresponsible for generating, transmittingand supplying a grid network linked toall major urban areas. Off-grid electricityand renewable energy is vital to economicgrowth. Namibia has always been a netenergy importer and obtains half of itselectricity from South Africa. The largeNamibian mining industry is a major energyconsumer and commercial energy is createdfrom imported oil and coal. The nationalelectricity grid is being used to connectmost of the larger population areas. TheKudu gas field offshore is being drilledby Shell after exploration found large gasreserves, making Namibia the next major netexporter of energy.WaterWater is a precious resource in Namibiaand NamWater oversees bulk supply tolocal authorities. There are a number oflarge dams in Namibia which supply surfacewater, as well as the abundant source of theOrange River which is used to supply largeagricultural developments.TelecommunicationsThe telecommunications infrastructure inNamibia is one of the most advanced inAfrica. It provides digital and direct diallingfacilities in communications includinginternet, fax, telex, PABX, ISDN and videoconferencing. The two cellular serviceproviders are MTC and LEO and have anetwork reach of most urban centres andalong national roadways. There is onefixed line provider, TELECOM Namibia. TheWACS landing point is in Swakopmund.PostThe largest physical infrastructure networkin Namibia is Nampost. Services includeefficient postal services, savings bankfacilities, money transfers, and counterautomation.MediaThe Namibian Broadcasting Corporation(NBC) provides access to media in Namibia,national TV, and radio coverage. Namibiahas access to DStv satellite network andupholds a free press. There are a numberof independent newspapers, radio stationsand a television network. Namibia enjoyswide coverage of media and wide availabilityof media vehicles, such as televisions andradios.BankingThere are four major commercial banksoperating in Namibia, including one centralbank, one development bank and NampostBank.Source: www.namibia.org.za Best of Namibia | 37
  39. 39. Towns of NamibiaThese are distinguished by the status the Namibian government has given them and areplaces with a municipality.38 | Best of Namibia
  40. 40. • Gobabis Gobabis is the regional capital of theOmaheke Region in eastern Namibia.Gobabis is on the B6 highway, 200kmdown from Windhoek to Botswana.Because of its relatively close proximityto the Botswana border at the Buiteposborder post, Gobabis is a vital linkbetween Namibia and South Africa on theTrans-Kalahari Highway. When arriving inthe town, visitors are greeted with a largeBrahman Bull statue – an ode to Gobabis’position in the heart of ‘Cattle Country’.This was traditionally the home of theHerero people and the town is on the edgeof the Kalahari Desert.• Otjiwarongo Otjiwarongo is the capital of theOtjozondjupa Region in central-northNamibia and has a population of 20,000people. Situated on the Trans-Namibrailway – linking to Windhoek, theGolden Triangle of Otavi, Tsumeb andGrootfontein, and Etosha National Park –Otjiwarongo is the biggest businesscentre in the region. It is a neat town witha peaceful environment, yet is also one ofthe fastest growing towns in the country. Ithas a number of excellent facilities such assupermarkets, banks, lodges and hotels,and a golf course. Many of the country’smost popular game farms and reservescan be found around Otjiwarongo. Thereis a large population of German speakingresidents and the influence can be seen inthe Germanic style of the architecture.• Swakopmund Swakopmund is the capital of Erongoon the coast of north-western Namibiaand is 280km west of Windhoek on theTrans-Namib Highway. This is a seasideresort town which is a popular destinationin the cooler summer months betweenDecember and January. There is apopulation of 42,000 inhabitants covering193 sq km of land. Best of Namibia | 39
  41. 41. Swakopmund was established in1892 as German South-West Africa’smain harbour, which is still evident inthe large portion of German-speakingpeople and abundance of German colonialarchitecture.It is home to Swakopmund Airport andincludes attractions such as SwakopmundMuseum, the National Marine Aquarium, acrystal gallery and the Rossmund DesertGolf Course just outside the city – one ofonly five all-grass desert golf courses inthe world. The sand dunes nearby are oneof the reasons why Swakopmund is knownas the adventure capital of Namibia,with its vast array of extreme sports.Abandoned in the desert lies the 1896steam train called the Martin Luther.• Tsumeb Tsumeb is the biggest town in Oshikotoin northern Namibia and has a populationof 15,000 people. It is most known for theTsumeb mine which is world renowned.Tsumeb serves at the gateway to thenorth of Namibia and is Etosha NationalPark’s closest town. Lake Otjikoto andLake Guinas are two large sinkholesnear the town. The famous sinkholeswere the focus of a pioneer documentarymade in the early 1970s which followedexploratory scuba dives. The exact depthsare unknown as the bottom seems todisappear into underground cave systems.Lake Guinas has even evolved a uniquefish species, testament to its age oldexistence. On retreat of the South Africaninvasion, the German forces discardedall their weapons into Lake Otjikoto in1914. What could be recovered is now ondisplay in museums.Harasib farm to the east ofTsumeb has one of the world’s deepestunderground lakes and can only bereached by abseiling down the sheerdolomite wall. It is uncertain how deepthe clear water goes as divers have onlymanaged 80 metres. Near Tsumeb is theHoba nickel-iron meteorite – the largest inthe world weighing about 60 tonnes.• Walvis Bay Walvis Bay has a population of 85,000people on 29 sq km of land in the KuisebRiver Delta. The natural deepwaterharbour has protected numerous seavessels from the extreme conditions ofthe South Atlantic Ocean and is the onlynatural harbour in the country, enclosedby the protective arm of Pelican Point. Thename means “Whale Bay” named afterthe large numbers of whales attracted bythe rich marine life. Since its discoveryas a valuable point en route to theCape of Good Hope, numerous powershave sought political control, seeingsuccessive colonisers playing a role in itsdevelopment. The town is at the end ofthe Trans-Namib Railway to Windhoek.Walvis Bay is the tourist activity capital ofNamibia, largely as a result of the beautifulbay, man-made Bird Island, and numerous40 | Best of Namibia
  42. 42. sand dunes. There is a museum andKuisebmund Stadium. An important armof the local economy is the Walvis BayExport Processing Zone.• Windhoek The Capital City of Namibia Windhoek is not only the capital, but alsothe largest city in Namibia, as well as thesocial, economic and cultural centre. It sits1,700m above sea level on the KhomasHighland Plateau in central Namibia witha population of around 300,000. Almostall national enterprises are housed hereas well as the University of Namibia andthe national theatre. The headquarters ofall ministry offices, media and financialgroups are in Windhoek.Other towns include:-• Grootfontein: in the Otjozondjupa Region• Henties Bay: main holiday destination• Karasburg: sheep farming industry• Keetmanshoop: on the Trans-NamibRailway• Mariental: near Hardap Dam (largestreservoir in Namibia)• Okahandja: Garden Town of Namibiafounded by Herero and Nama• Omaruru: annual Herero festival; winery;dinosaur footprints at Otjihenamaparero.• Outjo: Gateway to Etosha National Park• Usakos: longest horizon in the world andclosest town to Spitzkoppe (“Matterhornof Namibia”).Source: www.namibiatourism.com.na Best of Namibia | 41
  43. 43. Namibian Arts and CraftsNamibia is a melting pot of various ancient tribes and as a result, traditional practices ofarts and crafts have been passed down for generations.42 | Best of Namibia
  44. 44. Namibia has become renowned for its vastarray of traditional crafts, ranging frombasketry, pottery, textiles, painting andsculpture to working with wood, leather andbeads. However, the modern art movementhas had an influence on jewellery designsand ushered in the graffiti movement. TheNamibia Craft Centre has the whole rangeof traditional crafts under one roof with over25 stalls as well as the Omba Art Gallery.However, throughout Namibia there arestreet markets and curios vendors. Thesecelebrated crafts make the perfect keepsakefor travellers and visitors to Namibia.BasketsThe mostly feminine art of basketry ismore typical of the northern tribes suchas the Caprivi, Himba, Herero, Kavangoand Owambo. The most common form ofbasketry is from weaving strips of Makalanipalm leaves. These can be manipulatedinto various forms for varying utilities. Forexample, winnowing baskets are made outof flat shapes, carrier baskets are createdfrom large bowl-shapes, and storagebaskets crafted in small bottle shapeswith lids. The varying shapes createdin the weaving are achieved by usingdifferent colours of leaves which can bedyed dark brown, purple and yellow. Thevarious geometric shapes are symbolicallysignificant. A more modern addition hasseen strips of recycled plastic being used.WoodcarvingsWoodcarving is most often the craft ofmen in Namibia. Their tools are adzes,axes and knives. Decorative designs arecreated by carving, incising, and burningtechniques. Wood products includeheadrests, instruments such as drums andthumb pianos, masks, walking-sticks, toys,figurines, bows, arrows, quivers, bowls, Best of Namibia | 43
  45. 45. utensils, and furniture. The tradition of woodcarving is seen extensively in the northerntribes of San, Caprivians, Damara, Himba,Kavango and Owambo.LeatherworksLeatherwork is widely practised in Namibiaand makes use of hides from cattle, sheepand game which are tanned and dyed withplant materials, animal fat or red ochre.Leather products include skins, bags,pouches, and karosses (mats or blankets).Clothing includes head-dresses, girdles,aprons, sandals, shoes, boots, handbags,belts and jackets.BeadworksThe San and Himba people lead the waywhen it comes to beadwork in Namibia.Beads are created from ostrich eggshells,porcupine quills, seeds, nuts, branches, iron,shells, as well as commercial glass. Mengenerally create the actual beads while thewomen string them into their final pieces.These pieces include necklaces, bracelets,ankle bracelets and Alice bands. Beadsare traditionally used by the San on theirleatherwork bags, pouches and clothing asdecoration, while the Himba traditionally usethe iron-bead for leather head ornaments forwomen and belts worn by mothers.JewelleryThe Namibia landscape and natural heritagehas inspired endless unique jewellerydesigns. Namibian jewellery is created fromnatural materials sourced locally, includingprecious stones, gems, diamonds, wood,seed pods and shells. Materials are alsosometimes sourced from elsewhere on theAfrican continent, such as gold, silver andother mineral stones. Unique pieces arecrafted into bracelets, necklaces, headwear,and ankle bracelets.PotteryTypically a female dominated art, pottery iswidely from the people of Caprivi, Kavangoand Owambo. The differing shapes of potterydetermine the utility of the vessels, which aretraditionally decorated with various coloursof geometric patterns. A modern movementhas seen potters experimenting with textualdecoration and varying motifs.TextilesTraditionally, a patchwork style was adaptedby the women of the Nama tribe in makingclothing. This has since expanded intoembroidering table and bed linen, cushioncovers and wall-hangings depicting scenesof Namibian life. A newer craft is weavingkarakul wool into patterns or landscape44 | Best of Namibia
  46. 46. images. These are used to create wall-hangings and mats.Paintings, sculptures and printsThe urban areas of Namibia have a numberof galleries which feature contemporaryNamibian artwork from painters, sculptorsand printers. The National Art Gallery ofNamibia is the biggest and exhibits morethan 560 artworks dating from 1864 totoday. Early paintings depict landscapesand wild animals as well as the exhibitionof the winning works of the Standard BankBiennale. High-quality works can be foundat many roadside markets throughoutNamibia.GraffitiAlthough steeped in tradition, Namibia’sarts and crafts movement has opened up tomodern forms. One such instance is seen inthe graffiti movement and culture. It is slowlymoving away from its vandalism tag andbecoming embraced as an art movementwhich can convey effective beautifulmessages. Marking a property without theowner’s consent is punishable by law inNamibia. However, Namibian graffiti artistsas well as the communities are findingunique ways to embrace this. One such wayis with community projects, for examplethe graffiti project of the Pionierspark playpark jointly commissioned by the BrazilianEmbassy, Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre,and Studio 77.Source:www.namcrafts.comwww.namibia-travel-guide.com Best of Namibia | 45
  47. 47. Staple foods include corn porridge andmeat or fish stews. Dishes often includepasta, rice and potatoes; while vegetablesinclude tomatoes, cabbage, celery andbeans. Fruits which are found abundantlythroughout Namibia include oranges,bananas, mandarins, pineapples, kiwis, andavocados; dried fruit is a particular favourite.Popular meat choices include beef,lamb, pork, chicken, ostrich, game (kudu,springbok and gemsbok) and cured orsmoked ham. More adventurous local meatsinclude goat, bush rat, and fried caterpillarsknown as omanugu or mopane worms andoften cooked with chilli and onion.Corn occurs most frequently in the southof Namibia where it is used in the makingof bread, most often accompanied byfish. As a result of the hot, dry climate anddesert conditions in most parts, couscoushas become popular, as well as peanuts.The weather has also ensured that outdoorcooking has become the norm, and is mostfrequently done in the form of ‘braais’ and‘potjiekos’ stews. Spices and herbs areessential to Namibian food and cookingtechniques have stemmed from German andFrench cooking styles. Dishes are generallypresented in visually attractive ways andmake use of extensive colours.Namibian CuisineTypical Namibian cuisine is heavily influenced by the country’s history, cultures, climateand environment. This is most evident in the influences of traditional German and SouthAfrican dishes as well as the use of meat, game and seafood.46 | Best of Namibia
  48. 48. There are a number of festivals and nationalholidays in Namibia and traditional foodforms an important part of most of them.Namibia’s national day is the 21 Marchand the air is usually filled with the smokeand smell of braai fires and bubbling potjiepots. Traditional dishes are usually servedon Worker’s Day, Cassinga Day, AscensionDay, Africa Day, Heroes’ Day, Women’sDay, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.Frequent dishes include varieties of stewswith snacks of biltong, brotchen andlandjäger, which is a smoked pork and beefsausage. Rauchfleisch is a beautiful smokedmeat which is enjoyed throughout Namibia.For those with a sweeter tooth, the Germaninfluence is seen extensively in the varietyof breads, cakes and pastries used inNamibian food; and for the thirsty, Namibiahas a big German brewing tradition and itsnational drink is Tafel Lager and the everpopular Windhoek Lager.Namibian food definitely has a uniqueflavour and look and is predominantlyprepared by the woman of the household.However, tourists are not often exposedto it as most restaurants favour a typicallyEuropean style – although hints of Namibianinfluence often crop-up in dishes, which ismost often preferred. One thing that can beguaranteed is the freshness and abundanceof food products.Traditional Namibian foods include:• eedingu (dried meat, carrots and greenbeans);• kapana (meat);• mealie pap (porridge);• omanugu (mopane worms);• oshifima (millet);• oshifima ne vanda (millet with meat);• oshiwambo (spinach and beef).Source: en.wikipedia.orgThe direct access to the sea has given rise to an extensive fishing industry which brings inseafood including vast arrays of fish, mussels, oysters, squid and shellfish. Best of Namibia | 47
  49. 49. Sport in NamibiaThe Namibian people are passionate about sport as it is a source of great national prideand recreation.48 | Best of Namibia
  50. 50. This could partly be due to the favourableweather conditions which make sport amajor pastime all over the country. Althoughthe population of Namibia is small, there isstill a vast array of sports that are offeredat differing levels – both amateur andprofessional. Namibian sports spectators arededicated to following their preferred sportsand teams.The main sports in Namibia are soccer,rugby, cricket, golf and fishing. Athleticsand boxing are also very popular. Windhoekis the sports capital and the home of thenational stadium, Independence Stadium,which is shared by all arena sports. There isalso the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Katuturawhich is also often used. There are 46different sports federations and unionsincluding for: dancing, netball, archery,badminton, basketball, bowling, canoeing,chess, cycling, darts, eisstock, enduranceriding, equestrian, fistball, gymnastics,hockey, judo, karate, motor sports, sailing,shooting, swimming, softball, squash, tabletennis, triathlon, volleyball, and wrestling.The National Sports Federation of Namibiaand the Namibian Sports CommissionMandate are responsible for overseeing theregulation of sports in the country.SoccerThe most popular team sport in Namibia isSoccer and the country joined FIFA in 1992,thus becoming an international player. Thenational soccer team participates regularlyin the Africa Nations Cup qualifiers andplayed in the tournament for the first timein 1998 in Burkina Faso and again in 2008.Soccer is governed by the Namibia FootballAssociation and the main domestic league is Best of Namibia | 49
  51. 51. The Namibia Premier League. Namibia is yetto qualify for the FIFA World Cup althoughhas been the runner up in the COSAFA Cuptwice.Popular local clubs include: Black Africa,Orlando Pirates, African Stars, Tigers, BlueWaters, Chief Santos and Oshakati City –with many names borrowed from Europeanteams.Rugby UnionSouth Africa introduced the Rugby Unionto Namibia in 1916 and today the NamibiaRugby Union is the main governing body.The national rugby team are known asthe Welwitschia and they participateregularly at the Rugby World Cup. Up untilindependence, Namibian players wereeligible to play for the South African Nationalteam and past Springboks born in Namibiainclude Jan Ellis and Percy Montgomery.CricketThe beginnings of Namibian cricket arelinked closely with South African cricket.However, in post independence, theNamibian Cricket Board was formed and50 | Best of Namibia
  52. 52. began to develop the game nationally. Toursfrom England and the Netherlands werearranged and associate membership to theICC was granted in 1992. Namibia hostedthe 2007 World Cricket League Division 2.GolfNamibia’s most well known golfer is TrevorDodds and Rossmund Desert Golf Course inSwakopmund is the most popular course.BoxingNamibia has produced a number ofsuccessful boxers including Japhet Uutoni(won gold in 2006 Commonwealth Gamesand 2006 African Boxing championships),Paulus Ambunda (participated in 2004Summer Olympics in Athens), PaulusMoses, Harry Simon and Joseph Jermia(participated in 2004 Summer Olympicsand won bronze in 2003 All-Africa Games).Namibia was host of the final continentalqualifying round for the 2008 SummerOlympics and three Namibians qualified,namely Japhet Uutoni, Mujandjae Kasutoand Julius Indongo. In January 2009, PaulusMoses won the WBA lightweight title in2009.Highlights of the Namibian sports calendarhave included the Commonwealth Games of2002 and 2006, the All Africa Games of 2003and 2007, the Cricket World Cup of 2003,the Rugby World Cups of 2003, 2007 and2011, the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Gamesin Athens and Beijing respectively; and the2008 African Cup of Nations finals in Ghana,and the 2012 Paralympics.National sports heroes include FrankieFredericks, Agnes Samaria, Eliphas Shivute,Mohammed Ouseb, Luketz Swartbooi,Elizabeth Mongudhi, Helalia Johannes,Beata Naigambo, Collin Benjamin, Paulus‘The Hitman’ Moses, Mannie Heymans andDouw Calitz, and Johanna Benson.Namibia Sport is Namibia’s leading sportmagazine which has been in print since2002, making it Namibia’s longest runningindependent magazine to date. Thecoverage of Namibian soccer has helpedto professionalise the sport over the lastfew years. The magazine instituted soccerawards for the Player of the Month andPlayer of the Season.www.namibiasport.org Best of Namibia | 51
  53. 53. Namibian ActivitiesNamibia is a country of great natural beauty, vast expanses and a warm dry climate. As aresult, it is the perfect country to visit for outdoor adventures as Namibia has so much tooffer to outdoors enthusiasts.52 | Best of Namibia
  54. 54. From exploring the magical desertlandscape and its unique ecosystem, to theworld’s second largest canyon, to the coldspray of the heaving South Atlantic Ocean –there is never a dull moment in Namibia,and visitors are left with a multitude ofmemories forever etched into their minds.Unique sightings range from the rare desertelephants, to the mysterious wild horses,to the discovery of a gem brought up to theearth’s surface. There are numerous outdooractivities and adventure safaris and tourswith some requiring physical exertion andadrenaline, while others offer relaxation.Hiking:• Fish River Hiking Trail (5 day unguided)• Brandberg Ascent• Naukluft Hike (8/4 day unguided)• Fish River Canyon Mule Trail• Desert Experience Hike• Klipspringer Mule Trail• Waterberg Hike (4 day unguided)• Mundulea Walking Trails• Tok Tokkie Hiking Trail (2 day unguided)• Sweet Thorn Trail (2 day unguided)• Olive Trail (1 day unguided)• Waterkloof Hike (1 day unguided)Riding:• Fish River Horse Riding (6 days)• Desert Horse Ride (6 days)Flying:• Classic South• Conception Bay Flight• Skeleton Coast & Damaraland Flight• Skeleton Coast (Ugab River Flight)• Skeleton Coast (Uniab River Flight)• Sossusvlei Scenic Flight• Sossusvlei Excursion• Ultimate South (Fish River)• Ultimate South (Luderitz)Ballooning:• Sossusvlei (dune fields)Fishing:• Boat Fishing• Combo Fishing• Shore Fishing Best of Namibia | 53
  55. 55. Game viewing:• Etosha Game Drives (from Halali,Okaukuejo, & Namutoni)Luderitz:• Kolmanskop Ghost Town• Pamona & Bogenfels Day Tour(Sperrgebiet Forbidden Diamond zone)• Schooner Trips (2½ hours from Luderitzharbour)Boating:• Caprivi Houseboat Safaris• Nama / Eagle Canoeing• Orange River Canoeing• Pride of the Zambezi HouseboatSwakopmund:• Bird watching• Seal colony at Cape Cross• Messum Crater (Welwitschia Mirabilis)• Fishing• Living Desert Tour• Minerals Half Day• Namib Desert Day Trip• Namib Desert Night Walks• Quad Biking• Sandboarding• Sandwich Harbour Tour• Skydiving• Spitzkoppe Day TourWalvis Bay:• Catamaran Cruise• Dolphin Cruise• Historian Quad Bike Edu-Desert• Sea KayakingWindhoek:• Township Cycling Tours• Windhoek Township Tours4x4 Trails:• Kalahari Bush Breaks Trail• Isabis 4x4 Trail• Naukluft 4x4 Trailwww.namibian.org54 | Best of Namibia
  56. 56. Best of Namibia | 55
  57. 57. Calendar of EventsJANUARYNew Year’s DayCelebrated in Namibia with parties and festive meals.FEBRUARYBank Windhoek Arts FestivalFirst of monthly pre-festival events of theatre, dance, music andvisual art as part of build-up before main event in September.MARCHEnjando Street FestivalLive entertainment such as dancing, live music, and traditionalcostumes.Independence DayNational holiday celebrated on the 21st each year.Wild CinemaAnnual international film festival.Good Friday / Easter Sunday / Easter MondayLate March or early April sees religious services and gatherings inchurches and cathedrals throughout Namibia.APRILWindhoek Karneval (WIKA)Weekend in late April, German festivities include Prinzenball (musicperformances, masked ball, children’s carnival and a parade).MAYWorkers’ DayNamibian public holiday on May 1st.Cassinga DayNamibian public holiday on May 4th commemorating the 1978 Battleof Cassinga.Africa DayPublic holiday on May 25th celebrating unity in Africa with a differenttheme annually.Adventure Race Namibia 24-Hour Ultra MarathonA 126km ultra race of three marathons in northern Namib Desertfrom Brandberg Mountain.Ascension DayNational holiday in mid to late May or early June (39 days afterEaster Sunday).JUNENamibia Tourism ExpoTourism showcase from beer and wine, to arts and crafts at theWindhoek Show Grounds; open to trade and general public.JULYOld Mutual Victory RaceCourse covers the half marathon distance in Swakopmund.Science and Technology FairHeld by the Windhoek Show Society.AUGUSTCollege of the Arts Music (COTA) FestivalIncludes solo performances from talented students in the NationalTheatre of Namibia at Windhoek with the Windhoek PhilharmonicOrchestra.Kuste KarnevalInvolves a street parade, numerous parties and children’s activities inSwakopmund.Heroes’ Day (Maharero Day)Lively event held in memory of Namibian war heroes on August 26thin Okahandaja and involves military processions, poetry and recitals.Ongwediva Trade FairAttraction hosting international and local exhibitors.SEPTEMBEROruuano of Namibia Arts FestivalLocal dance and music event held in Soweto Market in Windhoektwice a year (also in November).Summer Sound FestivalFeatures music and some dance performances in the IndependenceArena at Katutura.Namrock FestivalA showcase of the best local musicians at the Coca ColaEntertainment Dome at the Windhoek Showgrounds.Namibia has numerous festivals of art and music as well as trade shows and fairs allthroughout the year. Many are notably situated around Windhoek.56 | Best of Namibia
  58. 58. OCTOBEROktoberfestA popular internationally attended event showcasing Namibia’sGerman brewing tradition.Soul Desert FestivalSpiritual healing event with speakers, refreshments andentertainment.White Flag Herero ProcessionPopular parade held on weekend closest to the 10th at Ozondesuburb in Omaruru and always attracts a good turnout.Windhoek Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial ShowA widely attended industrial and agricultural show held at theshowgrounds.AE Gams Arts FestivalThe best in Namibian artwork exhibited at various galleries aroundWindhoek.NOVEMBEROruuano of Namibia Arts FestivalSecond of two events organised by the Namibian Artists’ Union andheld in Katutura, Windhoek.Annual Charity ConcertOrganised by the National Theatre of Namibia, Windhoek in aid ofthe elderly and vulnerable and local bands and choirs entertain theaudience.Christmas ConcertHeld at the National Theatre of Namibia, Windhoek annually isChristmas around the World and includes Christmas songs, carolsand hymns from all over the world as well as the traditional Africanprogramme.DECEMBERFNB Desert Dash 24-Hour MTB Team ChallengeCycle race from Windhoek to Swakopmund over the KhomasHochland.Swakopmunder MusikwocheIncludes a lecture, concert, an outdoor promenade concert andchurch concertInternational Human Rights DayPublic holiday on December 10th with much activity in Windhoek.ChristmasFocused on family celebrations and starting on December 24th forGerman Namibians. Family Day (Day of Goodwill) on December 26this used by traditional Namibian tribes and families to remember theirancestors.Source: www.namibiatourism.com.naNamibians regard public holidays as important events and highlights includeIndependence Day in March, Africa Day and Ascension Day in May, Heroes’ Day inAugust, and International Human Rights Day in December. Best of Namibia | 57
  59. 59. Sam NujomaNamibia’s first president and “father of the nation”.NamibianIcon58 | Best of Namibia
  60. 60. Namibian politician Samuel DanielShafiishuna Nujoma was born to theOvambo ethnic group on 12 May 1929in northern Namibia at Etunda village inOngandjera, the Omusati region. He was atthe helm of the SWAPO for 47 years – fromits founding in 1960 throughout its longstruggle against South African rule andinto independence. He became the firstPresident of Namibia from 1990 to 2005when Namibia gained independence on21 March 1990. He was re-elected in 1994and 1999 and remained in office until March2005.SWAPOFrom his humble beginnings as a railwayworker, Nujoma co-founded the politicalparty Ovamboland People’s Organisation inthe late 1950s, which then became SWAPOin 1960. The role of SWAPO was to bringindependence from South African apartheidrule to the Namibian people. As presidentof SWAPO, Nujoma unsuccessfully pleadedwith the United Nations for years to ensurethe release of South African control. He thentook matters into his own hands and formedan armed resistance in 1966 which startedthe Namibian War of Independence, lasting24 years. During this time, Nujoma becameknown as “Shafiishuna” which meanslightning.Namibian PresidentNujoma went into exile for almost 30 yearswhere he continued to organise the struggleuntil 1989 when he returned to assumepresidency. The United Nations supervisedthe elections which unanimously heraldedNujoma as Namibia’s first president andhe was sworn in by UN Secretary-GeneralJavier Pérez de Cuéllar on 21 March 1990.During his presidency, the ever-energeticNujoma skilfully tackled issues of education,housing, medical care, and internationaleconomic competitiveness. He ran aliberal-democracy and a largely freeenterprise economy. He focused on a policyof ‘national reconciliation’ in an effort tocreate ethnic harmony within Namibia.As president, Nujoma held no animositytowards South Africa in his economicdealings with the country.Hifekepunye Pohamba succeeded Nujomaas President of Namibia on 21 March 2005and when Nujoma relinquished his role ashead of SWAPO in 2007, he stated thathe was “passing the torch and mantle ofleadership to comrade Pohamba”. He wasgiven the honorary titles of Leader of theNamibian Revolution as well as FoundingFather of the Namibian Nation by theSWAPO Congress and the Namibian people.Nujoma’s son Utoni became Deputy Ministerof Justice after having been elected to theCentral Committee and Politburo of SWAPOin November 2007. Nujoma’s mother, KukuHelvi-Mpingana Kondombombolo died inNovember 2008 at a reported age of morethan 100 years old.Even after retiring from his former politicalroles, Nujoma is still politically active andcampaigns regularly for SWAPO acrossNamibia.AwardsTogether with his larger-than-life personality,Nujoma has numerous respectableaccolades, including a Doctorate honoriscausa in Public Management fromPolytechnic of Namibia in 2005 andobtained his Master’s degree in Geology atthe University of Namibia in 2009. In 2004he received the Cheetah ConservationFund’s Lifetime Conservation Award. Othernotable awards include the Lenin PeacePrize in 1968, the November Medal Prize in1978, the Frederick Joliot Curie Gold Medalin 1980, the Namibia Freedom Award fromCalifornia State University in 1980, as wellas an honorary doctorate from AhmaduBello University in Nigeria.Nujoma married Kovambo TheopoldineKatjimune in 1956 and has five children.Source: www.namibian.org Best of Namibia | 59
  61. 61. Born in Namibia, Marlice van Vuuren grewup surrounded by animals on her parents’farm, and spent the first 30 years of her lifecaring for stray and injured animals.During this time, she also developed a closerelationship with the local San communityand is one of a few non-native people in theworld to speak the San language.In 2004, Marlice and her husband, Dr Rudievan Vuuren, purchased a farm 13 km’s Eastof Windhoek and established their naturereserve, N/a’an ku sê, which means ‘Godwill protect us’ in the San language. TheWildlife Sanctuary cares for orphaned andinjured animals.This Namibian eco-project has gainedMarlice celebrity status across southernAfrica and her great passion and strides inconservation have been widely noted. Sheis well remembered for her starring rolealongside Lucky the three-legged cheetah inthe award winning VW Golf 6 advert. Luckyis one of N/a’an ku sê’s rescue successstories and is a favourite with visitors.Wild Animal Orphans on Animal PlanetA dedicated television documentary onAnimal Planet called Wild Animal Orphansfollows the work of Marlice and her family asthey care for injured and abandoned animalsat N/a’an ku sê. Aired on 6 March 2012, WildAnimal Orphans is broadcast throughoutAfrica, Europe and the Middle East.Highlights include the successful release ofcheetah and leopard at two of their releasesites, Solitaire and Sandfontein.Marlice’s unique understanding andconnection with animals such as cheetahs,lions, leopards, caracals, baboons andvultures, has given her expert ability inanimal handling. This skill has seen herinvolved in numerous internationallyacclaimed projects, photo shoots andfilms since the age of 13. One such projectwas working with Angelina Jolie andClive Owen in the movie Beyond Borders,where she had the charge of the vultures.Her skills in the San language have alsobeen invaluable for translation with crewswhen filming with the San community.The N/a’an ku sê Foundation was registeredMarlice van VuurenNamibia’s Star of Conservation.NamibianIcon60 | Best of Namibia
  62. 62. in 2007 with two main aims in mind – toprotect and conserve Namibia’s vulnerablewildlife and to improve the lives of themarginalised San community. N/a’an kusê Foundation is a UK registered charityorganisation and depends solely ondonations from sponsors and volunteers asit is non-government funded.N/a’an ku sê has received global awards andis supported by the Jolie-Pitt Foundation.The kind of animals found at the Sanctuaryare those who need rehabilitation or careafter surviving gin traps and bullets fromstock farmers, including leopards, lions,caracal, wild dogs, baboons, and meerkats.The ones they are able to rehabilitate arereleased back into the wild.Filmmakers and photographers from all overthe world are encouraged to visit N/a’an kusê and capture Namibia’s unique wildlife,flora and scenic landscape. Namibia is oneof a few countries where six species of largecarnivore still exist – cheetah, leopard, lion,African wild dog, spotted hyena and brownhyena. Their care and protection is vital,which is further evidence of the importanceof Marlice’s role in Namibian wildlife. Thereare also volunteer programmes running in anumber of the N/a’an ku sê projects.About N/a’an ku sê FoundationApart from the Wildlife Sanctuary, Marlicealso founded the Carnivore ConservationResearch Project to protect and conservewild cheetah, leopard and brown hyenain Namibia, the Clever Cubs School andeducation for San children, and the LifelineClinic and medical outreach for the Sancommunity.Their philosophy is “Conservation throughInnovation” and they strive to createsustainable and long-term solutions. It istheir vision to play a pro-active role in natureconservation because they believe that wehold this invaluable heritage in our trust forfuture generations. We cannot undo whathas been done... but we can shape ourfuture.The unique Lodge, Neuras Estate is one ofthe ways of getting in much needed fundsand allowing the public to experience theproject first-hand. All profits from theiractivities go directly to benefit their workwith wildlife conservation and the Sancommunity.Marlice and her husband have two sons,Zacheo and Nicklai.For further information on N/a’an ku sêFoundation, please visit thewebsite www.naankuse.com oremail gemma@naankuse.com Best of Namibia | 61

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