People, Language, History - A patchwork quilt of people and cultures
Hunter-gatherers, nomadic pastoralists and subsistence farmers clashed centuries ago over valuable water supply and land.
Germany claimed protection of the land in 1884, which led to a rapid infusion of German culture that has flourished since 1915 when the country was ceded to South Africa by a League of Nations mandate. An uprising in 1966 and protracted diplomatic negotiations finally freed the country from South Africa's administration in 1990. Walvis Bay was handed over in 1994.
In many respects Namibia is similar to South Africa. Not least of which is the abundance of goods that are imported and the interchangeable use of the Namibian dollar and the South African Rand. Yet closer inspection reveals a land so different from its erstwhile master and in fact from the rest of the world that it can only be called unique.
The major ethnic groups are the Ovamba, itself consisting of several smaller tribes; Herero, of which the Himba form a part; the Nama; the Damara; and Khoisan, known colloquially as Bushmen and, while very few, are the largest remaining population in Africa.
Afrikaans is the lingua franca. But it is fast becoming outmoded as young Namibians choose the official language of English as their second tongue.
More In Namibia Travel Info
Top 10 Places to Visit
Namibia has some beautiful, unique and extraordinary scenery. Attractions abound and activities are limitless. But it's the whole journey that is the most extraordinary attraction of them all. Just driving through the country will be an experience quite unlike any you've had before. While parts of Namibia resemble other places - like the Kruger Park and Okavango Delta - no other place on Earth comes close to resembling Namibia.
Best Time For... Beach Holidays
Despite nearly a thousand miles of beach, Namibia’s not exactly front page when it comes to those glossy holiday brochures. It’s an unusual coastline largely made up of the Namib Desert which stretches along the sea side. A sea which has claimed hundreds of ships and many more lives. Think treacherous currents and thick sea fogs. It’s largely unpopulated too.
Best Time For... Hiking
So what’s hiking...? More than a walk but not a major trek? Difficult enough to challenge, beautiful enough to make the effort? Both sound like fair definitions but, saying that, who’s defining? A hike’s a pretty subjective jaunt but one thing’s for sure you have plenty of options in Namibia.
Best Time For... Photography
The position of the sun, a surprise rain shower, even the sudden shoulder of a fellow snapper... there are so many factors and no guarantees. Time of day, light, weather, the list goes on. And yet, suddenly, you get the shot. You capture a lioness bringing down a zebra, you depict the fragile agility of a passing springbok.
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