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Namibia

Namibia

General information

Climb the highest sand dunes in the world. Descend to the floor of the deepest canyon in Africa. Immerse yourself in the past at one of the Africa’s richest rock art sites, and watch wildlife shimmer against one of the most spectacular pans on earth. Explore the oldest, driest desert in the world and take time to listen to the silence and to your soul.

Namibia is home to vibrant cities where people are excited about the future, while remaining deeply connected to their rich, cultural past. A stable, democratic government, infrastructure that allows guests to move confidently off the beaten path and endless horizons that beckon you to explore define this country and its people.

Part of the allure of Namibia is that it’s four countries in one.  Four different landscapes, each with its own characteristics and attractions. The most definitive is the Namib, a long coastal desert that runs the length of the country and is highlighted with migrating dune belts, dry riverbeds and canyons. The central plateau is home the majority of Namibia towns and villages and is divided between rugged mountain ranges and sand-filled valleys. Next is the vast Kalahari Desert with its ancient red sand and sparse vegetation. Finally, Kavango and Caprivi, blessed with generous amounts of rain and typified by tropical forests, perennial rivers and woodland savannahs.

Conservation

Conservation is a cornerstone of the Namibian experience.  Namibia was the first African country to incorporate protection of the environment into its constitution, and the government has reinforced this by giving its communities the opportunity and rights to manage their wildlife through communal conservancies.  Today, over 40% of Namibia’s surface area is under conservation management. This includes national parks and reserves, communal and commercial conservancies, community forests, and private nature reserves.

People are living with wildlife, including predators and large mammals, and are managing their natural resources wisely. They are also reaping the benefits. In 2009, community-based natural resource management generated over N$ 42 million in income to rural Namibians. All the while, the program is facilitating a remarkable recovery of wildlife.

Namibia now boasts the largest free-roaming population of black rhinos and cheetahs in the world and is the only country with an expanding population of free-roaming lions. Namibia’s elephant population more than doubled between 1995 and 2008 from 7,500 to over 16,000 individuals. This remarkable turnaround has led some to call Namibia’s conservation efforts “The greatest African wildlife recovery story over told.”

Climate

Partially covered by the Namib, one of the world's driest deserts, Namibia's climate is generally very dry and pleasant. The cold Benguela current keeps the coast cool, damp and free of rain for most of the year. Inland, all the rain falls in summer (November to April). January and February are hot, when daytime temperatures in the interior can exceed 40ºC (104ºF), but nights are usually cool. Winter nights can be fairly cold, but days are generally warm and quite nice.

The ruggedness of the Namibian landscape has obviously done nothing to deter both flora and fauna from adapting and thriving. Here, the very act of survival can sometimes be an art. The shear abundance and variety of wildlife of all sizes is staggering.

Namibians are deeply committed to protecting our natural resources and the country’s richness of wildlife can be attributed in large part to this commitment to conservation. Namibians are committed to living side by side with wildlife, including predators and large mammals. Namibia is the only country in the world where large numbers of rare and endangered wildlife are translocated from national parks to open communal land. This commitment to protecting wildlife is especially important given the country’s remarkable diversity of species and high level of endemism. Namibia is home to approximately 4,350 species and subspecies of vascular plants, of which 17% are endemic. Six hundred and seventy-six bird species have been recorded, of which over 90 are endemic to Southern Africa and 13 to Namibia. Furthermore, 217 species of mammals are found in Namibia, 26 of which are endemic, including unique desert-dwelling rhino and elephants. This high level of endemism gives Namibia’s conservation of biodiversity a global significance.

Information courtesy of Namibia Tourism.

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