Country Information on Namibia
Namibia has three distinct regions. First, the coastal belt consisting of the Namib Desert. Second, the central highlands characterized by steep terraces, the region reaching altitudes between 1,000 and 2,000 m (Moltkeblick peak reaches 2,484 m). Third, the Kalahari Desert in the east, part of which is on Botswanian territory.
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Country Information on Namibia

Namibia has three distinct regions. First, the coastal belt consisting of the Namib Desert. Second, the central highlands characterized by steep terraces, the region reaching altitudes between 1,000 and 2,000 m (Moltkeblick peak reaches 2,484 m). Third, the Kalahari Desert in the east, part of which is on Botswanian territory. The Namib Desert extends along the Atlantic coast (some 100 to 160 km wide). The country's highest elevation, the Brandberg (2,580 m), is located in this area.

Although it is predominantly a desert, there are regional climatic variations in Namibia. The most arid climate is found in the centre, where summer daytime temperatures climb over 40°C but can fall below freezing point at night. Daytime temperatures on the hilly and semi-arid Central Plateau (including Windhoek) are generally lower than in the rest of the country.

December is the hottest month all over the country, with daily temperatures hitting an average high of 30°C. The rainy season is from October to April. However, the low-lying areas in the eastern part of the country profit little by it, there it is generally much hotter than on the Central Plateau.

Vegetation is sparse in the deserts, but a woodland savannah is found on the central plateau with plants that have adapted to the aridness (hair grass, dwarfed shrubs, succulents). Namibia is the first country in the world to include protection of the environment and of wildlife in its constitution. About 15.5% of the country have been made into National Parks. In these areas, rare and endangered species of animals, birds and plant life are preserved and protected.

Most of the African game species (elephants, rhinoceroses, lions, giraffes, zebras, and hartebeests) are well represented in Namibia, with the largest concentration in Etosha National Park, which is firmly entrenched on the world map of international parks. Namibia is home to the largest population of cheetah still in existence, and concerted efforts are being made to preserve the species in the wild.

The earliest identifiable inhabitants of the area that is now Namibia were the San, who arrived in the 1st century AD. The Khoikhoi arrived in the 5th century; the Ovambo and the Herero migrated to the area in the 19th century. Portuguese explorers were the first Europeans to arrive, they would, however, not settle the area in the face of desert-like conditions. In 1884 German West Africa was founded and remained under German rule for more than 30 years due to its strategic position and vast mineral resources.

After World War I, the League of Nations granted the Union of South Africa a mandate over the entire region of South West Africa. South Africa officially applied for annexation of the mandate before the United Nations in 1947. The United Nations refused as the region was supposed to become independent. South Africa subsequently annexed the area. In 1966 the South West African People's Organization (SWAPO) started guerrilla warfare against South African rule. South African annexation was declared null and void by the United Nations in 1968.
Further, the UN resolved that the country be known as Namibia. Still, South Africa was to maintain control over Namibia right up to the 1980s. After years of war, difficult negotiations and pressure by the world community South Africa finally agreed to establish a transitional government of national unity. Independence for Namibia was established according to a peace agreement negotiated in 1988. The SWAPO gained the majority of votes in elections for a Constituent Assembly in 1989. Namibia's independence was officially proclaimed on 21 March 1990. SWAPO leader Sam Nujoma was invested first democratically elected president of the independent republic of Namibia. Nujoma was confirmed in office in 1994.

The economy is heavily dependent on the extraction and processing of minerals for export. Mining accounts for an important part of the country's gross domestic product. Another important economic sector is diamond mining (mostly for export). Namibia also produces large quantities of lead, zinc, copper, tungsten, and uranium oxide - the country is among the world's five largest producers of uranium oxide. In the last few years, tourism has been gaining momentum.

A major part of the population depends on agriculture for its livelihood (largely livestock breeding, especially cattle, sheep, and chickens). The main area for cultivation is the north of the country, millet, wheat, and maize being among the essential agricultural commodities. Namibia's coastal waters are rich in marine creatures; the coastal towns of Walfischbai and Lüderitz are important centres of fishing industry.

Although the country is still developing a literary tradition, music, dance, and the visual and architectural arts have long been part of the local culture. Namibia's earliest musicians were the San whose music emulated the sounds made by animals and was played to accompany dances and storytelling.

The early Nama used drums, flutes and stringed instruments; the Bantu people added marimbas, gourd rattles, and animal horn trumpets. Township art, which develops sober themes in a colourful and generally light-hearted manner, first appeared in the townships of South Africa during the apartheid years. Most important artists in the field of "Township Art" include Tembo Masala and Joseph Madisia.


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