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Namibia - South West Africa - Namib Desert


Namibia, formerly known as South West Africa, is an independent country sharing south and east borders with South-Africa. The economy of this country governed by a national assembly, is firmly based on agriculture, herding, the mining of uranium, silver, gold and base metals and, of course, on tourism.

The attractiveness of Namibia is unique and worthy to be explored by tourist from all over the world.

Like the rest of the countries in southern Africa, Namibia has more than 300 days of sunshine per year. Winter (June to August) is dry. Rain occurs in summer between September and November and heavier between February and April. Humidity is low; rainfall varies from almost zero to more than 600mm (in the Caprivi). Droughts are quite common. Floods originate in Angola often cause damage to infrastructure. 21,000 people were displaced in March 2011 during the worst floods so far in the country's history.

Relevant information for tourists

Namibia lies mostly between latitudes 17° and 29°S (a small area is north of 17°), and longitudes 11° and 26°E.

The landscape consists of -

  • The Central Plateau;
  • The Namib Desert;
  • The Great Escarpment;
  • The Bushveld;
  • The Kalahari Desert.
Windhoek © Mark Bielawny

Windhoek © Mark Bielawny

Central Plateau

The Central Plateau is a wide, flat area accommodating the majority of Namibia’s economic activities and population. The nation’s capital, Windhoek, is located in the Central Pateau. translated to English, Windhoek means ‘Wind Corner’. The name, however, has nothing to do with wind; allegedly it was named after the Winterhoek Mountains in South Africa - the original settlement of the ancestors of Captain Jonker Afrikaner, the founder of the city. Several hot springs in the vicinity could have encouraged him to establish the original settlement.

The tourism activity centre of Namibia is the harbor city Walvis Bay (Whale Bay), a mecca for keen fishermen and a haven for sea vessels.

Climate data for Walvis Bay

The Orange River ~ South boarder of the Central Plataea

The Orange river forms part of the international borders between South Africa and Namibia. It is the largest river in South Africa and serves as several provincial borders within South Africa.

Fish River

Fish River Canyon

Situated in the south of Namibia is the Fish River Canyon, the SECOND largest canyon in the world. The gigantic ravine is in total 100 miles (160km) long.

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The Fish River is the longest river in Namibia. The river flows intermittently, usually flooding in late summer (February to April), and the rest of the year only a chain of long narrow pools.

Fish River Canyon

The Namib Desert

The Namib Desert is a very large coastal desert, the only true desert in southern Africa and considered to be the world's oldest desert of roughly 80–55 million years old. The world's second largest sand dunes - after those of the Badain Jaran Desert - are to be seen in the Namib desert.

Inland is the Nabib-Naukluft National Park, the LARGEST game park in Africa and inter alia the habitat of African Bush Elephants, Mountain Zebras, lions adapted to deserts and a number of unusual plants and animals.

Sand dunes in the Namib Desert, Namibia © Mark Bielawny

Sand dunes in the Namib Desert, Namibia © Mark Bielawny

Sand dunes in the Namib Desert, Namibia © Mark Bielawny

Sand dunes in the Namib Desert, Namibia © Mark Bielawny

Roaring dunes...

Sand dunes in the Namib Desert, Namibia © Mark Bielawny

Sand dunes in the Namib Desert, Namibia © Mark Bielawny

The Moon Landscape in the Namib Desert

The Skeleton Coast

Along the coast, and especially in the northern part - the Skeleton Coast - the strongest winds cause immense fogs and strong currents. The remnants of a number of shipwrecks can be found as much as 50 meters (55 yards) inland.

Skeleton Coast

Skeleton Coast, Namibia © Mark Bielawny ~

Skeleton Coast, Namibia © Mark Bielawny ~

© Mark Bielawny

© Mark Bielawny

© Mark Bielawny

© Mark Bielawny

Skeleton Coast © Mark Bielawny

Skeleton Coast © Mark Bielawny

The Great Escarpment

The Great Escarpment is another geographical area in Namibia, rocky with poorly developed soils, yet rich with its characteristic abiotic conditions and vegetation, ranging from dense woodlands to more shrubby areas with scattered trees, in particular many species of Acasia.

© Mark Bielawny ~

© Mark Bielawny ~

The Bushveld

The Bushveld is a specific geographical area situated in northeast Namibia along the Angolan border ~ (The Zambezi River). Temperatures are cooler and more moderate - approximate 10 and 30 °C (50 and 86 °F).

The spectacular Etosha Pan is situated in this region.

Etosha Pan @

Etosha Pan @

The Bushveld © Mark Bielawny

The Bushveld © Mark Bielawny

The Bushveld © Mark Bielawny

The Bushveld © Mark Bielawny

Kalahari Desert

The Kalahari Desert, shared with South Africa and Botswana, is Namibia’s best known geographical feature with environments ranging from hyper-arid sandy desert to isolated mountains to typical desert dunes. The Succulent Karoo, where one third of the world's succulents are found, falls in this area, hosting over 5000 species of plants.

Extract: Regine Lord @ En route to a bushveld paradise erindi private game reserve in Namibia:

"There are a few human settlements which are the Kalahari’s best known inhabitants – The San Bushmen. This tribe, numbering only a few thousand are squeezed into inhospitable pieces of land and where they are sadly exploited as cheap farm labor. The Bushmen are now thought to be the last remnants of of Southern Africa’s original inhabitants who occupied the whole sub-continent long before white settlers invaded their territories." ~

Some tribes still follow traditional way of life ~~~ ~~~


Caprivi is a narrow protrusion between Namibia and Botswana with Angola and Zambia to the north. It is bordered by the Zambezi-, Okavango- and Kwandi Chobe rivers. The area is rich in wildlife and mineral resources and inter alia the habitat of the endangered Wild African Dog, Lycaon pictus.

Downstream in the Zambezi River is the Victoria Falls situated between Zambia and Zimbabwe, and not accessible via the Caprivi. Due to a civil war from 1994–1999 the Caprivi is still unstable and therefore not appropriate for tourism.

Wild African Dog, Lycaon pictus

Souvenirs: Namibia

© Mark Bielawny

© Mark Bielawny

© Martie Coetser (August 2012)

Copyright :: All Rights Reserved
Registered :: 2012-08-04 20:07:50
Title :: South West Africa ~ Namibia ~ Namib Desert
Category :: Article Hub
Fingerprint :: 229acc807329819c65b4501bbc4703c9fe09d0462b503ffa43d0fa4d39e10800


Sunshine625 aka Linda Bilyeu

Sunshine625 aka Linda Bilyeu

Credit to -

Linda Bilyeu aka

sunshine625 for telling me about her doctor's visit to Namibia.


Dr. Mark Bielawny for sending me some of the pictures he took during his vacation in Namibia with permission to use them in this article.


Dr. Mark Bielawny & friends in Namibia

© Mark Bielawny

© Mark Bielawny

More hubs about Africa


Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on February 27, 2013:

Hi Mike, I will stay away from all wild animals, though I love admiring them from a safe distance :)

Mike Robbers from London on February 27, 2013:

Awesome hub, amazing photos :) All those lovely wild animals... I would personally stay away from that lion though :)

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 27, 2012:

Hi Unknown Spy! I could not find a documented reason why the river was named the Fish River. We actually have two Fish Rivers down here - The one mentioned in the hub is in South-West Africa, with its eye east of the Naukluft Mountains and its tail in the Orange River. (The latter is one of the main rivers in SA named after the House of Orange in the Netherlands.)

The second Fish River, called the Great Fish River, is in East Cape Province. The Portuguese navigators - Vasco de Gama and kie - called it Rio de Infante and the local Khoikhoi called it the Oub (Fish) river.

I guess there were a lot of edible fish in those rivers? There still are :))

Life Under Construction from Neverland on October 27, 2012:

thaks for the tour Martie! wonder why they call it Fish River?

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on September 07, 2012:

Hi Sunshine, I know you would enjoy touring Namibia and in particular SA in real life. I guess for Americans touring Africa is like 'experiencing the basics'. Although lodging would/could be luxurious, just being in bare nature could be a cultural shock. On the other hand, you do have many very large open spaces up there... Maybe it is only our animals that have the power to stimulate our basic senses. Anyway, start saving your pennies and come down to experience all of this yourself.... :) I appreciate your support so much!

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on September 06, 2012:

Stopping by for a virtual vacation! Thank you, it was just what I needed! :)

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on August 10, 2012:

Thanks, Mel! Welcome on my page :)

Melanie Chisnall from Cape Town, South Africa on August 10, 2012:

Hi Martie - A cup of coffee sounds like a plan! In the meantime, Facebook will have to do. Have a brilliant day further! :)

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on August 10, 2012:

MelChi, indeed, so nice to meet an English Suidwester. I hope we'll get the opportunity to meet for a cup of coffee one day. In the meantime, I wish you joy and peace in abundance :) Are you on Facebook? If so, there is a link on my profile to my FB-account. I would like to have you as a friend over there as well.

Melanie Chisnall from Cape Town, South Africa on August 09, 2012:

And now you've met an English Suidwester! ;) My Afrikaans is terrible, lol! That's a beautiful story - and to receive a reward from ATKV, well done! :)

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on August 09, 2012:

How interesting, MelChi. Oh my, and when you're a child of Namibia your soul always yearns for all those uniqueness to be found nowhere else but in the Namib, Kalhari, Bushveld... And the Afrikaans accent of those Suidwesters! So absolutely fascinating. In the early '90's I had the privilege to receive a reward from the ATKV handed out by Jan Spies. It was merely a certificate and a couple of books, but I will always remember his words while he gave me the prize: "Man, toe ek jou netnou so sien staat daar in die portaal, toe weet ek sommer ek gaat hierdie lot boeke vanaand vir jou gee," And he wrote me a beautiful message in one of the books. He was such a darling. That evening he was dressed in his kortbroek-kakie-outfit while the dress was 'smart'. WTH, he could care less. I guess you are Afrikaans? To be honest, I have not yet met an English Suidwester :)) Thank you so much for your lovely comment :)

Melanie Chisnall from Cape Town, South Africa on August 09, 2012:

Martie! I was born in Namibia and lived there for 13 years until we moved to South Africa. This article pulled at my heart, and reminded me of the years spent growing up there. I've been chased by an elephant in Etosha, climbed a sand dune in the Namib desert, and travelled all over Namibia. My heart belongs to this country. Thank you for this! :)

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on August 08, 2012:

Hi, Melovy! Thank you for coming over for the read and inspiring me with such a kind comment to write more of this kind of hubs :)

Yvonne Spence from UK on August 08, 2012:

Wow, this looks amazing. Those photos are stunning. I can almost imagine being there and how stunning it would be in real life. Very interesting too to read that facts about Namibia.

Thanks for sharing this.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on August 07, 2012:

Hi, my dearest drbj! I try not to give too much detail, for there are more than enough detail to be found via Google. My intention is simply to raise awareness. Africa is still in the Stone Age, ACCORDING to the perception of too many people in this world. Now, I can only defend and promote Southern Africa, as my perception of Central and North Africa is also not on standard.... Sadly, only The Worse events are regarded as NEWS by the media. But is this not typical human? We moan and groan, scream and shout about the bad, but we seldom shout for joy about the good. As if Good is supposed to be.

I am pointing FOUR fingers at myself. When I was young (and stupid) I phoned my mother daily to cry in her ears because my husband was as nasty as a pig in church, but I NEVER told her how good he was in bed..... Tralalalala :))))

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on August 07, 2012:

Nell, thank you so much for your cheerful comment. Those roaring dunes are indeed awesome. Did you hear them in the video, sounding very much like the Didjeridu of the Aboriginal people in Australia. Thanks for the vote!

drbj and sherry from south Florida on August 06, 2012:

What a tour guide you are, Martie. I'll have to read this at least twice more so all your lovely details soak in. And I loved the photos. Especially the elephant. Now that's an ELEPHANT!!!

Save me a spot on that jet. I'm already all packed. :)

Nell Rose from England on August 06, 2012:

Wow! Martie, this was amazing! no actually amazing doesn't do it! lol! fantastic information, the photos were so good I wanted to step into them! I love it, and would love to visit, as others have said this was an awesome hub, and what a place to visit! voted all the way!