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Summary: Namibia is in southern Africa between Angola and South Africa against the Atlantic and is mostly high plateau with the Namib Desert along the west coast and the Kalahari Desert in the east, and large sections of land protected in the country's constitution ? the first country with constitutional environmental protection. With an economy based primarily on its large mineral resources with subsistence agriculture and a strong link with South African performance, Namibia continues to work with the UN to combat AIDS.

Capital: Windhoek
Time Zone: UTC+1 (DST)
Population: 1,954,033
Languages: English, Afrikaans, German, Oshivambo, Herero, Nama
Power: 220V, 50 Hz
Currency: Namibian Dollar - Currently 1 NAD = 0.1487 USD $
Climate: Namibia has a desert climate and is mostly hot and dry with sparse and erratic rainfall, a dry winter from May to October and a hot summer from December to March.


Destinations

Windhoek: Sitting on Namibia's central plateau, Windhoek rests at around 5450 feet in altitude making this a good place to begin exploring the highlands. The sights include the Christuskirche, a beautiful white trimmed landmark, Alte Feste, a fort converted into a museum that is worth an afternoon to explore, and take a pictures of the parliament buildings, another popular landmark. Just outside the city, the Daan Viljoen Game Park, cut by a river with stunning vistas is a easy day trip.

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Etosha National Park: Most tourists come to Namibia for the wildlife, and 200 miles north of the capital, the Etosha National Park is one of the top destinations. Mostly savanna with a dried seabed that is occasionally hydrated by rainfall, you will find zebras, cheetahs, giraffes, elephants, and lions, plus many more creatures concentrated more around the water springs in the area around the drier winter months. To the west 100 miles is the Skeleton Coast, getting its name from the extreme arid landscape that greeted shipwreck survivors.

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Luderitz: About 300 miles south of Windhoek is the German town Luderitz, near the off-limits diamond mined area called the Sperrgebiet. While here, stop by and see the informative Luderitz Museum, with nice collections of the history of the local area and people, and the Felsenkirche, a Lutheran church landmark. Trek 150 miles southeast to Fish River Canyon, a parkland dominated by the 17 mile wide gorge that also offers picnic and camping sites along with walking and hiking trails.

 

Security: General street smarts are advised in the capital, but avoiding the Angola border is advised. Mines are a big part of the country's economy, with large amounts of diamonds being brought to the surface, as a result, the mines are guarded ? don't test their sense of humor.


Local Customs: Locals in the bigger towns frequently wave at each other as they pass by, making a common and welcoming society, but only use your right hand for greeting, eating or passing items, as the left is considered dirty. Days usually end with a sundowner, or a drink to say goodbye to the sun.

Currencies: The South African rand is accepted 1:1 within Namibia, despite the dollar being much weaker in comparison in South Africa. Currencies are best exchanged in the capital, although credit cards and traveler's checks can be used through most larger towns and cities.

When To Visit: The winter season from May to October is the most comfortable time to visit the country. March 21st is the national celebration for Independence Day, and Oktoberfest is cheerfully celebrated in late October.

Food: Namibian cuisine varies depending on the region and sub-culture, but important parts of the diet can include the buterpits or nara melon, porridge or soup made from cornmeal, called mielie pap, or from millet, called mahango, and stews of lamb, goat or fish, along with vegetables like peppers, onions and pumpkins. Boerewors are large German-influenced sausages , often eaten with breads and fruit.

Tipping: Check your bill, as a 10% service charge may have already been added, and include the same if it has not.





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