HISTORY OF NAMIBIA
Namibia enjoys one of the few democratic dispensations in Africa and this has been in effect since their independence in 1990. They work hard to stay colonialized and prevent foreign occupation. The first colonial seizure was effected by Germany, which had control over a large area of the territory from the 1880’s onwards. The South Africans conquered South West Africa (the colonial name for Namibia) during the 1st World War and the territory became a mandate of the League of Nations, with control vested in South Africa. They finally became independent in 1990 after there was a lot of internal resistance to South African rule.
The people were very resistant to colonial occupation and that caused the war between the German and the Herero people in 1904-1907. Almost 80% of the Herero people were killed by the Germans.
The national elections of 1989 were won by Swapo. The first president of the country was Sam Nujoma, who stayed in power until 2005.
NAMIBIA TOURIST DESTINATIONS
Namibia is situated on the southwestern coast of Africa and covers 824,292 sq. kms. The country borders Angola and Zambia in the north, Botswana in the east, and South Africa in the south. In addition to its multitude of wildlife, it has one of the most diverse and fascinating landscapes.
1. ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK
This park is definitely one of the best wildlife sanctuaries in Africa. The game viewing in Etosha is amazing! Etosha means “The place of dry water”. The park encloses a huge, flat pan about 500sq. km. The pan only contains water after good rains and only for a few days, but it is usually enough to stimulate the growth of blue and green algae which lures thousands of flamingos.
The whole park is about 22,750 sq. kms. The waterholes make it great for game viewing. Elephants, lions and the Black Rhino can also be seen in this park.
2. FISH RIVER CANYON
This canyon gets its name from the “Fish River”. The Fish River is about 650km and is the longest river in Namibia. The Canyon is located in the south of Namibia, close to the border of South Africa.
The Fish River Canyon is over 500 million years old. It was formed through water and wind erosion as well as the collapse of the valley floor.
This canyon is a very popular hiking destination.
Located in the Namib Naukluft Park, Sossusvlei is one of the most spectacular tourist attractions. It is a large, white, salt and clay pan and the dunes in this area are some of the highest in the world reaching over 400 metres.
Sossusvlei means “dead end marsh”, because this is the place where the dunes come together preventing the Tsauchab River from flowing any further.
Despite the harsh desert conditions in the area, one can find a variety of plants and animals that have adapted to survive in this area.
4. NAMIB NAUKLUFT PARK
The Namib Naukluft Park is the largest game park in Africa. It is 40,000sq. km and the fourth largest in the world.
The park consist of 4 sections: Sossusvlei and Sesriem/Namib Naukluft Park/Namib/Sandwich Harbour.
5. CAPRIVI STRIP
The Caprivi Strip is unique and has its own history. Until the 19th century the Caprivi was ruled by the Lozi Kings, but later became part of the British Bechuanaland Protectorate (knows as Botswana today). In 1890 Germany laid claim to the island of Zanzibar, but the British fought it. It was finally settled in 1890 and Germany acquired the territory which is now knows as the Caprivi Strip.
The reason for this swap was to be able to have a strip of land that would be added to German South West Africa, linking the Zambezi River, Lake Tanganyika and the Indian Ocean via another German colony Tanzania. It was administered by South Africa until independence in 1990. The Caprivi then became one of the 13 political regions in Namibia with its own Regional Governor and six councillors.
Rocky area with over 2000 rock carvings and was approved as a World Heritage Site. The site is a very important site for rock art in Africa and was proclaimed a National Monument in 1952.
Spitzkoppe is the Matterhorn of Namibia. It contains granite peaks that are similar in shape to the Swiss alpine mountain. The mountain was formed 700 million years ago and the painting on the rocks prove that human habitation exist there 2000-4000 years ago.
The highest point is about 1728 metres above sea level and it is a popular place for rock climbers.
8. DAAN VILJOEN
DaanViljoen nature reserve is located in the KhomasHochland in Namibia and is a very small game park. One good thing about this park is that you are allowed to walk around, where you are restricted to your vehicle in most of the other parks in Namibia
9. ALTE FESTE
Being the oldest building in Windhoek, the foundation was laid in 1890. It was used as a barracks and finally became the headquarters of the Schutztruppe. The building was eventually expanded and had 54 rooms. It became the headquarters of South African troops in later years.
The building has a colonial view and was really built to preserve peace and order between the local warring tribes. It has been a National Museum since 1962 that places particular emphasis on the freedom struggle and Namibian independence.
10. CHRIST CHURCH WINDHOEK
The Christus Kircke in Windhoek is the oldest Evangelical Lutheran church in Namibia. It was designed by a German government architect. It is a beautiful church, inside and out. It is based on the idea of a basilica; that is, a church with a rounded end and 2 aisles. The walls are built with sandstone and the portal is of Italian Carrarian marble.
11. SKELETON COAST NATIONAL PARK
Sand dunes, canyons and mountain ranges that stretches from the Kunene River in the north to the Ugab River in the south and protects one third of Namibia’s coastline. The climate conditions are foggy and cold caused by the cold Benguela Current which flows offshore, meeting with the extreme heat of the Namib Desert.
Lots of shipwrecks can be found all over and lots of stories have been told about this barren landscape in search of food and water. The Bushmen called this “the land that God made in anger” and the Portuguese thought of it as the gates of Hell.
The Skeleton Coast has a great variety of species, large mammals, birds and plants that adapted to the rugged life in the desert.
As this area is Namibia’s newest national park, it is still largely undeveloped and inaccessible to visitors. The diamond industry in the coastal areas over uses this area and it has suffered considerable damage. The Diamond Corporation is trying to reverse the damage by re-vegetating spoil heaps.
You can still explore the unexplored. The area start in the town of Luderitz, taking visitors initially to the southern extremity of the park to the Bogenfels rock arch, on to a modern diamond mine and the ghost town at Elizabeth Bay and another one at Pomona.
Tintenpalast is a parliament building that was completed in 1904. It became known as the Tintenpalast, German for Ink Palace because of the amount of ink used for the bureaucracy. It overlooks the Parliament Gardens.
14. HEROES ACRE
Heroes Acre is an official war memorial of the government of Namibia and is located in the Auas Mountains about 10km south of Windhoek. The monument operates for the purpose of fostering spirit of patriotism and nationalism and to pass on the legacy to future generations of Namibia. It is also the place where Namibian heroes and heroines are honoured and remembered.
15. NATIONAL MARINE AQUIRIUM OF NAMIBIA
This aquarium was built to spread information about Namibian marine life and to enhance knowledge about the sensitivity and complexity of the Benguela system.
Seawater is drawn in from the old jetty and pumped through various filter systems in the exhibition tanks.
16. REITERDENKMAL WINDHOEK
This is bronze statue. It was created in Berlin and shipped to Namibia. It was built to remember the German soldiers and civilians that died in the Herero war as well as in the Kalahari Expedition.
17. SHARK ISLAND NAMIBIA
This is an island where one of the most prominent guerilla leaders, Cornelius Fredericks died in a prison camp. This island was used by the German military as a prisoner of war camp.
Schwerin’s castle is the biggest of three castle in Windhoek, Namibia. Today it is the private residence of the Italian ambassador in Namibia.
19. NATIONAL LIBRARY OF NAMIBIA
The national library of Namibia supports education and research by providing all Namibians access to national and international information sources.
20. ST MARY’S CATHEDRAL WINDHOEK
The St Mary’s cathedral is a Roman Catholic Church in Windhoek. It is the seat of the Archdiocese of Windhoek.
21. CAPE CROSS SEAL RESERVE
Cape Cross is a Cape Fur Seal Beach where Portuguese captain and navigator, Diego, put a stone cross up. It is the breeding place of Cape Fur Seals. About 80,000-100,000 seals inhabit Cape Cross.