Size and geographical situation
Namibia is situated in south-western Africa on the latitude of the Tropic of Capricorn. In the north, it borders on Angola, in the east on Botswana, in the south on South Africa, and in the west on the Atlantic Ocean. The Caprivi-strip in the north-east of the country reaches as far as Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Namibia has a surface area of 823 144 km². Our country is four times the size of Great Britain, more than twice the size of Germany, and larger than Texas.
Swakopmund is a popular summer resort for all Namibians. It's also a popular tourist destination known for its nostalgia and beautiful historical buildings. The local museum has the best historical collection in the country. Daily tours into the Namib desert offer a unique experience to see desert flora and fauna. Visitors can also go out angling on a boat or spend the day at the endless, unspoilt, deserted beach. A colony of about 100 000 seals can be seen at the Cape Cross Seal Reserve. And then there is of course the fog-bound, treacherous Skeleton Coast.
Namibia has a population of 1 600 000 which gives a population density of less than 2 persons per km², and hence one of the lowest in the world.
Namibia's population is heterogeneous. All population groups live together peacefully. They make Namibia a sheer treasure of diverse cultural heritage, setting an example as to how democracy can be practiced successfully.
The largest part of the population lives in rural areas. Windhoek, the capital, is the only city in the country with a population of approximately 200 000 inhabitants. Other bigger towns in the country are Walvis Bay, Keetmanshoop, Ondangwa, Oshakati, Otjiwarongo, Rehoboth, Rundu, Swakopmund, Grootfontein and Tsumeb.
English is the official language. Apart from the indigenous African languages Oshivambo, Oshiherero, Nama-Damara and Kwangali also German and Afrikaans are widely spoken as mother tongues and communication languages.
Postal services and telecommunications
Direct telephone, fax or telex lines link Windhoek and other bigger towns in the country directly to the world. Namibia’s telecommunication network, as well as mail service, is ample and efficient. Mobile units maintain communications with remote rural areas. Mobile telephone roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone operators.
Namibia's medical care system is good, as compared with other African countries. In Windhoek and Swakopmund there are public and private hospitals with well trained medical personnel and modern diagnostic facilities. Also in other bigger towns of the country hospitals are well equipped. In rural areas, long distances may have to be overcome in order to get to the nearest hospital.
The Namibia Dollar (N$) is the national currency. 1 Dollar = 100 cents. The Namibia Dollar is linked to the South African Rand on a 1: 1 basis. The South African Rand will remain a legal tender. Unrestricted import of foreign currency. Traveller’s cheques should preferably be issued in US$ or Euro. International credit cards are widely accepted by hotels, shops, car rental companies, etc. Euro-cheques can be exchanged at most banks.
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Car hire and traffic rules
Ordinary road cars and 4x4 vehicles can be hired in Windhoek (and at either airport), Katima-Mulilo, Lüderitz, Tsumeb, Walvis Bay, and Swakopmund. Foreigners need an international driver's licence when driving a car in Namibia. Visitors of neighbouring countries are exempt from this regulation.
In Namibia, people drive on the left side of the road. The speed limit is 120 km/hr on open roads and 60 km/hr in villages/towns. However, it is advisable to drive at a lower speed than 120 km/hr on gravel roads. Safety-belts must be worn. Traffic signs are international.
No vaccinations are required. Malaria prophylaxis is recommended, however, if travelling to northern Namibia or to Natal in South Africa (especially during the rainy season in September/October and December-April). In Botswana, malaria precautions should be taken throughout the year. Insect repellents are strongly recommended.