Visitors to Namibia are growing in number, but the country’s vast areas of wilderness guarantee the chance to be away from any crowds. Even at some of the most popular tourist attractions – such as the Fish River Canyon or the Etosha National Park – it isn’t hard to find places where you’re completely alone to enjoy the country’s spectacular sights and scenery.


Swakopmund is Namibia’s main holiday resort. The cooler coastal temperatures and frequent fog offer relief from the heat inland and there are many sporting activities available in the area. These include sand-boarding and dune carting, parachuting, hot air ballooning and shark fishing. The town was developed by the Germans as an alternative to Walvis Bay (which was initially under British control) and therefore much of its old architecture is German in style.


A woman’s status varies by country and region across Africa. In many parts, women struggle against inequality in laws, education, pay and domestic responsibilities.

Women’s health is also at risk from traditional practices such as early marriage. But with better education, girls can make more informed choices, leading to the greater development of African nations.

Walvis Bay

Walvis Bay is the only deep, natural harbour between Lüdertiz and the coast of Angola to the north. It remained under British control initially when Germany claimed the rest of Namibia. After World War I, the South Africans developed it as the major port of the region. Meaning ‘whale bay’, the town now attracts birdwatchers for its large numbers of seabirds and waders, including the popular flamingos and pelicans. Just north, on the road to Swakopmund, the sea’s waves crash into the sand dunes of the Namib Desert.


Windhoek lies almost in the exact centre of the country. Compared to many capitals, it has a small population of around 200,000 people. The site of hot springs (and known by the Herero as Otjomuise or ‘place of steam’), it became a major trading post of German missionaries in the 19th century. The old architecture of the centre gives it a picturesque and European feel. Like many capitals, there are poor black townships away from the centre; during apartheid, Khomasdal was designated for ‘coloured people’ and Katutura for ‘blacks’.


The Kalahari

Birds and animals employ various techniques to survive in the harsh conditions of the Kalahari desert.


Africa has a high number of communicable diseases, which place a huge burden on healthcare systems. The vast majority of malaria cases and HIV/AIDS-related deaths occur in Africa; these two diseases currently represent the greatest threats.

With low investment in healthcare and a severe shortage of medical staff, many countries struggle to meet the health needs of their people.

South Africa Map

Explore South Africa

Explore a map of South Africa. Find out more about the most important places in South Africa

Twyfelfontein / Uri-Ais

Rock engravings dating back to the Stone Age (ending around 2,000 BC) have been found at Twyfelfontein or Uri-Ais. These depict animals such as giraffe, rhinos and lions. There are also drawings of humans. With such a large concentration of rock art, the area is a World Heritage Site.

Zimbabwe map

Explore Zimbabwe

Find some of the key cities, sites of interest and national parks on this map of Zimbabwe.

Botswana Map

Explore Botswana

Find out about some of Botswana’s key attractions, such as the Okavango Delta and other places of interest, such as the capital city, Gaborone.

Lüderitz, Kolmanskop

Founded in 1883 by a German trader, Lüderitz enjoyed sudden prosperity when diamonds were discovered at nearby Kolmanskop. Much of the town’s original architecture remains, including grand buildings built during the diamond boom. However, since diamond mining has moved elsewhere, Kolmanskop is now a ghost town, visited by tourists as a site of historical interest.


Africa has some of the most distinctive cuisines and flavours in the world. Food varies widely, but there are commonalities across regions. Depending on what's grown locally, dishes are also influenced by the traders, immigrants and rulers who settled across the continent. Arab, Asian and European elements blend in with traditional African cooking.


‘People are the real wealth of a nation.’ This is the belief of the United Nations, whose Millenium Development Goals provide a framework for improving the lives of millions.

It helps when nations are peaceful, stable and growing economically. But where even the poorest countries focus on health, education and creating fairer societies, more Africans have the chance of a better life.

Etosha Pan + National Park

Etosha means ‘Great White Place’ because of the huge white pan which dominates the region. This depression of salt and dusty clay used to be a lake which was fed by the Kunene River. When the river’s course altered thousands of years ago, the lake dried up. However, the pan still fills with water for a short time in the rainy season and attracts thousands of wading birds, including flamingos. Many waterholes also ensure a wealth of wildlife in the area, such as elephant, giraffe, rhino, lions and species of buck and kudu. Etosha National Park is therefore one of Namibia’s most important wildlife reserves.

Games & Sport

Africa is home to arguably the oldest-recorded games and sports. While some are only known through archaeology, modern-day games and sports such as Mancala/Mankala and Nubian wrestling are very much alive today.

Of course, new sports have come along to claim the attention of Africans. You may have heard of one - it's called football.

Ais-Ais National Park

The Ai-Ais and Fish River Canyon Park merged with South Africa’s Ricthersveld National Park in 2003 to form the Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park. (Another Transfrontier Conservation Area is being planned in the north-east of Namibia. Centring around the Caprivi-Chobe-Victoria Falls region, the Kavango Zambezi will encompass 36 parks, reserves and wildlife management areas, and span across Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.)

Geography & Wildlife

With its varied geography and diverse habits, the African continent is home to a wide range of flora and fauna. Though famous for its 'big game' animals, Africa has huge numbers of fish, mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian and insect species, as well as many tree, plant and flower species.

Caprivi Strip

With its four National Parks, wildlife proves a key attraction in the narrow corridor of the Caprivi Strip. With its high rainfall and lush vegetation, Caprivi is unlike most regions of Namibia. The main road through the Strip is known as ‘the Golden Highway’ because it forms such an important trade and communication link with countries to the east such as Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana. This trading route was the original reason why this narrow area of land was bartered over and finally kept as part of Namibia – see History & Politics.


The first humans are thought to have lived in Africa and powerful African empires formed from the medieval age onwards.

However, today's African nations were shaped by the European powers who colonised this vast continent. Having gained their independence, many African countries are still coming to terms with the legacy left by their colonisers.


Situated in the very south of Namibia, Oranjemund lies at the mouth of the Orange River. Given the rich deposits of diamonds in the area, the town and areas around it have been restricted for visitors. However, restrictions may change in the future to allow better access to the Orange River and Sperrgebiet national park.

Namib-Naukluft National Park

The Namib-Naukluft National Park offers visitors a unique desert environment. Many of the region’s animals and plants are specially adapted to survive the harsh climate of the Namib desert – see Geography & Wildlife. Incorporating sand dunes, mountain outcrops and plains of rock and stone, the region also has river valleys and pans with underground water, where trees such as Acacia thrive. Grasses, flowers and plants sprouting after the rainy season attract a range of wildlife including oryx, springbok and mountain zebra. Smaller carnivorous mammals, such as jackals, foxes and hyenas, also survive here.


Across the rest of the world, absolute poverty has halved over recent decades, but in Africa it has barely fallen.

About two-fifths of the population of sub-Saharan Africa survive week by week on what someone in the UK earns from just one hour's work on the minimum wage.


Around one in six children born in sub-Saharan Africa don't live to see their fifth birthday and life can be tough for those who do.

What are the common challenges facing African children and how do their lives compare with those of children in the UK?

Fish River Canyon

The Fish River Canyon in the south of Namibia is a huge and impressive gorge – over 160m long, up to 27km wide and nearly 550m at the deepest point. Not as deep as Ethiopia’s Blue Nile Gorge (see Ethiopia, Tourism & Communication), it is often referred to as the second largest canyon in Africa (though it is wider and possibly longer).

Zambia Map

Explore Zambia

Find out about some key places in Zambia, such as Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

Angola map

Explore Angola

Explore the map of Angola and discover more about some of the key places and features of interest.

Otavi, Tsumeb, Grootfontein

The three towns of Otavi, Tsumeb and Grootfontein form the points of the ‘Otavi Triangle’. The area is a wooded and fertile plain beneath the towering Otavi Mountains (where evidence of our early ancestors was found – click the map point to see History & Politics). Tsumeb was once an important mining town, famous for its many ores, minerals and gemstones. Many of the deposits are exhausted now, but the region is important as a farming area and is sometimes called the ‘Maize’ or ‘Golden Triangle’.


Africa is a massive continent, with a range of climates. Some regions are hot and dry, like the Sahara, Kalahari and Namib deserts. Other parts are wet or covered in tropical rainforest. Conditions also vary by altitude, from the dry salt pans of the Danakil Depression (one of the lowest points on earth) to the snowcaps (at certain times) of the highest mountains. Weather-wise, Africa has it all!

Agriculture & Famine

A quarter of the population of sub-Saharan Africa is undernourished and famines can impact whole regions.

Land is available to grow more food locally, but investment is needed in  technologies such as irrigation for land to be used effectively. Farmers must also adapt to climate change if they are to feed the continent's rising population.

Namibia map Otavi, Tsumeb, Grootfontein Kalahari Otavi, Tsumeb, Grootfontein Otavi, Tsumeb, Grootfontein Twyfelfontein / Uri-Ais Swakopmund Walvis Bay Lüderitz, Kolmanskop Oranjemund Fish River Canyon Windhoek Ais-Ais National Park Namib-Naukluft National Park Etosha Pan + National Park Etosha Pan + National Park Botswana Map South Africa Map Zambia Map Zimbabwe map Caprivi Strip Angola map