Cruising to Namibia


South Africa occupied the German colony of South-West Africa during World War I and administered it as a mandate until after World War II, when it annexed the territory. In 1966 the Marxist South-West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) guerrilla group launched a war of independence for the area that was soon named Namibia.

However, it was not until 1988 that South Africa agreed to end its administration in accordance with a UN peace plan for the entire region. Namibia won its independence in 1990 and has been governed by SWAPO since. Hifikepunye POHAMBA was elected president in November 2004 in a landslide victory replacing Sam NUJOMA who led the country during its first 14 years of self rule.


Location: Southern Africa, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Angola and South Africa
Geographic coordinates: 22 00 S, 17 00 E
Map references: Africa
Area: total: 825,418 sq km


1,572 km

Maritime claims

Territorial sea: 12 nm
Contiguous zone: 24 nm
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


Desert; hot, dry; rainfall sparse and erratic


Mostly high plateau; Namib Desert along coast; Kalahari Desert in east

Elevation extremes

Lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
Highest point: Konigstein 2,606 m


The economy is heavily dependent on the extraction and processing of minerals for export. Mining accounts for 20% of GDP. Rich alluvial diamond deposits make Namibia a primary source for gem-quality diamonds. Namibia is the fourth-largest exporter of nonfuel minerals in Africa, the world's fifth-largest producer of uranium, and the producer of large quantities of lead, zinc, tin, silver, and tungsten.

The mining sector employs only about 3% of the population while about half of the population depends on subsistence agriculture for its livelihood. Namibia normally imports about 50% of its cereal requirements; in drought years food shortages are a major problem in rural areas. A high per capita GDP, relative to the region, hides the world's worst inequality of income distribution.

The Namibian economy is closely linked to South Africa with the Namibian dollar pegged one-to-one to the South African rand. Privatization of several enterprises in coming years may stimulate long-run foreign investment. Increased fish production and mining of zinc, copper, uranium, and silver spurred growth in 2003-05.


Airports: 136 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 21
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 115
Railways: total: 2,382 km
narrow gauge: 2,382 km 1.067-m gauge (2004)
Roadways: total: 42,237 km

Merchant marine

Total: 1 ships (1000 GRT or over) 2,265 GRT/3,605 DWT
By type: cargo 1 (2005)

Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals

Luderitz, Walvis Bay

Other Sailing Destinations in the Region

Angola - Antarctica - Cameroon - Congo - Falkland Islands - Gambia - Ivory Coast - Mauritania - Namibia - Nigeria - St. Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha - Senegal - South Africa

Further Reading

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