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Namibia is a country of stunning contrasts with two great deserts: the Namib and its sea of red sand runs along the entire Atlantic coastline, while the Kalahari in the eastern interior is a sparsely vegetated savannah that sprawls across the border into neighbouring countries. In-between lies the Central Plateau, with open plains and rugged mountains. Famed for its vast open landscapes, endless blue skies, sunny weather and tranquil starry nights, Namibia is the fifth largest country in Africa, encompassing 824 292 square kilometres.

Namibia

Namibia

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Namibia

Sossusvlei

Sossusvlei is situated within the Namib Desert, the oldest desert in the world, which itself is part of the Namib Naukluft National Park that stretches 400km south of Walvis Bay and is sandwiched between the west coast and the escarpment that runs parallel more than 100km inland. Its huge red dunes and flat valley floors make up the archetypical view of the Namib that is world famous.

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Swakopmund (German for "Mouth of the Swakop") is a city on the coast of western Namibia, 280 km (170 mi) west of Windhoek, Namibia's capital. It is the capital of the Erongo administrative district. The town has 42,000 inhabitants and covers 193 square kilometres (75 sq mi) of land. The city is situated in the Namib desert. Swakopmund is a beach resort and an example of German colonial architecture. It was founded in 1892 as the main harbour for German South-West Africa, and a sizable part of its population is still German-speaking today.[citation needed] Buildings in the city include the Altes Gefängnis prison, designed by Heinrich Bause in 1909. The Woermannhaus, built in 1906 with a prominent tower, is now a public library. Attractions in Swakopmund include a Swakopmund Museum, the National Marine Aquarium, a crystal gallery and spectacular sand dunes near Langstrand south of the Swakop River. Outside of the city, the Rossmund Desert Golf Course is one of only five all-grass desert golf courses in the world. Nearby lies a camel farm and the Martin Luther steam locomotive, dating from 1896 and abandoned in the desert. Swakopmund lies on the B2 road and the Trans-Namib Railway from Windhoek to Walvis Bay. It is home to Swakopmund Airport.

Swakopmund

Damaraland was a name given to the north-central part of what later became Namibia, inhabited by the Damaras. It was bounded roughly by Ovamboland in the north, the Namib Desert in the west, the Kalahari Desert in the east, and Windhoek in the south. In the 1970s the name Damaraland was revived for a bantustan in South West Africa (present-day Namibia), intended by the apartheid government to be a self-governing homeland for the Damara people. A centrally administered local government was created in 1980. The bantustan Damaraland was situated on the western edge of the territory that had been known as Damaraland in the 19th century. Damaraland, like other homelands in South West Africa, was abolished in May 1989 at the start of the transition to independence. The name Damaraland predates South African control of Namibia and is the subject of an entry in the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica.

Damaraland
© Wilderness Safaris: Dana Allan

Etosha National Park is a national park in northwestern Namibia. The park was proclaimed a game reserve on March 22, 1907 in Ordinance 88 by the Governor of German South West Africa, Dr. Friedrich von Lindequist. It was designated as Wildschutzgebiet Nr. 2 which means Game Reserve Number 2, in numerical order after West Caprivi (Game Reserve No. 1) and preceding Namib Game Reserve (No. 3). In 1958, Game Reserve No. 2 became Etosha Game Park and was elevated to status of National Park in 1967 by an act of parliament of the Republic of South Africa which administered South-West Africa during that time. Etosha National Park spans an area of 22,270 square kilometres (8,600 sq mi) and gets its name from the large Etosha pan which is almost entirely within the park. The Etosha pan (4,760 square kilometres (1,840 sq mi)) covers 23% of the area of the total area of the Etosha National Park. The park is home to hundreds of species of mammals, birds and reptiles, including several threatened and endangered species such as the black rhinoceros. The park is located in the Kunene region and shares boundaries with the regions of Oshana, Oshikoto and Otjozondjupa.

Etosha