Namibia lies in the southwest of Africa and is limited in the north by Angola, in the east by Botswana and in the south by South Africa. In the west a coastal strip of 1600 km’s forms the boundary to Atlantic. The north is defined by the rivers Kunene and Okavango and the Oranje as a southern limiting river. In the northeast the country extends for 50 km’s broad 450 km’s strip-like, the so-called Caprivi-strip, up to the Zambezi.
The Atlantic coast area is characterized by uncovered primary rock like crags and reefs. Because of the cold Benguela Stream fog often rises having brought many ships to run aground the Namibian Coast. Innumerable shipwrecks can still be found at the Skeleton Coast named after the skeletons found there. However profits rise from the Benguela Stream passing the coast full of plankton and thus a great variety of fish. With that rugged coast Namibia has very few natural ports. The only usable one for bigger ships is Walvis Bay that was given back by South Africa to Namibia in 1994. The smaller port in Luederitzbucht is used mainly for fishing.
The Namib Desert stretches between Kunene and Oranje. It is located between the Atlantic coast and the escarpment towards the inner highlands. This real desert emerged from extreme dryness caused by the Benguela Stream. The northern Namib has a sand and gravel floor with single rocksand massifs up to the area of Swakopmund/Walvis Bay and along the Kuiseb. South to it you find an area of dunes turning into a mere sandy landscape.
The steep rise encloses the highlands, in the middle of it a sand-filled basin, the Kalahari. It leads to the highest mountain of 2335 m, the Gamsberg. The region itself resembles somewhat to the moon. The Wadi-like dry rivers eroded the landscape draining off the wet north. But the waters cannot reach the sea as big dunes, among which the world's highest, Dune 45, block their ways. The highest recognized catchment area is the Sossusvlei. The small water rivers Kuiseb, Omaruru, and Swakop carry small amounts of waters even beyond the rainy seasons giving an important water source for the population of the region. But also the local mining companies meet their demand for water by them.
A must-see is the Gamsberg-road on account of its beauty and its structural special features.
The interior highland in the country's middle reaches its highest elevation here. It lies in the catchment area of the Swakop, between Khomashochland and Erosbergen. In the south it is terminated by the Auasberge.
Craters and hot springs in the Auasbergen suggest extinct volcanoes. Seismographical measurements yield movements of the crust of the earth again and again. The best known hot spring is Ai-Ais in the Fishriver Canyon. But sulphur -containing hot springs occur in Grossbarmen and Otjitambi, too, highly frequented by tourists.
Jan Jonker Afrikaaner occupied the highlands in 1840 and named it after his hometown Winterhoek in South Africa. This divide leading to the eastern and southern passes in between the massifs became a heavily fought for passage for both Herero’s and Nama’s. Hauptmann Curt von François occupied it in 1890 with 32 man of his Schutztruppe, and he started with the building of a fortress on October 18, 1890, being equivalent to the laying of the cornerstone of the contemporary capital.
Windhoek has an elevation of approx. 1700 meters. Many places and buildings are today contemporary witnesses to the German colonial time. The best-known buildings are certainly the equestrian statue and the Christuskirche. Windhoek, also known as the smallest capital of the world, is connected to world aviation by its 40 km’s away international airport "Chief Hosea Kutako Airport". Windhoek is also a crossing of all railway-lines through Namibia. The dam built near Swakop secures the water supply these days. This became necessary since the deep boreholes of the high-laying valley donated no water anymore.
The interior highland falls away to the north, south and east. The foothills of the Kalahari advance up to the Kaokoveld and between Kunene and Kavango up to the Etoshapan. The Kalahari is because of its water richness not a desert but an open savannah. Within the pans, the biggest one is the Etoshapan, the animals find salt and water.
Near Mariental, in the middle of the country, the dunes of the Kalahari pass through up to the railway-line Keetmanshoop-Windhoek the sandfield east of the Waterberg, known for the great battle of 1904, is called Omahake.
The original farm country extends to the regions of the Damara and the Herero in the north. The Ovamboland to the north became no farm country since the German Schutztruppen held the government but not the administration. Therefore, the boundary for the German settlement was the Etoshapan, today a national park with immense game fortune.
It is to be said finally, that a saying of a Namibian friend reflects the scenic realities best:
If you want to see touching sceneries, you must travel the south of Namibia, but if you want to see animals come to the north.