A cool ocean current and a high capital bring surprising variety to a country of vast deserts
Known in colonial times as German South West Africa, the name Namibia derives from a word meaning “vast place”. This aptly describes a country more than three times the size of the UK, yet with fewer than 2.5 million inhabitants.
Much of Namibia is either desert or semi-desert, with very low rainfall. The capital (and largest city), Windhoek, gets about 360mm (roughly 14 inches) of rain a year, almost all between spring and autumn, from October through to April. Temperatures here also vary from season to season, from an average daily maximum of 30C (86F), peaking at 36C, at the height of summer, to a more comfortable 20C in winter, helped by the capital’s altitude of 1,730 metres (5,670ft) above sea level.