INTRODUCTION

Namibia became independent in 1990 after a long period of colonial rule by Germany, Britain and South Africa.  The indigenous population comprises a number of different tribal peoples including the Himba in the inhospitable Northern Himba womanpart of the country.

It is a dry country with generally low rainfall due to the influence of the cool Benguela current which flows along its coastline and has produced the ancient Namib Desert.  The Namib is known as the oldest desert in the world not having experienced the alternating wet and dry episodes of eg. the Sahara desert. It is 2000km long but only extends 30-100km inland and is therefore relatively small in area.  In many ways it is similar to the Atacama Desert in whale vertebraChile being a coastal desert influenced by a cool oceanic current and reliant on sea mists to sustain many of the plants and animals.  Like the Humboldt Current along the Chilean coast the Benguela Current is rich in sea life and consequently supports high populations of sea mammals and sea birds along the coastline.   In the north the coastal region is known as the Skeleton Coast due to its fatal attraction for shipping and whales. cessna fly-inThis area has restricted access, and tourism in the far north is strictly controlled with only two camps and fly-access only. In the southern part of the Namib the spectacular mighty dune systems of Sossusvlei dominate the landscape.  Namibia also contains the Etosha salt pan, incorporated into the Etosha National Park, where the high densities of large animals coupled with the relatively sparse vegetation make for excellent game viewing.