From the Horse’s Mouth – Namibia

Namibia, a country in southwest Africa, is distinguished by the Namib desert along the Atlantic Ocean coast. The country is home to diverse wildlife, including a significant cheetah population. The capital city of Namibia is Windhoek.

How are birthdays celebrated?

Birthdays are celebrated well. People bake or buy cake, soft drinks and beer and prepare food and celebrate with family and friends.

When you first meet someone, how do you greet them?

We greet people with a smile and then a handshake, or with a handshake and a kiss on both cheeks.

What languages are spoken in your country?

People in Namibia speak many languages including Afrikaans, English, Herero, Oshiwambo, Nama/Damara, Rukwangali, Tswana, German, Khoe Khoe Gowab.

What side of the road do people drive on? What do we need to know about driving in Namibia?

In Namibia we drive on the left-hand side of the road. The speed limit in town is 60km/ph and on the highway it is 120km/ph.

How important is punctuality?

Extremely important!

That probably comes from the German influence…

What types of music are popular? Who are some of your most popular musicians?

Local and International genres that are popular are Hip Hop, R & B, Soul, Afro-pop, House and Kwaito.

Some popular local musicians:

  • Gazza – watch and listen here.
  • The Dogg – watch and listen here.
  • Lady May – watch and listen here.
  • EES – watch and listen here.


Are there any traditional dances?

There are so many! Have a look at the videos below to learn more about them.

  • Oshiwambo – watch and listen here.
  • Tswana – watch and listen here.
  • San – watch and listen here.


What traditional festivals are celebrated in your community?

Only a few of Namibia’s cultural events are open to outsiders. These include Independence Day on the 21 March, which is probably the most important day on most Namibian calendars. Independence festivities occur in every village, town and city and will often include singing and dancing as well as the obligatory speeches by members of parliament.

Maherero Day occurs in Okahandja on the weekend closest to the 26th of August. Thousands of Herero people gather in traditional dress for a memorial service to their chiefs, this is a spectacular and fun occasion. If you are going to be in Namibia around this time it is worth visiting this festival, tours are often arranged from Windhoek.

Namibia also has several German style beer festivals the two most notable being Oktoberfest which takes place in Windhoek during late October and WIKA (Windhoek carnival) which happens in April.

What are your seasons like?

With 300 days of sunshine on average per year, Namibia is truly a sunny place. Summer is from October to April and temperatures can reach 40 degrees Celsius (104º Fahernheit), which fall at night to cool levels. Average monthly temperatures range from 20 º C to 34º C in summer. Average minimum winter temperatures range between 6°C and 10°C and average winter day temperatures between 18°C and 22°C. The rainy season lasts from October till April.

What are Namibia’s major industries?

The largest industries in Nambia that contributes towards its economy is fishing, mining, manufacturing and agriculture. Namibia is rich in natural resources such as uranium, zinc, copper, lead, gold, silver, tin, marble and granite. The mining industry brings in half of the country’s foreign earnings.

How do people spend their free time?

People spend their free time drinking, interacting, and bonding at social gatherings.

What do people drink?

Namibians drink traditional beer, wine, homemade ginger beer, whiskey, and brandy.

What is a popular local dish?

Oshiwambo Chicken, Mahangu porridge and dried spinach are a favourite throughout the country.

The staple food of the north-central regions is mahangu (a kind of pearl millet that is cultivated in the northern regions). The grain is pounded in mortars with long wooden pestles and cooked into a stiff porridge, oshimbombo, to be eaten with a variety of accompaniments – from chicken, ondjuhwa; wild spinach, ekaka; and bean sauce, oshigali, to mopane worms, omagungu, when available.

What do you pay for?

  • (USD1.00 = approx. N18, 70)
  • A cup of coffee will cost approximately 32 N$
  • A can of Coca Cola will cost approximately 15 N$
  • A 2-Course meal for 2 people at a midrange restaurant will cost approximately 630 N$
  • A loaf of bread will cost approximately 13 N$
  • 1 litre of milk will cost approximately 21 N$


Security – in general?

Namibia is a very peaceful nation. People have freedom of speech and movement. Good security and infrastructure are in place, but do exercise caution at all times like in any other country.


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Written by Eloise Williams

Edited by Saudika Hendricks

Contributions by Mirinda Subes