Imagine standing on a single spot in a land so vast and empty that it is possible that no human being has ever stood there before. You will experience a magical sense of isolation, of empowerment, of freedom, and of communion with the environment. This is the key to understanding Namibians, for it is both the celebration of their natural surroundings and the challenge of living in a harsh terrain that make them who they are.
A little more than two million people, representing fourteen tribes, races, and ethnic groups, share this land, which has some of the most unusual natural resources in the world. The majority live in the north, along the Namibian-Angolan border, or in the center of the country in the capital city of Windhoek. The rest live on private and communal farms and in the smaller towns dotted around the country.
Tribal and ethnic traditions are important, not only to those in the countryside, but also to city dwellers who want to pass their heritage on. Namibians face the daily challenges of living with almost constant drought amid some of the most spectacular scenery on earth. They feel a mutual responsibility for each other, for wildlife, and for the land they occupy together. No matter where you are in the country, they will welcome you. If you are in trouble, they will help you. If you appreciate humor, they will laugh with you.
Culture Smart! Namibia will take you far in helping you prepare yourself for your visit, in helping you to understand what you will experience and in learning how to conduct yourself so as to ensure a smooth and positive experience for all involved.
Always bring a gift for the host when invited to a private home. Flowers or wine are good options. On arrival, as well as before departing, you should go around the room to greet and shake hands with everyone.