ABOUT Partially covered by the Namiba, one of the world's driest deserts, Namibia's climate is generally very dry and pleasant. The cold Benguela current keeps the coast cool, damp and free of rain for most of the year. Namibia is home to vibrant cities where people are excited about the future, while remaining deeply connected to their rich, cultural past. A stable, democratic government, infrastructure that allows guests to move confidently off the beaten path and endless horizons that beckon you to explore define this country and its people. Namibia is the only country in the world where large numbers of rare and endangered wildlife are translocated from national parks to open communal land. This commitment to protecting wildlife is especially important given the country’s remarkable diversity of species and high level of endemism. Namibia is home to approximately 4,350 species and subspecies of vascular plants, of which 17% are endemic. Six hundred and seventy-six bird species have been recorded, of which over 90 are endemic to Southern Africa and 13 to Namibia. Furthermore, 217 species of mammals are found in Namibia, 26 of which are endemic, including unique desert-dwelling rhino and elephants. This high level of endemism gives Namibia’s conservation of biodiversity a global significance.
CLIMATE Between about December to March some days will be humid and rain may follow, often in localised, afternoon thunderstorms. These are more common in the centre and east of the country, and more unusual in the desert. April and especially May are often lovely months in Namibia. Increasingly dry, with a real freshness in the air, and much greenery in the landscape; at this time the air is clear and largely free from dust. From June to August Namibia cools down and dries out more; nights can become cold, dropping below freezing in some desert areas. As the landscape dries so the game in the north of the country gravitates more to waterholes, and is more easily seen by visitors. By September and October it warms up again; game-viewing in most areas is at its best, although there's often a lot of dust around and the vegetation has lost its vibrancy. November is a highly variable month. Sometimes the hot, dry weather will continue, at other times the sky will fill with clouds and threaten to rain – but if you're lucky enough to witness the first rains of the season, you'll never forget the drama.
BEWARE of pickpockets in town centres. Do not use taxis available for street hailing, particularly in Windhoek, as these have been involved in thefts from foreign tourists. Instead, ask your hotel, guest house or tour operator to recommend a reputable taxi company. Muggers in Windhoek frequently target foreign tourists. Attacks can take place even in busy city centre locations in broad daylight. Remain with your group when visiting parks and game reserves. There have been cases of credit card skimming at some hotels and lodges around the country (Okakuejo Lodge in Etosha National Park has been identified as a hotspot for this). When paying by credit card, keep the card in full view at all times and always check your statement carefully to ensure you do not become a victim of fraud.