»NAMIBIA » natural environment

With its surface area of 824 268 km2, Namibia is a vast country. Situated on the south-western Atlantic coast of the African continent, it borders on Angola and Zambia in the north, South Africa in the south and Botswana in the east. In the far north east is the Caprivi Strip, an elongated panhandle consisting of tropical riverine swamplands and bordered by four countries - Angola, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia.


Namibia has a dry climate typical of a semi-desert country where droughts are a regular occurrence. Days are mostly warm to very hot, while nights are generally cool. Average day temperatures in the summer vary from 20°C – 34°C and average night temperatures in the winter from O°C – 10°C. Temperatures in the interior are lower because of the altitude, while the cold Benguela Current has a modifying influence on the coastal desert and its hinterland. The Benguela is the prime determinant of the climate of the Namib, as it reduces rainfall and causes the omnipresent fog typical of the coast. An interesting aspect of Namibia's climate is the vast differences between the arid southern desert and semi-desert areas and the tropical water-rich north east with its abundant summer rains.

Nevertheless, Namibia is the most arid country in Southern Africa, with a humidity of less than 10% during the winter months and varying from 50% to 80% in the summer. Except for the south-western areas where winter rainfall occurs, rain usually falls in the summer months between October and May, with a short rainy season in November. The main rainy season is from January to March. Rainfall is usually caused by convection thunderstorms. These are unevenly distributed throughout the country and normally of short duration. Average rainfall figures vary from less than 50 mm along the coast to 350 mm in the central and 700 mm in the far north-eastern regions. However, be-cause of the high variability of rainfall, especially in the arid regions, the "annual average" does not necessarily give a true picture. An average rainfall of 200 mm per year, for example, indicates showers of anything between 80 mm and 280 mm.