A map of Namibia Lying on Africa’s southwest coast is Namibia, one of the least densely-populated countries in the world. Most of the land is hot, dry desert and completely uninhabited. Running down Namibia’s western coast is the Namib Desert, one of the driest places on Earth. Inland, a range of high, craggy mountains rise sharply from the desert plains. The rest of the country lies on a high, semi-desert plateau; its land is a mixture of scrubland and savanna. In the east, this region merges with the Kalahari Desert. Namibia’s climate is subtropical, with very hot summers and warm winters. There is very little rain. The capital, Windhoek, lies high in the mountains, where conditions are slightly cooler all year round.
Most Namibians are descended from the Bantu peoples who spread out from central Africa 3000 years ago. Today, there are 16 different ethnic groups or “tribes” in Namibia; the largest group, the Ovambo, make up 50% of the population. Many groups speak different languages but most people can speak Afrikaans or English to communicate with one another. Nearly all Namibian children go to school, which means that the country has one of the highest literacy rates (the proportion who can read and write) in sub-Saharan Africa. About 10% of the population is of European—Dutch or British—descent.
The climate of the Namib Desert has hardly changed at all in the last 55 million years, making it the oldest desert on Earth.
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