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Recommendations for Namibia. A visual tour through its regions
Subtitle: A visual tour through its regions
Author: Thomas Dressler
Imprint: Sunbird Publishers
Publisher: Jonathan Ball Publishers South Africa
Johannesburg, South Africa 2010
ISBN 9781920289195 / ISBN 978-1-92028-919-5
Hardcover, 20 x 20 cm, 144 pages, 250 colour photographs
Good. Little traces of usage on the exterior, inside clean.
About: Namibia. A visual tour through its regions
Well reflected in Thomas Dressler's beautiful photobook, Namibia: A visual tour through its regions, the Namibian landscape is hauntingly beautiful. Some would call it austere. Others stark. And yet, once the first rains have fallen and life has been restored to its parched lands, it is a country teeming with life, its wildlife congregating in large herds or small family groups, its sombre sands exploding with colour. Bound by the icy waters of the Atlantic in the west, the searing sands of the Kalahari and Botswana in the east, Angola to the north and South Africa to the south, this is a country set apart from all else Africa has to offer. Relatively small pockets of urban settlements lie scattered across an arid expanse that stretches from the Skeleton Coast to the dunes of the Kalahari, which skirt Namibia's border with Botswana.
Hedged between the two extremes is Namibia's heartland, where surprisingly abundant farmland continues its daily struggle to keep the desert sands at bay and creatures great and small have made their home in what otherwise may be considered a harsh and inhospitable landscape. The land here, in places scorched and dry, in others lush and green, is the extraordinary result of the erosive power of wind and water, volcanic activity and glaciation over millennia. Many of Namibia's iconic landmarks, among them the Fish River Canyon and the Skeleton Coast, Vingerkop and the Spitzkoppe and the lunar landscapes that have erupted around the saltpans, consist of bizarre abstract forms, animated rock formations and natural oddities, and all are testimony to the incredible power of nature that typifies this corner of Africa.
While Namibia has earned international acclaim for its extraordinary landscapes and abundant wildlife, which draw hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, it is also remarkably rich in diamonds and other minerals, which contribute no small percentage to the national economy and welfare of its people. The nation of Namibia is a fascinating mix of indigenous groups who made their home here over hundreds if not thousands of years, including the San, Himba, Herero, Owambo and Damara people, as well as the descendants of British, Dutch and, most significantly, German colonists who made their way here to seek their fortune. Today the country with a population of approximately two million, is one of the most sparsely populated in the world, said to be second only to Mongolia in density, and covers more than double the land space of highly populated nations such as the United Kingdom.
Even Namibia's capital, Windhoek, has what is essentially a miniscule population of about 300 000. Namibia finally gained independence in March 1990: free from the colonial rule of Germany, and even South Africa, as well as from the protracted guerrilla warfare that threatened the stability of this developing nation. For more than 25 years, a Namibian government, led by the ruling party SWAPO, has steered a country that has since emerged as one of the jewels in Africa's crown. Its people are peaceful and its land well endowed: a haven for an extraordinary diversity of wildlife that ranges from the gemsbok and desert elephant to succulent plants and the peculiar welwitschia. National treasures, apart from the architectural splendours of Windhoek and the cultural heritage of Swakopmund, include drawcards such as the Fish River Canyon, Skeleton Coast, and the Namib-Naukluft and Etosha national parks.