7 Snake Species found in Namibia

The Namibian environment can be divided into 5 biomes: the Namib desert (1), that occurs like a narrow strip along the Atlantic ocean coast. It is an ancient desert, composed of high sand dunes near the coast and gravel plains inland. There are scattered grass and specialized succulent plants with stunted Acacia trees in the rivers courses. The offshore Benguela Current is responsible for the cold fogs that may extend up to over 50 kilometres inland. The Noma bushy Karoo shrubland (2) is a typical semi-desert habitat which occurs inland of the Namib desert. It has poor and rocky soils with dwarf woody scrub. The succulent Karoo (3) covers the extreme South-western area between the South African border. It has many succulent plants adapted to the contrast between the hot and dry summers and the cool and rainy winters. 99 The generic arid savannah biome (4) is represented by mopane woodland in the North-western area and by thorn Acacia woodland in the central area. Both are open grassy habitats adapted to low rainfall and cold dry winters. The moist savannah (5) covers the eastern regions of higher rainfall and warmer winters (featured image – read below).

Leptotyphlops occidentalis (Family Leptothyphlopidae): It has a slender cylindrical body of light grey-brown colour. It is a small burrowing snake that lives in arid savannah and desert, where it burrows underground and it catches ants and termites. It is possible to find it from Kaokoland to the southern area – within the reptile habitat, it is accepted that this species is endemic of Namibia.

Leptotyphlops occidentalis – Photo from Flickr

Psammophis (Family Colubridae): Many snakes belonging to Psammophis genus live in Namibia: they are commonly called ‘Sand Snakes’, ‘Grass Snakes’ or ‘Whip Snakes’. All have the head distinct from the neck and large eyes with two grooved fangs at the back of the eye. They are fast diurnal snakes and they mainly eat lizards, agamas and small rodents. They are common in arid scrubland and savannah. In spite of this speed, it was possible to recognize them through the many typical brown stripes along the body. For this reason, it is likely to think that one sees the Western Sand Snake (Psammophis trigrammus) or the Stripe-bellied Sand Snake (Psammophis subtaeniatus) or the Leopard Grass Snake (Psammophis brevirostris) in the northern area: precisely at Damaraland and Kaokoland. It is not excluded that they could be also the Striped Skaapsteker (Psammophylax tritaeniatus), which is present in that area. Very often the other two Psammophis in the central and southern area, exactly near Keetmanshoop and along the Namib Naukluft Park, often and most probably misinterpreted with the Karoo Sand Snake (Psammophis notostictus) or the Namib Sand Snake.

Psammophis trigrammus – Photo from University Bonn

Naja nivea (Family Elapidae): The Cape Cobra is indeed very venomous elopid (neurotoxic venom), which lives especially in central and southern Namibia. It is considered endemic of the Southern African Subcontinent. Its habitats are mainly the Noma bushy Karoo shrubland, the thorn Acacia woodland and the Succulent Karoo. It is a slender snake with the variable colouration of the body, generally, which has its body of o light yellow colour. The ‘speckled’ phase of this specific snake is very beautiful and it is characterized by a bright golden-brown colour with a lot of darker flecks.

Naja nivea – Photo from Fotocommunity

Naja nigricollis woodi (Family Elapidae): Also in the South of Namibia, the Black Spitting Cobra. It is widespread in the same zone as the Cape Cobra: it likes the rocky and arid Nama bushy Karoo shrubland. As with the Cape cobra, it is endemic of the Southern African subcontinent. Its venom is less dangerous than the Cape’s but the Black Spitting Cobra can readily spit it. It is uniformly black on all of the body.

Naja nigricollis woodi – Photo from Pinterest

Naja nigricollis nigricincta (Family Elapidae): Often encountered in the northern region, a Western Barred Spitting Cobra (Naja nigricollis nigricincta). This Snake is generally very fast and often hides under a heap of big rocks near roads or mountain hiking trails. They are very often a light colour with a lot of typical black bands on the body. This particular pattern attribute gives this Cobra the name of ‘zebra snake’. As with Naja nigricollis woodi, the Western Barred Spitting Cobra is also able to spit its venom, it is not as dangerous as that of the Cape Cobra. The Western Barred Spitting Cobra is also endemic of the Southern African subcontinent.

Naja nigricollis nigricincta – Photo from Flickr

At Naja Etosha annulifera National anchietae Park, often found in the Okaukuejo Restcamp (Etosha National Park). The Snouted Cobra or Angolan Cobra (Naja annulifera anchietae): once it was called Naja haje annulifera but now it is separated from the species Naja haje and it is recognized as Naja annulifera. Only the subspecies Naja annulifera anchietae lives in Namibia, where it is quite common in mopane woodland, in thorn acacia bushveld and in moist savannah. It is also called the Western Snouted Cobra: the subspecies Naja annulifera lives in the great eastern region that includes South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Notwithstanding these changes of its technical names, it is still known with the most common name of Egyptian Cobra. In every case, this beautiful cobra is characterized by two morphs – the ‘typical’ one has the body of a yellow-grey colour, while the ‘banded’ one has some yellowish bands along its body.

Naja annulifera anchietae – Photo from Goruma

Aspidelaps lubricus lubricus (Family Elapidae): In Namibia, there are three different subspecies of Coral Snake: Aspidelaps lubricus occurs in the southern area, Aspidelaps lubricus infuscatus in the central area and Aspidelaps lubricus cowlesi in the extreme North-western area hear Angola. All have a body of a reddish-orange colour with some black crossbands. They like the Nama bushy Karoo shrubland and the succulent Karoo habitats. It is still not clear if their venom is fatal for humans or not.

Aspidelaps lubricus lubricus – Photo from VenomLand     

     + pdf. Downloads:


      + Past Blog Post’s:

Snakebite Help-Guide

Domestic Tourism Issues in Namibia

On a recent study via the Namibian Tourism Board regarding domestic tourism in Namibia, a conclusion was found that many respondents commented on the high prices of tourism services and accommodations. From the distributed questionnaire for a majority of Namibian locals, interviews, and observations, it was found that tourism in Namibia is focused primarily on the international market. This causes prices to increase beyond the affordability of many Namibians, which deters many potential tourists from travelling. Although the domestic tourism industry is currently not a major contributor to the Namibian economy, data analysis discovered that Namibians do spend money on travel but the amount spent and the amount Namibians are willing to spend differ greatly. If the Namibia Tourism Board and service providers do not fix this problem throughout Namibia, domestic tourism will diminish. Comments from responses to the questionnaires and interviews informed the third finding; the tourism industry does not cater to Namibians. The tourism industry in Namibia focuses on the international market. This creates a disparity in pricing and quality of services. The majority of guests are European, and only 31% of guests are Namibian. This percentage is at the unsatisfactory level. As stated, Namibians would like to see improvements in the tourism industry. Pricing in the industry remains a problem throughout the country and prevents Namibians from travelling. Poor quality of service and accommodations are also common complaints among tourists. If services are not improved, domestic tourists may not travel in Namibia (featured Image: Stock image)

Nevertheless, this issue has been going on for quite a while now (according to the NTB – since 2006) and to further see the extent of the matter, some outside links have been added at the bottom of this Post. So, if the information provided via the Windhoek Observer Newspaper is true, things should be looking up (?). Or is it? We would love some feedback from our local community if possible…

As far as we know, the following solutions and projects are currently being put forth:

Domestic travellers disembarking from an Air Namibia flight (by Air Namibia)

+ Conduct more research on domestic tourism

An NTB project has only just begun to determine the issues preventing the domestic tourism industry from expanding. Due to resource limitations, a small sample size was used in this study. Although the sample targeted the desired population of middle-class Namibians, the sample was not representative of the Namibian population as a whole. Several recommendations were made based on the collected data in order to improve the current domestic tourism industry; however, more research must be conducted before conclusive results can be determined. The Namibia Tourism Board should continue conducting research on the current state of domestic tourism in Namibia; specifically, the disposable income of Namibians and the amount of money Namibians are willing to spend on accommodations, activities, and transportation. This Project already seems to show some significant effects (click for more Info).

Sample image by Business 2 Community

+ Improve marketing strategies

From observation and interviews, the majority of service providers focus marketing towards international travellers. Therefore, Namibians are unaware of the types of attractions and accommodations available to them at affordable prices. To improve this situation, it is recommended that the Namibia Tourism Board distributes literature to service providers regarding the importance and potential benefits of domestic tourism, as well as successful domestic advertising methods to attract more locals to their establishments. A sample brochure that specifically markets domestic tourist attractions is included in the full report. Combined with segmentation of the Namibian market, marketing and branding techniques can be applied to better target the population of potential domestic travellers.

Midi-Bus Iveco by Namibian Car Rentals

+ Transportation service providers should establish a pass system

Transportation is an important part of any tourism industry but is a major problem throughout Namibia. As mentioned in the findings, the majority of domestic tourists travel by personal car because the bus and train systems are too expensive and often inaccessible due to scheduling issues. To help alleviate this and other problems, it is suggested that transportation service providers establish a pass system where individuals or families can pre-pay for a pass and receive discounts over a period of months. So in other words, by creating more affordable and easily accessible modes of transportation can encourage Namibians to travel more frequently.

Photo by Kamp Kipwe, Namibia

+ Encourage service providers to accommodate domestic tourists

The first approach is to create an understanding of the importance of domestic tourism to Namibia’s tourism market. This should be done through the distribution of literature describing the seasonality of international and domestic tourist travel, as well as disposable income data outlining suggested pricing structures that locals can afford. If the literature does not encourage service providers to reduce pricing, thus increasing the percentage of domestic tourists engaging in leisure travel, an incentive should be introduced.

Namibia Safari Holiday by Responsible Travel

+ Improve the variety and accessibility of attractions throughout Namibia

As previously noted, Namibians would most like to visit natural attractions. The Namibia Tourism Board should begin to identify and market underdeveloped and underutilized nature-based attractions throughout Namibia. Since the significant majority of questionnaire respondents expressed a desire to explore Namibia’s vast landscapes and changing scenery, successful marketing of such attractions would greatly encourage more domestic travel. Again, attractions in Namibia need to be marketed to Namibians. By reducing pricing and advertising low-cost attractions throughout the country, domestic tourists will be encouraged to travel within Namibia.

If the situation with domestic tourism does not change, the market may cease. Currently, service providers are forcing Namibians to spend money outside the country or not at all which brings the economy down. As discussed in the findings, Namibians do travel, would like to continue travelling, and enjoy travel in their home country but are prevented from travelling more due to several limitations such as high pricing, lack of marketing, inaccessible transportation, and poor quality of services. Domestic tourists must be motivated to participate in Namibian tourism which can be accomplished through several recommendations. To reduce pricing, service providers must see the benefit of the domestic tourism market. Wide-Scale distribution of literature and comprehensive data must be made available to service providers throughout Namibia explaining the importance of domestic tourism. Marketing practices must be implemented that focus on the local domestic tourist market in addition to the international domain. Transportation, accommodations, and activities need improvement both in quality of services and pricing. These recommendations are a means to begin changes in the domestic tourism market; however, further research and years of improvements are necessary to develop the industry to a sustainable level. There is a great sense of national pride and love of their country among Namibians. Through making changes to domestic tourism in the upcoming years, the country can evolve and grow into a greater Namibia: a country belonging to the people.

One recommendation which has been addressed by the Namibian Tourism Board

+ Encourage Service Providers to Accommodate Domestic Tourists

One conclusion made based on the analyzed findings was the need for service providers to accommodate domestic tourists. As stated, only 31% of guests at Namibia Tourism Board registered accommodations analyzed are Namibians. This figure needs to be improved to have a sustainable domestic tourism industry. To encourage Namibians to travel, discounts and reduced pricing plans must be made available. To produce the most profit from the tourism industry, service providers currently focus on marketing and pricing techniques to the foreign market. While prices are affordable to foreign travellers, the cost is much higher than Namibians can afford or are willing to pay. The majority of Namibians spend an average of less than N$1,500 on travel, accommodations, food and activities each while on holiday. With the current prices of accommodations and other tourism commodities, Namibian travellers are forced to stay with friends and relatives or at other low-cost accommodations. This situation does not contribute to the economy because less money is being invested in tourism as prices increase and people are less willing to travel. First, the realization of the importance and potential benefits of domestic tourism needs to be established.

Camping at Spitzkoppe, Namibia by Spiegel.de

+ The conclusion:

The recommendation of a widespread campaign to inform service providers of the importance of domestic tourism is the first step towards improving pricing. The distributed literature should explain the importance of domestic tourism to Namibia and include statistics outlining the benefits of increasing the number of domestic tourist clients. Further research should be 66 conducted discovering the average prices of tourism establishments throughout the country, as well as the amount Namibians can spend, and be presented to service providers in a comprehensive pricing guide. Currently, businesses do not know the prices of their competitors. By forcing the release of this information, the market will become more competitive and prices may be driven down in an attempt to bring in the greatest possible number of guests. An incentive can also be introduced to motivate service providers to accommodate Namibians; however, this should only be done if there are insignificant improvements in the domestic tourism market as a result of the distributed literature. One incentive could be a subsidized rate for the levy tax charged by the Namibia Tourism Board in exchange for proof of compliance to a price reduction and marketing campaign.

Photo by Arebush Lodge, Namibia

If companies devise a pricing plan and implement an advertising strategy to market the new price reduction, some levy tax should be waved. To measure the effectiveness of this plan and to ensure the validity of its implementation, businesses will need to provide data showing a certain percentage of increase in domestic clients. This will not only convince the Namibia Tourism Board of the success of the program but results could be organized and distributed to nonparticipating service providers throughout Namibia to further emphasize the importance and benefits of domestic tourism. Paired with successful marketing techniques, the redistributed literature would be helpful to many companies and the domestic tourism industry.

Links and downloads:

• Strategies for developing domestic Tourism in Namibia

• Stepping up local tourism marketing (The Economist – 2015)

• Domestic tourism neglected (New Era – 2017)

• Few Namibians visiting local tourist establishments (NBC – 2017)

Die Deutsche Woermann-Linie (Colonial History)

The advertisement featured in the catalogue of the Deutsche Kolonial-Ausstellung (German Colonial Exhibition) from 1896 ( German Wikipedia Link) refers to one of the central players in African maritime travel. As the Hamburg trading companies stepped up their business activities along the western African coast in the 1860s, German influence also rose exponentially and ultimately culminated in the proclamation of German “protective rule” of Cameroon as a German colony. The subsequent increase in trade prompted Adolph Woermann (1847-1911) to first establish the Hamburg shipping company Dampfschiffs-Aktiengesellschaft (Woermann-Linie) under the roof of the C. Woermann trading company and, in a second step, the Deutsche Ost-Afrika Linie (German East Africa Line) in 1890 (featured Image shows a Woermann-Linie Promotional Poster – from Wikipedia). Complete Archive available at the Link mentioned at the bottom of this Blog Post.

Woermann-Linie Shipping Route Map (by Wikipedia)

Soon thereafter, freight service was complimented with the transport of passengers, by adding interim stops in European waters. initially, only a few passengers would use the service of the WoermannLinie with most of the Africa travellers being missionaries or merchants, and passengers under the age of 30 being the exception. Nevertheless, the transport of passengers would still remain more of a domain of the East Africa Line. Since a concerted effort was made to offer the travellers every conceivable amenity, however, high officials of the British colony service soon started joining the ranks of passengers. Around 1900, the German Empire signed a contract with the WoermannLinie to provide regular subsidized steamWorlds of Travel ship service with a maximum travel time of 30 days between Hamburg and the colony Deutsch-Südwestafrika (German South West Africa). In return, the shipping line was obliged to offer reduced rates for all government freight and passengers.

Calypso, Woermann-Linie (from Wikipedia)

A similar deal was also struck with the German East Africa Line. As a direct result of the agreement, the Woermann shipping line came to organize German troop reinforcements during the colonial wars against the Hereros and Nama between 1904 and 1908. When World War 1 broke out, more than 50 steamships carrying over 190,000 gross register tons flew the flags of these shipping lines, which serviced 140 African ports and maintained 13 outbound lines from Hamburg. Every 36 hours a German Africa steam liner of the Woermann shipping line would leave European waters. After the war, only one small coastal steamer with 800 gross register tons remained in service and it would take until 1921 for Woerman to resume the regular service to Africa with his own ships. Among the multitude of companies and institutions that have contributed to the corporate archive over the course of more than a century, shipping companies make up a small but interesting portion.

One of the Woermann-Linie Ships travelling to Namibia in 1936 (from Wikipedia)

Its press folders include articles from international newspapers and magazines on approximately 35,000 German and international firms. In addition, it maintains business reports as well as news reports on 14,000 private, state and supranational bodies, business associations, state institutions, scientific institutions and international organizations. Tue press folders are archived on the basis of geographic criteria, the decisive factor being the location of a company’s headquarters (for more Information click the included Link listed below on this Blog). The company’s first initials followed by a count allowed for further classification. Business reports and statutes make up about two-thirds of the material, the remainder being news articles, essays in professional journals, advertising, commemorative publications and other information.

     + Complete Archive Documents from 1885-1941

• Free Archive Library Platform (various Text, Newspaper Clippings and Images)

     + See some of our past Blog Post’s:

A Haunted, Abandoned German Village In The Namib Desert

Photo Collection of Namibia pre-21’st century

Desert of the Skeletons (Full Documentary)

Huge deserted beaches surrounded by dunes, where boat masks have forgotten the company only the remains of unfortunate creatures are called skeletons Coast. This side of the Atlantic, east of Namibia, is the gateway to the Namib Desert, which follows the Kalahari. There we find groups Bushmen and Himba, atavistic residents of these arid regions. The Bushmen demonstrate their integration in the most hostile of friendly means by hunting and gathering techniques. (featured Image from Naankuse Lodge)

Joining them pursue their prey poisoned arrows wounds on an expedition lasting several days and observe the survival of an entire clan in the harsh dry season. The Himba us their nomadic life, in which everything revolves around the goats and cows grazing. Among its strongest features see the symbolism of their hair and body ornaments, his main artistic expression, know the rules that govern the formation of polygamous marriages and will attend the rituals “esuko” where women gain maturity within the tribe. (by New Atlantis Full Documentaries)


Traditional Namibian Song and Dance

In Namibia, traditional music is mostly found in the villages and less practised and enjoyed in urban areas. Local and foreign contemporary music in its multiple forms is notorious in all the corners of the country. Traditional music in rural areas contributes to diverse functions linked to rituals at birth, death, marriage, healings, before and after hunting and fishing, circumcision, social evenings, stories telling, cattle exhibition naming of places, animals and babies, including many other activities. Music in rural areas is the reflection of all aspects of the life of the people where it is created, performed and even dies, contrary to the contemporary music in the urban areas which only cater for entertainment in clubs, bars, functions, shops and hotels. (featured Image Kuru San Dance Festival – Bushmen of the Kalahari by Afrika Calls)

Because of its isolation in the past with the rest of the world, Namibia under the South Africa rule has known only the music from that country. The censorship enforced at the time did not favour the hatching and blooming of the local music and dance. The music from other African countries, especially from the central, Eastern and Western Africa was linked with the word terrorism in Namibia. All those who listened to this music were called terrorists. This music was considered to be dangerous for Namibians to be exposed to, especially when the masters of the time could not understand the message in the songs. The American and British music was well established without any difficulty. That is why many artists from these two countries are well known in Namibia. Nineteen years after independence, Namibian artists did not come up with tangible Namibian contemporary music. They keep on being influenced most by the artists from the countries above mentioned and South Africa. Some attempts on the Namibian contemporary music creation took place before and after independence, but because of lack of support, those who were involved got discouraged. After independence, a lot of new genres of music have penetrated the Namibian arena.

Now, according to Francois H. Tsoubaloko Traditional Song and Dance here in Namibia is classified and should be understood under the following terms below:

     + Traditional dance

Traditional music and dance in Africa are most linked to rituals or social functions, as the immediate reference to human being, to a moral being, to a spirit, to conscience, to human traditional and rural life, transmitted from generation to generation. Dance is part of the culture, which is acquired and developed through informal education. All these performances are linked to the core of a specific world of ideas and beliefs. They also reveal a certain outlook of the world and life for certain human structure, the understanding of which brings it closer and makes it easier for us. It is a lineage of knowledge through practice, training and self-access. There exists a very good developed system of music and dance in place, most are on a special rhythmic system. The following given names of dances are the dominant ones in the country, but they might be some out there that are not yet discovered, linked to rituals, healings, social gatherings etc.

Photo above: San dancing around evening camp fire (from African Crafts Market)

Outjina and Omuhiva: Among the Herero community, outjina is danced by men and omuhiva by females. The two take place during celebrations and social evenings.

• Okunderera: This military marching type of dance takes place during celebrations, especially on the 26th of August, which is the National hero’s day and at the same time as Herero day. The Herero community celebrates this event at Okahandja seventy kilometre north of Windhoek. This day for the community serves to pay tribute to chief Maherero and the other Herero fallen heroes in the history of the liberation struggle.

Oudano or Uudhano: Within the Owambo people, this dance is a very common one. It is danced in two versions: The first performed by adult women, using slow motion, men are welcomed if they wish so, the second performed by girls with fast motion.

Omupembe: This dance among the Aangadjera people was forbidden in the past by the South African regime of occupation, for its nature that resembles military training practice. Young men during this dance jump over other people’s heads.

Ondjongo: Among the Ovazemba and Ovahimba communities, this dance is performed at any social celebration. It involves both men and women, songs are also known as ondjongo.

Okankula and Onkandeka: The first is play performed by elder people in a seated position, the second is also a fighting play performed by young people.

• Omutjopa: Accompanied by two traditional drums, omutjopa is also a dance performed by the Ovazemba community.

Shipero: This dance involves also drums and danced during social recreation functions, in north-east Kavango.

Epera: Three drums of different sizes are involved in this dance that takes place at the royal family’s functions, it is also being used during other rituals.

Ukambe, Kambamba and Nondere: The first dance is known as rain season dance, second is a quick dance with feet and the last one last one as hand and neck dance, all from Kavango region.

Kayote, Niakasanda, Liyala: In the Caprivi region, three names of dances take place during healing functions.

• Divare: This dance takes place during the healing rituals. Below a 9 minute clip about the San “Healing Dance”. This beautiful clip also shows the background of the “Healing Dance” (also read our past Blog Post on “The beauty behind African Storytelling” to gain a deeper understanding).

      + Our personal entertainment recommendation:

There are a bunch of various traditional Song and Dance performances available all throughout Namibia. Dates of performances may vary accordingly. However, for the individual who is interested in a traditional showcase (approx. 45 minutes), we highly recommend the “Showcase Namibia” which is performed daily from Monday to Friday at the Warehouse Theatre in Windhoek. What makes this Show ideal is the time which it is being performed. The show starts off at 15h30 CAT hence making it the ideal event for guest’s looking for some “afternoon entertainment” (for other afternoon entertainment please download our Adventure Collection .pdf). Even if you are returning home after a beautiful Namibian Vacation and are boarding an evening flight back home, gives this very original showcase a try if you have some time to spare. It will leave you refreshed, energized and in a positive mood before heading out to Hosea Kutako International Airport, guaranteed. My personal favourite throughout the Show is the drumming session and most definitely the kwaito dance session at the end. It definitely grabs hold of the viewer when embracing the entire theatrics behind this stunning show. Very impressive indeed!!!

Image: Showcase Namibia flyer (by the Warehouse Theatre in Windhoek)

• Location: Warehouse Theatre, 48 Tal Street in Windhoek City Centre (Tel: +264-61-402 253). ⇐ click for Google Maps

• Details: Show Start at 15h30, Refreshments available at Theatre, daily performance from Monday to Friday, very fresh/new musical performance (since 2019), traditional and non-traditional musical Instruments, semi-traditional garments, nice “Skit” elaborating on some of the diverse cultures and languages present throughout Namibia. Rember to also check out the links shown on the flyer for more information!

• Entrance fee: N$170, oo (booking not mandatory)

     + Our second recommendation:

The Joes Beerhouse Drumming Circle also is a very favoured event which is very interactive. As the event states “Drumming Circle” they even encourage you to bring your own traditional drums. So should you own some Bongo’s (or similar), then take them along. Although an evening Event, still well worth it. “This weekly drum circle was recently declared as “one of the 25-MUST-HAVE-Experiences in Windhoek” by The Namibian’s columnist Martha Mukaiwa!”

Image above: Graphical Media about the event (from Joes Beerhouse)

• Location: Joes Beerhouse, Nelson Mandela Avenue, Windhoek (Tel: +264-61-232 457) ⇐ click for Google Maps

• Details: Show Start at 18h00, Refreshments available at the Venue, Wednesday, 06.03.2019 (ends 18.12.2019), very interactive Showcase, traditional and non-traditional musical Instruments, semi-traditional garments, great for bigger groups. Rember to also check out the links shown on the flyer for more information!

• Entrance fee: None (however, booking recommended)

     + Other links:

• For the love of Dance (Namibian Sun Newspaper Article)

• Namibian Tales – 11 pages .pdf Document about the San musical culture (and more), great read!

• A study of Sipelu Music and Dance among the Masubia People of the Zambezi Region of Namibia (111 pages .pdf Document).

46 photo-collection of Namibian Shebeens

For the individual(s) who don’t know the term “shebeen”, let us help you clarify the term before enjoying the photo collection below. Shebeens, mostly located in traditional townships, was started as an alternative to pubs and bars which during apartheid times, black Africans were barred from. Originally shebeens operated illegally, selling home-brewed alcohol and were also meeting places for activists of the struggle against apartheid. As time evolved they also sold commercial beer, spirits, brandy and whiskey. Most of these are operated by elderly people, predominantly women. Shebeen queens and kings share their living space with their customers, meaning there are no designated areas in the house for patrons.

Children raised in these households often go to bed late or can’t study because of the noise generated by patrons, despite the fact that most hardcore shebeens don’t play loud music. A typical shebeen would sell about two to four cases of alcohol on a good day. The customers are normally regulars who are often given booze on credit. These are the operations that would normally fall outside the ambit of the existing legislation within most southern African countries.

The internationally accepted definition of culture by Unesco states that it includes “the whole complex of distinctive, spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features that characterise a society or a social group. Culture includes arts, letters, modes of life, the fundamental rights of the human being, value systems, traditions and beliefs.” In general, culture is the essence of a given people’s way of life as represented by their multifaceted creations, accomplishments and aspirations

According to www.everyculture.com  the culture of Namibia is characterised by a people who speak Bantu languages like Oshiwambo and Otjiherero as their first language. Others speak Khoisan languages (Nama/Damara and various Bushman languages), while a smaller percentage are native speakers of Indo-European languages like Afrikaans and English.

Like most southern African countries Namibia boasts of a variety of architectural styles in addition to Western buildings. But one can also note the increase in dwellings made of metal sheets or concrete blocks with metal roofs, a style also seen in some urban neighbourhoods.

Should you be educated about this country you will be familiar by now that Namibia was originally inhabited by nomadic hunters, gatherers, and pastoralists and one would note the lack of vegetables in the Namibian diet. So with, important occasions are marked by the slaughter of cattle or goats, and the consumption of meat, home-brewed beer, purchased beverages and other foods. Thus, emphasises the fact that throughout Namibia, drinking is another part of life. No wonder the capital Windhoek is the home of a popular lager named after the city.

A drive to Katutura Township, a populous location 15 km away from the city centre of Windhoek, one will find shebeens located at every corner or in the yard of every other house in Genesisstraat (a street in Namibia’s populous Katutura Township). Sadly, this specific street is at random days unfortunately littered by broken bottles. So if you as a visitor get the change to explore these locations with a rental vehicle, make sure to book vehicle insurance which includes your 4×4 tyres (for just in case).

In Namibia, shebeens operate under the Liquor Act of 1988. Shebeen owners are required to get an annual licence but it was apparent through a community radio current affairs programme that most of them are illegal. But nevertheless, illegal or not, many Shebeen’s all over Namibia will always welcome you and provide a friendly atmosphere in a manner which only Namibian’s can. One thing is certain when it comes to creativity to naming a Shebeen, Africans truly take the lead. Especially when naming the outlet – as seen below. Although many Shebeens look “run-down” from the outside, the inside will often leave you very surprised. Beautiful interior decoration in many Shebeens shows a style which is purely Original within its design and layout. The most beautiful Shebeens are often found very deep in some townships, which sadly are rarely seen by many international visitors. Namibian creativity is actually very well known and admired since the entire country is filled with very creative individuals which should be applauded and showcased to everyone wanting to experience it. Personally, I maintain an opinion that the “name-giving” of every outlet of each Shebeen is to be celebrated in the form of understanding presenting uniqueness and originality which can be only found in southern Africa and especially Namibia. One thing is for certain, Namibian Shebeens have some of the most “catchy” Names which draw the attention of potential customers (disregard of location) hence giving some international Pub’s, Tavern’s or Hang-Out’s a run for its money.

Hard to see on this one: THE DOG IS HOT BAR (spelling missing on Photo Image)
Photo: WAKA WAKA Bar
Photo: TRIPLE N. JOINT SHEBEEN (looks like northern Namibia (?) )
Photo: SPECIAL OFFER (apparently sponsored by MTC – Mobile Cellphone Provider Enterprise)
Photo: Socialising inside a Shebeen (unknown)
Photo: Traditional Herero Lady inside a Shebeen, shop or Kuka-Shop (unknown)
Photo: OUR LUCKY BAR (looks like northern Namibia(?) )
Photo: EASY LIFE BAR (not known if sponsored by MTC (?) )
Photo: COOL & COOL
Photo: REALITY BAR $ GROCCERIES (love the spelling layout)

Photo: SIMBIRA SHEBEEN (love this one)
Photo: Unknown Shebeen Interior
Photo: Single Quater Food Outlet in Windhoek (a Windhoek Food Outlet, not a traditional Shebeen as such… click for more details)
Photo: EMBANDI SHEBEEN (most probably in northern Namibia)
Photo: PUT MORE FIRE SHEBEEN (located in Rundu – northern Namibia)
Photo: HOT STUFF BAR (all you Designers will love this one – check out the Fonts used)
Photo: MEME’S INN (abrv. “MEME” is Oshiwambo standing for Lady, Old Lady, older Lady, Woman in charge or a form of respectful Term used to introduce yourself humbally towards an African Female)
Photo: BACK OF THE MOON (my personal favourite – located in Mondesa, Swakopmund)
Photo: BAFANA-BAFANA SHEBEEN (look up Bafana-Bafana on the Web for more Info – African Soccer)
Photo: VANDAKONGELA. SHEBEEN (would love to find out the location)
Photo: SADDAM HUSSEIN SHOPPING CENTRE (would love to know the location)

Photo: Township Tour (P.S. it seem as if this photo has been taken in RSA)


     + Word of Note: Photo origin and rights include Vagabond Adventures, Flickr, The Mad Traveller, Gondwana Collection, Carsten ten Brink, Pinterest, Chameleon Safari’s, Peace Corps Namibia Blog, FivePrime, Namibia Tourism Board and a couple unknown sources.

     + Shebeen Links:

• Namibian culture of Shebeens

• The Namibian Newspaper Article