Namibia destination information: Khomas Region, Windhoek, Khomas Highlands, Namibia economy, Namibia topography

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Destination Info: Regions - Khomas Region - Part 1

     

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Namibia's most centrally located Khomas Region, was named after the Khomas Highlands that dominate its geological make-up - rolling hills and high mountain ranges with hardly a stretch of level land in between them, as far as the eye can see.

Near the capital, Windhoek, it becomes most visible that the central highlands meet the Khomas Highlands at a 90 degree angle. The former have their greatest extent from north to south, while the latter form an almost perfect rectangular. Only about 40km to the east of Windhoek, the highlands turn into vast plains before slowly descending to the flat lowlands of the Omaheke Region bordering Botswana. The mountainous terrain at high altitudes makes the region one of the coldest during winter, which often comes with sub-zero night temperatures. It is also the reason for the Hosea Kutako International Airport being situated in rural surroundings, some 50km east of Windhoek.

 

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Prior to the installation of modern aircraft guidance technologies, Namibia's main airport counted amongst the most difficult to land at, which required especially trained pilots. A lack of reference points on the horizon,  - due to the immense size of the high-altitude flatlands surrounding the airport -, rendered old-fashioned instruments useless during the approach so that landing procedures depended entirely on visual impressions and a pilot's skill to interpret them correctly. However, aircraft passengers back then and still today may enjoy most magnificent vistas of Namibia's wide open spaces, of the sky meeting the earth without anything disturbing the picture, and of nature's ever-changing show of colours on the sheer rock faces of the fascinating Auas Mountains, even before they set foot on this unique country's soil for the very first time.

To the west of Windhoek, the land rapidly rises to an average of 2000m above sea level and, - after a roller-coaster ride of about 200km from one mountain pass to the next -, it drops steeply into the Namib Desert. These are the Khomas Highlands, a huge fault zone pushed up eons ago when continental plates shifted, crashed into each other, and separated again. It left us with a permanent reminder of the unfathomable forces at work that turned Gondwana, the ancient super-continent, into the Africa of today ... and with a most scenic setting for a small capital city, framed by impressive mountains and surrounded by ecologically divers wilderness areas.


With Windhoek also being Namibia's economic power-house,

- apart from Walvis Bay Harbour -, the Khomas Region is the

country's richest administrative area in tax revenue generated

and in land value. Since independence, square metre prices of

commercial and residential properties as well as hectare prices

of small holdings and commercial farmlands in the vicinity of the

capital saw steep increases, as demand never subsided

in the following decades.             - to be continued

 
 
 

The hoopoe forages in Namibia's savannas

for insects and other small soil-dwellers but

is no stranger to urban gardens either.

 

 
 

The spear-like beak is

stabbed into the ground

and proves a most successful

tool in pulling the desired

 "delicacies" to the surface.

 The hoopoe got its name from

 its distinct "hooting" call. Photo: V. Bause  

 

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Last Update:  August 2009