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Life and Work in Namibia (the Life Part)

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Annette is our first exam blogger from Namibia. She passed Part 1 and 2, and is working on the last part. She finally passed the exam on Feb 7, 2017.

Namibia is a huge but a not very known of country. We are ranked No. 5 in the list of the least densely populated countries in the world (around 2.2 million population) with one of the highest road accidents % (reckless driving). We are situated between two deserts – the Namib (oldest desert in the world) and the Kalahari – and we are the driest country in sub-Saharan Africa.

There are so many more unique geographical and natural characteristics that I could share. Our capital city is smack in the middle and has about 325,000 residents. Not far from Windhoek lies my parent’s farm, the place I grew up until I went to boarding school at age 7.

Namibia has, as all other African countries, certain characteristics such as under-development, corruption, theft, political squabbles, slow in service/delivery (well anything actually), tourist hotspot, off-line (there are no online stores and certain products/services you just don’t get here), and only 2 seasons really (winter and summer) etc.

For the most part everything (houses, shopping centres, offices) are walled or fenced in. 24 hour security guards is a massive industry here.

Everything closes early, grocery stores close by 8pm, the mall shops close between 17h30 to 19h00. Weekend afternoons the cities are pretty much dead as most shops close at 2pm. No alcohol can be bought from Saturday 12h00 until Monday morning.

We don’t have Starbucks, McDonald or Wal-Mart (hey at least we have KFC and Nandos).

But not all is that different, I live in a flat furnished with things shipped from US or Europe, drive a Toyota Rav (albeit an old model) and watch US series on my LED TV. Yes, I am middle-class and privileged but not ignorant.

In terms of cuisine, there is no big difference, we have Italian, Chinese, Indian, etc. A restaurant is most popular if it is open space, under the trees and in the gardens. When we socialise we visit each other’s houses for a “braai” (BBQ), almost each house/flat with a balcony has a braai facility! We even have an unofficial “public holiday” called Braai Day. This is very important to us.

We are currently having some good rains, it is such a blessing and everyone’s spirits are lifted. It has been quite a drought and the city dams that provide fresh water were less than 10% full (now back to 32% – but still a water crisis) Windhoek is growing faster than water can last – we are very dependent on rain water.

So what does my day look like? Wake up at 6am, go to work at 8am. Lunch break from 1pm to 2pm and done with work at 5pm. Either, I meet some friends right after at some chilled outdoor restaurant, or I quickly go grocery shopping. At home I prepare dinner (just me) or reheat something. Enjoy my meal in front the TV, subscriptions are way too expensive here, so I watch DVD’s. Weekends I either go shopping or drive 1.5 hours to my parent’s farm for a one night stay (guest and cattle farm). There I go walk around with the dogs, take a farm drive, or go on a horse ride and just spend time with my family enjoying the breath-taking sundowners.

Wow… There is so much more I can write about living in Namibia – maybe you have a specific question?

Note from Stephanie

That’s really interesting for someone like me and others who live in big cities all our lives. Our shops and restaurants close at 11pm. We have McDonalds in every other block but probably a handful of farms in the entire city. So it’s even more amazing to see how we are able to connect professionally, using the same (IA) standards when the companies themselves are vastly different.

I myself would like to know about tourism in Namibia — as in what are the best months to pay a visit, should tourists worry about safety etc 😉

Look forward to your next post on the work aspect of living in Namibia.

About the Author Annette S

Hello, I was born, raised and have been working in Namibia as an internal auditor. I finally passed my CIA exam after 7 attempts on Part 3!

  • Lynnel says:

    Hi Annette, i love your post about Namibia. My dad just came from Capetown ,South Africa for work last month and found it so beautiful. I hope to hear from you more.

  • Annette says:

    Hi Stephanie

    In short:
    Best months I would recommend are either April to May (increasingly dry and much greenery in the landscape) or September to October (warms up again; game-viewing in most areas is at its best, although the vegetation has lost its vibrancy).

    For safety I would say all tourists should at all times be wary and not leave their valuables unattended in any country. There are certain areas (especially in towns) to best avoid. Do proper research and stay with trusted guesthouses, hotels, lodges and rather pay that few extra bucks for secured parking.

    More of a concern is that often the first-time visitors are not well informed about Namibia’s geography, the long distances between destinations and the very hot and dry conditions.

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