There are many misconceptions in the wider world about Namibia, and Africa in general. We’d like to dispel a few of these myths and set the record straight once and for all. As a tourism resource, we really have heard it all. However, we’d like to draw attention to the main misconceptions below:
1. Africa is a country.
What? No, it’s not. It’s a continent. Namibia is a country in Africa, though. We can’t really blame people too much as the media tends to lump everything all in one but it’s really not the same thing. Africa is home to 54 independent and unique countries with their own currency, flag, anthem, history and identity. There is so much diversity between the different countries, from their physical environment, and the people as well as culture, language, religion as well as lifestyle.
2. Africa is one big desert or one big rain forest.
There may be deserts in Africa, Namibia included, but there’s a whole lot more to it than that. There are mountains, plains, rain forests and plenty of diversity within Africa. Just because that’s all you’ve seen on television, doesn’t mean that’s all there is here.
3. Everyone in Africa lives in huts.
While the majority of people still live in rural areas, for the most part, Africa, and Namibia is largely urbanized and towns and cities grow quickly and the western lifestyle has influenced many people. There are buildings, towns and cities in all countries in Africa. Even in Africa, you’ll find skyscrapers and concrete covered towns.
4. There is wildlife roaming free all over.
This one is the most widespread misconception and the most ludicrous. Wild animals live in controlled areas. There are various species of wild animals and birds contained in zoos and parks which are managed by wildlife officials to keep the wildlife as well as the general population safe.
5. African food is weird.
Ok, every culture has something a foreigner would consider weird so this may not be a total misconception but it isn’t so bad. There are fast food chains in many countries. If travelling to the rural areas within any of the countries, you would no doubt encounter some strange food such as Mopani worms but this isn’t likely if you visit a town.
6. Africa is Dangerous.
While there are some countries in Africa one wouldn’t dream of visiting, there are some beautiful countries, like Namibia for an example, that are safe, and amazing tourist destinations. The media tends to focus on the negative, simply because it is news. How often do we hear about the positive things coming out of Africa? When last did you see Namibia in the news?
7. Africa isn’t technologically advanced.
Most African countries have embraced technology. There are tons of mobile phones, computers, tablets etc. available. However, there are areas that struggle to get electricity to use these devices and the stark contrast between the rich and the poor can be a dividing factor.
8. All Africans speak one language.
This really is a major misconception. There are many different languages and many different cultures. Each country has their own official languages and some countries have up to 20 official languages. There are also many different people from many different cultures that have settled in Africa. Africa is certainly one of the most diverse continents in the world.