Namibia, a country in southwest Africa, is distinguished by the Namib Desert along its Atlantic Ocean coast. The country is home to diverse wildlife, including a significant cheetah population. The capital, Windhoek, and coastal town Swakopmund contain German colonial-era buildings such as Windhoek's Christuskirche, built in 1907. In the north, Etosha National Park’s salt pan draws game including rhinos and giraffes. Namibia is truly unique, influenced by various cultures during colonization and now reborn from the shadows of Apartheid in 1990. What has emerged is a true sense of unity in diversity, the coming together of at least 11 major ethnic groups, each celebrating their past while working together toward the future. You will notice this in dress, language, art, music, sport, food and religion. There exists a wonderful collage, but first and foremost, Namibians are proud to be Namibian. And for good reason. The ruggedness of the Namibian landscape has obviously done nothing to deter both flora and fauna from adapting and thriving. Here, the very act of survival can sometimes be an art. The shear abundance and variety of wildlife of all sizes is staggering. Namibians are deeply committed to protecting our natural resources and the country's richness of wildlife can be attributed in large part to this commitment to conservation. Namibians are committed to living side by side with wildlife, including predators and large mammals. Namibia is the only country in the world where large numbers of rare and endangered wildlife are translocated from national parks to open communal land. This commitment to protecting wildlife is especially important given the country's remarkable diversity of species and high level of endemism. Namibia is home to approximately 4,350 species and subspecies of vascular plants, of which 17% are endemic. Six hundred and seventy-six bird species have been recorded, of which over 90 are endemic to Southern Africa and 13 to Namibia. Furthermore, 217 species of mammals are found in Namibia, 26 of which are endemic, including unique desert-dwelling rhino and elephants. This high level of endemism gives Namibia's conservation of biodiversity a global significance. The history of this land can be found carved into rock paintings found to the south and in Twyfelfontein, some dating back to 26,000 B.C. A long lineage of various groups including San Bushmen, Bantu herdsmen and finally the Himba, Herero and Nama tribes among others have been making this rugged land home for thousands of years. But, as Namibia has one of the world's most barren and inhospitable coastlines, it wasnt until the middle of the nineteenth century that explorers, ivory hunters, prospectors and missionaries began to journey into its interior. Beyond these visitors, Namibia was largely spared the attentions of European powers until the end of the 19th century when it was colonized by Germany. The colonization period was marred by many conflicts and rebellions by the pre-colonial Namibia population until WWI when it abruptly ended upon Germany's surrender to the South African expeditionary army. In effect, this transition only traded one colonial experience for another. In 1966 the South West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO) launched the war for liberation for the area soon-named Namibia. The struggle for independence intensified and continued until South Africa agreed in 1988 to end its Apartheid administration. After democratic elections were held in 1989, Namibia became an independent state on March 21, 1990. To date, Namibia boasts a proud record of uninterrupted peace and stability for all to enjoy.