Regions of Namibia

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"Geopolitical Entities, Names, and Codes, Edition 2" (GENC), a U.S. standard that's supposed to correspond to ISO 3166-2, was issued on 2014-03-31. It gives codes for the two new regions: NA-KE for Kavango East and NA-KW for Kavango West. Subsequently, on 2014-11-03, ISO officially issued codes for these two. It also changed the name of Caprivi to Zambezi. Now there is a perfect match between the two standards.

Sorin Cosoveanu located a set of files (source [23]) that show final results of the 2011 census, adjusted for the boundaries of 2013. At the regional level, the populations don't differ much from the provisional results.

Update 14 to Geopolitical Entities and Codes (formerly FIPS 10-4) is dated 2013-12-31. It assigns codes to the two new regions, Kavango East and Kavango West, and changes the names of Caprivi and Karas to Zambezi and //Karas.

The Delimitation Commission has proposed, and President Pohamba has enacted, a reorganization and renaming of regions, cities, and constituencies. The reorganization is described under the change history for 2013. The renamings are to remove some vestiges of colonialism. Caprivi region will be named Zambezi; Luderitz constituency and its chief town will be named ǃNamiǂNûs (the characters ǂ and ǃ represent clicks in the Khoisan languages); Schuckmannsburg will be named Luhonono; and Steinhausen constituency will be named Okarukombe. Those are said to be their precolonial names.

Country overview: 

Short nameNAMIBIA
ISO codeNA
LanguageEnglish (en), Afrikaans (af)
Time zone+1~


South-West Africa was a German protectorate at the beginning of the 20th century. After World War I, when Germany was divested of all its colonies, South-West Africa was made a Class C mandated territory of South Africa (Treaty of Versailles, effective 1920-12-17). After World War II, there was a prolonged dispute in which South Africa continued to exercise its mandate, while the United Nations ineffectually revoked it. The United Nations renamed it from South-West Africa to Namibia on 1968-06-12. Namibia finally gained its independence from South Africa on 1990-03-21.

Other names of country: 

  1. Afrikaans: Suidwes-Afrika (obsolete)
  2. Danish: Namibia
  3. Dutch: Namibië, Republiek Namibië (formal)
  4. English: Republic of Namibia (formal), South West Africa (obsolete)
  5. Finnish: Namibia
  6. French: Namibie f
  7. German: Namibia n
  8. Icelandic: Namibía
  9. Italian: Namibia f
  10. Norwegian: Namibia, Republikken Namibia (formal)
  11. Portuguese: Namíbia, República f da Namíbia f (formal)
  12. Russian: Республика Намибия (formal)
  13. Spanish: Namibia, República f de Namibia f (formal)
  14. Swedish: Namibia
  15. Turkish: Namibya Cumhuriyeti (formal)

Origin of name: 

after the Namib Desert, from a Nama word variously translated as bare place, vast arid plain, area where there is nothing.

Primary subdivisions: 

Namibia is divided into fourteen regions.

ErongoNA.ERERWA29150,809107,66355,47063,57924,548Swakopmund *
Kavango EastNA.KEKEWA40136,823202,694116,83048,46318,712Rundu
Kavango WestNA.KWKWWA4186,529Nkurenkuru
KuneneNA.KUKUWA3286,85668,73564,017115,29344,515Opuwo *
OhangwenaNA.OWOWWA33245,446228,384179,63410,7034,132Eenhana *
OmusatiNA.OSOSWA36243,166228,842189,91926,57310,260Uutapi *
OshanaNA.ONONWA37176,674161,916134,8848,6533,341Oshakati *
OtjozondjupaNA.ODODWA39143,903135,384102,536105,18540,612Otjiwarongo *
ZambeziNA.CACAWA2890,59679,82690,42214,5285,609Katima Mulilo
14 regions2,113,0771,830,3301,409,920824,115318,193
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
  • ISO: Codes from ISO 3166-2.
  • FIPS: codes from FIPS PUB 10-4, a U.S. government standard.
  • Pop-2011: 2011-08-28 census (source [23])**.
  • Pop-2001: 2001-08-27 census (source [15]).
  • Pop-1991: 1991-10-21 census (source [5]).
  • Area: Source [15].


Data for Kavango from before its split are shown under Kavango East.

* Capitals: Different sources disagree about the regional capitals. Sources [1]-[8] have varying information about the capitals of six regions. (Note: [8] is inherently less trustworthy, because the address for a regional governor is not necessarily the regional capital.) The following list shows sources that disagree with the capitals listed in the table. These are all different places, and not just alternate names of the same place. (The book "Administrative Subdivisions of Countries" shows the same capitals as source [1], which was my most trusted source for the data at the time it was written.) Source [21] has now turned up. The capitals shown in the table above are from that source, which I take to be official (as of 1992)—except for Oshikoto, which has a new capital as of 2013 according to source [22].

  1. Erongo: [1] says Omaruru; [3] says both Omaruru and Swakopmund.
  2. Kunene: [5] says Outjo; [3] says that Khorixas, Opuwo, and Outjo are all capitals.
  3. Ohangwena: [4], [6], and [7] say Eenhana; [8] says Ondangwa; [5] says there is no capital, only villages.
  4. Omusati: Oshakati ([5] and [7]), Ongandjera ([1]), Omusati ([3]), or Ombalantu ([8] and [4]). [6] uses the spelling Outapi. Oshakati is not even located in Omusati, although that doesn't prove anything.
  5. Oshana: [5] says Etosha; [3] says Oshana.
  6. Otjozondjupa: [5] says Okahandja; [1], [2], and [3] say Grootfontein.

** Population: Source [16] had populations for the fourteen regions, but they had low resolution and some of the digits are hard to read. Besides, it wasn't specifically stated that they came from the 2011 census. Source [19] had provisional census data for only thirteen regions, rounded to the nearest 100. Source [23] shows two out of fourteen pdf files that give populations adjusted for the territorial changes of 2013.

Further subdivisions:

See the Constituencies of Namibia page.

Territorial extent: 

In the division into districts prevailing before 1990, Hereroland East was split into two disjoint parts, separated by Gobabis. The Caprivi Strip (Afrikaans: Caprivi Zipfel), a panhandle in the northeast, consisted of Caprivi East and part of Kavango.

The UN LOCODE page  for Namibia lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.

Origins of names: 

  1. Bethanien: German for Bethany, after the Biblical city
  2. Caprivi: for Count Leo von Caprivi (1831-1899), German chancellor
  3. Damaraland: Land of the Damaras (Hottentot tribe)
  4. Erongo: for Erongo Mountain
  5. Hardap: for Hardap Dam
  6. Karas: for Karas mountain range
  7. Khomas: for Khomas Hochland mountain range
  8. Kunene: for Kunene River
  9. Omaheke: Herero word for Sandveld, a dry grassland with sandy soil
  10. Oshana: = intermittent lake
  11. Warmbad: = warm bath (hot springs)

Change history: 

Dr. Klaus Dierks has an extensive website on Namibian history. I found a number of details for the change history there.

  1. 1903: According to source [11], the German protectorate had six regional offices: Gibeon, Keetmanshoop, Omaruru, Outjo, Swakopmund, and Windhoek.
  2. 1909-02-07: Schuckmannsburg became first capital of Caprivi Strip.
  3. 1910: Warmbad district split from Keetmanshoop.
  4. 1915-05-01: Capital of the German protectorate of South-West Africa moved to Grootfontein.
  5. 1922: Walvis Bay (then called Walfisch Bay) transferred from Cape Province of the Union of South Africa to Namibia (then called South West Africa).
  6. 1936: Capital of Caprivi Strip moved to Katima Mulilo.
  7. 1936: Capital of Kavango moved from Nkurenkuru to Rundu (called Runtu until the late 1940s).
  8. 1948: South Africa reclaimed sovereignty over Walvis Bay.
  9. This table appeared in source [20].
19 districts360,040
  • District: except the
    last three, which
    are native territories.
  • Population: 1946 census
  1. ~1977: Divisions of Namibia reorganized. Kavango and Bushmanland split from Grootfontein. Part of Outjo and all of Walvis Bay (a district adjacent to the enclave of Walvis Bay) annexed to Swakopmund. Damaraland formed from parts of Outjo, Omaruru, and Swakopmund. Owambo formed from Ovamboland and a small part of Grootfontein. Hereroland West formed from parts of Grootfontein, Gobabis, and Otjiwarongo. Part of Rehoboth transferred to Windhoek. Hereroland East split from Gobabis. Gibeon (capital Mariental) split into Mariental (with the addition of part of Rehoboth) and Namaland (with the addition of parts of Bethanien and Keetmanshoop). Other, lesser boundary adjustments occurred. Names of Kaokoveld and Warmbad changed to Kaokoland and Karasburg, respectively. The resulting divisions were:
Caprivi EastWA0270,78211,5334,453rKatima MuliloCaprivi
DamaralandWA2232,93846,56017,977rKhorixasErongo, Kunene
Hereroland EastWA2325,25551,94920,058rOtjineneOmaheke, Otjozondjupa
Hereroland WestWA2418,82416,5006,371rOkakararaOtjozondjupa
KavangoWA25136,59250,95519,674rRunduCaprivi, Kavango
NamalandWA2716,23421,1208,154rGibeonHardap, Karas
RehobothWA1634,37214,1825,476rRehobothHardap, Khomas
SwakopmundWA1720,75744,69717,258mSwakopmundErongo, Hardap, Kunene
TsumebWA1822,51116,4206,340mTsumebKunene, Oshikoto
26 districts1,401,711824,268318,253
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
  • Population: 1991-10-21 census
  • Typ: Created as magisterial districts (m) or reserves (r)
  • Became: Present-day region(s) occupying the same territory
  1. 1992-08: Walvis Bay placed under joint Namibian and South African administration.
  2. 1992-08-31: Regional Councils Act (Act 22 of 1992) promulgated. Under this act, Namibia reorganized from 26 districts to 13 regions. According to source [12], in 1990, the Delimitation Commission and the Cabinet proposed the region names Liambezi, Maroela, Mopane, and Waterberg. By the time the regions were actually created, those names had been changed to Caprivi, Ohangwena, Omusati, and Otjozondjupa, respectively.
  3. 1994-03-01: Walvis Bay fully incorporated into Namibia as part of Erongo region.
  4. 2013-08-08: Caprivi region renamed to Zambezi; Karas region renamed to ǃKaras; Kavango region (former ISO code NA-OK, FIPS WA34) split into Kavango East and Kavango West. Capital of Oshikoto moved from Tsumeb to Omuthiyagwiipundi (sometimes known as Omuthiya).

Other names of subdivisions: 

  1. Karas: ǃKaras, ǁKaras (variant)
  2. Kavango: Okavango (variant)
  3. Kunene: Kaokoland (obsolete)
  4. Ohangwena: Ohanguena (variant)
  5. Zambezi: Caprivi (obsolete); Liambezi (obsolete-variant)
  6. (former divisions:)
  7. Bushmanland: Boesmanland (Afrikaans)
  8. Caprivi East: Caprivi Oos (Afrikaans); Caprivi, East Caprivi (variant)
  9. Hereroland East: Hereroland Oos (Afrikaans)
  10. Hereroland West: Hereroland Wes (Afrikaans)
  11. Kaokoland: Kaokoveld (obsolete)
  12. Karasburg: Warmbad (obsolete)
  13. Outjo: Outjo/Kamanjab (variant)
  14. Owambo: Owamboland (variant)
  15. Walvis Bay: Walfisch Bay (obsolete); Walvisbaai (Afrikaans)
  16. Windhoek: Windhuk (German)


  1. [1] The Statesman's Yearbook 1997-98. St. Martin's Press, New York, 1997.
  2. [2] The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World. 2001 edition.
  3. [3] Payscope. Encyclopaedia Universalis, 1994.
  4. [4] Encyclopaedia Universalis online map (, subscribers only, dead link, retrieved 2001-06-17).
  5. [5] Johan van der Heyden's Global Statistics website (, dead link, retrieved 2001-06-17).
  6. [6] Werner Fröhlich's  website (retrieved 2004-07-08).
  7. [7] Association of Regional Councils in the Republic of Namibia (, dead link, retrieved 2004-07-08) had areas for the thirteen regions. I have replaced them with figures from source [15].
  8. [8] Address Directory For The Governmental Leaders of The World (, dead link, retrieved 2004-07-08).
  9. [9] website (, dead link, retrieved 1999-11-07) had 1991 population figures attributed to St. George's School, Windhoek. I revised the figures later according to source [5].
  10. [10] Namibia Ministry of Health and Social Services (, dead link, retrieved 2004-07-08) had preliminary 2001 census results.
  11. [11] Dr. Klaus Dierks's 1903 chronology  (retrieved 2004-07-08).
  12. [12] Dr. Dierks's 1990–2000 chronology  (retrieved 2004-07-08).
  13. [13] The New International Atlas. Rand McNally, Chicago, 1980.
  14. [14] L'Évaluation des effectifs de la population des pays Africains, Tome I. Groupe de Démographie Africaine, Paris, 1982.
  15. [15] Namibia 2001 Population and Housing Census  (retrieved 2013-08-31).
  16. [16] "Caprivi is no more ." The Namibian (dated 2013-08-09, retrieved 2013-08-31).
  17. [17] President's statement  on the reorganization (dated 2013-08-08, retrieved 2013-08-31).
  18. [18] "Namibia now has 14 regions, 121 constituencies ", Radio Energy 100FM news site (dated 2013-08-08, retrieved 2013-08-31).
  19. [19] Namibia 2011 Census Provisional Results . Government of Namibia (retrieved 2013-08-31).
  20. [20] The Encyclopædia Britannica World Atlas, 1957 edition.
  21. [21] Regional Council Act No. 22 of 1992  (retrieved 2013-08-31).
  22. [22] Government Gazette of the Republic of Namibia No. 5261  (dated 2013-08-09, retrieved 2014-02-09).
  23. [23] Kavango West Regional Tables Based on 4th Delimitation  and Kavango East Regional Tables Based on 4th Delimitation , both from 2011 Population and Housing Census. Namibia Statistics Agency (retrieved 2014-09-13).
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