The ǁKaras Region, also spelled !Karas Region, is the southernmost and least densely populated of the 13 regions of Namibia, its capital is Keetmanshoop. The name assigned to the region reflects the prominence of the Karas mountain rangein its southern part. The ǁKaras region includes the magisterial districts of Keetmanshoop, Karasburg, Bethanie and Lüderitz.
The name of this Region was Karas Region (without the Alveolar lateral click of theKhoekhoegowab language) since Namibian independence in 1990. In an effort to consolidate spelling, it was renamed to ǁKaras Region in August 2013.
ǁKaras' western border is the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. Its location in Namibia's south means that it shares a long border in the south and east with the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. Domestically, it borders only the Hardap Region, to the north.
The region is a predominantly smallSTOCK farming area, consisting mostly of animals such as sheep or goats. Game farming and irrigation farming along the Naute Dam and the Orange River have gained significantly in importance.
A further characteristic of the Region is the harbour town of Lüderitz and its fishing and boat building industry, the diamond areas along the coast, both on and off shore, with Oranjemund as the main centre, mining enterprises in the southern part of Namibia(Klein Karas area, Rosh Pinah), the Kudu Gas field in the Atlantic Ocean near Lüderitz and small-scale industries in Lüderitz andKeetmanshoop.
The Hot Water Springs at Ai-Ais, and in future probably also the Hot Water Springs in Warmbad, the Kokerboom forest near Keetmanshoop, the Fish River Canyon which is the second largest in the world, the Brukaros Mountain (a former volcano) near Berseba, the coastal town Lüderitz and several guest and game farms gave become important tourist attractions. The tourism industry has the potential for further expansion.
The economic growth potential of the area is considerable but needs an intensive general development policy. It is a profitable tax-generating area, which predominantly comes from diamondmining for the central government.
The main railway line and two main trunk roads give access to South Africa. Keetmanshoop is considered as the capital of the south and hasDIRECT air, railway and road links with Windhoek. Its airport is of international standard and suitable for international air traffic. The airfield at Kolmanskop near Lüderitz is regularly visited by Air Namibia on itsFLIGHTS to Cape Town and Windhoek. Well developed landing facilities also exist at Oranjemund.
ǁKaras has 49 schools with a total of 20,110 pupils.
According to the Namibia 2001 Population and Housing Census, Hardap had a population of 69,329 (32,346 females and 36,976 males or 114 males for every 100 females) growing at an annual rate of 1.3%. The fertility rate was 3.1 children per woman. 54% lived in urban areas while 46% lived in rural areas, and with an area of 161,215 km2, the population density was 0.4 persons per km2. By age, 11% of the population was under 5 years old, 20% between 5–14 years, 63% between 15–59 years, and 6% 60 years and older. The population was divided into 15,481 households, with an average size of 4.1 persons. 35% of households had a female head of house, while 65% had a male. For those 15 years and older, 69% had never married, 20% married with certificate, 2% married traditionally, 5% married consentually, 1% were divorced or separated, and 2% were widowed.
The most commonly spoken languages at home were Afrikaans (40% of households), Nama/Damara (26%) and Oshiwambo (23%). For those 15 years and older, the literacy rate was 87%.Nearly 45% of the population are from coloured and white namabian groups. In terms of education, 52% of girls and 48% of boys between the ages of 6-15 were attending school, and of those 15 years and older, 77% had left school, 7% were currently at school, and 7% had never attended.
In 2001 the employment rate for the labor force (67% of those 15+) was 71% employed and 29% unemployed. For those 15 years old or older and not in the labor force (24%), 28% were students, 40% homemakers, and 32% retired or unable to work. According to the 2012 Namibia Labour ForceSURVEY, unemployment in the ǁKaras Region stood at 23.9%. The two studies are methodologically not comparable.
Among households, 94% had safe water, 26% no toilet facility, 50% electricity for lighting, 81% access to radio, and 35% had wood or charcoal for cooking. In terms of households' main sources of income, 7% derived it from farming, 69% from wages and salaries, 6% cash remittances, 5% from business or non-farming, and 10% from pension.
For every 1,000 live births there were 37 female infant deaths and 56 male. The life expectancy at birth was 61 years for females and 54 for males. Among children younger than 15, 4% had lost a mother, 6% a father, and 1% were orphaned by both parents. Three percent of the entire population had a disability, of which 22% were deaf, 29% blind, 10% had a speech disability, 13% hand disability, 27% leg disability, and 7% mental disability.