This week, Christina and John set off to escort a small group through Namibia! This large country lies on Africa’s southwestern coast, north of South Africa and west of Botswana. It’s well-known for its dramatic desert landscape and rugged coastal line.
Namibia is not exactly high on the US traveler’s list, but its breathtaking wildlife and terrain guarantees a fair contender to India or Brazil!
Did You Know? — Some of our Favorite Fun Facts of Namibia
- After some time as a German colony, Namibia was captured by South Africa in World War I. The nation only recently declared independence in 1990.
- It is the second least densely populated country, after Mongolia.
- The three most common languages are Oshiwambo (49%), Nama/Damara (11.3%) and Afrikaans (10.4%); in addition English is often used for public communication.
- The unique landscape is primarily desert and semi-desert plateau, with the least rainfall of any sub-Saharan African country. Its desert is the oldest in the world, approximately 55-80 million years. Here you find the Welwitschia Mirabilis, an incredible plant with a lifespan of up to 2,000 years!
- The sand dunes of the Namib desert are beautiful and ever-changing. The red dunes of Sossusvlei, in the marsh of no return. Dune 45 remains the most photographed dune in the world, particularly early or late in the day when the shadows are at their most dramatic.
- Conservation plays a big role in the society. It was the first country in the world to addresses conservation in its constitution.
- Namibia wildlife is free-roaming, mostly found in communally-owned conservancies, and a few parks. Namibia is home to 2500 roaming cheetahs, the largest population in the world. 95% of the desert black rhino is found here.
- Etosha National Park is home to diverse wildlife: the tallest elephants, endangered black rhino and 91 other mammal species.
- Hunting and possession of protected wildlife without a permit is illegal. Despite this, Namibia is currently undergoing a poaching crisis threatening its wildlife. Since 2011, 230 elephants, 100+ black rhinos, desert lions and pangolins are reported to have been poached. To date, there are only an estimated 130 desert lions of the Kunene region in Namibia.
- Last June, 45 trail runners dashed across 200km of arid Richtersveld over 5 days in the first cross-border trail run between South Africa and Namibia.
- Namibia is a paradise for thrill-seekers, with opportunities like paragliding, dune-surfing and serious rock climbing on the beautiful Spitzkoppe and Erongo Mountain Range.
- The Gibeon meteorite shower, the largest meteorite shower in the world occurred in prehistoric times. The local Nama people used the meteorite shards to make spearheads for centuries. The largest one weighs 66 tons and is a major tourist attraction at Hoba.
- Lake Otijkoto is the world’s largest underground lake, in Dragon’s Breath Cave, and remained unknown until 1986. Its surface area is 4.9 acres and depth is at least 300 feet deep, probably more.
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