This country should be at the top of everyone’s list to visit. With offerings of national parks, deserts, and diverse cultures, Namibia is a gem of the world. Speaking of gems, they are the mass-producers of the best diamonds in the world. The people belong in different races that have different practices; as a result Namibia has nine major languages. They have the Namib Desert, one of the highest sand dunes in the world, as well as the Fish River Canyon, one of the largest canyons there is. Aside from natural attractions, they also have buildings with distinct German and Art Nouveau influences. Every place in Namibia is really an adventure waiting to happen.
Important and Interesting Facts about Namibia
- is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east.
- Agriculture, herding, tourism and the mining industry – including mining for gem diamonds, uranium, gold, silver, and base metals – form the basis of Namibia’s economy.
- Being situated between the Namib and the Kalahari deserts, Namibia is the country with the least rainfall in sub-Saharan Africa.
- Namibia’s Coastal Desert is one of the oldest deserts in the world. Its sand dunes, created by the strong onshore winds, are the highest in the world.
- Namibia is the driest country in sub-Saharan Africa and depends largely on groundwater.
- Namibia is one of few countries in the world to specifically address conservation and protection of natural resources in its constitution.
- Etosha National Park is Namibia’s top wildlife destination. Etosha is home to Africa’s tallest elephants, the endangered black rhino, and 91 other species of mammal. Etosha is especially popular with photographers in the dry season who flock to the waterholes (along with the wildlife).
- The Skeleton Coast derives its macabre name from the skeletons of thousands of ships, whale bones and seal bones that litter the desert along this treacherous coastline.
- The Namib desert is the oldest desert in the world, and the central section of this great desert is where you find the Namib Naukluft park. If you’ve been attracted to Namibia by images of startlingly beautiful sand dunes, this is where you’ll find them.
- The Fish River Canyon is Africa’s largest canyon, thought to have formed about 500 million years ago. The canyon is located in southern Namibia, on the border with South Africa. The Fish River has carved out over 160 km’s of rock (100 miles), and some of the canyon walls are over half a kilometer high.
- The Caprivi strip is quite different from the rest of Namibia, it’s green and populated. The Caprivi strip is a narrow finger of land in northern Namibia, that juts eastward and borders Angola as well as Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana (Africa’s four corners). This area is filled with wildlife and ideal for a water based safari since several major rivers flow in this region, this area is home to the Zambezi, Okavango, Chobe and Linyanti rivers.
- Brandberg Mountain is Namibia’s highest mountain (2606 m). It lies in the northwest Namib desert, an area of stark and stunning beauty. “Brandberg” means “fire mountain”, a testament to the fiery red color of the mountain at sunset. Appreciating stone-age rock art in the hundreds of caves on the mountain is the main reason visitors come here. There are thousands of wonderful depictions of ancient hunting scenes, mythical stories and more, all painted by San Bushmen thousands of years ago. The most famous rock art here is “White Lady Lodge.
Cool, Funny, and Fun Facts about Namibia
- Namibia has the largest free-roaming cheetah population in the world – there are an estimated 2,500 – 3,000 cheetahs in Namibia. Cheetahs are under pressure from farming and ranching encroachment on their habitat. Leopards and lions are also indigenous big cats in Namibia.
- Namibia is also where Brangelina chose to give birth to their daughter Shiloh on 27 May 2006 at a small hospital near Swakopmund. They also donated $2m to the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary, who are dedicated to the people, and the conservation of the wildlife and land of Namibia.
- Namibia is largely malaria-free.
- Since its Independence in 1990, with help of the United Nations, Namibia was allowed to compete on the Olympic circuit (Commonwealth Games – African Games – Olympics). For the past two decades, it has had a handful of famous athletes but it was Frankie Fredericks (born in Windhoek on 2.10.67) who is Namibia’s first and so far only Olympic medalist. Running in the 100 metres and 200 metres, he won four silver medals at the Olympic Games – two in 1992 in Barcelona (100m and 200m) and two in 1996 in Atlanta (100m and 200m).
- Namibia is the second least densely populated country on earth. After Mongolia which is also a vast country, there are just over two million people living in a country which is half the size of Alaska.
- Hoba Meteorite, discovered in the 1920s, is the largest known meteorite in the world and situated 20 km from Grootfontein. The meteorite is approximately 80 000 years old and its weight is more than 50 tons.
- There is a large amount of artillery and ammunition that was dumped by retreating German forces in 1915 on the bottom of the Otjikoto lake which is located 20 km north-west of town Tsumeb. A number of extracted cannons, machine guns and other weapons can be seen in Tsumeb museum and in Alte Feste Museum in Windhoek.
- There is a horse graves site on the way to Walvis Bay just outside of Swakopmund where more than 1650 horses and mules were shot in 1915 by South African army.
- The word “safari” means “travel” in Swahili.
- The Welwitschia Mirabilis, a fossil plant that can be found in the Namib Desert, has a lifespan that can reach 2,000 years.
Historical and Cultural Facts about Namibia
- The San peoples may have inhabited what is now Namibia more than 2,000 years ago. The Bantu-speaking Herero settled there in the 1600s. The Ovambo, the largest ethnic group today, migrated in the 1800s.
- In the late 15th century, the Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias became the first European to visit Namibia. Formerly called South-West Africa, the territory became a German colony in 1884.
- Between 1904 and 1908, German troops massacred tens of thousands of Herero, who had revolted against colonial rule. In 1915, during World War I, Namibian territory was taken over by South African forces. In 1921, it became a mandated territory of the League of Nations, under the administration of South Africa.
- In 2004, Germany issued a formal apology for the massacre of Herero by German colonial troops between 1904 and 1908.
- For agriculturalists, the staple foods are millet and sorghum; for pastoralists, dairy products. Beans and greens are eaten with millet in the north, but otherwise few vegetables are grown or consumed. Hunting and gathering, more important in the past, still provides a dietary supplement for some. Meat is highly desired and eaten.
- Extended greetings and handshakes are very important in most Namibian cultures. When food and drink is offered, it is polite to accept. There is a general emphasis on emotional restraint in public, and public displays of affection between spouses or lovers are frowned upon, especially in rural areas.
- Weddings are extremely important social events in Namibia, bringing family and friends together to sing, dance, and feast. Most weddings combine old and new elements. Many Owambo couples, for example, say their vows in a church ceremony accompanied by identically-dressed bridesmaids and groomsmen, then exit to a crowd of guests shouting praises, dancing, and waving horsetail whisks.
- Celebrations with national or political significance include Cassinga Day (4 May) which commemorates the deaths of hundreds of Namibian refugees in a 1978 attack, Independence Day (21 May), and Heroes Day (26 August). These occasions are marked by singing, dancing, and speeches by public officials. Other secular holidays include New Year’s Day (1 January), Workers’ Day (1 May), and Africa Day (25 May).
- The National Theatre of Namibia serves as a venue for both Namibian and foreign musicians and stage actors, in addition to assisting community-based drama groups. School and church groups create and stage less formal productions. Traditional dance troupes representing the various ethnic groups of Namibia perform at local and national festivals and holiday celebrations, and also participate in competitions.
- Many craftspeople produce objects for local use and the tourist trade; wood carvings (containers, furniture, animals) from the Kavango and basketry from Owambo are the best known examples. Some craftspeople have formed organizations to assist each other with production and marketing.
- Many traditional modes of dress have all but disappeared in Namibia. But, the Herero dress is still worn proudly by women in the Herero tribe(s). These dresses are generally hand-made by the Herero women, and are an important part of a young lady’s “coming of age”. It is considered a privilege to be allowed to put on and wear the Herero dress.