Facts About Namibia's Culture, Geography, and History
Namibia is a country located in the southwestern part of Africa. It is highly endowed with a rich history, scenic beauty, and wonderful natural features and landscape that easily make a visitor get awed.
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There is so much about Namibia that requires tons of words to describe. Nonetheless, we have provided 12 facts about Namibia just to enable you to have a glimpse of this wonderland before making a trip to explore more.
12. Namibia is the second least densely populated country on earth.
Namibia is a vast land stretching up to 825,615 km sq., which makes it the 34th largest country on earth. This huge mass of land is occupied by a population that is slightly above 2 ½ million people making it the second least densely populated country on earth. It has a population density of merely 3.2 persons per km sq.
11. Namibia, known as the “Gem of Africa”, is a unique place for eco-tourists. Much of Namibia is as it was centuries ago. Due to this, it has a host of natural wonders and amazing places.
Huge swathes of Namibian land remains unoccupied. It is still as virgin as it were centuries ago – probably, only adulterated by footprints of a few explorers and natives that traversed it on their discovery sojourns.
It has one of the most restfully undisrupted ecosystems on earth. There are many breathtaking ecological sites and landmarks that make it the only kind of a place of its own that you will visit and find no other comparison on earth.
10. The largest Namibia's population group is Owambo, living in the northern part of the country.
Namibia, like most countries in Africa, is an indigenously multi-ethnic society. About 85% of Namibians are native Africans. Five percent of them are of European ancestry, and 10% colored (through multiracial intermarriages).
Of the native Africans, two-thirds of them are from the Owambo ethnic group. The Kavango group, Herero, Damara, and the Caprivian people, respectively follow them at a distance.
Owambo is the predominant native language that is spoken by 80% of the population. Thus, it is the lingua franca. If you want to interact easily with Namibians, learn a few words in Owambo.
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9. The Namib-Naukluft Park is the largest conservation area in Namibia and one of the largest in the world.
Namibia has many conservation areas geared towards protecting its natural habitat. Namib-Naukluft Park is one such a conservation area. Etched within the Naukluft mountain range in the Namib Desert, this Africa's largest park, and world's fourth-largest park boasts of rare flora and fauna intermingled with the world’s tallest sand dunes.
Here you can find rare jackals, desert lions, cheetahs, gemsboks, unique desert reptiles (snakes, geckos), and out-of-this-world insects. There are many camp zones where you can restfully interact with the desert as you get entertained by the humorous sounds of geckos.
Before taking a break to rest, make sure that you have gone hiking to explore some of the scenic ranges in this desert world.
8. The Namib desert, at 80 million years, is the world’s oldest desert. Namib means “open space”.
The rusted orange sandy landscape welcomes you to the world’s most ancient desert curved by the ferocious winds, baked by scorching sun, and rusted by the iron of Africa. Namib simply means “the land of open spaces”.
It is this unique landmark stretching hundreds of miles along the south-west coast of Africa that baptized this unique nation of Africa by the name “Namibia”. Indeed, it is an open space that unreservedly grants you the opportunity to explore nature as much as you can.
7. Stunning Fish River Canyon is the second largest canyon in the world, after the Grand Canyon.
Fish River Canyon is located in the far south of Namibia. It stretches 160 km long, 27 km wide, and 550m deep. This is one of the monumental etches of history.
Hiking along the Fish River Canyon allows one to have this landmark experience of the 1.5 billion years old geological curvature. All these unravel as one trek 85km within 5 days to encounter the bends, curves, depth, rocks, sands, and hot springs.
It is in this depth that the meaning of Africa comes to life as you experience the contrast between the hot African day rising to above 35 degrees Celsius and the cold African night that falls below 11 degrees Celsius. Every step you make, a magnificent terrain unravels opening gates to further horizons of Africa.
6. Dragon’s Breath in Namibia is the largest underground lake in the world.
Nature can be mischievous. This mischief is exemplified in Namibia, a land famed for being tampered by two hot deserts – the Namib Desert caressing its western coastline and the Kalahari Desert stabbing its eastern chest land.
It is natural that water is scarce over-ground. Yet, nature decided to hide underneath the hot Kalahari Desert the world’s largest non-sub-glacial underground lake – Dragon’s Breath! If dragons do breathe, this one must have found an amusing way to do it – not breathing fire but cold in a hot desert.
This lake is found 100m down the Dragon Breath Cave. The word “Dragon Breath” describes the cool fresh breath that one encounters oozing from the cave’s mouth. It is home to some of the rarest fish species in the world.
For example, it has the only unique catfish species found nowhere else in the world. It is already an endangered species since its population is estimated to number not more than 200 of them.
If you love daring adventures, where you descend 100m down a cave to go diving into nature’s most hidden lake underneath a hot desert, then, this is the place to explore.
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5. The San Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert, are considered Namibia’s first people. They traditionally followed the migratory patterns of the animals and still have no homeland. They speak a clicking language.
If you ever watched the movie “Gods Must Be Crazy” then, you can quickly visualize the San Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert. The San Bushmen are famous for their clicking language and traditional life as hunters and gathers with minimal livestock keeping.
They are desert nomads with a unique diet, natural medicine, and lifestyle that attract those who desire to understand how they are able to survive in such harsh climatic conditions.
These conditions - characterized by extreme dry heat, lack of water and lack of vegetation – don't affect the people's spirit and they live with crater-like smiles, rare joy, and abundant happiness.
Encountering and spending time with the San people can help you uncover deep secrets of life, longevity, and happiness. They often do not reach the lifespan of those in the West, but by living in such harsh living conditions, they display a strength rarely seen elsewhere.
4. Namibia has the largest free-roaming cheetah population in the world – there are an estimated 2,500 – 3,000 cheetahs in Namibia.
Cheetahs are famous for being the world’s fastest animals running at a speed of up to 80 km per hour. Namibia has the reputation of being the world’s capital of Cheetahs.
It has the highest population of Cheetahs in the world, currently standing at 3,000 Cheetahs. This is a big number considering that African Cheetahs are an endangered species due to rampant hunting and degradation of their natural habitat.
Most of them are still surviving due to deliberate interventions by governments and international organizations dedicated to the protection of endangered species and conservation of their habitats. It is rare to spot African cheetahs due to their small population.
However, in Namibia, it is much easier to spot them as they are plenty and 90% of them reside on farmlands.
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3. Namibia has more than 300 days of sunshine per year.
Having the reputation of one of the few countries in the world that host two hot deserts – Namib and Kalahari - it is obvious that sunshine is relentless in this part of the world.
As such, Namibia experiences some of the highest numbers of sunshine days per given year - 300 sunshine days. This is a place where you are almost guaranteed of sunshine if you are escaping from the cold sun-less winter season.
2. The Republic of Namibia has been the first country to include protection of the environment in the Constitution of the country.
Namibia is fairly a newly independent country after having won independence on March 21, 1990.
Thus, it was able to have a modern perspective on environmental conservation and decided to anchor its natural heritage for the current and future generation into its most sacrosanct document – the Constitution.
This has made it one of the friendliest countries for conservationists as their efforts are not only guided by the law but also protected by it.
1. Hoba Meteorite, discovered in the 1920s, is the largest known meteorite in the world and situated 20 km from Grootfontein, Namibia. The meteorite is approximately 80 000 years old and its weight is more than 50 tons.
When you encounter an alien body on the earth’s surface, you experience the same feeling, as you would encounter a newborn baby. It is as if the alien world has endowed the earth with its baby.
Hoba Meteorite is by far the biggest alien body ever known to have been delivered on earth. Namibia is lucky to have been endowed with this rare heavenly body. Visiting Hoba Meteorite brings one an experience of a unique connection between oneself and the deeper heavens beyond.