30 interesting and fun facts about Namibia

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Ready for some fun facts about Namibia? Some are surprising, others are intriging, but all of them are super interesting!

Located in southern Africa, Namibia is a country of extremes with hot temperatures, deserts, and very few people! Namibia borders Angola and Zambia to the North, Botswana to the East, and South Africa to the East and South. The Atlantic Ocean is on the west.

Fun facts about Namibia

#1 Namibia is named after the Desert of Namib, which comprises a large portion of the country.

#2 At 80 million years old, Namib is the world’s oldest desert.

#3 There are between 2,500 and 3000 cheetahs in Namibia which means it is the largest population of free-roaming cheetahs globally.

#4 The Fish River Canyon in southern Namibia is the second-largest canyon in the world, only after the Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA. It is about 100 miles (160 km) long, up to 27 km wide, and at its highest is almost 500 deep.

#5 Namibia has some of the world’s largest dunes. The most famous is Big Daddy in Sossusvlei, but the biggest dune in Namibia is Dune 7.

#6 Namibia was the first country to sign a statement that includes the protection of the environment into the country’s constitution! 

#7 Namibia has 19 national parks, which cover about 38% of the national territory.

#8 The Namibian dollar has a fixed exchange rate of 1 with the South African Rand. As the rand is also accepted in Namibia, this means they can be used interchangeably.

#9 The welwitschia is a plant endemic to the Namib desert, thus only existing in Namibia and Angola. They are one of the Symbols of Namibia. The largest welwitschias may live up to 2500 years.

#10 Namibia was once a German Colony. It was called German Southwest Africa, lasted from 1884 until 1915. Despite shorlived you can still see colonial architecture and German speaking people.

#11 The Herero and Namaqua genocide is considered the first genocide of the 20th century. Between 1904 and 1908 the ruling German Empire waged a campaign of ethnic extermination and collective punishment against Herero (Ovaherero), the Nama, and the San

#12 After WWI, Namibia became a protectorate of South Africa.

#13 Only on March 21, 1990, Namibia became a fully independent country. This means it’s the third youngest nation in Africa, only after South Sudan and Eritreia.

#14 Namibia is the least densely populated country in Africa and the second in the world, only after Mongolia. With roughly 2.6 million people in a space of 825,615 km2, it has only 3.2 individuals per km2.

#15 Despite the small population, it houses 13 completely different ethnic teams. Almost half the inhabitants, are from the Ovambo group, but the most famous ethnic group are probably the Himba, a semi-nomadic tribe residing within the northeastern part of the nation. Angola also has Himba people.

#16 The San people, also known as the bushmen, are another group of Namibian people. They are one of the world’s oldest surviving people. They have lived in Namibia for over 11,000 years. You have probably heard of the San people before, as they are the African tribe from the film “The Gods must be crazy.”

#17 The stunning deserts of Namibia have been popular in Hollywood. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Flight of the Phoenix (2006), and Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) have all been filmed in Namibia.

#18 At 2573 meters or 8,442 ft, Brandberg is Namibia’s highest mountain. As it’s in the flat gravels of Namib, it can be seen from great distances. The highest peak is called Knigstein.

#19 The largest non-subglacial underground lake is Dragon’s breath cave in Namibia’s Otjozondjupa Region. It has almost 2 hectares (4.9 acres).

#20 As of 2020, Namibia is the world’s 3rd largest producer of Uranium. It’s also one of the largest exporters of no-fuel minerals in Africa.

#21 Located in Namibia, Etosha National park is one of the best safari destinations in the world, as the abundant wildlife congregate around the waterholes making sightings very easy. Its main characteristic is the salt pan so large it can be seen from space. It is a unique place in Africa and one of the most accessible game reserves in Namibia and Southern Africa.

#22 The northern Atlantic coast of Namibia is known as the Skeleton Coast. Initially because of the numerous whale and seals skeletons, but it is now it is also home to several shipwrecks.

#23 The Portuguese navigators used to call this area the “Gates of Hell”, while the Bushmen call in “the land god made in anger”.

#24 Cape Cross in the skeleton coast is home to one of the largest cape fur seals colonies in the world.

#25 There are only two countries in the world where you can find desert-adapted elephants. One is Namibia, the other is Mali. Note: these aren’t different species of elephants.

#26 The Gibeon meteorite shower is the most extensive meteorite shower known on Earth. It covers a large elliptical area of some 275 by 100 kilometers centered on Brukkaros south of Mariental.

#27 There are plenty of ghost towns in Namibia, but Kolmanskop is the most famous. Established as a mining town after diamonds have been discovered in 1908, it was abandoned when the diamond was depleted, only 30 years late. It is now a tunning location for photographs and one of the most popular destinations in Namibia

#28 In 2014, Namibia was the first African nation to institute digital voting in its presidential elections.

#29 Namibia currently has two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: The Namib Sand Sea and Twyfelfontein. With over 2000 Twyfelfontein is considered the most important single focus of African rock artwork engravings.

Really Namibia fun fact

#30 US President Donald Trump apparently can’t pronounce Nambia, having called the country Nambia instead… Twice!

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