10 Amazing Facts You Didn’t Know About Namibia

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From its beautiful, vast landscapes to the amazing and rare animals that call the vast plains their home, Namibia is an ideal destination for adventure-seekers and game-spotting enthusiasts alike…

It’s also a strikingly beautiful country, full of surprises. Which makes it a photographer’s dream – whether you’re looking to snap some of the world’s unique and endangered animals, or spectacular images of vast and wild landscapes, Namibia won’t disappoint.

Oh, and be sure to read this article I wrote to help you take stunning photographs on a safari holiday before you do!

You’ll want to be there when the beautiful morning light casts the desert sand dunes a beautiful series of colours, drawing attention to the lovely ripples and textures in the sand.

Where Should You Start Your Trip to Namibia?

That’s the tricky part! Namibia has no shortage of beautiful and exciting places just waiting to be discovered, from the spectacular dunes of Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert, to the eerie coastline of the Skeleton Coast.

Then there’s the astonishing array of wildlife that can be spotted in Namibia. This includes the world’s largest population of cheetahs and black rhinos… not to mention whale-watching opportunities, desert elephants and lions.

Then of course, there are the people. Despite its small population, there are at least thirteen different ethnic groups in Namibia including the Himba; a remarkable semi-nomadic tribe.

If you’re looking for a spectacular destination, Namibia certainly ranks high on the list. Still not sure? Then perhaps the following ten facts – my favourite amazing facts about Namibia, no less – will convince you…

1. Etosha National Park is One of the Largest Game Reserves in the World

Namibia is home to one of the largest game reserves in the world: Etosha National Park that comes in at 22,270 square kilometers. This park ranks as one of the world’s great game viewing venues –and it’s easy to see why.

Etosha National Park is home to some of the world’s most fascinating wildlife – including 114 mammal species and 340 bird species. The endangered black rhino can also be seen at this park. The Etosha Salt Pan is also be found in the Etosha National Park, covering 23 percent of the park.

The name “Etosha” means “Great White Place,” which is extremely fitting considering the120 kilometers-long salt pan is so large that it can be seen from space.

2. Namibia Has Some of the World’s Most Pristine and Wild Coastline

Namibia is known for its wild coastline – which is referred to as the Skeleton Coast. It gets its name from the whale and seal skeletons that once littered the beach, remnants of the whaling industry.

Today, however, you’re more likely to find skeletal remains of shipwrecks. While the north of the shoreline is the most in-demand area for explorers, it’s also the most exclusive.

Access is given to only around 800 visitors per year, helping to preserve the pristine environment.

3. Namibia is Home to One of the World’s Largest Sand Dunes

Located in the south of the Namib Desert; Sossusvlei is a salt and clay pan that’s surrounded by high red dunes, and one of Namibia’s most iconic landscapes. It’s also home to one of the largest sand dunes in the world –which makes sense, considering that 80 percent of the country is made up of desert.

One of the popular dunes, Dune 7, comes in at a whopping 1,256 feet and is considered to be the highest sand dune in the world according to the Namibia Ministry of Environment and Tourism.

4. Namibia Has the World’s Largest Population of Wild Cheetahs

The cheetah population is quickly dwindling in many parts of Africa. Because of this, most cheetahs can only be seen in parks or reserves in many places.

However, Namibia still has a large population of free-roaming cheetahs. Namibia’s wild cheetah population is the highest in the world, coming in at approximately 2,000 cheetahs, followed by Botswana with an estimated 1,800.

5. Namibia Has One of the World’s Largest Black Rhino Populations in the World

Namibia also has one of the largest black rhino populations in the world, with a majority found in Etosha National Park.

Although their numbers are slowly increasing in Namibia, the black rhino still faces a serious threat –especially since its horn is in demand for traditional Chinese medicine.

6. Namibia is One of Only Two Countries That Have Desert Elephants

Desert elephants used to be a widespread desert-dwelling animal that could be found in much of Africa. However, these elephants are now isolated to the deserts of Mali and Namibia.

In Namibia, the elephants populate the Kunene Region in the northwest region of Namibia –an area that mostly consists of sandy deserts and rocky mountains. Although these elephants aren’t a separate species from the elephants of the savannah, they’re special nonetheless –and are a high conservation priority.

7. Walvis Bay is One of the Best Places to See Flamingos

Walvis Bay is one of the best places in the world to see flamingos. Walvis Bay Lagoon is a resting stop for nearly 80 percent of Africa’s flamingos – a sight that’s worth seeing.

Walvis Bay is also home to some spectacular opportunities for whale watching –these gentle giants have been known to swim right up to the boats.

8. Namibia Has the Second Lowest Population Density in the World

With just over 2 million people, Namibia has the second lowest population density in the world after Mongolia. Despite its low population, Namibia represents at least thirteen different ethnic groups – including one of southern Africa’s oldest tribes, the Himba people.

The Himba tribe has an estimated population of 50,000 people whose traditions and ways have changed very little over the years. The red orca cream that they apply to their skin serves as a natural sunscreen, insect repellant, cleanser, deodorant, and moisturizer all in one.

With their elaborately braided hair, skin and clothes covered in a mixture of ground red rock and butter, it is the women of Namibia’s Himba tribe that are the most a striking sight, per Ruth Styles in the Daily Mail.

Above all thought, the Himba tribe is very welcoming to outsiders, and many visitors to Namibia choose to visit a Himba village to experience a fascinating and ancient way of life.

9. Namibia is Home to the World’s Largest Underground Lake

There are more than one hundred known caves in Namibia, most of which can be found in the northeastern part of the country in the Otjozondjupa Region. While many of these caves are able to be visited and explored, there’s one treasure that’s hidden deep beneath the earth’s surface that’s not for the faint of heart.

Dragon’s Breath Cave, a cave that’s only for professional caving enthusiasts is home to the world’s largest underground lake, located approximately 100 meters below the surface.

While the depth of this lake remains unknown it is thought to be at least 100 meters deep. Another fascinating fact about this cave is that it is home to the Golden Cave catfish, and is the only place in the world where these mysterious creatures are found.

10. Namibia is a Great Place to Surf

Namibia is something of a surfer’s paradise – both on the waves and on the sand! The coast of Namibia provides a perfect place to hit up the waves, and both Walvis Bay and the Skeleton Coast provide ideal surfing locations.

The local geography also offers great dunes to go sandboarding. It’s exactly what it sounds like – surfing in the sand or on the dunes. Hard to believe? Here’s what it looks like in practice…

Ready to Discover Namibia for Yourself?

As you can see there are plenty of unique and fascinating reasons to go on a safari holiday in Namibia. This country is as spectacular as it is unique – and a trip to Namibia promises to be an adventure unlike any other.

Or, if you’re ready to take action towards organising a trip, get a free safari consultation with one of our team and start planning the trip to Namibia that will best fit your needs. Good luck!

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Photos by Rui Ornelas and Vernon Swanepoel and Gustavo Jeronimo

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